Sameh's first visit to Ingeus was in July 2009. He had lived in Sweden for three years and had been referred through the Employment Service to Ingeus to take part in the job coaching program Activities for Newly Arrived Immigrants. After an initial welcome meeting he was introduced to his personal job coach, Stefan, and the journey towards a new job could start.
Initially Sameh hardly spoke Swedish, which significantly hampered his chances of getting a job in the Swedish jobs market.
"The dream of a new job seemed remote. I looked at many jobs, but I only got ‘No’ in response. I really needed to learn Swedish. After three months with Stefan, we finally managed to find an internship in a kindergarten for me to get language training and work experience," says Sameh.
Language opened doors
Getting a chance to practice at a Swedish workplace became a turning point in Sameh's life.
"Being forced to speak Swedish was the best way to learn the language. I remember how impressed Stefan was when I came back after practice and spoke Swedish! It changed my life and made me became more independent. Before that, for example, I always asked my friends for help to translate the letters I received in the mail but now I could do it for myself," says Sameh, smiling proudly.
My way to work
With greater language skills and increased self-confidence the way to a new job now seemed easier for Sameh.
"I studied social work at college in my home country, Egypt, and hoped that I could get an internship with the local authority. We then found a woman who works as training coordinator for social work students. We met her with an open mind to hear about different routes into work and how the social work profession operates in Sweden. She had a lot of interesting things to say and said that she had a colleague who was from Egypt, just like me. Stefan and I had talked a lot about the importance of networking and so I went directly to visit my colleague and he told me that there might be an opening for an assistant in the team of the Social and Care Office in Södertälje. I was invited to an interview and after a few weeks I learned that I had the job!
Having a job makes me happy
In mid-January 2010 Sameh started his new job, where his main work is to assist managers and other staff with administrative tasks.
"I feel good to be working and able to support my family independently. I have something to do during the day and I am very happy and get to do enjoyable things. One of my tasks is a photography project where I can use my past experience as a journalist in Egypt. My colleagues are very kind and they help me with my Swedish.”
Sameh is optimistic for the future and has new goals in sight. Right now he is focused on becoming even better in Swedish and also attends evening classes in the field of Sociology to have the opportunity to deepen his knowledge. But his ambitions do not stop there.
"My big dream is to start my own retirement home for immigrants with staff who have Swedish as a second language. I have already started to look at drawings of premises here in Sodertalje," says Sameh with a smile.