KTH Royal Institute of Technology: Mentoring programme bridges gap between students and labour market

Navita Hassan, a student in the civil engineering and urban management bachelor’s programme at KTH, began her studies directly after graduating from high school. KTH’s mentoring programme provides her a way to learn about the labour market and future career possibilities.

In applying for the programme, Hassan selected project management as her interest. She was matched with Nordin, who works as a project manager for urban construction projects.

The pair get together for scheduled meetings and last spring their conversations have focused on project management, the urban management industry and the importance of finding balance in life.

“I don’t have parents or acquaintances in the industry,” Hassan says. “Amanda is my primary connection to the work life that awaits me.”

An opportunity to support young women starting their careers
Amanda Sterner Nordin
Age: 30
Background: MSc in Civil Engineering and Urban Management, Real Estate and Construction Management
Job: Project manager for urban construction projects at Nacka municipality (currently on parental leave)
Mentoring experience: Since spring 2021

Navita Hassan
Age: 21
Studies: Third year student at the Degree Programme in Civil Engineering and Urban Management, Urban and Traffic Planning
Mentoree experience: Since spring 2021

Sterner Nordin remembers what it was like to transition from student life to working life. She says she had a hard time figuring out where she fit in.

“I was unsure about how I could contribute. I’ve had to practice asserting my position,” Sterner Nordin says.

“Supporting young women is a personal passion,” Sterner Nordin says, especially as she has experience from entering a male-dominated industry. The mentoring programme also allows her to engage with young talents and future colleagues.

“I have a great opportunity to understand what students are looking for in future employers,” she says. ”It has become more important for students that employers are able to show how they work with sustainability and equality, more so than when I graduated five years ago.

“Students also have knowledge about the latest research in our field of work, which of course is a huge advantage,” she says.

Decreased stress levels with a guiding mentor
Hassan usually emails questions to Sterner Nordin ahead of their meetings.

“We talk about wage trends and how Navita will be able to make use of the classes she is taking. We also discuss how time management and setting healthy expectations is important to create balance in the work life,” Sterner Nordin says.

Hassan especially values their discussions about stress management.

“I have someone to give me support and tell me that everything will be fine,” Hassan says. “It gives me peace of mind to hear it from someone who has graduated and is now working in a field I am interested in for my career.”

Continuing the mentoring programme
Sterner Nordin plans to apply to be a mentor again next spring and recommends that more former KTH students participate; alumni from all different academic fields are eligible to apply.

“It’s a chance to use personal experiences to make a difference. Your job is to be responsive and make the student comfortable,” she says.

Hassan has already applied to participate in the programme during the current term, this time focusing on traffic planning.

The two are grateful for their newly-found relationship, and Hassan says they plan to stay in contact with each other, even after their mentorship is finished.

“Amanda has invited me to visit her at her job this autumn.”