Team at Scania in Oskarshamn: Robert Hjelm, Cecilia Axelsson and Roger Karlsson.
“During an employee evaluation, my supervisor, Cecilia Axelsson, asked me what my next step would be,” says Robert. “I had been working at Scania for 25 years, eight of which were as a team manager, and I could picture doing something new. I graduated from high school a long time ago and I didn’t know what university studies would involve. But now, together with Cecilia, I had the chance to write a two-year plan based on the particular skills I wanted to develop."
Robert decided to combine three ProdEx courses with two programmes at other universities. The result was a mixture of management courses, logistics, machine learning, logistics flows and more. The solution was to study on a half-time basis while still working his regular job.
“Alternating work and studies worked well. I was able to put my knowledge to use at work immediately. It was also a stimulating break from work, and I ended up with a network of people in other industries with whom to exchange experiences.”
“Courses designed for professionals are valuable”
Cecilia Axelsson is also satisfied with Robert’s skills development journey. He now has a new job as team manager for line technology in the chassis assembly and press plant.
“It was a fruitful approach for Robert. He’s grown into his new role well. It’s valuable for us that universities offer courses designed for professionals. Our staff is already very knowledgeable, of course, but may need to fill in gaps with specific information to take on new roles,” says Cecilia, engineering manager at the company.
Scania’s production plant in Oskarshamn has been manufacturing trucks since 1946. Around 2,800 employees work here with the entire chain, from sheet-metal pressing to complete customised cabs. Many of the employees began immediately after high school or university studies and have learned the profession at the company.
A major shift in technology is beginning
Roger Karlsson and his colleagues at the HR department are currently preparing what may be one of the company’s biggest skills development initiatives ever.
“We’re at the very beginning of a major shift in technology, and we’re mapping out what new roles and skills will be needed moving forward. Within ten years, our manufacturing will be characterised by digitized production systems. For example, collaborative robots will handle heavy, monotonous tasks that are currently done manually,” says Roger, who works with training and development. “Skills development of our current staff is clearly a key factor. I see Robert’s and Cecilia’s approach here as a textbook example of how it should work.”
“Opening new doors for our employees”
“We work with several universities on continuing professional development. University West’s ProdEx courses are a popular and high-quality form of training, because professionals can validate their skills. In this way, the courses are available whether or not our employees have studied at a university. When it comes to our technology shift, this is invaluable,” says Roger.
“It’s also a huge advantage that these courses are offered both remotely and on campus. Especially for us in Oskarshamn, which is pretty far from any higher education institutions. It’s opening new doors for our employees.”