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Volvo's Engineers at Gothenburg's Upper-Secondary Schools


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GÖTEBORG, SWEDEN -- August 28, 2014: The Volvo Group will now launch the School Step (Skolsteget) project in five Gothenburg schools. The School Step is a unique pilot project, whereby Volvo Group engineers participate in the teaching of natural and technical sciences. “In parallel with an increasing need for engineers, interest in the natural and technical sciences is in a downward spiral. Our capable employees can motivate and inspire by applying Volvo’s real-life challenges in the teaching, thereby illustrating the breadth of the engineering profession,” says Volvo’s President and CEO Olof Persson.

“Most people have no idea what a varied, broad and enjoyable profession engineering is. I hope I can provide better insight into how many different opportunities exist. Even if only one student finds the profession interesting, I will have made a difference”

The right competence is crucial for Swedish industry and for Sweden’s competitiveness in the global market and, for high-tech companies like the Volvo Group, the availability of engineers is key. In parallel, statistics from Statistics Sweden (SCB) show a shortage of 50,000 engineers in Sweden by 2030, primarily due to large waves of retirements and too few newly graduated engineers from universities and colleges.

Accordingly, the Volvo Group is starting the School Step educational project together with the City of Gothenburg. During the 2014/15 school year, 14 Volvo Group engineers will collaborate with an equal number of teachers from five upper-secondary schools in Gothenburg: Lindholmens tekniska gymnasium, Polhemsgymnasiet, Katrinelundsgymnasiet, Hvitfeldtska gymnasiet and Göteborgs tekniska college. The engineers will contribute by providing real-life problems and challenges for the course, and by informing about the breadth and scope of the engineering profession.

“Preventing the shortage of engineers looming over the next decade is one of the key issues facing Swedish industry. Succeeding in sparking the interest of more young people in a future in industry requires better collaboration between schools and industry, and this is an area where the School Step can play an important role,” says Olof Persson.

The School Step is an integrated part of teaching within the framework of the normal school curriculum. Over the course of one academic year, the Volvo Group’s engineers will spend 20 hours teaching in the classroom. In addition, the engineers will invest a further 40 hours in planning lessons together with the teachers as well as by attending courses in teaching methods and rhetoric.

Elina Drott, with responsibility for driven axles at Volvo Buses, is one of the Volvo engineers who will moonlight as a teacher.

“Most people have no idea what a varied, broad and enjoyable profession engineering is. I hope I can provide better insight into how many different opportunities exist. Even if only one student finds the profession interesting, I will have made a difference,” she says.

At the end of the academic year, the School Step will be evaluated to ascertain the possibilities of expanding the concept to more locations.