Every summer, Powel welcomes a group of students for a six-week internship. This year, 17 students, hand-picked from more than 150 applicants, will spend a large part of their summer holidays working at Powel’s head office in Trondheim.
- Close ties to universities is very important to Powel and the summer internship is an integral part of this. The internship increases in popularity year on year, and many students apply for several years in a row. We also have fulltime employees today that started their Powel career with a summer internship, says HR Manager Kari-Anne Vik-Mo.
Of Powel’s 500 employees, far from everyone has an IT background and this is reflected in the internship group. The projects will be interdisciplinary and during the hiring process there was an emphasis on employing students from a range of backgrounds. This year’s interns range from first to fifth year students and several fields of studies are represented; from energy and environmental studies to interaction design.
People create change
“Powel’s main focus is to create solutions that have value to society. We do this through innovation, change and improvement. This is largely achieved through co-creation and design thinking,” said acting CEO Kjetil Storset in his welcome speech. “Remember, technology does not create change, people do. I would encourage you to come up with fresh perspectives and to focus on opportunities.”
The 17 students will work in four groups for the duration of the project period. All groups have dedicated and experienced Powel employees as mentors. In addition, two students have the roles of project managers and two designers are on hand to assist with design processes. These four will work across the groups, contributing to the smooth running of all the projects.
The internship programme is designed to give the students a lot of freedom. To a large extent they create their own projects, with the common aim of finding good solutions to real problems and challenges.
Co-creation and cooperation between teams
“The students are tasked with creating something that is of value to Powel and we strongly believe that the combination of varied backgrounds and joint knowledge gives us a unique starting point for interdisciplinary cooperation,” says Vik-Mo. “Year after year, we see the students coming up with new solutions and business ideas that is genuinely valuable to Powel and we see no reason to doubt that this year will be different.”
The groups will work within four of Powel’s business areas; Smart Energy, Asset Performance, Water and Construction. In addition, an overarching theme links all the four projects together; the concept of co-creation. Students will be challenged to come up with business ideas that reflect both the theme of co-creation and the challenged within the individual business areas.
The co-creation strategy is standard for most of the projects run in Powel and is an open approach to tackling challenges. Co-creation encourages both free thinking as well as trying and failing on the way to the goal. The business model involves close cooperation and communication, both within and across the teams.
The value of engagement and energy
“Our summer internship is incredibly useful to Powel and I look forward to experiencing the energy and engagement the students bring with them, says Storset.
“We have very good experiences with the summer interns from previous years,” says Vik-Mo. “We actively encourage them to challenge us and think in new ways, and whatever the outcome, we learn from it. Fresh eyes provide fresh perspectives,” she finishes.
The internship period lasts a total of six weeks with a three-week holiday in the middle. The students started their project periods on 18 June and will be giving their final presentations during the week commencing 13 August.