SKILLS SUPPLY

Campus Skellefteå ensures future knowledge needs

The whole of Skellefteå is vibrating. New billion-dollar start-ups, led by battery manufacturer Northvolt, are having a positive impact on the business community, and intensive work is being done to solve everything from housing needs to recruitment issues. In the midst of all this is Campus Skellefteå, which will play a key role in enabling development.
- The industry that is emerging here is not only new in Sweden but throughout Europe, which obviously affects the requirements for both research and skills conversion, says Ida Lindh, strategic manager at Campus Skellefteå.

Campus Skellefteå through Luleå University of Technology (LTU) has long been a focal point for technological innovation and practical applied research in areas with strong links to the region: wood technology research, electrical power technology and distributed computing systems. The proximity to, for example, industry-leading wood processing companies and sustainable energy production has contributed to the prominent position Campus Skellefteå has also internationally in these fields.

- These areas of research have definitely come into the spotlight as the societies of the future emerge, both here in Sweden and around the world. It ranges from sustainable timber construction to solve the needs of expansion and energy development, to factors such as cyber security and how the electricity grid will cope with increased load, says Ida Lindh.

"Training that matches the need for skills"

Ever since it became clear that Northvolt's multi-million investment in a new battery factory would end up in Skellefteå, views on the future of the place have changed. Northvolt alone is expected to create thousands of new jobs, and a number of other companies directly linked to Northvolt's battery production are also being established.

Added to this is a rapidly growing gaming industry. Arctic Game Lab is Europe's fastest growing gaming cluster and LTU's game developer courses have been supplemented in recent years with no less than six additional YH courses. This means several hundred additional students, contributing to the needs of the growing games industry, but also to new businesses and attractiveness, which in itself contributes to more establishments in the area. With new establishments and a growing, increasingly sophisticated business community, the labour market in Skellefteå is expected to grow by a full 27% by 2030.

- Access to education is an extremely important factor for a future municipality like Skellefteå. Campus Skellefteå plays an important role in the development of our new industries," says Ida Lindh.

Partnerships to create the education of the future

In addition to Campus Skellefteå's collaboration with LTU, research in healthcare and health is also conducted here via Umeå University, and the RISE research institute offers test environments and research support in areas such as wood construction, digitalisation and wind power in cold climates. Opportunities are now being reviewed to rig education and research to even better suit the new educational needs that are emerging.

- To enable the large-scale skills transformation we are facing, while seizing the opportunities of being at the forefront of the sustainable energy transition in many ways, it is important to find smart collaborations with the right actors both nationally and internationally. For example, we have entered into strategic partnerships with RISE, Northvolt and LTU. The aim is to find new forms of cooperation linked to the transformation of skills for the green industry of the future. This includes establishing an international competence centre where research, industry and education work together with a focus on sustainable energy transition and smart industrial production. This could include profile training at different levels, relevant research transfer and smarter links between the digital and the physical. The latter can involve everything from exciting lab environments in areas such as automation to robotics and XR technology,' says Ida Lindh.

International and regional universities

Ida Lindh is convinced that Campus Skellefteå has great opportunities to realise its ambitious goal of becoming an even more important player in the future of skills development:

- Because we are located between two major university cities, we are not locked into structures, but can work in a fast-paced way, embrace new trends in education and collaborate with international as well as regional universities. The symbiosis between research, education and industry is central to meeting the needs of the industries of the future. As a result, Campus Skellefteå, together with the educational and research actors operating here, is becoming increasingly important for the development of future skills and lifelong learning.

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Senast uppdaterad:
2 March 2023