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Universities open for short-term layoffs

Published: 26 November 2020

Luleå University of Technology and Lund University are currently developing a model that increases the exchange of knowledge between business and universities during the covid-19 pandemic. Personnel in the business world are given a simpler opportunity for competence development at universities, on site or digitally. The possibility is now being tested within a project financed by Vinnova.

–It is important that we identify opportunities where we in various ways can turn the negative consequences of today's pandemic into something positive. The new model that we have developed together with Lund University is such an example, as it offers a unique opportunity for increased personal mobility for short-term staff in Swedish industry, for the benefit of both industry and academia, Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, Vice-Chancellor at Luleå University of Technology, says.

The government is extending the system of short-term work
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Swedish government decided on 9 November to extend the system of short-term layoffs with state support, which was introduced this spring. This means that employees who are laid off due to the company having temporary financial problems receive part of their salary paid by the state. The people who are offered so-called short-term work can have their working hours reduced and during the work-free time there is the opportunity to participate in skills development or training.

Short-term layoffs on companies to universities
The model for so-called affiliate competence that has been developed and is now being tested by Luleå University of Technology and Lund University is based on employees with a key role or core competence within companies being able to easily work at a university for a shorter period. The overall purpose of the stay at the university is that individuals with cutting-edge expertise in various areas of business should be able to further develop their skills for the mutual benefit of themselves, the company and the university.

– Being able to engage relevant external competence in a simpler way will become increasingly important for the universities in these rapidly changing times. I am very happy that this project, in which we collaborate with Luleå University of Technology and which is financed by Vinnova, can contribute to the testing of new ways for Swedish universities to benefit from and safeguard cutting-edge expertise in the industry,” Sylvia Schwaag Serger, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Lund University, says.

Collaboration between universities and business
The idea for the concept arose in connection with the problems that covid-19 caused in the labor market in the spring of 2020. Lund University and Luleå University of Technology investigated the possibilities and the need to be able to easily welcome employees from companies, in order to mutually strengthen universities and business. The concept of affiliate competence is expected to contribute to universities and colleges being able to deepen and broaden collaboration with the business community.