Jun 09, 2022
BTE Student Stories
In September 2019, Bridge to Employment launched its first program in Helsingborg, Sweden, in partnership with Lund University and Olympiaskolan high school. Throughout the three-year program, partners provided a variety of academic enrichment, career exploration, and higher education preparation opportunities to help increase the number of young people pursuing post-secondary education and STEM2D careers.
BTE Helsingborg students began their first year by participating in weekly supplemental instruction sessions with Lund University. Students received small group tutoring in math and science. It felt like BTE Helsingborg had only just begun when the COVID-19 pandemic began and the world shutdown. The BTE Helsingborg site quickly adapted programming in an effort to continue serving students. Peer academic learning activities transitioned online, and the site hosted a variety of virtual inspirational sessions for the students, which included motivational speakers from across STEM2D sectors. BTE Helsingborg partners from Lund University also facilitated career planning workshops, which provided students with a broader view of possible career paths. The students had the opportunity to virtually attend one of the Liberty Science Center’s Live From surgery sessions, where they witnessed a real-life surgical operation and had an opportunity to interact with doctors and ask questions. Students really enjoyed this session and rated it as one of their key program highlights.
Year two of the BTE Helsingborg program focused on career readiness and communication. During the first half of the year, BTE youth met with career readiness experts, who presented on how to develop and effectively incorporate skills and experience into a CV. Students had a chance to apply their knowledge by drafting their own CVs, which were then reviewed by Johnson & Johnson volunteers. The Helsingborg program also found a creative way to build interviewing skills by using theater arts and drama. Students worked with Johnson & Johnson volunteers in a number of role play exercises. There were multiple scenarios provided. At one session, students were the interviewees being interviewed by Johnson & Johnson employee volunteers. At another session, the roles were reversed, and students got the opportunity to be the interviewers. This helped to reinforce interview skills by providing them with various perspectives of the interview process, as well as build their confidence. Through these sessions, BTE Helsingborg students began the development of their professional portfolios and walked away with their own professional CVs. While journeying through career exploration exercises, BTE Helsingborg partners also provided participants with programming that focused on communication and language support. As many of the participants immigrated to Sweden, partners paid particular attention to supporting youth in learning Swedish. Several sessions were hosted that focused on reflection exercises targeting self-expression and self-confidence.
With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, Year 3 of the BTE Helsingborg program kicked off with an exciting event that brought the cohort together in-person for the first time in over a year! During this event, teambuilding challenges were held and healthy competitions with students and mentors played out. It was a very exciting opportunity to bring the BTE Helsingborg family together, reconnect, and have some fun.
Not missing a beat and making great strides to make up for lost time together, Year 3 was packed with programming and events. Helsingborg participants had a Johnson & Johnson site visit, where they engaged with different speakers and had a chance to work in small groups, visiting the different labs within the site. Students also visited Lund University, including the Medical Museum on campus. They connected with university students, engaged in near-peer mentoring sessions, and were able to ask questions about university life, career trajectories, and the fields of study offered by the university. It was an extremely motivating session for the BTE students. Later in the year, participants engaged in job shadowing experiences, and parents and students were invited to an information session to learn about engineering, career possibilities within the field, and the education needed to pursue this field. The Chairman of the Federal Board for Engineers in Sweden and the Vice Chancellor of Lund University also attended this event! The BTE Helsingborg students were thrilled to have an opportunity to connect with them one-on-one and ask questions about their careers and higher education journeys. The final year of BTE programming, particularly with the inclusion of community partners and educational opportunities, really served as a source of motivation and inspiration for all involved!
Congratulations on a tremendously successful run throughout the last three years, BTE Helsingborg, Sweden! Not only did the site persevere through an unprecedented global pandemic, but all involved made the most out of every opportunity and truly flourished. The global BTE family is proud beyond measure and looks forward to staying connected with to see what’s next!
Learn more about the Helsingborg site here.