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Cooperation with educational institutions is of key importance

Cooperation with educational institutions is of key importance

22 September 2021

Our industry is suffering a chronic shortage of experts and companies are competing fiercely for employees. This is why Häggblom needs to stand out from the crowd and at the same time create a positive employer image.

Our close work with the Vocational Upper Secondary Qualification in Mechanical Engineering and Production Technology, Mechanical Fitter programme at Central Ostrobothnia Vocational College and engineering studies at Centria University of Applied Sciences is really important for us. Because Häggblom has a constant need for welders and engineers, for instance, it’s important for us to be in the picture already at the education stage. We’re also more than happy to offer students in the industry summer jobs and on-the-job training, and thus in turn jobs.

 

Teacher at the workplace

lecturer Jarkko Kröger instructing students in the welding of track shoes

The photo shows lecturer Jarkko Kröger instructing students in the welding of track shoes (Photo: Keskipohjanmaa/Clas-Olav Slotte).

Jarkko Kröger, lecturer in mechanical engineering and production technology at Central Ostrobothnia Vocational College, which is part of the Federation of Education in Central Ostrobothnia, Kpedu, has been training young plate welders since 2011.

“Häggblom has had a very positive approach to us by among other things providing summer jobs and on-the-job training. Cooperation has always gone smoothly and been rewarding on both sides.”

Last year Kröger spent the full year at Häggblom as a foreman with 6-10 students in the “Teacher at the workplace” strategy fund project.

“We worked with students on the production side and the results of their work ended up in finished products. In addition to plate welding work, students also ran Häggblom’s smaller welding robot cell.

At the same time, young Kpedu students learning on the job and demonstrating their skills worked on the machining side under the guidance of Robert Kiviniemi at Häggblom. Kröger would like to extend a special thanks to Kiviniemi.

“Häggblom’s work atmosphere was really good, we felt welcome and the employees had a very positive attitude towards us,” Kröger warmly recalls.

He also appreciates Häggblom’s flexibility since when at times, there was less production work available, students could have theory lessons on the company’s premises.

“The year was particularly educationally rewarding for the young students. And even for me, despite having been in the industry for 32 years now. The feedback from one student well sums up the takeaway of the year: “You learn more in a week at this workplace than at school in a year.”

 

Häggblom as a company

“I highly value Häggblom as a company; it’s a traditional, financially-sound and long-standing employer with a good reputation, competitive in terms of pay and actively seeks experts for its team.

Kröger also speaks highly of Häggblom’s diversity. Permanent employees can, if they wish, switch to other jobs, such as machining, assembly or roller maintenance, within the company. It’s also possible to change sites within the company – or even go on assignment to a mine.

 

Win-win

“Skills demonstrations must as a rule be performed in an authentic environment. Business partners like Häggblom, where students have access to on-the-job learning periods and where they can also perform demonstrations, are highly important for us. Since 2017, we’ve had a skills-centred curriculum which is not time-linked. This allows young students to progress in their studies at their own pace. When young people can spend a longer period at Häggblom and perform several demonstrations, they quickly progress with their studies and complete their studies faster,” Kröger says.

He adds that the college also benefits from this effective “throughput”. The public funding the college receives is largely based on how quickly students complete their qualification and get a job. The metals industry is in the fortunate position that in practice each student completing their qualification is soon employed, they so wish.

“Häggblom employees for their part can follow the development of our students from a ringside seat and immediately employ them after they have completed their qualification. More than a dozen students have been employed in this way during my time and all are still at Häggblom, either at the Kalajoki or Kokkola site,” Kröger says as he concludes that:

“We give an annual award to one partner company and in 2020 that company was deservedly Häggblom.”