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Encouraging a future in tech

Sandvik aims to spark young people’s interest in science and technology, contributing to a nationwide Swedish initiative to promote STEM subjects. The goal is to ensure a future with enough engineers and specialized expertise.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – these so-called STEM subjects are increasingly in demand as the world becomes more automated, high-tech and green.

In order to raise the interest in STEM subjects and inspire the next generation of engineers, researchers and problem solvers, Sandvik sponsors a Swedish initiative called Teknikåttan.

Celebrating 30 Years of Teknikåttan

Teknikåttan, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is an annual competition that attracts thousands of students from all over Sweden. It is targeted towards girls and boys in the eighth grade, who are around 15 years of age.

“For Sandvik, it is important to encourage children and young people to explore technical subjects and hopefully choose that career path later in life,” says Edvard Bergström, Vice President Communications, at Sandvik.

Teknikåttan is a perfect opportunity for us to understand the next generation’s ideas and ambitions.

This year, the competition attracted nearly 20,000 students, who worked on solving challenging practical and theoretical problems. The final competition, involving 300 of these students, was held at the National Museum of Science and Technology (Tekniska Museet) in Stockholm on May 23.

Sandvik and the museum are main partners in Teknikåttan and work together with Swedish academia and schools from around the country.

Why early STEM education matters

“Getting more children and youth interested in technology, science and mathematics is one of our most important tasks. The earlier we start with these subjects, the greater the chances that the interest will last and lead to an education in STEM,” says Maria Olsson, Head of Education, National Museum of Science and Technology. “It’s important to start at an early age and establish that technology is fun, creative and part of everyday life – that it’s about solving problems in society. It’s good to broaden the picture of what technology (and math/science) is or can be.”

Ensuring a future with plenty of STEM competence is a challenge for much of the world today. It is particularly crucial for Sweden, which has long been recognized as a country focused on innovation and engineering.

Understanding the next generation's perspectives

“It is important for companies like Sandvik to be involved to understand how young people think and see the future and what determines their choices – for example, that many young people are environmentally conscious and engaged in major societal issues where the solution is often found in innovation and technological development. It is therefore particularly important to raise these issues in order to attract the right skills and secure a supply of these skills long term,” Olsson says.

Sandvik and the National Museum of Science and Technology have a history of working together on various activities to support and inspire STEM topics. Sandvik even has a presence at the museum, says Olsson. “With Teknikåttan and this even greater commitment from Sandvik, it feels so spot on!”

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