Economists can now apply for Tekniksprånget
Starting in 2024, the government has tasked the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences with broadening the target audience for Tekniksprånget. This means that even those studying economics in high school can apply for internships as engineers.
"I hope that young economists with a keen interest in technology see this as an exciting opportunity to broaden their horizons and further build experience for the future," says Johan Forssell, a member of the Tekniksprånget steering group, IVA member, and former CEO of Investor.
Since the government granted increased funding for Tekniksprånget ahead of the new year, the project can finally expand its target audience. This means that even those who have studied Economics in high school can apply.
"We know that there is a great interest in higher technical education among youth who have studied the economics program in high school. Therefore, it is extremely gratifying that we can now welcome economics students and thereby inspire even more to pursue a technical career," says Helena Lind, operations manager for Tekniksprånget.
Many are open to changing career paths. A study conducted by Youth Barometer for the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise shows that as many as 21 percent of the approximately 10,000 students currently studying economics in high school today can envision becoming engineers. The hope is that an internship can inspire these students to pursue studies in a technical foundation year and ultimately higher technical studies. Joakim Lilliesköld is a lecturer in Future Education at KTH. Statistics from his research show that students who have completed a technical foundation year complete their engineering degrees at the same rate as those who were eligible directly after high school.
"If you have studied economics in high school, you have an understanding of investments and costs that is very useful. If you also want to be involved in developing future innovations and enjoy solving problems, there is an important role for you to play in the technology industry. I hope many take the chance," says Camilla Georgsson, head of skills supply at Teknikföretagen.
Diverse and broad competencies are required for innovation. By including economics students, a platform is created to deepen the understanding of technology and reduce biases about STEM subjects among the target audience. It is important for Swedish competence supply that more, including those who have previously considered other paths, find their way into the engineering profession.
"Many of our most successful business leaders have deep knowledge in both economics and technology. With today's rapid technological development, especially in climate-smart solutions and AI, this is something I believe will become even more important in the future," says Johan Forssell.
The initiative offers a concrete opportunity for students to connect their economic knowledge with technical skills. The initiative also has the potential to lead to more diversity and greater diversification, both in educational institutions and within the engineering profession.