NORTHERN SKILLS - Navigating the Future NPA

Date Location Organiser
8 Nov 2023 Skellefteå, Sweden Interreg NPA

A comprehensive panel of speakers discussed how Interreg projects can help attracting and retaining the workforce needed in Northern Europe, especially in those regions where large green investments trigger important societal changes.

Welcome speakers highlighted the importance of cooperation on all levels and across all sectors

Four Interreg projects shared their approaches for equipping communities and young people with skills needed in the future

Is Northern Sweden a promised land? Johan Lundberg presented the drivers, challenges and opportunities related to the green industrialization of Northern Sweden

Rasmus and Ina from Nordic Youth Council empowering meaningful youth involvement!

Good energy and a positive vibe was felt throughout the day!

Participants could pitch their project ideas, organisation´s expertise, and interest in joining Interreg NPA projects!

Cooperation is all about empowering communities

Ms Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Västerbotten County Governor, welcomed participants highlighting the role cooperation plays in achieving sustainable development. “A sustainable way forward requires inclusive participation at all levels, cooperation is all about empowering communities to build sustainable and resilient societies”. Her message was reinforced by Mr Petri Kostinen, EU Commission who also presented the objectives of the EU year of skills.

Interreg contribution to skills development

In connection with societal changes initiated by the digital and green transition, Interreg projects discussed in a panel how they can support reskilling people so that they can take new jobs that are created, while others disappear. Representatives from INNOCAP, Making it work, Arctic STEM Communities, and Aurora Entrepreneurialis provided concrete examples of how digital skills, community involvement, STEM education model, and entrepreneurship experiences at school can contribute to societal transformation and create resilient and sustainable communities that are better equipped to face future challenges.

New educational approaches were shared to expand the range of occupational opportunities and entrepreneurial spirit of young generations. To offer inspiration and share forward-looking practices, the NORTHERN SKILL Conference invited 6 speakers from 6 NPA regions to “pitch” local solutions. The ideas ranged between e.g. better preparing youth to after-school life, supporting re-skilling and upskilling in the SMEs, transforming the school curriculums to prepare the leaders of tomorrow, and cooperating closely with people when creating greener, more sustainable, and future-proofed communities.

A meaningful involvement of youth is needed

To navigate the future NPA it is important to have an inclusive dialogue with the ones who will be there in the future: young people. Recommendations were shared from representatives of Nordic Youth Council, Rasmus Emborg and Ina Mickos, who presented how to meaningfully involve young people, where to find them, how to better understand their needs, and why is it important to renumerate their participation.

Networking and a workshop add tools to the toolbox

The conference was also an opportunity to network and matchmaking between partners and new project ideas in the setting of the “NPA marketplace”. 18 mini-presentations were given to an audience of approximately 60 people, while the rest of the participants were involved in a workshop. The workshop “You are welcome to stay!” discussed how to attract and keep healthcare professionals in northern sparsely populated areas and what role can the local community play in making them feel welcome and develop a sense of belonging.

The event gathered approximately 120 participants in person in Skellefteå, from across 10 countries representing national, regional, and local public authorities, the European Commission, the academy & education sector, as well as private organisations.

Our take home message:
Cooperation at all levels and across all sectors is a necessary skill for a better future.


Photo credit: Patrick Trägårdh.