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Immigrants train to become service technicians

14 NOVEMBER 2019

The demand for qualified service technicians remains at a high level in the truck industry. Scania has launched a training programme for immigrants in close co-operation with the recruitment company Novare and the City of Stockholm. Now the first 12 of 200 people who applied for the programme have graduated, and the industry is able to welcome these new service technicians.

Muhsen Mousa is a 42-year-old refugee from Syria who has now been hired to work as a service technician at Scania’s retailer in Kungens Kurva south of Stockholm. Since he already had experience of this kind of work from his home country, he didn’t need to attend the full course even though he had to be instructed on new systems and learn the importance of quality and safety.

The latest training programme started in September, and has been prolonged from seven months to a year.

Hanna Mayer, principal at the Stockholm School of Transport and Vehicle Construction, where the training is taking place, says: “The training has been great. The teachers have done an amazing job and the people attending the school have had a close interaction with Scania.”

A few improvements are planned for the next round, one being that Swedish for immigrants (SFI) language courses will be included in the programme and the students will have a language teacher alongside their tutor of vehicle construction to provide them with support when necessary.

Many people are of foreign origin

Muhsen Mousa came to Sweden as a refugee in 2015 and he is one of the many immigrants who some politicians plan to reject by reducing labour immigration. “Sometimes I worry,” he says. “But then I think that as long as I work and provide for myself, no one would want to do me any harm.” Mousa, who repairs engines and gear-boxes at the workshop just outside Stockholm, is hardly alone in this position; between 35 and 40 percent of the service technicians at Scania Sverige in Sweden’s three major cities are of foreign origin.

It takes an increasing amount of time for immigrants to become employed since their certificates now need to be evaluated and they need to gain a thorough knowledge of Swedish. But according to the Swedish employment agency, in occupations where there is a shortage of labour, such as education and healthcare, immigrants were involved in 90 percent of the growth last year.

The lack of a qualified work force in Sweden combined with an aging population means that access to personnel is decreasing. This is specifically significant in technical areas and in the workshops, where the demand for competence that many immigrants have is vital.

Robert Sobocki, Manager of Scania Sverige, has had to turn down work because of the lack of service technicians. He says: “In the short term, we are definitely dependent on foreign manpower in order to expand.”