"These companies may employ you after your graduation, so it is great to talk to them", Hjalmar Säfvenberg said, a student of the Master Programme in Engineering Physics and Electrical Engineering at Luleå University of Technology, who participated in the mingling.
Focus on the green transition
The VIP evening, for students wanting to change the world, focused on the green transition and aimed primarily at students of engineering and economics at Luleå University of Technology. The whole world's eyes are on the green transition industries in northern Sweden, so relevant technological research, development and education are highly required. This evening was an opportunity for the students at Luleå University of Technology to communicate directly with these highly topical companies as well as with several PhD students and researchers, all working towards the common goal: the green transition in order to reach the Global goals for sustainable development.
Mingle bingo as an icebreaker
After the evening's dinner buffet and various presentations from the stage, there was an intense mingling bingo with the companies LKAB, ABB, SSAB, H2 Green Steel and Northvolt. Clusters of curious students gathered around these companies and the researchers and PhD students from Luleå University of Technology.
"It is so important to have an evening like this and it is great that so many companies are represented. We all give the same message to the students; we need a lot of people with adequate academic qualifications. We are creating a green shopping window in northern Sweden, towards the rest of the world", Ida-Linn Näzelius said, VP of Environment & Society within H2 Green Steel, who has both graduated and been awarded a doctoral degree at Luleå University of Technology.
Study for a doctoral degree an opportunity after graduation
When asked if there were any students in the audience who planned to become a PhD student, interest was moderate. However, Rama Aljaed from Örebro, a student of the Master Programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering, raised her hand and during the mingling later in the evening, she explained the reason why:
"It is so nice here tonight and so great to be able to ask the companies more specific questions, but I am also interested in studying for a doctoral degree. I am very interested in the green transition and sustainability, because I want the world that we live in now to be a world for future generations too", she said.
Skills a necessity
The VIP evening however began with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Pär Weihed welcoming the audience from the scene, where he interviewed the scientific leaders of the University's initiatives CH2ESS within the hydrogen field, Creaternity within the circular economy field, and SUN within the field of natural resources for sustainable social transformation. The leaders talked about their different research domains and how they work in close collaboration with industry and the surrounding community to enable the green transition. After that, three doctoral students from India, Austria and Gothenburg took the stage, all of them new PhD students at Luleå University of Technology involved in research subjects contributing to the green transition.
Pinpointed important needs
LKAB said that the company is now facing the biggest change in its 130-year history and that they are "at the centre of the green transition". Northvolt, for its part, concluded that they were "born and raised in 2016" but the industry that they now develop will in fact enable much of the green transition.
"When you ask the companies here tonight what the biggest challenges are that they face in relation to the green transition, they all answer "skills supply". And then? Well, the answer will again be "skills supply"... so I hope that you students who are here tonight, really see that you can make a difference for the green transition", Pär Weihed said.
Companies happy with the evening
"You notice that the students are very aware and knowledgeable, they seem to know what's going on", Lotta Jakobsson said, project manager of Fossil-free steel production SSAB.
"I think it's great, here the students have the chance to ask their questions", Erik Bohman, Motor & Generator Service Manager at ABB, said.
"This was just perfect ", Ulrika Håkansson, technical business developer at LKAB, said about the event.
One piece of advice passed on to the sought-after students was to secure their academic qualifications:
"The industry will need you and want to hire you before you even graduate from university, but make sure to complete your education and obtain your degree, Ida-Linn Näzelius said.