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Technology shifts make Scania invest in further training

Scania truck and postrait of Marie Heyman.
Marie Heyman, who works with competence development at Scania, is satisfied with the course package.
Published Aug 24, 2021

New technological shifts need new knowledge. Scania is investing in lifelong learning and together with KTH, Scania is updating its employees in the sustainable transport system of the future.

The game plan for many industries is changing, often with digitization and new sustainability goals as guiding stars. For the automotive industry, the shift is radical. The change towards a sustainable transport system with vehicles that are both electrical and self-driving is fast.

During extensive technology shifts new knowledge is crucial. Scania has realized this, and in February, the company allowed a group of employees the opportunity to gain new knowledge on the topic of sustainability - knowledge that can be of use directly.

Portrait of Marie Heyman
Marie Heyman, Scania

"We are facing a change in technology, where vehicles will be fossil-free and autonomous. Scania wants to lead the shift towards a sustainable transport system. We were the first in the heavy vehicle industry to adopt climate goals approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, where the goals are set for both our own business and our vehicles when they are out with our customers. Like other companies, we need to integrate learning much more into the daily work in the future. We have a half-life for technical knowledge that has decreased significantly with the technology shifts, and therefore we need to add new knowledge continuously", says Marie Heyman, who works with competence development at Scania.

Within the framework of Scania's and KTH's collaboration, KTH put together a tailor-made pilot course for the truck manufacturer. With adjustments, it can be used for other companies too, for example, subcontractors to Scania.

The course was aimed at more experienced engineers at Scania since they, according to Heyman, have the best opportunity to influence the rest of the organization with their newly acquired knowledge. The participants spent about 40 hours on the course, which consisted of online seminars, self-studies, and a final mini-project to trigger real change projects within the organization.

“The participants gained excellent knowledge which already during the course was translated into improvement projects to develop the participants' organizations to put sustainability even more in focus. The digital approach as such, with a so-called reverse classroom, was appreciated and will also continue to be developed in future courses", says Marie Heyman.

In the autumn, KTH will provide two more courses for Scania employees.

”We will continue to focus on sustainability in our collaboration with KTH. But of course, other topics will be relevant due to the change in technology that we are all facing. The next step is to explore new forms of collaboration within lifelong learning”, says Marie.

Lifelong learning is a priority area in the research bill that the government presented in 2020. KTH has extensive experience in education for professionals but is now making a significant investment in lifelong learning. From having covered 1 percent of the previous education volume, the figure for lifelong learning will be up to a full 20 percent in three years.

”The rapid technological development with sharp shifts will lead to that those who completed an education at the age of 25 need to return, one or more times, to further their education at KTH or participate in commissioned education. Not only to broaden and build on their skills but also to learn new disciplines. This will be important for Sweden's competitiveness. And KTH, which has educations closely linked to research, has a lot to contribute to lifelong learning, says Leif Kari, vice president for education at KTH.

Text: Anna Gullers

"We had use of the new knowledge immediately"

Eric Falkgrim, Technology Leader at Scania's R&D department for vehicle design, was one of the participants in the pilot with the theme of sustainability. In his work at Scania, he works with plastic recycling to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and ways to support autonomous vehicle concepts.

"The emphasis during the course was on sustainable transport systems and how research is coordinated in this area," says Eric Falkgrim.

These are topics that are on Eric's table, and he appreciated the discussions about strategic work and life cycle analysis.

"This course was an excellent opportunity to learn more about topics that are useful."

A lot has happened since he left school 20 years ago, he points out.

"You can learn new things even if you are an expert in your field."

The pilot course was intensive, with lessons twice a week on top of Eric's work at Scania. "It was not optimal because I had to prepare and study in between. But it was worth the extra effort and I think it is extremely valuable that we received an immediate dividend, that what we learn is something we can apply in our own business."

Text: Åsa Flodmark