In a period of rapid growth and increased recruitment, effective onboarding processes and networking are crucial for new employees. YOUNG@KDA is an initiative that Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace proudly offers. This programme provides employees aged 20-33 with opportunities to participate in various events, fostering connections across divisions and departments.

YOUNG@KDA started as an internal initiative in the autumn of 2015. With significant growth over the years, the programme expanded, resulting in the establishment of YOUNG@Oslofjord on 1 January this year to cover multiple locations outside of Kongsberg. This expansion transformed YOUNG@KDA into two distinct entities: YOUNG@Kongsberg and YOUNG@Oslofjord. Both now operate under the YOUNG@KDA umbrella, offering a comprehensive internal programme of activities and opportunities.

At its inception in 2015, there were 136 employees in the target group, consisting of those aged 20 to 33. Today, this group has grown considerably to 800 employees, who are regularly invited to various events and activities. With several locations outside Kongsberg, such as Moss, Horten, and Asker, and significant interest from members, the expansion was a natural next step.

A unique opportunity for networking

With boundless energy and initiative, 28-year-old Cecilia has led YOUNG@Kongsberg since 2018. She works as an IT engineer at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, and this year marks her 10th anniversary at the company, including her apprenticeship period. Cecilia has a broad role in the IT department, where she facilitates and manages infrastructure, trains apprentices, and maintains systems.

During a school internship, Cecilia was assigned to Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. Despite plans to study something entirely different from IT, the positive work environment led her to apply for an apprenticeship, which eventually resulted in permanent employment.

“Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is a large and exciting company full of opportunities,” says Cecilia. Emphasising the importance of Young@Kongsberg for both herself and many others, with an environment that is both pleasant and inclusive. “At YOUNG@Kongsberg, we always say if you don’t know anyone, you will get to know someone. We have received exclusively positive feedback, and several people have met their significant others and developed good friendships through the initiative.”

Feeling a sense of belonging in a large organisation with several thousand employees is essential. Cecilia believes that YOUNG@Kongsberg is one of several important factors for retaining young workers in an increasingly competitive job market. “My experience is that YOUNG@Kongsberg serves as a strong incentive for many. There are varied and exciting events, not just parties and fun. It is a unique opportunity for networking and, not least, getting to know the city you work in.”

Driven by enthusiasts

The organisers of YOUNG@Kongsberg arrange various gatherings approximately every other month, offering a diverse selection of activities, from wine tasting and forest hikes to pizza-making courses and social events during Kongsberg Agenda. One of the most popular events is the ‘pinnekjøtt’ evening, which last year had 250 participants and several on the waiting list.

As the head of YOUNG@Kongsberg, Cecilia handles everything from finance and budgeting to negotiations and coordination with the organisation. “We receive many good ideas from the members that make our job easier. I must also highlight the fantastic team who runs YOUNG@Kongsberg. They are truly enthusiasts and invaluable to this offering.”

When it comes to balancing a busy day, Cecilia is clear. “Things I am passionate about give me energy. I am truly passionate about ensuring that the young people at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace have a good and inclusive environment. It is especially rewarding to see the results of the work and the feedback from the members. We are a total of four people in the team, and they are fantastic resources I could not do without.”

In addition to her permanent position and role as head of YOUNG@Kongsberg, Cecilia also serves as member of the board of the Welfare Fund, another initiative from Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace aimed at promoting the welfare of employees.

Inclusive environment

Cecilia shares a memorable episode that inspired their frequently used slogan: “If you don’t know anyone, you will get to know someone.” A shy new employee was unsure whether to attend an event but chose to challenge himself. He went home pleasantly surprised, and thus the slogan was born.

The inclusive environment at YOUNG@Kongsberg is evident, where everyone understands that new faces may appear, and they all take the initiative for friendly conversations. “At YOUNG@Kongsberg, we are a curious, open, and warm group. It is easy to get to know new people here, and we take good care of each other,” Cecilia highlights. 

“I’m going to miss YOUNG@Kongsberg when I exceed the age limit. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a third initiative under the umbrella – YOUNG@Heart,” she concludes.