Four years ago, Nerayo Bahre arrived in Sweden as a refugee from Eritrea. Today, he has a job and a social network thanks in large part to a completed placement and offer of employment at UHR.

Nerayo had been studying Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) for three months when he was offered the opportunity to go on a placement at UHR’s recognition department. Approximately 70 recognition officers work at the department with, amongst other things, providing applicants with recognition statements that explain what their foreign qualifications correspond to in the Swedish education system. Nerayo’s task was to translate academic documents from Arabic and Tigrinya to Swedish.

”It was very tough and challenging in the beginning, both with the Swedish language and because I didn’t have a network,” said Nerayo Bahre. “But at UHR, I developed my language skills, got many contacts and felt more and more at home.”

Placement led to employment

After a few months of placement work, Nerayo was offered a fixed-term position at UHR as a recognition officer and reviewer of foreign qualifications, in particular those from the Middle East and Africa. After he completed his employment contract in April of this year, he was unemployed for six months. He now has a job working as an administrator at the Swedish Public Employment Service in Köping.

“It takes time to find a job, especially for newly arrived,” said Nerayo. “Employers look at what a person has for experience in Sweden and don’t take into account employment experience from other countries. UHR was the place that prepared me to take a step forward in the labour market and it feels great now!”

Has his own recognition statement from UHR

Nerayo himself has a recognition statement from UHR for his higher education qualification in history. His perception is the recognition statement can be good to have with you at a job interview and that it has personal value:

“The recognition statement can be a big help and give people better self-confidence when searching for a job,” said Nerayo. “It means that your education corresponds to something in Sweden.”

The are big differences between working in Nerayo’s homeland and in Sweden, in particular that you can’t decide for yourself what you want to do in Eritrea:

“In Eritrea, you have no choice. The government places you where there’s a need. After I had completed my bachelor’s degree, I was first placed as a teacher at an upper secondary school, but then I received an assignment at the National Service’s Research and Documentation Centre. I worked there for almost 10 years before I received a scholarship to study in Switzerland.”

Open working environment in Sweden

Nerayo finds the working environment open in Sweden; you have insight into what’s happening within the organisation, have control over your own work and can speak with your manager whenever you want. In addition, you have many meetings and coffee breaks which one doesn’t have in Eritrea, he explained.

At UHR's Department for Qualifications Recognition, diversity among employees is a prerequisite for assessing education from around the world. Today, UHR has expertise in over 30 languages.