Automatgenererad bild.

21 May 2016

Mistra Urban Futures’ pioneering traineeships for new arrivals

Samar Ramli from Palestine is now starting research on migration and urbanisation in Mistra Urban Futures. She is the first participant in Mistra’s initiative offering trainee places in its various research programmes to newly arrived refugees with an academic background.

When the number of refugees arriving in Sweden peaked just before Christmas 2015, Mistra’s Board wanted to make a contribution to ease the situation. They therefore decided to allocate funds so as to be able to offer traineeships to people with some kind of academic background but who have not yet become established on the Swedish labour market. The work practice is to take place within Mistra’s ongoing research programmes, in established research centres or in close association with such centres.

The idea is that the venture should benefit both parties. For the trainees, the point is that they get a chance to show what they can do and thereby the means of establishing themselves more rapidly in Swedish society. For the research programmes, it means that people who bring a different perspective to this country can contribute to new angles.

‘Even before Mistra’s Board took its decision, we’d started thinking about what we might do in the area of migration. For instance, we got in touch with the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, which are both far advanced in the area, to find out about their experience. Our idea was to make migration and urbanisation a new research area in the programme,’ says Mikael Cullberg, representing Mistra Urban Futures’ Gothenburg platform.

Gathering new experience

When the decision on funding of trainee places was made, there was therefore no doubt within the programme that a suitable person to offer a place to would be found. That person was Samar Ramli.

Ramli, a Palestinian woman educated in both Spain and the US, has work experience from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and from promotion of Palestinian business and industry. Her job in UNRWA included working in a microfinancing programme.

Exactly what she will do during her traineeship period with Mistra Urban Futures is not yet entirely clear. There are ideas about research inputs in the area of migration and urbanisation, but she herself will be able to join in deciding how to spend her time.

In Mistra’s initiative there is no precise eligibility profile for a trainee place. The only condition, apart from the requirement of an academic background, is that the person must be taking part in the Swedish Employment Service’s establishment programme. Through their participation, people are entitled to support from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency for their maintenance. Mistra’s contribution is to defray costs of supervision, but also other expenses incurred in the programmes from managing the trainees. How many people will be offered places has not yet been decided.

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