The Government is expanding engineering education

Tuesday 19 September 2017

helene-hellmark-knutsson-2-1200px.jpg

The budget bill. Sweden needs more engineers, according to the Government, which is now expanding engineering degree programmes to add 1,600 new spaces. By next year there will be 200 more.

 “We need to meet the significant need that exists in industry. We need more engineers in many areas,” says Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Minister for Higher Education and Research.

She points to the statistics from the Swedish Public Employment Servicewhich show a shortage of engineers in multiple fields.

“There are shortages in mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering, as well as logistics and production planning. The automotive industry and Ericsson are in great need of engineers in computer and systems engineering. But the need is greatest for engineers with degrees focusing on the climate and environment. New expertise is needed as companies convert to sustainable production and energy.   

The expansion is expected to cost SEK 160 million, excluding education grants and is expected to be completed by 2023. The will be 600 new spaces in bachelor’s degree programmes and 1,000 in master’s programmes. The spaces are to be allocated among all universities around the country that offer engineering programmes.

“The need for engineers is great throughout Sweden. Not just in big cities. The OECD’s new report Education at a Glance 2017 shows that essentially 100 percent of engineering graduates in Sweden get a job. We are an engineering country.

But according to Helene Hellmark Knutsson, the 1,600 new spaces will not cover the country’s needs.

“Companies need to take responsibility for enabling the engineers they have to further their education. Technology is developing so rapidly that we cannot meet the needs with new talent alone. We will also need those who are already in the workforce,” she said.

“It’s great that the government is investing in more engineers. We need this in order for Sweden to remain competitive,” says Professor Björn O. Nilsson, President of IVA. But engineering programmes also have a very high-rate of drop-outs – and that’s costly – both for the individual and for society. Internships through Tekniksprånget give young people a clear idea of what a career in engineering involves and results in fewer students dropping out. 

Photo: Mikael Lundgren Government Offices of Sweden

 

Author: Siv Engelmark