Northvolts investment in lithium-ion batteries – the largest Swedish industrial establishment in modern times – makes Skellefteå and northern Sweden the center of Europe's green transition. According to estimates, thousands of new jobs will be created, and Northvolt has stated aspirations to attract women and men from diverse backgrounds.
– A brand new base industry is now being built in Sweden. This investment must be met by an equally massive and groundbreaking educational effort. This is an important first step, says Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt.
The new collaboration will ensure a successful transformation of skills around Northvolt's establishment, but also create a working model that can be used at other industrial establishments or industrial changes in Sweden.
– We have the ambition to develop a new model for how different actors can work together to ensure the industry's competence needs, while at the same time taking responsibility for the development of a municipality, says Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, Vice-Chancellor of Luleå University of Technology.
"Central to our transition to a sustainable industry"
Northvolt, Luleå University of Technology, Skellefteå Municipality and RISE together want to increase Swedish attractiveness and create an environment that is internationally competitive.
– Skills development and lifelong learning are central to our transition to a sustainable industry. The broad collaboration we see here strengthens Sweden's innovation capacity and international competitiveness, says Pia Sandvik, CEO of RISE.
Kristina Sundin Jonsson, municipal director in Skellefteå, says that Northvolt's establishment opens up great opportunities for the municipality – but also for Sweden and Europe – that the new collaboration will take advantage of.
– We know that we will need all available skills in the future and that is one of the challenges we are actively working on. We are looking for partnerships and incentives that together with industry and the public system we can attract new workers to northern Sweden. I am extremely pleased with this unique collaboration, says Kristina Sundin Jonsson.
Some sub-projects that the parties have the ambition to carry out are:
Arctic Center of Energy Technology:
An international competence center focusing on research and learning in smart production in the new industry. The center will include modern learning environments with associated research infrastructure. The site will create opportunities for flexible training and increased use of technology.
Lifelong Learning Arena:
An education platform with the primary goal of enabling and facilitating study and vocational choices.
Technology-driven learning – VR as an educational tool:
The population demographics in northern Sweden entail a need to reach interested persons outside the immediate area. With the project, the parties want to see how a VR-supported training for process operators can be developed, which enables training even before staff arrive at their new workplace.