Supporting children, young people and the local community
Corporate social responsibility
KONGSBERG contributes to value creation and economic development in the communities where we operate. As an international technology group, KONGSBERG has major corporate social responsibility, and we have a particular focus on nurturing children’s and young people’s interests and skills in the natural sciences. We invest in the local communities wherever we have a presence, and in our employees and their families by supporting cultural, social and sporting activities.
We aim to motivate students to complete courses of study on which they have embarked
In engineering studies, drop-out rates have been high among first and second year students on certain courses. KONGSBERG has been working closely for several years with a number of colleges and universities, including NTNU and the University of South-Eastern Norway. Established partnerships between industry and educational institutes ensure that the changes taking place in industry are rapidly transferred to the education sector, thereby ensuring that studies remain relevant. Similarly, the knowledge and skills developed in educational institutes will also engender innovation and change in industry. We have rolled out several initiatives to motivate students to complete their degrees. One of these is the YOUR EXTREME competition for students at NTNU. This competition, which we have been running since 2013, is a 48-hour case competition in which groups of 2–5 students work on solving a hypothetical future scenario where sustainability and technology are at the core of the problem. The aim of the competition is to relate students’ theoretical knowledge to solving practical problems they may encounter in working life. Due to COVID-19, the competition was not arranged in the usual way in the autumn of 2020.
As well as the student competition, KONGSBERG is the main sponsor for three multi-disciplinary student projects at NTNU where students get to put theory into practice. Since 2014, KONGSBERG has been the main sponsor of Revolve NTNU, in which a new team of students develops, designs and builds a racing car to use in competition. NTNU’s Ascend project participates in the annual International Aerial Robotics competition, where the goal is to push the limits of capability of autonomous drones.
In NTNU’s Propulse project, students design, develop and build a rocket to use in the Spaceport America Cup, the biggest student rocket competition in the world.
From theory to practice – the summer job programme
Every year, KONGSBERG takes on a large number of students who work in different departments and summer projects throughout the company. The projects are very popular, and many have been extended for several years. Due to COVID-19, the summer projects was not carried out in 2020. Through the summer jobs, students get to see what opportunities are available when they graduate, and we want this to motivate them to study harder and complete their degrees. At the same time, it is a good recruitment arena for us where we get to know the students better.
We aim to raise the percentage of women involved in technology
KONGSBERG is working systematically to increase the percentage of women studying technology. In 2020, the percentage of women in technology careers was only 23 per cent. One of the steps KONGSBERG has taken to address this is its sponsorship of the Girl-project ADA. The aim of the project is to foster satisfaction and motivation in girls while they are studying, to provide a careers network and inform students of job opportunities. A goal for the summer student programme is to have at least 45 per cent women participating.
We support children and young people to raise interest in the natural sciences
The natural sciences are essential to solving some of the challenges the world is facing. Therefore, we want to motivate children and young people to study physics, maths and natural sciences through a variety of measures, all the way from kindergarten to college.
Thus we support the science centre ”Vitensenteret i Norge”, which is free to schools and kindergartens. Children are introduced to the natural sciences through play and experiments, as well as teaching modules in subject areas such as energy, mechanics, mathematics, technology and animation, with more for the older ones. We collaborate with a number of secondary schools, colleges and universities in Norway. Here we hold motivational lectures, invite people to visit the company, participate in career days and take on students for work placement. We support selected student projects where the students wish to write their master’s degree in collaboration with KONGSBERG.
KONGSBERG has a strong focus on vocational education and we offer, along with other companies in the town of Kongsberg, a unique training programme for apprentices through the K-Tech training centre. An apprenticeship certificate programme in polymer composites has also been established at the composite factory in Kongsberg. During 2020, there were 154 apprentices in total.
At KONGSBERG Innovation Center, our employees can bring their children and experiment with drones, robots and visualisation. The Center also hosts visits from local schools and educational institutions, and is used by students working with us.
Inclusion at work
Far too many people are currently excluded from work. An inclusive workplace is important for everyone – from people needing jobs, to companies needing workers. It is also important for the community, because it supports our welfare state. In 2020, KONGSBERG focused on improving its organisation to ensure that more people were able to come to work. Due to COVID-19 access to people in work training was restricted, and eight people have had working practices in the Group in 2020. We want to focus on this also in the future, and increase the number as soon as the situation allows this again.
Contributions to sports, culture and social activities
KONGSBERG’s sponsor strategy focuses on activities and projects in Norway and internationally within the following areas:
- Sports – in particular local sports activities for young people in the local communities in which KONGSBERG operates.
- Culture – in particular local communities in which KONGSBERG operates.
- Social, humanitarian and/or environmental activities – locally, nationally and internationally – that aim at sustainability.
In Norway, we have concentrated on supporting organisations in the local communities where we are represented. KONGSBERG has chosen to support many different sports, especially for children and young people, and we always sponsor teams as opposed to individuals. In 2020, our two biggest cultural sponsorships were with the Kongsberg Jazz Festival and Glogerfestpillene (classical music festival). Both festivals enjoy a very high professional level and have their own programmes for developing young talents. Our subsidiaries and employees support various local incentives. An example is our employees in Lynnwood, Washington who supports the local charity Beautiful Soles. The organization is working to support local families with low income and homeless people in the area. In addition to providing shoes and socks, they help homeless families by providing food, diapers and accommodation at motels to keep these families safe and warm.
Corporate social responsibility
Girls and technology
Girls and technology
Norwegian businesses are reporting strong demand for technologists. Technically skilled workers, engineers and scientists are especially sought after. These are fields with a very low proportion of women. KONGSBERG is working systematically to increase the proportion of women studying technology. The measures we are implementing include sponsoring projects that aim to increase the proportion of women in this field, as well as offering a career network and providing information about job opportunities. A goal for the summer student programme is to have at least 45 per cent women participating.
2020 was a challenging year for recruitment in schools and on campuses. The pandemic made it difficult to meet up with people, and in-person events were cancelled. One of the measures KONGSBERG implemented in response to these challenges was the YouTube series ‘Åse blir kjent med’. The purpose of the series was to inform, inspire and motivate young people and students to take technical subjects, and to give viewers a unique insight into the company’s production facilities. We have also participated in a number of digital courses, conferences and networking meetings led by Girl Project Ada, in Trondheim, Ålesund and Gjøvik.
During the recording of the programme, KONGSBERG was invited to Svalbard by the Girls and Technology project - a collaborative project run by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists and the National Centre for Science Recruitment. The purpose of the Svalbard trip was to increase the involvement and visibility of women in technology. Among the participants on the trip were the new role models for Girls and Technology, who arranged a digital Norwegian tour in Autumn 2020 to inspire girls at secondary and upper secondary schools to choose technology education.