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Gothenburg – Leader in battery and vehicle expertise

22 February 2023
With the march of electrification in the vehicle industry, there is a need for at least 7,000 people in the Gothenburg region to be recruited and retrained over the next few years. Fundamental manufacturing changes are affecting the economy. In Gothenburg, a battery factory and R & D centre for tomorrow’s batteries is not the least example. Northvolt and Volvo Cars Group are the bodies behind this venture. To meet the associated skills challenges, at least twelve initiatives are necessary. 

Vehicle industry companies are facing serious challenges as regards the supply of skills in the next few years. They need to recruit new workers, some with new skills, and retrain existing employees. To meet these needs, the entire education and training system must be mobilised. Owing to the vehicle industry’s size, it is of national and regional interest that this realignment is successful. Otherwise, major negative consequences will be felt throughout Sweden. Unemployment and reduced growth could well result.  

The City of Gothenburg, the Gothenburg region (GR), Region Västra Götaland (RVG) and Business Region Göteborg (BRG) signed several declarations of intent at the setting up of NOVO Energy (the joint venture between Northvolt and Volvo Cars Group). In these declarations, they undertook to: contribute resources to education and training for the industrial realignment in the transport sector’s electrification; and, facilitate the finding of skilled workers for battery manufacture. This support is based on NOVO Energy’s needs. However, it also links to other companies affected by the present electrification of the transport sector.  

Anna-Lena Johansson of Business Region Göteborg is in charge of coordinating the work involved in the above.   

"We have now jointly drawn up a plan with the ambition of Gothenburg being the leader in battery and vehicle industry expertise," she says.

The plan includes:

  • A present position and an overview of the skills required in relation to both battery production and the ongoing realignment in vehicle manufacture.  
  • The structure of the region’s education and training system in relation to the above needs.   

"Based on this, we are highlighting what needs to be developed and what initiatives need to be carried out to facilitate skills provisioning over the next few years," reveals Anna-Lena.   

What conclusions can be drawn?  

"That, from upper-secondary school to professional academies, the Gothenburg region’s education and training system offers the right conditions for meeting the business community’s skill and retraining needs. It is also positive that we have a large labour market. This enables companies to recruit and keep the right expertise. Nonetheless, we are seeing that the manufacturing industry’s attractiveness needs to be boosted."   

The plan proposes the carrying out of twelve initiatives. Can you give a few examples?   

"The municipalities need to increase the number of places on relevant programmes in upper secondary education and adult vocational training at the same level. Simultaneously, there must be drives to get more people interested in applying. We must also ensure that there are enough teachers," she says.  

"In view of the major change in skill requirements, we need to create a transition in which more employees retrain in the right skills and can take on new duties. At the same time, more people outside the labour market must be equipped for recruitment by companies."

"The plan could be described as a present position report and a to-do list. However, to be successful and become a leader in battery and vehicle industry expertise, collaborations between companies, labour market parties and public bodies are essential. Several working groups have already been started up," she says.

Business Region Göteborg is to coordinate this work in close collaboration with RVG, GR, affected City of Gothenburg administrations and other relevant bodies.   


Summary of the report

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Anna-Lena Johansson
Business strategist
Area of work: Competence Strategic competence provision


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