New internship course gives students valuable experience
The course has the potential to impact not only the students' future but also KTH's reputation as a leading educational institution in engineering.
In the spring semester of 2023, seven students from the 5-year engineering programme in Media Technology completed the newly established internship-based course "Engineering Oriented Professional Training". The course has become a valuable addition to KTH by offering students the opportunity to prepare for professional life through practical experience.
Leif Handberg, teacher, examiner, and course coordinator was inspired by Lund University.
“In Lund they have not divided their 5-year engineering programmes into bachelor's and master's degrees; instead, but offers complete 5-year engineering programmes. Among other things, instead of a bachelor's thesis, students can do an internship-based course during an eight-week full-time study period.
Leif's goal is to give KTH students the opportunity to gain practical experience and insights that make them better prepared for the industry after graduation. Something that is in demand both by KTH's strategic partners and young alums.
Arthur Öhman took the course and interned as an acoustician at a company in the construction industry. The profession as an acoustician involves systematic measurements and calculations to consult in constructing spaces that must achieve sound classes to isolate all forms of sound.
"I think this course was what I have been missing during this 5-year engineering programme. Now I feel more prepared for entering the working life," says the student, Arthur.
The internship involved things he had yet to learn at KTH: communicating complex knowledge to others who do not have the same ability, understanding how a company is run and realising that you are allowed to make mistakes.
“All this has been incredibly valuable when studying at a university where the theoretical level is high, but the actual practical level is surprisingly low," says Arthur.
Per Fagrell and Joakim Lilliesköld, who lead the development programme Future Education at KTH, stress the importance of practice in engineering education and how the course fits into the broader effort of renewing the education at KTH.
"This course is a new way to allow students to test their knowledge in the professional world. The course also contributes to new thinking about the design of educational programmes; in this way, it contributes very well to developing KTH's programmes,” says Per.
They also address that the course is part of a giant puzzle of initiatives to renew education and that sharing experiences and best practices with other programmes and faculties at KTH is essential to developing the educational offer.
“If more programmes include a course like this and if it can also be offered as a summer course, it can become an important factor that can affect KTH's attractiveness.”
The internship allows students to gain insight into how it works in a workplace and what the work as an engineer can look like without feeling pressured to deliver from day one.
“It has given me much more confidence in my ability to deliver on a task. Initially, I thought I wouldn't understand much in the workplace. Still, then I quickly realised that my theoretical background from the courses has prepared me very well to keep up with most things," says Arthur.
The course ends with an oral presentation and reflection open to teachers and other students. After the examination, Leif received very positive feedback. However, he notes that a challenge in developing the course is to engage more teachers as supervisors when more students want to participate. However, he also sees the value of more teachers gaining insight into working life outside academia.
During the spring term, seven students followed the course, five of whom did it half-time in parallel with their bachelor’s degree project. Several of them then got summer jobs at the workplaces where they did the internship, which indicates that the companies are also satisfied.
"I recommend anyone studying for their master of science in engineering to take a course like this if they have the opportunity," concludes Arthur.
Text: Charlotta Alnersson
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