7 million SEK awarded to research on skills supply for Swedish metal industry

Researchers from Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), the School of Engineering (JTH) and Uppsala University, have received 7 million SEK in funding for KOMPET, a multidisciplinary project that will identify and develop concrete activities and measures to drive development in securing a skills supply for the Swedish metal industry.

close up of arms and hands of a metal worker in a factory, holding a grinder with sparks coming off it.

The project aims to increase understanding around the obstacles and opportunities that are linked to the skills supply of the Swedish metal industry. (image: Janno Nivergall/Pixabay)

Skills supply is a strategic issue for Swedish industry and KOMPET, a project within Vinnova’s strategic innovation program, Metallic Materials External link, opens in new window., aims to increase the understanding of how organizations can build a learning culture around how competence issues, people's motivation and development power are best utilized so that organizations can remain an attractive employer in the long run.

In a statement from their press release, Metallic Materials said the following: “A socially sustainable industry takes into account both the work environment and the supply of skills. An attractive work climate creates the conditions for attracting the right skills, which in turn can contribute to innovation and transformation. This means continuously developing one's own organization into an attractive workplace by both developing existing ones and attracting new skills. This can lead to awareness of the norms and mechanisms in the industrial context and in one's own organization that pose problems regarding the supply of skills.”

huvud och axel porträttbild av Anette Johansson

Anette Johansson, projektledare för KOMPET.

Anette Johansson, senior lecturer in business administration at Jönköping International Business School and project manager for KOMPET, sees the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of the research project as the key to driving through action-oriented and relevant change.

- Skills supply is a crucial, strategic issue for Swedish industry. There is already a lot of knowledge in the field, but it’s hard to put into practice. This project is interdisciplinary and action oriented. We will work together, researchers, industry organizations and companies, to increase the understanding of how organizations can build a learning culture around how competence issues, people's motivation and development power can be utilized,” says Anette Johansson.

Organizations and companies taking part in the project will be asked to define problem areas and work actively with well-defined tasks, which they then analyze and reflect on. Of particular focus will be the obstacles of critical importance that organizations face when working with skills supply and how these can be understood and overcome in practice.

“I look forward to together both reflecting on and acting on the obstacles and opportunities that are linked to the supply of skills to the metal industry,” says Anette Johansson.

As well as Anette Johansson, the research team also includes Lina Bjerke, Assistant Professor of Economics at JIBS External link, opens in new window.; Annika Engström, Assistant Professor in Work Organization at JTH External link, opens in new window., and Katarina Graffman, cultural anthropologist at Uppsala University External link, opens in new window..

Industry organisations that are participating in the project are Gjuteriföreningen (the Swedish Foundry Association), Jernkontoret and Svenskt Aluminium. The participating companies are Lundbergs Pressgjuteri, Stena Aluminium, A-lackering and Bruzaholms bruk.

KOMPET has a total budget of approximately SEK 6.9 million, of which SEK 3 million comes from Vinnova and the rest from participating organizations. Within the strategic innovation program Metallic materials, more than SEK 16 million is now being invested in the program’s call "Sustainable metal industry - competence supply". KOMPET is one of four new research projects that have now been granted support from the Swedish innovation authority Vinnova.