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Focuses on employee competence development in the buoyant labor market

four portrait photoes put together

Above, from left Rolf Lambrechts, Yara Porsgrunn and Jeanine Winther, Bilfinger. Bottom left Thomas H. Andersen and Lisbeth Garstad, Inovyn and bottom right Dag Madsen, Bilfinger.

Bilfinger, Yara Porsgrunn and Inovyn, three spearheads in green industrial development at Herøya and in Grenland, are investing more than ever in employee competence development in the battle for jobseekers.

HR managers in three of the Grenland region's leading industrial companies, Bilfinger, Yara Porsgrunn and Inovyn, believe that skills development for employees is the most important competitive advantage in the battle for skilled workers and engineers.

"Everyone" is looking for the same qualifications

The three companies are experiencing that "everyone" is looking for the same qualifications and that the application piles are a little slimmer than before.

The competition for professionals is intensifying, and central "vacant positions" sites claim they publish about 50 percent more job advertisements now compared to the same periode last year. Industry and production are at the top, with as many as 78 percent more job advertisements.

a group of aprentices and students

Attractive in the heated labor market: Skilled workers and engineers are very attractive in the current heated labor market. To the left four apprentices to Bilfinger at Herøya, and engineers from the University of Southeast Norway on assignment at HydrogenPro.

Need to work a little extra to get the special expertise

Yara, Inovyn and Bilfinger can offer employees and job seekers to join some of Norway's most exciting industrial projects. It is about carrying out an energy shift from fossil to electric and renewable. And at the same time help make production, logistics and the entire value chain more sustainable through increased digitization and robotisation.

"We manage to get skilled workers and engineers, but have to work a little extra to get special expertise," say the HR leaders in Yara and Inovyn.

Rolf Lambrechts says that Yara Porsgrunn hires about 30-40 new employees annually. Lisbeth Garstad in Inovyn tells about 17 new employees in 2021.

60 interviews in a few months

Bilfinger, a service and maintenance provider and involved in many industrial projects and maintenance audits, is experiencing a significantly increasing need. In recent months alone, the need for new employees has fluctuated between 50 and 60. Since August, about 60 candidates have been interviewed by the company.

five persons approaching in yellow and blue work outfit

Broad competence programme: Market and HR management, establishes its own Resource Center for digital competence platforms, and offers educational courses and course replenishment for employees at Herøya, in Norway and the Nordic countries. From left Jeanine Winther, Yngve Rune Olsen, Birgit Plogås Askjer, Dag Madsen and Erik Ulve.

"There are a lot of exciting projects happening at Herøya and in Grenland now," says Erik Ulve, sales manager in Bilfinger. "We see a very high project activity here. It also means that there will be a battle for resources."

Provide opportunities for each employee

"Do you need to offer higher wages to get the people you want?"

Jeanine Winther, head of Bilfinger Industrial Manning, believes it is about offering something more than salary. "Salaries and bonuses alone can prove to be a short-term motivation over time, because it is also a lot about how central you are at work and what opportunities you get. Knowledge and competence about what is to be delivered creates security and self-confidence. What we build around each employee is just as important."

I have never seen this many wanting to develop from a skilled worker to engineering schools, and especially to a technical education.

Eager to develop skills

Dag Madsen, HR manager at Bilfinger, experiences that employees have a strong desire for competence development, and that the interest is greater than ever before.

"It is an eagerness to develop. We notice this among our administration staff, in fabrication and engineering. Everyone demands further development. I have never seen this many wanting to develop from a skilled worker to engineering schools, and especially to a technical education," says Madsen.

"We run employee interviews, develop systematics and look at opportunities for career development all the way. Within logistics, which is an important focus area for us, we train logistics operators in a scheme together with the authorities. Our logistics people receive a trade certificate and we get a boost at all levels."

Competence systems for the future

The companies strengthen internal training and use competence systems that make it possible for employees, new employees and the entire company to develop and update competence continuously.

two persons in front of yellow tanks

Strengthens internal training: HR manager Lisbeth Garstad is particularly pleased to strengthen internal training and competence development in Inovyn with Thomas H. Andersen on the team.  

"Thomas is a new training manager, but has worked at Inovyn since his apprenticeship and knows the training needs well," Lisbeth Garstad says. Garstad is very pleased to strengthen training and competence investment in the company. "Thomas invests a lot in training apprentices, and takes care of courses and certificates via our competence system. When new employees come to us, they get access to their own competence profile via the web. They can follow the training and register their competence right into the tools we have."

"The web system is useful in employee interviews, course planning and a great tool for documenting competence and not least for mapping the need for competence in the company," she says.

Resources on training

"We have had a high number of retirements over several years now, and this will continue for some time to come. Many new colleagues also think that training is very important," says Rolf Lambrects in Yara Porsgrunn. "In addition, digitization is an important investment for Yara Porsgrunn in the future."

portrait male industry

Rolf Lambrechts, HR-leader Yara Porsgrunn

Offensive on digitization

"Do you need any special digital skills?"

"We have been digitizing Yara Porsgrunn for several decades, but recently this work has become even more important for both administrative functions and production."

Yara is investing aggressively, and has established its own digitization team in Porsgrunn. "We work with solutions including digital twins, smart sensors, digital work, as well as making data available through in-house developed apps and Dashboard solutions," says Lambrechts.

See also Yara's digitalisation is improving fertiliser quality

"We want to get young people to choose industry and digitalisation, and work closely with "Industrilærling", vocational schools and university environments such as USN, NTNU and UIA."

This is only the beginning

The HR managers believe that the competition for professionals we see now is just the beginning.

"We know that the competition for professional operators is increasing," says Rolf Lambrechts. "Yara Porsgrunn has therefore increased the number of apprentices in recent years. Here we also have a good collaboration with the schools and the county, where the training office "Industrilærling Vestfold og Telemark" does a very important job.

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