There is a lot of talk about circular and sustainable processes in the modern food industry. There is a lot of work and investment in innovations that revolve around digitization, AI, automation, aquaponics, vertical cultivation, circular bio-based economic models – and that’s good. BUT, without a skilled workforce, the development will not take place, says Bengt Fellbe, program leader with Swedish Surplus Energy Collaboration.
Region Skåne in southern Sweden has perceived the situation and is announcing project funds to help. This is how they describe the situation. The food industry and agriculture have always been the heart of Skåne. Skåne accounts for about a third of Sweden’s food production. Food is also part of our Scanian identity. This is how we want it to be in the future as well. But there is a concrete threat. The Scanian food industry and agriculture have a hard time finding the right people. If we do not act now, we may soon have serious problems in this Skåne industry. We must think new.
There are several reasons for all this. Just like in other parts of society, there is rapid technological development and digitalization in the food industry. It places demands on completely new skills and the food industry also needs to become better at attracting and taking care of young people, new arrivals, and people with different backgrounds. There are jobs. But it is the matching between those who want to hire and those who are looking for work that is lacking. In other words: we are no longer training the right people right for the food industry.
"There are, of course, several different good initiatives throughout Sweden that SSEC has initiated. In the municipality of Bjuv, “Recruitment training” has been carried out aimed at the food industry in collaboration between the company in question with recruitment needs and the Swedish Public Employment Service. A company-friendly tool that the employment service in Sweden has in its toolbox. The company that has skills needs and needs to recruit is involved in the entire process together with the employment service.
We cannot miss this golden opportunity – with the right education, we help thousands of people to work and increase their quality of life, while companies, municipalities, regions, and countries become socially, economically, and climate-sustainable," says Bengt.
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