Job exchanges for state employees

The Swedish Council for Higher Education offers officials in the Swedish public administration a range of interesting programmes for job exchanges in Europe. The purpose of the exchanges is both to increase the employee’s competence and to contribute to developing the activities of the public authority at which the employee works.

UHR is responsible for a number of different programmes that provide state employees in Sweden with the opportunity to participate in job exchanges. These may be with another Nordic country, an EU member state, within the European Commission or in an international organisation.

For the participating employees, a job exchange offers the opportunity to help develop activities and to gain new knowledge, skills and contact networks. For employers, it is a chance to gain knowledge of how public authorities work in other countries and to increase their organisation's international competence.

In total, around thirty Swedish public officials participate in some form of work exchange every year. In general, it is the employer in Sweden that pays the salary and other costs during the time the employee is abroad.

There are both short and long-term exchanges – from a few days up to a couple of years. A few examples are provided.

Study visits to another EU country

One type of exchange involves visiting another EU country for three to five days to learn more about its administration policies and to meet colleagues from other European countries. A number of European countries participate in this network, which is called the European Reciprocal Training Programme (ERT).

Work in an international organisation

Another opportunity is to work for a limited period, from a few months up to a couple of years, at Unesco, the OECD or the Council of Europe. The idea is that the participant works on development projects and tasks that are relevant to the home authority's activities.

Exchanges within the European Commission

The European Commission offers officials in the EU's member states the opportunity to work at one of the Commission's directorates for three to five months. The exchange must be conducted with a directorate that is equivalent to the department or authority at which the employee ordinarily works, and offers a chance to work with "your" issues from an EU perspective.

It is also possible to participate in a short competence development programme with the European Commission, through the Erasmus Public Administration Programme. It provides education about the EU and takes place in Brussels, Luxemburg and Strasbourg. It is aimed at state employees who have recently begun working with EU-related issues at a national level.

Exchange in Nordic countries or regions

It is also possible to work in another Nordic country or region’s administration for everything between 2 weeks up to 6 months. The Nordic Council of Ministers offers grants to help cover accommodation and travel expenses.

In addition to other Nordic countries and regions, Sweden has other agreements for work exchanges with other EU member states and the European Commission.

Last updated: 10 February 2023