Røros and Namdalen: the first students and graduates have arrived
TeRRItoria’s Transformative Experiment in the Trøndelag region (Norway) is working to build bridges between Norway’s largest university – the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim – and its surrounding rural communities. Of these more remotely located communities Røros and Namdalen were chosen to act as pilots. In Trøndelag, the intention is to address the problem of rural areas losing young and skilled inhabitants to cities (brain drain). There is real demand for skilled work-force in many rural areas.
The experiment has now moved into its implementation phase. The staff of NTNU and the Trøndelag County authority are working with students and young graduates to plan work for Autumn (summer break in July) in the city of Roros. In early autumn, a focus group with all the young students/graduates involved will be carried out. In addition, all of them will be interviewed at the end of their internship to understand what worked and what didn’t.
NTNU and Trøndelag civil servants are working hard to engage “ambassadors” (researchers and teachers at NTNU) in identifying opportunities for students and remote regions. Ambassadors are interviewed to gather useful insights from their experience. An approach that might work consists of working on individual stories to collect information on their connection with remote regions, motivations to go to these regions, etc… So far, the Norwegian partner of TeRRItoria held 14 interviews with their ambassadors. The idea is to build on the experience of the ambassadors in order to recruit more NTNU employees that help young students/graduates to get familiar with the many opportunities for good careers and the good quality of life offered by more remote regions.
Currently, 7 young students/graduates are taking part in these internships in the more remote areas of Norway. This low number is probably related to the fact that at the moment, the internships are limited only to some specific sectors. Most likely, a wider offer of internships might convince more people to move to Røros or Namdalen (and other places outside the cities). Since these 7 young students/graduates are the first ones to be involved in this process, it is going to be a learning by doing process. In the end, a report which includes the main conclusion of this experiment is needed in order to learn from past mistakes and improve them for the future.