The Swedish industry's needs of competences in sustainable development - A comparative analysis to the engineering education at Chalmers University of Technology
KeywordsEducation for Sustainable Development
Swedish industry’s needs
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AbstractThe Swedish industry’s needs of competences in sustainable development - A comparative analysis to the engineering education at Chalmers University of Technology The engineers employed in the Swedish industry develop and work with a multitude of products and processes, which have varying influence on society and the environment. It is thus important for engineers to have a good understanding of how the products and processes they work with affect sustainable development. And, in order for the engineers to receive relevant education in the field of sustainable development, it is important for educational institutions to have an understanding of what competences are needed amongst future engineers. This report discusses the competences in sustainable development (SD) sought after by the Swedish industry. It also presents a comparison to the engineering education at Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers) in order to analyze if the education at hand meets the competence needs within the industry. The report is based on interviews with sustainability managers and other relevant personnel at 16 major companies in Sweden. These companies cover areas such as manufacturing, energy, consultancy, construction, and retail and are based in Sweden but have both national and international presence. It is also based on an analysis of contents in 70 courses on environment and SD at Chalmers. The interviews and course content inventory were compared, an in order to provide further details, the views on SD competence needs amongst Chalmers alumni and students were gathered through two surveys. The results indicate that the Swedish industry demands a higher general competence level in SD amongst all engineers. The company interviewees mention that all engineers need a better understanding of basic issues regarding SD in order to make relevant choices in their daily work. This is confirmed by the alumni where 35 % claim that they encounter SD issues sometimes or daily in their work, but at the same time only 47 % of the above mentioned alumni claim they have enough competence to make decisions from a SD perspective. The company interviewees and alumni regard competences in environmental issues and sustainable business development as important. The company interviewees also mention communication as an integral part of SD competence. The course content inventory has shown that environmental issues are focused upon the most in the SD education at Chalmers, and business development and social issues are less focused upon.