Swedbank’s programme for foreign-born academics was the path to a dream job for Saadeh Joubi, an economist from Syria. Another key factor was the recognition statement he received from the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), which indicated what his degree from Aleppo corresponds to in the Swedish education system.

”My parents always said that my degree was going to be something of value for me. And they were right – it’s been worth more than all the money in the world” said Saadeh Joubi, who is currently employed at Swedbank’s finance department.

Studied in Aleppo

Saadeh Joubi grew up and studied in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo. In 2009, he graduated with a degree in business administration, computer science and information systems with a specialisation in business systems. He was working at a bank with accounting and had begun his master’s studies when the war escalated, forcing him to leave Syria. Four years ago, Saadeh arrived – via Turkey, Greece and Germany – in Sweden.

”I looked at different countries on the internet and there appeared to be opportunities to study and work in Sweden. It felt like I could be happy here,” said Saadeh Joubi.

Received his recognition statement from UHR

After almost a year in Sundsvall, Saadeh Joubi received his residence permit and moved to Stockholm. He studied Swedish at Academic Power, an EU-financed integration project run by Botkyrka municipality, and had his Syrian qualifications assessed by UHR. The process took 8 months and resulted in a recognition statement certifying that his degree corresponds to a kandidatexamen (Bachelor’s degree) in Sweden.

The road to a position as a qualified economist, however, still seemed long. Saadeh worked as a sausage vendor, and at restaurants, cafés and a tailor. He enrolled in ”Korta Vägen” - a labour market education programme for academics with a foreign background - at 

Uppsala University and went on a placement at an accounting company. But no job materialised.

Placement that led to a job

The turning point came when Saadeh, while at a recruitment meeting at Arbetsförmedligen (the Swedish Public Employment Service), had the opportunity to apply for a placement through ”Äntligen jobb” – an initiative from Swedbank and Arbetsförmedlingen that aims att giving foreign-born academics contacts with relevent employers. In just a few weeks, Saadeh was offered a non-paying placement at Swedbank and less than 3 months later, he was offered a permanent position.

He has no doubt that the recognition statement from UHR – which also certified his education documents were authentic and from a recognised university – was crucial.

”Without my degree and recognition statement from UHR, I would never have been given this opportunity. The recognition statement shows what I’ve done in my life” said Saadeh Joubi.

Colleagues from Aleppo

Today, Saadeh Joubi works with financial questions from both companies and private individuals at the bank giant’s lakefront brick office building at Stora Essingen in Stockholm. Amongst his colleagues are an additional three economists with a background in Aleppo.

”I was forced to leave my family, my job and start from zero when I fled from Syria. Thanks to ’Äntligen jobb’, I got my life back,” said Saadeh Joubi, whose goal is to remain at the bank.

”I’m living my dream and wish to continue my career at Swedbank. I’m proud of the work I do at one of Sweden’s three largest banks and my wish is to continue to develop here.”

When asked what was the very best from his four years in Sweden, he doesn’t hesitate with his answer.

”The best is that even my familiy was able to come here.”