What unites Sweco’s employees is a shared commitment to shaping the societies and cities of the future. Sweco is made up of curious individuals who take far-reaching responsibility for their assignments and are driven to make a real difference for the people and clients we work for. Read about how our employees feel about working with us.
The idea of creating something that will still be standing a hundred years from now was what attracted Akshay Kara to Sweco. Just over a year ago he was hired as a construction project manager and his workdays are revolve around immersing himself in his areas of responsibility and learning new things.
Covers the entire cycle
Being new at Sweco was challenge enough, if you ask Akshay. In the past year since starting his job as construction project manager he has had to learn a great deal, but not without the right kind of support to fall back on.
“When I was new on the job I spent a lot of time working alongside someone else and trying my hand at different aspects of the business. Because Sweco is so big, we have many different types of assignments and that makes it easy to find one with just the right level of responsibility.”
Akshay has assignments that cover the entire construction cycle: From making cost estimates in preparation for a new construction project and handling bids for another to inspections of new and [GE1] existing buildings. Later on he hopes to follow an entire project from start to finish.
“I’m a real sports fanatic, so my dream project would probably be a football or hockey arena. That or something else that really stands out, maybe a theatre house, a museum or a skyscraper. That’s why I studied structural engineering, because I wanted to build something that people will still be using a hundred years from now.”
Time to build
Akshay has been interested in skyscrapers, bridges and other major infrastructure projects for as long as he can remember. The chance to take part in building something on such a grand scale attracted him specifically to Sweco.
“This is Sweden’s top consulting engineering company and it has so many exciting projects, so it felt like to right move to apply for a job here.”
In addition to the breadth and size of the construction projects, the employees’ wide-ranging skills are something that speaks well of the company.
“We have specialists in building service systems, IT, geotechnical engineering, architecture and pretty much everything else you can think of in the civil engineering area – and they all collaborate with each other. This is a big plus when you’re new and hungry for knowledge, not only because you get answers to your questions but also because you learn to see things from several different perspectives.”
After more than a year on the job, Akshay sees a future for himself at Sweco.
“Everything in the past year has been exactly what I hoped for, and I know that I have major opportunities for development here at Sweco”
Text from the magazine Shortcut.
“For my own well-being, I need a lot of stimulation both at work an in my leisure time. It’s a matter of prioritising and feeling good about the choices you make in life. When you devote your time to things you are passionate about, everything tends to fall into place naturally. Gut feeling is a good tool to rely on.”
“I have played volleyball at the elite series level alongside work during four of my five years at Sweco, and Sweco has been very supportive of that from day one. I remember how nervous I was at the job interview directly after university, when I mentioned that I wanted to continue playing volleyball. But it was met with a smile and the manager didn’t think I had anything to worry about. He said that if I had succeeded in combining volleyball with school, then I would no doubt be able to combine it with work as well. And I have done that.”
Your team ended up winning the Swedish national volleyball championship. How did you find the time from a purely practical perspective?
“The volleyball took place in southern Sweden during the season, and while that was going on I had the opportunity to keep my job in Stockholm but work remotely from the office in Helsingborg. I cut back to 80 per cent of full time and was able to adapt my working hours to my training schedule. This also led to other positive effects, as it gave me insight into how people work at other offices and expanded my contact network at Sweco. Of course, working remotely places high demands on good communication at the same time that you have to be driven and disciplined about meeting deadlines.”
Do you have any tips for colleagues trying to balance their lives?
“Review your options and don’t be afraid to present your thoughts and ideas. Be honest with yourself and draw up a plan for what you want your life to look like. When you are passionate about something, it can’t be stopped!”
"The first time I had any real contact with Sweco was towards the end of my specialisation, when I had just completed a course on coastal hydraulics at Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering (LTH) and felt that this was what I wanted to work with. I talked to the course coordinator about which companies I could turn to and he suggested the Coast and Rivers group at Sweco’s office in Malmö. A summer job led to a thesis project, which led to a full-time job, and since 2011 I am part of the Coast and Rivers specialist group."
"Surface water has become a hot topic after a number of severe rainfall, storm and flooding events that have led to massive costs for property and infrastructure damage. The awareness that we need to adapt our society to a changing climate is gaining ground on a wide front."
"Being an environmental consultant with a focus on surface water gives me the chance to take part in a process of change and contribute to a positive shift in which surface water is treated as a resource rather than a burden. It also means adapting our cities to the challenges brought by future climate changes."
