"I knew what I was capable of, but it was hard to prove it. When the public employment agency told me about Skanska’s International Leadership Program I saw a glimmer of hope. I was really glad when I was selected and I'm even happier now that I’ve been given a job. It’s fantastic," says Raghad.
After a series of introduction courses at the beginning of last year, Raghad was given an internship at Bildcentrum, Skanska's construction project worth SEK 400 M for Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg.
"The internship was very valuable thanks to my mentor who taught me everything. I asked for more practical experience at the site because I already know the theory," says Raghad.
Now Raghad is employed as a project engineer working on sourcing of materials and subcontractors for the project. She is one of the 22-person strong project team. Raghad is happy with her work, her colleagues and Skanska.
"My job is really interesting. A big hospital project consists of so many different installations that you wouldn’t otherwise come across. And the atmosphere is very upbeat. Everyone is happy and friendly. We often do fun activities together, like bowling or going to ice hockey games."
Broad construction experience
Raghad gained her engineering degree at the University of Technology in Baghdad in 1992. She came to Sweden in 2003 after working on constructing buildings and roads in her homeland of Iraq and in the United Arab Emirates. After a three-year stay in Qatar, where she worked on a luxury residential neighborhood, her family – which had increased in size by then – moved back to Gothenburg in 2010.
Raghad was very familiar with Skanska due to the many large projects the company has been involved in since the 1950s in Iraq. She even celebrated her wedding at a hotel built by Skanska, the Al Rasheed Hotel.
"Now that I'm familiar with Skanska's working methods, its Five Zeros vision and the focused initiatives to ensure a safe working environment, there is nowhere I would rather work," says Raghad.
"There are always lots of interesting projects and plenty of development opportunities that I want to take advantage of so I can be even better in my profession," says Raghad.
"Through Skanska ILP we’ve created a means of tapping into unutilized resources in the form of qualified people with a foreign background," says Jonas Naddebo, Skanska Attraction Team, who works on attracting and recruiting future employees.
Leadership program for foreign-born engineers
In Sweden people with a foreign background often find it difficult to get a job that matches their qualifications. Skanska has launched a targeted initiative to help foreign-born engineers get a job while also increasing the number of Skanska employees who come from other countries. After completing Skanska’s International Leadership Program (ILP), six people were given jobs. An additional nine started the program during the autumn.
ILP is aimed at engineers with workplace experience from building production and the goal is employment. The Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen) likes the initiative and proposed a number of candidates who were then interviewed in several rounds. The ILP involves an introduction to Skanska with a focus on the work environment and company values as well as practical experience at building sites. The practical experience is alternated with training at the Yrkesakademin profession training academy so participants can learn the necessary skills to take on management roles at production sites.