Marie Nilsson Association chairman IF Metall

Competence development is about believing in people

Publicerad: 24 January 2023

New knowledge is absolutely crucial for industrial workers in the green transition. When technology is replaced and tasks change, our knowledge needs to be updated. So that we can be involved in driving climate change in the best possible way.

That is why it is so good that the new transition study support is finally in place. It is now possible to retrain or further your education on 80 percent of the salary. Even those who are in the middle of life and have to pay for accommodation, car and children can therefore study without ruining themselves.

It is a fantastic opportunity - which IF Metall helped create when we negotiated the new main agreement on the Swedish labor market. And now the point is that this fine reform is really used by the industrial workers, in practice.

Employers still have responsibility for skills development at work. But with the new transition support, the individual gets a greater opportunity to choose to continue their education or retrain themselves - in order to strengthen their position on the labor market.

For an industrial worker, it could, for example, involve training as an automation technician to be able to work in the new green battery factories. Almost the entire industry is crying out for skilled labor, but the demand is particularly high in automation and operation and maintenance. Industrial electrician is a real profession of the future.

It is important that not only civil servants and academics take the chance to have their studies financed by the new support. And here, as a union, we have an important task - to encourage and support our members to actually dare to develop their skills and change.

It may be older members who need support. Or members who don't have very good experiences of studying and don't feel comfortable sitting in the school desk.

For those who feel that the knowledge is in their head and not on paper, there is an opportunity to have their skills validated. So that you get a certificate of what you can actually do.

And even for older people who have worked for a while, it pays to continue their studies. Those who study at university or college earn an average of SEK 75,000 more in annual salary than those who do not continue with further studies, shows a report from SNS. Those who build on their skills simply get more money in their wallet.

When it comes to skills development in the workplace, BAE Systems Bofors in Karlskoga is a good example to learn from. There, the club has taken the initiative for a major effort for validation and skills development, and has been heard by the company.

"We do it to have a job left to go to in ten years. There is no law that says we must have a defense industry in Karlskoga. The company's existence depends on us developing. When our engineers design new products, we industrial workers must be able to assemble them," says Staffan Källström, who is chairman of the IF Metall club.

He states that competence development not only strengthens us in our professional role - but also as people. When we see that we can handle new things, then we grow as people.

That is precisely what validation, competence development, further education and retraining are all about. To believe in man - his ability to develop and grow. That way we get higher wages, a faster green transition and a more competitive Swedish industry. At the same time as we strengthen ourselves and each other.

Photo: Daniel Roos

Published 2023-01-24  |  Authored by Marie Nilsson