Education and competence are strategic success factors for Finland

The importance of competence as a strategic success factor for Finland and Finnish companies is growing continually. A high level of expertise throughout value chains forms the basis of Finnish forest industry corporations’ technology leadership and the industry’s international competitiveness. The ability of industrial companies to respond to customers’ and the market’s changing needs hinges on the continual development of competence and education in Finland.

Vocational education boosts the development of multiple skills

The forest industry needs the services of people with versatile skills for a multitude of tasks both in Finland and abroad. Tasks range from the development of new business activities to blue-collar factory jobs.

The forest industry supports the establishment of flexible operating models that increase professional competence, diversify responsibilities and provide good career opportunities.

The forest industry needs people with diverse skills

Manufacturing operations require diverse skills, teamwork capabilities and a good ability to co-operate. Supervisory, management and language skills as well as business savvy are also needed.

In practice, versatility means that a process employee can handle, on top of his or her manufacturing duties, the most common faults or other interruptions in the manufacturing process that occur outside normal working hours. As the paper industry involves shift work, it is not necessary for one person to have competence in all areas because a team working one shift will comprise people with a diverse range of skills.

Flexibility also makes it possible to rotate tasks within a team. If necessary and agreeable to both employee and employer, skilled workers should be able to transfer to a different position or receive training for new responsibilities.

The international competitiveness of education is an asset

The strengths of Finnish universities and polytechnics provide a good foundation on which to build the education, competence and research that the competitiveness and regeneration of Finland’s forest cluster demands.

Finnish universities and polytechnics need to develop their focus and their mutual co-operation with respect to both teaching and research. Schools have to be able to conduct research and teaching activities to an internationally competitive standard in their respective areas of emphasis. Larger universities should take advantage of internal multidisciplinary opportunities.

Innovation usually emerges at the interfaces between different scientific branches and areas of expertise. Great potential for new competence and knowledge exists in the following areas:

  • the innovative combination of various scientific branches and areas of expertise, 
  • taking advantage of new scientific knowledge in deepening our understanding of wood and fibre materials, 
  • the innovative combination of industrial engineering and automation know-how through comprehensive consideration of the resource needs of the entire production chain, 
  • customer-oriented operating concepts, design and modern wood architecture 
  • business skills.