Hydro has hosted two student competitions this fall for students at Norwegian universities, one dealing with what aluminium can be used for in the future and one about where Hydro should build its next aluminium metal plant after Qatalum. In all four winners of the competition was awarded a prize, a trip to the foundation stone laying ceremony in Qatar.
"I expect to get an insight into aluminium during my stay here and I am looking forward to learn more about Hydro and the Qatalum project," says Jørgen Blystad Hougen (21), who is a second-year student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.
He has spent his first day in Doha, the capital of Qatar. A clay model of how he sees the use of aluminium in aid houses for war-zone areas, which he turned in at a Hydro stand during a student fair, earned him the trip to Qatar.
Jørgen Blystad Hougen is joined by Knut Stefanussen (27), Ingrid Kalstad (23) and Bjørn Atle Jacobsen (21), who participated in a web-based competition on Hydro's website. Among other things, they should suggest where Hydro should build the next primary production plant, following the Qatalum project, and explain why they chose the place they did.
"Careerwise, I am particularly interested to see what Hydro has to offer while I am here in Qatar," explains Knut Stefanussen, who is completing his last year at university.
"I am considering what to do after I have completed my master degree," says Stefanussen, who is a former car mechanic, where he also gained some aluminium experience. "I have done some welding of aluminium and I know it is a light-weight material used in cars, aluminium is easy to work with and the desired properties can be obtained by alloying," he says.
For one of the students, this is not the first glimpse into the world of producing aluminium. Ingrid Kalstad from Trondheim, Norway, visited Hydro’s primary production plant in Sunndal some years ago, as part of a school trip. She was impressed.
"I found the Sunndal visit very exciting. Sunndal was then Hydro’s newest plant, and everything seemed so big. When in Qatar, I realize the Qatalum plant is going to be even bigger and I am looking forward to the site visit and get an impression of the actual size," says Kalstad.
So what do students look for in an employer?
"It is so many things. Most important is enjoying the work you are doing. International opportunities, ability to develop and grow is also important," says Blystad Hougen, and explains that among students, potential future employers are frequently discussed. Among student groups, common perceptions are formed through discussing companies that are visiting the university to present themselves.
What about living in Qatar? Could the students picture themselves working in Qatar?
"Absolutely!" say all four of the students.