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Sweden looks to educate more engineers

28 Aug 2012, 09:11

Published: 28 Aug 2012 09:11 GMT+02:00

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"Sweden is and will remain an industrial nation. We're dependent on educating many talented engineers," education minister Jan Björklund of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) told the TT news agency.

According to the forthcoming autumn budget proposal, the additional engineering spots will cost around 214 million kronor ($32 million) by 2018, by which time a total of 1,600 new places for civil engineering students will be created, the business daily Dagens Industri (DI) reported.

Björklund explained that the new engineering student spots are being created in response to increased interest in engineering among young people in the last two years following 20 years of decline.

"We want to respond to that interest so that those who have the capacity to complete the programmes are also admitted," he told the TT news agency.

Critics often argue that such efforts come too late and when students have completed their degrees demand for their skills has since declined.

"It takes five years to educate an engineer and then they will work for 40 years, so it's a very long-term investment. But I agree that such an effort should have been undertaken ten years ago, but then there was no interest among young people," said Björklund.

According to most analysts, there is a balance between the supply and demand for civil engineers, but Björklund believes demand will increase.

"The average age of Sweden's engineers is very high. When they retire, there is going to be a deficit if we don't educate more," he told TT.

Story continues below…

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

09:35 August 28, 2012 by karex
The big question is: will these young people be able to find jobs in their areas when they graduate? Boosting the know-how in the area is just one side of this equation. They also then need to boost the industry so there will be a demand for this type of specialized labor.
10:05 August 28, 2012 by prince T
That is the real question. @karex. Spending 5 years in a uni without being sure of tomorrow.
10:13 August 28, 2012 by Abe L
What about all the very qualified engineers that are available today that can't find a job since every Swedish employer requires Swedish language skills. The government could fill the engineering gap a lot faster if they'd educate firms on that topic or simply obligate them to hire from the current unemployed pool.
11:54 August 28, 2012 by Great Scott
@Abe L

You are right in what you say, but one of the main problems in Sweden is for some reason or another companies don't like to take over 50's which are more capable than their younger counterparts. Another problem is that there are many engineers but not work in those areas and there are problems for people moving location i.e. partners job, schools etc.

This idea from the government is to little to late.
12:14 August 28, 2012 by isenhand
- very qualified engineers that are available today that can't find a job since every Swedish employer requires Swedish language skills. -

As a -very qualified engineer - in Sweden, I've never run it to any problems with language. Speaking English has always been a plus and no one has cared about not being able to speak Swedish.
14:39 August 28, 2012 by abidhasnain
A very good move rather then making the education free. This will lift the merit which will be very beneficial for Sweden.

I think they should also introduce compulsory language courses so that every one is forced to take and pass it. This would motivate them to learn Swedish like how it happens in Germany.

As most of the companies here have English as official language like Ericsson and Volvo but the communication language between peers is in Swedish. And therefore it is the duty of every international student to learn Swedish so that they can easily blend into the system.

I would also like to add that the environment also has a lot of effect in learning the language. As everyone here is able to speak quite a lot of English, there is a very less pressure to get motivated and learn Swedish.
17:12 August 28, 2012 by prince T
I will advise those complaining abt language to go to school. Some companies send pple to fast track school while working. I had a doctor friend that passed sve B in 6 months. Ericssson take a lot of pple dat cannot speak swedish. I even think they discriminate in favor of foreigners
17:42 August 28, 2012 by Swedishmyth
People need to stop expecting to move into and work in a country without learnings its official (de jure or otherwise) language, unless they're temporary contractors with the explicit understanding that it won't be necessary.

However, there's also the issue of agism. For some reason Sweden has developed a unique and weird hiring culture, where employers ask about all kinds of non-essential details about prospective employees' personal lives. You can't even legally ask for someone's age in job interviews in America, and in many fields they actually appreciate wisdom and experience.
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