Ove Ronny Haraldsen
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“At KONGSBERG, we believe that an early focus on natural sciences is important for solving future challenges. That’s why we would like to motivate children, adolescents and students to recognise the benefits of physics, mathematics and natural sciences”, says Hans Petter Blokkum, Group Vice-President and Chief HR Officer of KONGSBERG.
An interest in natural sciences begins when children are very young. KONGSBERG therefore supports the science centre Kongsberg Vitensenter, which is free to schools and kindergartens. The centre introduces children to natural sciences through games and experiments.
Kongsberg Vitensenter is also open to upper secondary schools and offers teaching modules in subject areas such as energy, mechanics, mathematics, technology, animation and more. KONGSBERG co-operates with Forskerfabrikken (“the Research Factory”) on summer schools for their employees’ children.
KONGSBERG works in close and effective co-operation with a number of lower and upper secondary schools. School classes and students are invited on company visits, and pupils are accepted for placements. KONGSBERG also has employees who teach pupils in primary and lower and upper secondary schools.
KONGSBERG works closely with a number of university colleges and universities in Norway. KONGSBERG participates in career days, holds company presentations, invites students on company visits and sponsors professorships and selected student projects where students want to do their theses in co-operation with the company.
Together with other companies in the town of Kongsberg, Buskerud and Vestfold University College, and the Norwegian Centre of Expertise, the group has developed an MSc in Systems Engineering.
“KONGSBERG takes a long-term approach to recruitment. Although we are currently affected by challenges within the oil and gas industry, we are positive about the future and know that we will need many capable engineers in the coming years. The co-operation also involves shaping education to the needs of industry”, says Hans Petter Blokkum.
A high dropout rate is a challenge for natural science education in Norway. KONGSBERG has therefore initiated a national voluntary technology project with the aim of promoting science subjects and preventing engineering students from dropping out. The summer project is part of this focus.
Every year, KONGSBERG takes on about 150 students who work on different projects throughout the company. The summer jobs are an important part of KONGSBERG’s corporate social responsibility. At the same time, they strengthen recruitment and product development.
“We want to help more future engineers to experience how to turn theory into practice. For many people, a summer job is the first step towards a permanent job at KONGSBERG. Another central tool in the national technology effort is the “Your Extreme” student competition, where KONGSBERG works in co-operation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and invites students at NTNU to come up with technology solutions for future challenges”, says Hans Petter Blokkum.
This is an initiative to motivate first and second-year students to complete the first two years, as the average dropout rate from science and engineering is high during the first two years.