Recent study indicates a rapid demand for skilled work force in the Finnish battery sector

The rapid growth of electrification of traffic and energy storages will create large demand for skilled workforce in Finland. According to most estimates, the number of electric vehicles sold will grow by about 20–30 % annually until 2030. The size of the growth will lure skilled employees in an unprecedented manner Also, our neighbouring countries will attract employees from Finland,” says Timo Ropponen, Director and Team leader for Manufacturing and Energy at Spinverse. 

Spinverse experts were part of a work group commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment to conduct a study focusing on the competence needs and related education of the Finnish battery industry. The study revealed that the battery sector identifies the ever-increasing demand for a broad skill base and companies are ready to contribute to the development of education.  

The study, published in 2022, was conducted in collaboration between Spinverse, Gaia Consulting, and Riscon. Timo Ropponen, Director and Team leader for Manufacturing and Energy at Spinverse, participated in the work group with his team. Timo considers that the battery sector is currently seen as a separate entity of the value chain. This may be reflected as challenges in the image of the sector and collaboration between companies, businesses, and the education sector. Education should be perceived as a more holistic entity which would then bring in a broader thinking in value chains from the educational aspects onwards. 

Timo summed up: “To increase the attractiveness of the battery sector, we need to focus on developing the positive perception of the battery sector. For instance, we need to highlight the strong role of the battery industry in green transition and develop the vocational training to educate in the sustainability aspects of the battery sector.” To better meet the future demands of the battery industry, the vocational training should also provide broader competencies for the future work force to deal with complex and automatised processes in a multicultural work environment.

Companies in the battery sector are ready to develop the education to achieve a broader skill base

According to the study, companies recognised the ever-growing shortage of experts throughout the value chain and are keen to participate in developing the education to bring in new, skilled work force to the battery sector. The greatest need was for have more work force in manufacturing processes. A demand for experts with interdisciplinary and holistic competence also came apparent throughout the battery value chain.

The respondents also voiced the need for the understanding of battery technology applications, sustainability and environmental issues and those of customer needs and markets. Further, in-depth technical expertise and business expertise were also seen as important skills for those wishing to pursue a career in the battery sector.

Actions needed to enhance the perception and attractiveness of the battery sector

The study revealed that the battery industry is not yet well enough known among the Finnish youth and students, although they perceive the sector positively. The battery industry responds well to the working life expectations of the youth who often are looking to work within interesting industries that also make a positive impact on climate challenges. On the other hand, the sustainability issues identified with the battery industry were considered somewhat problematic. However, an increased understanding of the battery sector is due to growing interest and positive perceptions of the battery industry.

The conclusions of the study were pinpointed in a set of key development ideas. Firstly, we need to ensure a sufficiently wide range of skill base, provide relevant vocational training, and take conscious steps to enhance the industry’s image. Finally, co-operation and international mobility of the work force need to be increased.

Read the study here (in Finnish):
Selvitys akkuklusterin osaamisen kysynnästä ja alan koulutuksen houkuttelevuudesta

Photo by Marina Gargi