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"Like hot cakes on a cold day"

Engineers are in demand like never before. Anyone attending the internship days P-day at Katrinebjerg and Praktik Match at Navitas will know. The events attract more than 130 companies hoping to recruit engineers from Aarhus University. According to the companies, engineers are the bread and butter of their growth.

Praktik Match which takes place at the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering in the heart of the city of Aarhus. Photo: Lars Kruse.

If you are in doubt as to whether Denmark needs engineers, you should pay a visit to the two internship events P-day and Praktik Match at Aarhus University (AU). Small and large companies come to the events hoping to recruit some of the university's many Bachelor of Engineering students for internships.

In a job market characterised by a significant shortage of engineers, this is often the only way to attract competent labour.

"Like many other companies, we find that it is difficult to recruit talented engineers. We’re growing, and it is difficult to avoid headhunting employees from other companies; because there just aren't enough candidates out there. We’ve benefitted hugely from taking on engineering interns from AU. After their internship, virtually all of our interns continue at our company as student assistants, and when they graduate, we hire them. To us, P-day is therefore a very important source of new employees and talent," said Brian Møller, who is vice president of engineering at the tech company Roku, and who participated at P-day on Friday 11 March.

Peter Fosmark, development engineer at Pressalit, who also visited AU on P-day, agrees. He said:

"Access to talented Bachelor of Engineering students and graduates is vital to us at Pressalit; it's the very foundation for our growth. We’re expanding our business and are trying out new things, and that's why it's also important for us to have someone with a fresh pair of eyes and the most recent knowledge to join our company."

Popular events

P-Day is short for internship and project day. The event is organised by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and takes place at the northern part of campus. Praktik Match is organised by the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and takes place at Navitas, at Aarhus Docklands.

Both events are informal, and the aim is to provide Bachelor of Engineering students following the degree programmes Software Technology, Electrical Power Engineering, Healthcare Technology, Electronic Engineering, Civil and Structural Engineering and Architectural Engineering with the opportunity to meet and ask questions of companies before starting their internship or writing their Bachelor's project. There is competition for a spot at the events, so companies have to hurry if they want to attend with a booth at either of the events.

"What companies can offer our Bachelor of Engineering students is a taste of real life. The students gain real and realistic insight into their career and internship opportunities. As an educational institution, we are honoured that companies are willing to offer our students such excellent settings and resources," said Associate Professor Henrik Olsen, who is behind P-day.

Inspiration for students

One of the students who participated in P-Day on 11 March is Victor Steiner Kristensen. He is a 6th-semester Software Technology student, who attended the event to find inspiration for his Bachelor's project:

"It's quite a special feeling how companies invite you in and are eager to talk to you, and it's super cool to be in a degree programme where you're apparently so popular."

Torsten Nielsen is a 4th-semester Electrical Power Engineering student, and he was at the event looking for an internship. He said it was important for him to work with the green transition:

"I'm interested in SmartGrid technology, energy production and how best to integrate green energy sources into the grid. I'm here to find an internship company that can help me build my skills in this area," he said.

Mathias Birk Olsen, a Software Technology student, was also at P-Day, although he is currently only in his 3rd semester. He explained how it was cool and overwhelming to feel the great interest of companies at the event:

"Even though there's still some time before I’m going to do my internship, I'm interested in knowing what companies are out there and what they have to offer. It feels a bit like, to these companies, we're hot cakes on a cold day."

Important knowledge exchange

Associate Professor Mads Bech Olesen, who is in charge of Praktik Match at Navitas, explained that the internship semester at the Bachelor of Engineering programmes is an important part of the university's knowledge transfer to the business community:

"On every single internship semester, our students put their knowledge into practice in the industry, and they come back with a new level of maturity and new insight into the innovation and technology challenges currently faced by the construction industry. Internships are hugely important opportunities for knowledge exchange. Students offer companies their enthusiasm and labour and provide them with the most recent technological insights. In return the students get to take back real-life issues to the university," he said.

He continued:

"The internship semester is an integrated part of the Bachelor of Engineering programme. Our students are in great demand, so there's competition for a spot at the event.”


Contact

Associate Professor Henrik Olsen
Mail: ho@ece.au.dk
Tel.: +4541893242

Associate Professor Mads Bech Olesen
Mail: mbo@cae.au.dk
Tel.: +4541893207