Valuable Student Collaboration:

Developing the Engineers of the Future

At the heart of Trondheim, within the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), a new generation of engineers and technologists is emerging. Driven by a mutual desire to acquire practical and job-relevant experience and competence, they choose to invest their spare time alongside demanding studies on groundbreaking project work.

The student organizations "Ascend", "Orbit", and "Revolve" develop world-class products and solutions, actively participating in international competitions with drones, satellites, and racing cars, continually evolving and with ever-increasing ambitions. Cooperation with the industry ensures that students can execute their projects, while also allowing us to establish close and robust relationships with the future engineers. The combination of fresh insight and established knowledge is a powerful alliance, where both parties benefit from a shared vision and mutual goals.

Mutual Growth and Collaboration

On the 17th and 18th of October, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace made its annual visit to NTNU to engage with the latest teams from the three student organizations. In recent years, we have reinforced our commitment by sending a team consisting of representatives from HR and various departments.

The goal? To accommodate a direct dialogue with the students: listening to their plans and aspirations for the coming year, building relationships, negotiating new partnership agreements, conducting speed interviews, and creating collaboration platforms for the upcoming year.

"We focus on introducing the company and highlighting potential career paths, including attractive benefits like Young@KDA, summer job opportunities, and participation in relevant projects, while the student projects have a platform to present their visions and goals for the upcoming year," says Senior HR Advisor Vidar Lande, and organizer of the trip to Trondheim. 

He explains that considerable effort is put into tailoring and refining the presentations for different academic fields, making the content as relevant as possible for the students. This means less focus on the organization and products and more on the area of expertise, competence, and job content; this year with a focus on mechanics, software, and electronics.

Mingling with Purpose

After the formal presentations, it was time for pizza and casual mingling. Not surprisingly, this was highly appreciated among the students. The casual setting made it easier to ask questions and establish new, or strengthen existing, relationships between our employees and the students.

"Recruitment is about building relationships," says John Løvlie, Department Manager for the electronics department "eWorks" in Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, one of those representing the company and conducting speed interviews with several students. He was deeply impressed by what he saw. 

"The expertise these young talents develop around interdisciplinary teamwork and technological development is something for which the industry should be forever grateful, and collaboration with student projects is undeniably strategically important, not just for KONGSBERG, but for Norwegian industry," Løvlie stated.

"For us students, it is undoubtedly the companies that come to visit and present themselves that stand out from the crowd," says Hans Bertil Olsson, head of Ascend NTNU. Their organization conducted a survey among their members, showing that it's certainly profitable to invest time with students considering future recruitment. There's fierce competition, and NTNU students are attractive in the market. Hence, visibility is vital, showcasing opportunities, and most importantly, building relationships.

From Student Project to KONGSBERG Career

Serveral NTNU students have been employed by KONGSBERG after completing their studies. Kristian Sandaa is one of them. Having previously participated in both Ascend and Revolve projects, he is now employed as a mechanical engineer in Division Land Systems. Just a few years ago, Sandaa was proudly presenting work to KONGSBERG representatives at the Revolve workshop. This time he visited his old academic institution to convey knowledge about mechanics, inform about career opportunities, and conduct speed interviews for summer jobs. He found it fascinating to come back and witness the evolution of the projects he was once a part of. "It's impressive to see the valuable, and especially relevant, experience the students gain from these projects. Much of what I do today mirrors their work - from conceptualization to prototype and production," says Sandaa.

The collaboration with KONGSBERG has become a cornerstone for NTNU projects. "Without KONGSBERG, we simply wouldn't have been able to deliver at this level," says Madeleine Strømsheim, Project Manager for Revolve. She's backed up by both Orbit and Ascend. It's not just about the financial resources, but also the profound technical expertise, the technical assistance, and access to production facilities and necessary equipment. We look forward to following the projects in the future and are proud of the long-standing collaboration with skilled, dedicated, and ambitious students.