The market exploded, and the ensuing shortage of qualified pharmacists, against the backdrop of an ageing population, made it difficult for employers to recruit from within Sweden.
In Portugal, on the other hand, there were – and still are – too many pharmacists and not enough jobs, due largely to the after-effects of the financial crisis. Seeing a mutually beneficial opportunity, LloydsApotek in Sweden, along with its Norwegian partner Vitusapotek, teamed up with EURES Portugal to recruit pharmacists through theYour first EURES job(YfEj) programme.
LloydsApotek’s staff in Sweden work in partnership with their counterparts in Norway, who have similar recruitment needs. According to Mia Makower, who works as a HR Business Partner at LloydsApotek in Sweden and is responsible for international recruitment, the entire recruitment process is also supported by EURES Staff in all three countries.
“Everything is done with EURES colleagues,” Mia explains. “Throughout the whole process, they are a partner.”
“The two EURES Advisers in Sweden and Norway are working closely together in this process and are also in close collaboration with the EURES Advisers in Portugal.”
EURES help to promote job opportunities at LloydsApotek and Vitusapotek to jobseekers in Portugal, collect CVs from interested candidates, and put them in touch with Mia and her colleagues. One of the many pharmacists LloydsApotek has recruited from Portugal is 27-year-old Andreia Carona, who began working for the company in spring 2016.
“This adventure started in September 2015 when I saw the job offer on the EURES portal,” Andreia recalls. “The company went to Portugal to talk about the job and it was the EURES Advisers that told us about the YfEj programme.”
Her motivation to move abroad to work was clear: “I had a job in Portugal but the opportunities and the salary were not what I expected after five years at university and with my experience. I always thought about working abroad and that was why I applied for this job.”
Andreia received financial support from YfEj to attend her interview in Porto and to get her academic qualifications recognised abroad. LloydsApotek also arranged a Swedish language course for Andreia to complete in Portugal before she moved, as employees need to demonstrate a proficient level of Swedish in order to obtain their pharmacist’s license. Andreia now speaks and writes Swedish every day at work.
Andreia is full of praise for the support she has received from both YfEj and her employer. “The EURES Adviser was fundamental in the whole process and it’s perfect to have someone you can ring if you have some questions,” she says. “The company also do great work and support us with everything.”
Mia is equally positive in her view of the YfEj programme and the company’s collaboration with EURES. She feels it is essential that people get all the support they need when moving country, both inside and outside of the workplace. “We are moving people – not numbers,” she says. “If you move a person from one country to another, you need to have the support on both sides, and that’s where EURES comes in.”
“The biggest advantage is that we have somebody there [in Portugal] who speaks the language, someone who knows their fears and their worries and can talk to them personally. Then when they come here [to Sweden], as well as me they have a counterpart from EURES working and helping them with whatever they need.”
EURES is proving popular with employers in Sweden, and it’s not only businesses in the pharmaceutical industry who need support: “We need dentists, dental hygienists, nurses, surgeons, doctors, chefs, all kinds of professions,” Mia says.
Thanks to its successful collaboration with EURES, LloydsApotek has been recruiting pharmacists from Portugal for several years now – some of whom have since gone on to become managers – and six new Portuguese employees are set to join later this year. Mia hopes Andreia, too, will stay in the long term and become a manager.
Of course, it can be difficult leaving family and friends behind when moving abroad, and it’s not always easy to plan long-term in a new country. Andreia’s experience has been helped by the fact that her boyfriend Pedro joined her in Sweden in summer 2017, after he managed to secure a job as a solar engineer. Pedro also received help from YfEj with his application and benefited from financial support upon his arrival in the country.
Andreia says she would recommend her experience with YfEj to other young Europeans: “For me, I think this programme is really good for someone who wants to try something new, with support and serious companies.”
Your first EURES job is a European Union job mobility scheme. To find out more about employment and training opportunities across the EU or to find employees with the skills you need, contact one of the scheme’s employment services or get in touch with your local EURES Adviser via the EURES portal.
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