Politics and Analysis
Danish initiative to attract young people to science and technology
7. January 2020
DA Åben Virksomhed (Open Company) is an initiative from the The Confederation of Danish Employers intended to increase the engagement and motivation of children and young people choosing careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Ultimately, it is hoped that this initiative will lead to enhanced STEM learning and vastly improve the pool of potential employees by enhancing the work force through Vocational Education and Training (VET) or higher STEM education.
DA Åben Virksomhed develops STEM learning for classes in primary school as well as secondary school in which an element is visiting local companies and learning about what they do. When children and young people discover how STEM qualifications acquired by learning and training at school are used by companies “in real life”, studying these subjects makes more sense to them. This can motivate students and influence their future choice of career.
All DA Åben Virksomhed courses include core elements of the compulsory STEM curriculum within the Danish schooling system. This ensures that participation is not placing any additional burdens on teachers but rather helps them achieve curriculum goals. For every course, DA Åben Virksomhed has created a guide for teachers, a guide for companies, and student materials. At the website www.aabenvirksomhed.dk, teachers can find companies all over the country, the contact persons in the companies, and download all relevant course materials. The teachers appreciate the facts that it is free, companies are in the local vicinity and everything is easy to access and ready to use.
For each DA Åben Virksomhed course, DA has concluded agreements nationwide with numerous companies within a variety of sectors, all of whom have agreed to participate in the course. They are provided with a clear and concise company guide and their contribution to the courses is predefined in terms of content and resources. In general, the companies find it attractive to engage in this initiative. It gives them an opportunity to play an active role in their local education system and, in a very direct way, take responsibility for their industry’s future access to skilled employees.
DA Åben Virksomhed offered the first courses from summer 2019. Now, eight different courses are available and currently more than 320 places to visit companies offering one or more of these courses for schools and upper secondary schools can be found at www.aabenvirksomhed.dk. Opportunities can be found within 96 of the 98 Danish municipalities. More courses are currently being developed and will be offered by an even greater number of companies and, from next summer, at all levels within both primary and secondary schools.