KTH alums recommend IVA’s talent initiative

Tuesday 25 April 2017

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Employers around the country say that they are facing big challenges in their recruitment of people with a higher technical education. Two initiatives focusing on this issue are the Tekniksprånget and Jobbsprånget internship programmes run by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) in cooperation with the Government and the private sector. Linda Spahiu and Gustaf Sahlström, alums from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), are involved as mentors and think that more employers should take part.

Jobbsprånget (Job Leap) matches the talent needs of employers with engineers, architects, scientists and economists who have recently come to Sweden. Tekniksprånget (Technology Leap) gives young people interested in engineering an idea what it would be like to work as an engineer, and gives employers a boost of energy and a chance to show what future opportunities their workplace can offer. Both programmes are nationwide and offer four-month internships twice a year. Big and small employers from both the public and private sectors are participating.

One of the key factors for a successful internship is how the interns are supervised. Linda Spahiu graduated with an MSc in biotechnology from KTH in 2008. Today she works as a Lead Knowledge Analyst at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and in recent years has had the opportunity to mentor 18 interns through the Tekniksprånget programme.
“It’s incredibly educational and enjoyable to work as a mentor for Tekniksprånget. I did it for four terms and I’m still impressed by how quickly the interns embrace their role in the programme and become a natural part of our organisation. It’s really rewarding to see how much our interns develop over the course of the internship. We have a great relationship with all of our Tekniksprånget alums and it’s great to continue to follow their development.”

Linda is counting on continuing to be a mentor and recognises the many benefits of a project like Tekniksprånget. “I see it as an important social initiative to ensure that Sweden has a good supply of engineers for the future. The initiative is also incredibly useful for the young people who join the programme. They get an idea of what life as an engineer is like and become more confident that they can do it. And ultimately Tekniksprånget is an excellent platform for us at BCG to connect with tomorrow’s job-seekers and understand what they consider important.”

Gustaf Sahlström has been a Tekniksprånget mentor for several terms as well. He graduated with an MSc in vehicle engineering from KTH in 1997. Today he works as a Development Manager at Teracom Boxer. Gustaf says that one of the main benefits of Tekniksprånget for his company is that it brings in young people who have new viewpoints and different ways of seeing things. They bring enthusiasm and excitement. For employees who have not previously had a management role, supervising a mentor is a great way of giving it a try. For Teracom, being visible among young people is also valuable from a long-term recruitment perspective.
“I usually tell others about Tekniksprånget. It’s a small investment for the company but it pays off right away – both in the form of development for the company’s own employees and the inspiration that we get from the interns. And it’s also a good thing to do for Sweden. This is an initiative that benefits all companies in the country who will need talented engineers in the future,” says Gustaf.

Both Teracom Boxer and BCG are participating in Jobbsprånget. Linda says that at BCG the process of integrating the interns into project-based assignments works very well, and they are noticing that the company benefits from the interns’ past work experience as well. The diversity that the Jobbsprånget interns bring to the office is also greatly appreciated.

Sweden’s universities of technology are supporting the project. Lena Gumaelius, KTH lecturer and Dean of the School of Education, is a member of the Steering Committee for Tekniksprånget and Jobbsprånget.

About Tekniksprånget
Tekniksprånget is run by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) at the request of the Swedish Government and in cooperation with employers throughout the country. A four-month, paid internship gives young people an opportunity to test the engineering profession in practice. The idea of Tekniksprånget is to inspire young people to study for an engineering degree by giving them a clearer insight into what to expect after graduation. About 230 employers are taking part in the programme, offering internships in 120 locations all around Sweden.

50 percent of those who have completed the programme are young women. After the programme 8 out of 10 former interns want to become engineers and 9 out of 10 believe that the internships result in fewer students dropping out of engineering programmes. All of 97 percent of the mentors say that they can imagine being a mentor again and confirm that their interns have helped them with real work assignments.

About Jobbsprånget
Jobbsprånget is an internship programme that matches the talent needs of employers with engineers, architects, scientists and economists who have recently come to Sweden. The purpose is speed up their entry into the Swedish job market by offering them a four-month internship.
Jobbsprånget is partnering with the Swedish public employment service (Arbetsförmedlingen) and is part of the Government’s integration initiative until 2019. About 80 employers are taking part in the programme, offering internships at 45 locations all around Sweden. Participation is free of charge.

“Based on our simple model, employers are happy to offer internships and they appreciate the fact that we are a nationwide programme and that we coordinate everything with the authorities. Each employer has a designated contact person for support all the way to the end of the internship,” says Alexandra Ridderstad, head of Jobbsprånget and Tekniksprånget.
Several of the interns who participated in the pilot project now have a job, which is of course a mark of success.
“The purpose of the programme is to offer a fast track into the Swedish job market. Although employment is not the main objective, it’s one of the results of the programme,” says Alexandra Ridderstad.

Pictured are Linda and five BCG Tekniksprånget interns. From the left: Maghfoor, Niklas, Linda, Clara, Cecilia and Simon.