Swedish Club participants and mentors at the final session, ten weeks after the project start. Photo credit: Jenny Zhu.
The idea to start free Swedish language sessions for engineers came to Johnny Fägersten, unit manager at Sigma Technology. It was based on an internal initiative that started within Sigma Technology a year ago – Swedish Club. This initiative was much appreciated by employees who wished to learn about or share their knowledge of Swedish language and culture. Johnny asked one of the founders of Swedish Club Jan-Erik Åberg, information engineer, editor, and educator, if it would be possible to start an external Swedish Club.
“We talk a lot about integration in the workplace, but it can be quite tricky for newcomers without a Swedish mindset. Our underlying concepts of compromise-oriented behavior and flat organization are not always easy for foreigners to adapt to, but there are many ways to help. We decided to help 20 applicants with an engineering background and a basic knowledge of Swedish to make the adaptation process smoother and increase their chances of getting the job they really want,” says Johnny.
The first Swedish language learning session gathered engineers and students from China, Great Britain, Peru, Ukraine, Romania, Spain, India, Thailand, and Greece. All of them talented and united by a common goal: to improve their Swedish to understand what their colleagues talk about at the workplace and feel more comfortable in the Swedish society.
“What a great skill set we have here! Smart tech-savvy people, who speak six or seven languages! And they are so ambitious!” says Johnny Fägersten to the journalist from Göteborgs-Posten (the biggest local newspaper), who was also present at the first session.
Swedish Club is not a regular Swedish course with a teacher and a textbook. Instead it offers a group of mentors, who help people at whatever level they happen to be, giving feedback on what they say and write, challenging the participants to speak in front of a group and ask questions.
“We tried to adapt the language sessions to the participants’ ideas and suggestions. We asked them what they wanted to work on most of all. Therefore, during 20 sessions we discussed a variety of topics, including different dialects in the Swedish language, specifics of Swedish culture, and help with career development and CV writing,” says Jan-Erik Åberg. He continues:
“I was pleasantly surprised to see how motivated and diligent our participants are. They want to learn all the time. They want to stay longer and get a chance to learn all the small details about the Swedish language and culture.”
During the last week of the project, the Swedish Club participants met other Sigma Technology employees and managers, mingling and sharing language and career tips with each other.
The article about Sigma Technology’s Swedish Club in Göteborgs-Posten.
For more information about Swedish Club concept, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Johnny Fägersten, Johnny.Fagersten@sigmatechnology.se
+46 702 806 019