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The Swedish Pensions Agency is launching an academy with the support of Luleå University of Technology

Published: 2 November 2021

The Swedish Pensions Agency has recently created the “Pensionsmyndighetsakademien”, a platform for further training of its employees who work in IT. In the search for an education provider, the choice fell on Luleå University of Technology.

Cecilia Tiger Fogman and Mårten Kullhammar are group managers in testing and development at the Swedish Pensions Agency and two of those who worked on developing a new concept for further training of the agency's employees, initially with a focus on the IT area. What started as a pilot has now become a full-scale concept that they call the "Pension Authority Academy".

- It is in our culture to promote continuous learning and it is important not least when it comes to our work in IT. We must keep our ear to the rails, deepen the knowledge we have and acquire new knowledge that we need to be at the forefront, says Cecilia Tiger Fogman.

Chose Luleå University of Technology

The Swedish Pensions Agency established its IT department in Luleå in 2018. But when they wanted to start the Swedish Pensions Agency, the goal was to build a concept for employees throughout the country. There were several reasons for choosing Luleå University of Technology.

- It is about us wanting to give our employees opportunities to improve in a more academic way than through courses in the city. The university offers greater weight and our employees get academic points from the courses they take, which makes it more interesting for them, says Mårten Kulhammar.

- Through the collaboration, we get access to the university's entire catalog. We also get to take part in their research and progress, which provides additional benefits to the collaboration. Another advantage is that our employees can meet and build relationships with students who can become future employees with us, concludes Mårten Kullhammar.

A wide and urgent range of courses

Mari Runardotter and Evgeny Osipov are coordinators of commissioned education and those at Luleå University of Technology who have worked to develop the concept for the Swedish Pensions Agency. They have put together a range of courses that will enable the Swedish Pensions Agency to meet the future with the right knowledge in data and IT. This includes aspects of AI, data mining, Java programming and data security.

- The Swedish Pensions Agency handles a large amount of data and can use AI, data mining and automation to make better forecasts and streamline its work. Assessments that are made today manually can be done with technology in the future. For them, it is about future-critical competence that we as a technical university have the best possible conditions to deliver, says Evgeny Osipov, professor of Communication and Calculation Systems at Luleå University of Technology.

- The need for training for employees throughout the country came with good timing. The pandemic had already pushed our work to transform our courses into distance education, says Mari Runardotter, assistant professor of Information Systems at Luleå University of Technology.

A natural future development

Jonny Johansson, who is the head of education at Luleå University of Technology, sees the collaboration as a successful venture and a natural direction for the university.
- I am very happy that we have come to this well-functioning form of cooperation. Clarity and commitment from both parties together with opportunities for us to integrate the Swedish Pensions Agency into existing courses, which in many cases are provided with flexible teaching methods, have been key factors. Contributing to continuous further education at the Swedish Pensions Agency and others is for us an important and growing part of our activities at the university, says Jonny Johansson.

Mari, Evgeny and Jonny share the view that the collaboration is an example of a growing trend.
- Lifelong learning will become increasingly important. The world is changing at a higher and higher pace and many professions continuously require new knowledge, especially in relation to digitalisation. At the same time, the labor market looks different today. We are more flexible and want to develop and test new. Further education gives us a kick and makes it possible for us to take on new tasks and roles with our employers, says Mari Runardotter, who adds that this type of arrangement also provides benefits for students who come directly from high school.

- Here they get the opportunity to read courses together with professionals who are rich in professional experience, and in that way get better contact with their future industry, Mari concludes.

Luleå University of Technology already has a similar collaboration with the Swedish Companies Registration Office.