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"The wood sector is an industry of the future"

Published: 7 April 2017

This autumn Luleå University of Technology in Skellefteå starts a new Bachelor of Science in Wood Technology. One who likes this is Tomas Ivarsson, secretary at the Swedish Wood Processing Forum, since he sees that the wood sector is in need of more engineers.

– The need for competence is great, something that everyone in the wood sector agrees on. The development in most sectors goes extremely fast and the question of the availability of well-educated people is a high priority. Also, the wood industry is facing a sharp generational shift, which is a verifiable fact. Given our future competitiveness, wood engineers must be educated while the industry also must take responsibility and provide employment opportunities. The need for other well-educated staff at the operator level is at least as great, I want to emphasize, says Tomas Ivarsson, who works for the Swedish Wood Processing Forum with the aim of promoting the technical, commercial and competence development in the wood products industry.

Conference on wood and product development

The Swedish Wood Processing Forum held its annual meeting and conference at Luleå University of Technology where representatives from companies in the wood industry and wood researchers at the university attended. The theme was product and wood development for increased competitiveness. At the conference, researchers presented their most current research. The strong wood research at the university and the fact that it already offers a Master Programme in Wood Technology makes an undergraduate education a natural step. Something Tomas Ivarsson also agreed.

– Luleå University of Technology in Skellefteå is well prepared for a Bachelor of Science in Wood Technology, thanks to its long experience in education and research.

The question of how he would describe the professional role for someone who chooses to become a wood engineer makes Tomas Ivarsson light up.

A high-tech industry with bright future

– There is every opportunity. Today, the wood industry is high technology and for several different reasons "the right person in the right place" is necessary. Within the wood industry the development potential is good and the industry spans from everything from raw materials to finished product. Tasks can vary from production optimization, personnel and product development, to for example technology and market. There is room for everyone in this chain while wood is a natural and environmentally friendly material. I dare to say that the prospects are looking good, not least because of the increased need for building both within and outside the country. We can already see signs of this, which testifies that the wood industry is an industry of the future!