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Stefan Indahl, CEO of Aarsleff rörteknik AB. Photo: Aarsleff rörteknik AB
Stefan Indahl, CEO of Aarsleff rörteknik AB. Photo: Aarsleff rörteknik AB View original picture , opens in new tab/window

"The water sector needs more engineers"

Published: 4 April 2022

"Solving the technical challenges in the water sector will require many new engineers", says Stefan Indahl, CEO of Aarsleff rörteknik AB.

What do you work with?

At Aarsleff, we work mostly with shaft-free methods for renovating piping systems, ie we renew main pipelines, wells and service pipelines that go to properties without having to dig. My entire career has been characterized by ensuring the function of very important societal functions. My interest in the area was first aroused by the challenge of, together with the customer, getting a good view of the management system through various measurements and surveys to be able to ensure the management's function.

Is something exciting happening in the water area right now?

The pipeline network as it is today was largely built in the 50s, 60s and 70s and it is beginning to reach its lifespan. It is a great challenge to maintain the necessary rate of renewal, so there is a great need for smart solutions that save the environment, resources and money. Therefore, new methods are constantly being developed to carry out inspections, maintenance and renovation of our management systems. It is very exciting with all the newly developed technology in our area.

The same challenges that we have in Sweden are found throughout Europe, where large expansions of cities have been going on at the same time. It is very interesting to be able to share experiences that my colleagues in other countries have. We have the same requirements for long-term sustainable solutions for the future, so there is much we can learn from each other.

What makes it so interesting to work in the water area?

Because this infrastructure is so important for society to function, it always feels meaningful to work with it. Every single day that I have worked in the industry has been exciting in one way or another.

I really appreciate the joint work in the industry. Even though we work for different employers, we get to share each other's skills in a way that I think is unique in the industry. We work with vital societal functions and it is only together that we can build societies that have a secure future.

What can you work with after graduation? What does the labor market look like?

Solving the technical challenges in the water sector will require many engineers. In addition, there are some staff in the industry who will retire in the next few years. Therefore, there is a great need for new, young, competent and visionary people throughout the industry!

With us, you could, for example, start as an employee who works with quality and environmental issues, or as a site manager where you are financially and technically responsible for carrying out contracts. There, a good and close collaboration with the customer is always required because we carry out the work on their management system. We ourselves have no consulting business within the company, but for larger projects we often collaborate with consulting companies. So even there there is a need for expertise in the water area.

It is also important for us to constantly develop new innovative solutions. We do this in collaboration with Luleå University of Technology and the industry organization Byggföretagen. There is always the opportunity for our employees to participate in such research and development projects. For example, together with Sweco, we have recently developed a CO2 calculator to compare different technologies for renovating pipes. The exchange of skills you get from working with others who have different skills along the entire value chain is extremely valuable and great fun to work with.In our industry, you can really get the opportunity to not only perform routing shrimp but also to be involved and drive the industry's development.

What skills are needed in the field in the future?

All the skills we have today in the water industry need to be multiplied. We need more engineers who are good at technical solutions, more entrepreneurs who can take the solutions to market and more project managers who see things in a larger perspective. But we also need co-players with municipalities and other clients so that those who work there understand what we do and we can have a good collaboration.

If you were to give career advice, what would it be?

To try to keep the curiosity and enthusiasm for this fantastic area. The industry needs you who dare to dream and try new ideas!