Mr Forss thinks technological competence alone is not a sufficient safeguard for the international competitiveness of Finland’s forest industry and its client sectors. The commercialisation of innovation requires comprehensive mastery of business activities – this is especially true in the case of young and start-up companies. Constant rejuvenation is also important in a rapidly evolving operating environment.
The production of the Finnish forest industry is expanding and its need for wood is increasing. A significant number of employees are required in forestry and road transport in order to secure the supply of domestic wood for production facilities.
Competitive production requires top-class vocational skills
Vocational education must supply students with the skills and unprejudiced attitudes that are needed in complex tasks in the forest industry. A broad range of abilities also improves employees’ career prospects.
Forest industry manufacturing tasks call for
· versatile skills
· comprehensive understanding of operations and processes
· knowledge of the needs and processes of customers
· an ability to cooperate and work as part of a team
· supervisory and managerial skills
· sufficient language proficiency and business know-how
Universities and polytechnics must foster emerging talent
The innovation company for the forest cluster, Metsäklusteri Oy, has been established to realise the Finnish forest cluster’s research strategy; other initiatives to strengthen training in the field have also been made. Cooperation with schools and the education authorities has been intensified to carry through these measures.
Finland’s national strategic research agenda for the forest cluster provides guidelines for the development of teaching and training programmes at universities and other third-level institutions. Internationally competitive top universities are essential to Finland because only they can provide the teaching, expertise and research that the competitiveness and regeneration of Finland’s forest cluster demand.
“Companies respond to the changing needs of the market and their customers by boosting their competitiveness and investing in, for example, research and product development,” Mr Forss emphasises. "The task of educators, on the other hand, is to foster the professionals of tomorrow, both on the vocational and the university level. Changes in the educational system are slow to take effect, which is why reforming measures should be implemented without delay. The aim is to utilise public and private resources as efficiently as possible."
"No other industrialised country shares the Finnish strength of robust, diverse corporate activities based on the utilisation of forest resources. In fact, the Finnish forest industry has developed into a significant international actor thanks largely to the high standard of expertise here,” Mr Forss points out. "Fostering the world’s most competent people will be the key to success also in the future."
Päivi Luoma, Director, Education and Competence, Finnish Forest Industries Federation
Tel. +358 (0)9 132 6626, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jari Forss, Senior Vice President, Labour Market, Finnish Forest Industries Federation
Tel. +358 (0)9 132 4440, e-mail: email@example.com