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Reaching for the stars

There's a full-blown talent war going on. Sandvik is enticing the new generation with a motivating work environment and focus on innovation, but also with participation in demanding and inspiring engineering projects, such as the world's fastest car – the Bloodhound.

Increased competition in the marketplace means that in recent years the demand for skilled workers has outperformed the pool of available talent. Global economic uncertainty and soaring unemployment rates have discouraged many of the most sought-after professionals from leaving their current workplaces for fear of losing their career footings.

A Bloodhound cockpit mockup used to work out positions for seating and controls.Competition on the talent market

The problem many companies face, therefore, is finding and keeping the right young talent to take them into the future.

Today, companies have to compete on the talent market as much as they do in the commercial market," says Giuliana Massimino, Communications Manager for Sandvik Italy.

Massimino leads the Italian employer branding function, connecting with educational institutions to bridge the future competence gap the industry might experience.

Glossy brochures and beautiful career sites just aren't enough anymore," she says. "You have to be able to walk the talk and show your strengths in the appropriate context. To get the best, you need to be the best."

What is employer branding?

Employer branding first became a buzz phrase in the1990s, but it has since then become an integral part of recruitment processes worldwide. As the concept implies, in order to attract top talent, a company needs to build an image that talented people want to be associated with.People often make such decisions whilst still in their youth.

Bloodhound on displayTo meet the competition, Sandvik participates in a variety of projects that make the brand resonate, such as the British Bloodhound Project, where Sandvik Coromant has helped machine parts for the vehicle's framework.

Worlds fastest car

The goal of the Bloodhound project is to produce the world's fastest car. The vehicle, powered by a hybrid rocket and a Rolls-Royce jet engine, is set to travel faster than a bullet fired from a Magnum .357, with speeds of up to 1,050 miles per hour (1,689 kilometers per hour).

The Bloodhound Project is however, first and foremost an inspirational project aimed at students. Britain faces an imminent engineering shortage, and Bloodhound is part of an educational outreach program to motivate young people to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

New engineers needed

The project is touring thousands of schools around Britain, and the hope is that it will help create 100,000 registered engineering technicians by 2018.

This is a fantastic project," Massimino says."This is so much more than a supersonic car. It creates adrenaline and gives our brand a cutting-edge flair. It reverberates on the recruitment market."

JoAnn Mitchell, Senior Project Leader at Sandvik Coromant USA, agrees. She underlines the importance of bringing in a new generation of talented youth with a slightly different skill set than the traditional engineering workforce and who can identify and create new opportunities.

The new generation has very good computer and internet skills," she explains. As we head in to the future, there is a great need for these skills, since we need to develop new technology both by, and for, people who can use it."

Mitchell, who regularly meets students in her job, says the key is to attract the students we want as early as possible. Projects like the Bloodhound car could be such an attention grabber.

There's a false perception of what manufacturing really is about," she says. "It's no longer a job performed in dark and dirty workplaces. For many, it's an eye-opener when we tell them about how it really is."

Worskhop in a British school

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