"Because I work in a highly specialised group, it is natural to be at the leading edge in terms of expertise and to actively contribute to influencing urban and community development. This creates opportunities for me as an individual to develop my own knowledge. In addition, Sweco’s technical discipline network offers good opportunities to get acquainted with other colleagues who work in similar areas."
"I think it will vary depending on what part of the country we are looking at. Central and Northern Sweden still have enough elevation that rising sea levels will not be a serious threat for a long time. They also have predominantly rocky coasts, so erosion will not be a big problem. But if we look at southern Sweden, the difference will be more dramatic. I think that several areas will need to be surrounded by sea walls to protect them from flooding, but that we will find ways to make the barriers blend into the surrounding area to some extent. I also believe that the way we manage stormwater will be different, and that the water will be more visible in the urban landscape rather than being buried underground in pipes."
“The things that attracted me were the approach to working where everyone is given responsibility, the opportunities for client contact and the major development potential. Thanks to Sweco’s size and breadth of expertise, it’s possible to take part in a wide range of projects. Another factor was the trainee programme, which is a chance to get a flying start in a career through both training and networking,” says Victor Reinerstam.
“I first came in contact with Sweco at lunch lectures and job fairs during my time at university. Then, when I was studying for my master’s degree, this contact escalated after I was accepted into Sweco Future Talents, a student programme initiated by Sweco, and I also wrote my master’s thesis at Sweco. While I was there I got the feeling that it was a great place to work that offered many opportunities for development. And Sweco stood out from other companies because of its far-reaching sustainability commitment, which I think is important,” says Tove Juhl Andersen.
“It’s been exciting and enlightening. I work in a group with many senior consultants and thanks to them I’ve been able to get involved in the assignments immediately and learn a lot. They’re very conscientious about taking the time to share their expertise and experience, and that means a lot to me as a junior. It also gives me the courage to go outside my comfort zone and challenge myself. Through them, the trainee programme and Sweco Young, I’ve met many inspiring colleagues and feel that I have become part of a community,” adds Tove.
“I agree, it’s been extremely exciting. I was thrown into a project on my very first day and got into the role quickly thanks to my managers and colleagues. Since then I’ve worked in several projects and have been steadily given more and more responsibility,” says Victor. “In the first year I also had the trainee programme that gave me a good overview of Sweco’s operations and, above all, a useful network of professional contacts.”
“Right now I’m working on several assignments, such as environmental impact assessments in permit applications for AstraZeneca and various assignments in the waste area. I try to be involved in many different assignments so that I can get insight into the areas where Sweco is active and learn as much as possible,” says Tove.
“I’m also working on simultaneously in several projects of varying size. My typical duties vary from performing calculations and designing structures for buildings to creating 3D models and design drawings. At the moment I’m responsible for calculations in several really interesting projects for Scania in Södertälje,” says Victor.
"Balance is about effectively spreading your time and energy between your job, your family and yourself. I am married and have two sons who are ten and fourteen years old. We live ten minutes by bicycle from the office, and this daily bike ride helps me to lower my stress level and make the mental shift between home and work. I usually succeed in limiting the number of hours at work, but it’s also important to have some energy left when you come home. Your family also needs your interest and attention. Weekends are reserved for family and at least once a year my wife and I try to get away for a weekend of our own. To recharge my batteries, I try to set aside some time to go running. It works like a kind of meditation."
"At Sweco you have personal responsibility for your own delivery and, within reasonable limits, there are ample opportunities to manage your time. It is common to work remotely and some people regularly work from home a day or two per week. I think it’s valuable to work from home sometimes, since this gives me another focus. I try to set a good example by leaving the office at a reasonable hour, and I made a point of taking parental leave when my sons were born. I have also encouraged the staff to exercise together and take part in different fun runs, since I believe that physical activity is an important source of energy."
"With our decentralised business model, it’s very much a matter of personal responsibility. Taking parental leave is a matter of course. We hire people in an age group where people often already have or plan to have children, and we encourage them to take the chance to spend time with their kids when they are small. Returning to their jobs is made easier by the fact that our work is project-based."
"Everyone has a different life situation and a stress threshold. I think it’s important for each person to be aware of their own needs and try to define what adds to or subtracts from their energy. If your situation isn’t working, you have to do something about it and make sure that your job is fun and fulfilling. We all need to take responsibility for our own balance."