Regional strength is a national resource

Chronicle · Jannike Lindbergh, Innovation Leader T2 College · 2021-09-30

Jannike Lindbergh

For over 100 years, Skellefteå has been a strong industrial city. Today, the municipality accounts for more than half of Västerbotten's total exports and the industry is flourishing. There are plenty of jobs, especially in wood and industrial technology, but at the same time it is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to find the right skills. We need to change that.

The strong industrial growth in the Skellefteå region has accelerated the need for skills, but this is not a new challenge. The region is large with a scattered population. Companies have long struggled with hiring problems and cannot rely on finding the right skills right away. Automation of production provides new conditions and requirements for competence among employees. In order to focus on an already competitive industry, better conditions are required for skills development.

When the industrial education in Skellefteå was discontinued due to economic reasons in the middle of the 2010s, we lost the opportunity to support the supply of skills in the region. The industry then took its own initiative and brought together companies and public actors to clarify the increasingly urgent need for skills development. T2 College was started from the collaboration.

At T2 College, we work closely with industrial companies to develop training for the industry of the future. We see a big difference in how far companies have come with their automation and digitization. Many companies would benefit from further automating operations to be able to work smarter. It's not about making employees redundant. If production can be automated to a greater extent, competence can be freed up for tasks where human abilities are utilized - such as problem solving and improvements. Employees at industrial companies then need to be given the conditions for competence development to be able to work with new technologies and manage new areas of responsibility.

The Skellefteå region's main strengths are collaboration and action. It is a natural part of our DNA and even though companies are competitors in many respects, they realize that they can achieve more by collaborating. Through our participation in the Automation Region's initiative Industrimötet Sverige, we want to strengthen collaboration outside the region as well and discuss how our local forces can become national resources. Through collaboration with Automation Region, we gain insight into what concrete knowledge our industrial companies need to develop and what processes can be automated to strengthen the industry's competitiveness.

Through expanded collaboration with both the Automation Region, local companies and other organizations, we also hope to increase understanding of the industry's challenges among our decision-makers. Politicians need to have a deeper understanding of the industry's needs in order to be able to provide conditions for further development, such as investments in infrastructure and educational environments. Important conditions for taking Skellefteå as an industrial city into the future.

Jannike Lindbergh
Innovation Leader, T2 College