Why is standardization important to students? A positive example from Croatia

Standards have a strong impact on society and contribute to the safety of everyday life. Besides, knowledge of standardization has numerous benefits for the labour market, as it can contribute to the dissemination of new technologies and skills. For this reason, attracting new talent (and especially young professionals) to standardization is key.


The Croatian Standards Institute (HZN) wanted to know how much students know about standards and what they think about the impact of knowledge standardization on career development. HZN’s Department for International Cooperation and Public Relations has therefore conducted a survey about this topic among students at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology of the University of Zagreb, Department of Analytical Chemistry, in cooperation with Danijela Ašperger, Ph.D., professor at the Faculty.

On the occasion of the European Year of Skills, and building on the framework established by the new European Standardization Strategy, the results of the survey can be of particular interest for the European standardization system, and the whole of Europe, to reflect on its future.


“Knowledge about standards provides added value for career development,” students concluded in the survey. Students believe that knowledge of standards increases their chances to get a job in a manufacturing company and that in the future standardization can play a role in addressing major challenges, such as digital transition and climate change. So far, they have not been offered a graduate thesis mentor in the field of standardization. They conclude that there should be more young people in standardization.

Standardization provides added value for career development

Knowing about standards helps students prepare for the labour market and provides added value to a master’s degree, explained Professor Ašperger for HZN e-Bulletin, speaking about the topic “students, standardisation and new skills”. She emphasised: “Skills associated with the knowledge of standards enable us to trace and continuously monitor novelties in all areas of activity, in particular better communication, a systematic development of economy, health and safety, consumer protection, protection of the interests of the community, removal of barriers, especially to market entry, and a way of thinking consistent with the quality system, which implies high work ethics.”


She added that the knowledge of standards is important for the future career of students because institutions and companies use standards in their work. If students become aware of the importance of standards through their study courses and graduate theses, they will fully accept them by the time they start their career.

Knowledge of standards helps students get a job in a manufacturing company

Professor Ašperger considers it extremely important to involve students in the standardization process: “Students already use standards and learn about them. We regularly visit HZN to what you do, and our students’ possible future role in the whole process. Courses such as Quality Management, Innovation Management, or Innovation-Based Entrepreneurship are the basis for developing the necessary knowledge about standards through various training programmes. This is implemented in our doctoral degree courses as well, as evidenced by the work of our alumni and colleagues who are engaged in various activities within AMACIZ (Society of Graduate Engineers and Friends of Chemistry and Technology Studies) and HDKI (Croatian Society of Chemical Engineers and Technologists)".


Students expand their knowledge by writing their theses on standards-related topics, during student internships in companies, or by visiting the Croatian Standards Institute. 


In particular, by visiting HZN, students are able to find out about the developments in the world of standards and the impact and importance of the European standardization system for the industry they will work in. They are taught about standardization, HZN’s activities, the work of technical committees and the process of drafting standards. In the Standards Library they can find out about best known standards and their application, copyright and services available to users. Every visit to the Standards Library provides students with an insight into the collections of Croatian, international or other national and industry standards.

“I took an interest in standards during my internship”

To know more about how students perceive the benefits of standards, HZN interviewed Leona MILER, graduate student at the Department of Chemistry and Materials Engineering of the University of Zagreb:


“I have completed my undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, following the Chemistry and Materials Engineering course, and I am currently in my second year of the same graduate course. I became aware of standardization for the first time during my internship in my third year. I did it at Končar - Distribution and Special Transformers, where I used standards to test the hardness of rubber used for manufacturing transformer gaskets. It was fascinating to see how important it was for the validity of results to comply with standards”.


“I believe that standardization provides added value for my career development since it facilitates research and writing of scientific papers, graduate and undergraduate theses and numerous projects. Standardization can play an important role in the future in addressing major challenges, such as digital transition and climate change”.


“I think more young people should participate in standardization, because young people are our future and strive to build a much better and simpler world. Young people may think that standards are just more paperwork and that a job involving documentation and drafting of standards is not interesting. However, after I have attended a lecture at HZN, I can say that the job of documenting and drafting standards is really interesting. For this reason, I believe young people should be given more training about standards by allowing them more frequent visits to HZN or organizing workshops or lectures on the topic”.


“The impact and importance of the European standardization system for the chemical engineering sector is extremely high. Chemical engineering is a horizontal sector that cooperates with a number of other industries; this cooperation can be made simpler by including standardization.” 



This article, developed by HZN, is part of our special series dedicated to the European Year of Skills: through a series of interviews with standardization professionals, experts and business leaders coming from a variety of background, throughout the year we will explore the interaction between innovation, skills and standardization in some of the most relevant sectors for Europe’s long-term competitiveness. You can find the first episode of the series here.


Giovanni COLLOT


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