Greetings Future Global Leaders!
Addressing you is Thato Valencia Mmatli, chairperson of the Kalmar Local Network. In this article I’ll provide an update on what has been most interesting for the network.
A New Start!
From a personal view, all of the international students I’ve met have one thing in common: their perspective that living and studying in Sweden has been one of the best experiences of their lives. Moreover, being a Swedish Institute scholarship holder and therefore a part of the NFGL family has widened the learning opportunities available for students, particularly outside of the degree curriculum.
It is for this reason that three other board members and I established the Kalmar Local Network in 2016. As there had never been one before, it was important to seize the opportunity to apply for funding so that study visits and events could be arranged throughout the academic year.
We aim to provide a foundation for future students in Kalmar to build upon so that the NFGL community continues to grow and extend in all parts of Sweden. Hence, Kalmar Local Network would like to share some insight into the first exciting event.
First Event Accomplishment!
With much enthusiasm and careful planning, Kalmar Local Network arranged a study visit to Volvo Construction Equipment in the small, but charming town of Braås. In addition to Kalmar, NFGL participants from Linköping, Jonköping and Växjö joined the event which made for a collaborative and interactive day.
Not only did we make new friends with whom we have maintained contact, the questions posed to the Volvo CE professionals were from multidisciplinary perspectives. Kalmar Local Network aims to organize events in this second semester that are inclusive of as many other local network participants as possible so that we continue to learn more from one another.
Needless to say we were overwhelmed with excitement that Volvo CE, as one of the major and most recognizable organisations in Sweden, had so cordially agreed to prepare a presentation and factory tour for the students. Even more pleasantly surprising was that senior members of the organisation readily participated, making for a truly informative and memorable day.
A global director presented the magnitude of Volvo CE and the impact it has made worldwide. Specifically, we delved into topics relating to innovation, advanced technological progress, safety and security of using large-scale equipment, and Volvo CE’s initiatives toward environmental consciousness. As matters of sustainability are at the core of organisational and national discussions, the global director shared some insight into the priorities of Volvo CE in the ergonomic design of their equipment.
We also learned some interesting fun-facts which may not be commonly known. For instance, Volvo CE (which specializes in the manufacture of on- and off-road vehicle equipment such as tractors) shares a name with Volvo Cars (small/medium vehicle manufacturer), however these two organisations are in fact separate businesses which at present have no connection to each other!
Volvo CE and Volvo Cars were acquired separately a long time ago and now merely share this powerful brand name. What we also found fascinating is that usually residents of small towns are attracted to employment opportunities in the city, however the town of Braås, which has about 1,500 inhabitants, is abuzz with Volvo CE employees travelling daily from various cities.
The factory tour gave us a privileged look at the cutting-edge technology the organisation uses to manufacture quality products for their clients, as well insight into daily operations. The patient manner in which the technical experts explained various aspects of their complex work is commendable.
The engineering students were satisfied with the technicalities involved in manufacturing the products, business major students learned about strategies organisations can use to penetrate emerging markets and those in social sciences learned the effective ways that issues such as workplace stress and employee engagement can be addressed. Overall, it was a day during which a vast amount of learning took place!
Our Sincerest Gratitude!
Kalmar Local Network would like to extend our immense gratitude to the friendly management team of Volvo CE for taking the time from their busy schedules to educate us. We hope that we are met with the same welcoming demeanour in our future ambitions with other organisations!
Most importantly we thank the Swedish Institute for providing us with the opportunity to continue learning and growing our networks outside of our individual studies. SI is really making our stay in Sweden truly memorable! Thank you to the SI News Service for keeping us informed and for publishing our contributions!
Finally, a personal thank you from me to all the NFGL members in Kalmar for their valued inputs.
We hope to see more of you at our next events! Keep doing great work in your respective networks. It does not go unnoticed!
Until we meet, all the best!
Thato Valencia Mmatli
Chairperson, NFGL Kalmar Local Network