Skip to content
Photo:  WorldSkills Sweden
Emilia Friberg and Lisa Viklund got bronse at the The European Skills Championship. Photo: WorldSkills Sweden View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Civil Engineering students won bronze at European Skills Championship

Published: 12 September 2023

The European Skills Championship lets Europe's young professionals compete in different fields. This year, two students from the Master Programme in Industrial and Management Engineering at Luleå University of Technology succeed in winning an honourable third prize in the field of 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

"We are very proud of our achievement! We are both 24 years old and in three days we have achieved a performance that is above the overall EU standard for the profession of entrepreneurship and business development", Emilia Friberg and Lisa Viklund say, who are both in their fifth year of the Master Programme in Industrial and Management Engineerin at Luleå University of Technology.

EuroSkills’ main goal, as they themselves describe it, is to shine a spotlight on vocational education, training and skills by letting talented young participants demonstrate their competencies. Both participants and experts get to develop their skills by preparing for and attending EuroSkills. During the international event, they forge connections that can facilitate partnerships throughout their entire future career.

The 2023 competition was held in September in Gdansk, Poland. A total of 600 young people under the age of 25 from 32 European countries took part, competing in 43 different professions. About 100,000 visitors were counted during the competition days. Emilia Friberg and Lisa Viklund were given the task of developing a business idea around the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals

"By drawing lots, we got to work with the goal 12 - responsible consumption and production - and the sub-goal "avoid food waste at retail or consumer level and reduce food losses along production and supply chains". We  developed a business idea and then we created a business plan in 10 modules, the last module being a plan for starting a business that is both profitable and sustainable. The modules could be anything from  target audience and size, market strategy and marketing, to finances, sustainability goals and a creative launch".

The hardest part was to manage all the steps precisely while under extreme time pressure. For example, they only had 1.5 hours to do the financial calculation (profitability analysis, cash flow statement and start-up costs). There you have to decide what level is appropriate in relation to time, while at the same time you have to have reliabely facts as to why you are setting a certain price or taking x shares in a market, for example.

"Our absolute strength, but actually also weakness, is being rooted in reality with lots of data to back up our arguments when we come up with ideas.  But then it is important that we do not lose the creative spark that we have. Another strength we have is that we complement each other very well. We get stressed by different things, which means that at least one person can always keep calm and reassure the other, which makes us a good team.

Both are in their fifth year of the  Master Programme in Industrial and Management Engineering. They say they chose to study this program because they are both interested in entrepreneurship, technology and sustainability with a focus on circular economy and problem solving.

What advantage of your Education?

"The biggest advantage of our education was the ability to analyse things. Being too analytical can sometimes lead to being critical, and sometimes hindered our creativity when it came to developing business ideas. Having realised this, our analytical ability has instead helped us to develop real-world ideas that are innovative, profitable, sustainable and feasible, which is a criterion for winning all competitions in entrepreneurship."

Would you recommend others to apply to the competition?

"Representing Sweden in this way is one of the coolest things we have ever done. It was an adventure you won´t forget. This has been an adventure that you will not forget in the first place. We have had the chance to go to two international competitions in Europe and also the opportunity to meet people who are both driven but also so insanely talented and inspiring. Not to mention that we have developed our entrepreneurial experiences. We have received support from three different experts from different areas who supported us in our venture", they say.

In order to participate in European Skills Championship, one must qualify for the Swedish National Skills team. It has closed its application for this year but both Emilia Friberg and Lisa Viklund strongly recommend others to apply until next year.