Internship investment in the budget bill welcomed by IVA

Wednesday 20 September 2017

remissvar-ny-837px.jpg

The budget bill. IVA’s comments on investments in industry, construction, energy, research, education and sustainability.

In its budget bill the Government is promising to invest in 1,600 new places for students in engineering programmes.

“It’s great that the Government is investing in more engineers. They’re needed if Sweden is to remain competitive,” says Professor Björn O. Nilsson, President of IVA. “But engineering programmes also have a very high drop-out rate – and that is costly, both for the individual and for society. Internships through Tekniksprånget give young people a clear idea of what a career in engineering involves and results in fewer students dropping out.”

The budget bill includes continued investment in IVA’s Tekniksprånget project.

University graduates who have recently arrived 

IVA’s national internship programme Jobbsprånget, is allocated SEK 10 million and a further SEK 45 million is promised over the next three years. Jobbsprånget matches employers with university graduates who have recently arrived in Sweden.

The Government wants better information on the skills of new arrivals to streamline their entry into the job market. Jobbsprånget provides a short cut into the job market by working in partnership with public and private sector employers. After a four-month internship, 75 percent of the interns have a job.

Many of the graduates arriving here have the experience and skills needed in the Swedish workforce. Good matching results require the right initiatives for the group in question. IVA thinks that is best to offer internships within a profession, rather than prioritising validation, SFI (Swedish for immigrants) or supplementary university courses.

An inefficient housing market is an obstacle to growth 

The housing shorting is an obstacle to growth. This is one of the conclusions of the IVA project Good Cities of the Future. The Government’s investment support for rented flats is resulting in more flats being built. But to handle the housing shortage other measures are needed as well to increase mobility in the housing market, reduce costs and improve competition. The Government addresses these areas in its budget bill, but IVA’s view is that concrete measures for a more efficient housing market are lacking. 

IVA believes that the initiative involving “support for innovative and sustainable construction” is good. In an industry steeped in tradition and regulation, incentives are needed to promote innovative thinking, testing of new ideas and challenging the status quo.

It is good that in its budget bill the Government is emphasising the municipal authorities’ responsibility for the housing supply, and that the building bonus and investment support are linked to the guidelines adopted by the municipal councils on the housing supply.     

IVA has a positive view of Government investment in high energy performance in new buildings. But the focus should be on the climate impact of buildings and not merely on their energy consumption. In light of the Government’s goal of zero greenhouse gases by 2045, it will be even more important to concentrate on the climate impact of construction processes and less on the impact during the operational phase.

IVA supports the Government’s investment in research in the built environment. Specific investments in research to improve the ability of the municipal authorities to build are welcome.  

Resource-efficiency and the circular economy

IVA has a positive view of the Government’s appointment of a delegation to focus on the circular economy. IVA intends to make an active contribution to the work of the delegation.

The IVA project Resource Efficient Business Models – Greater Competitiveness has created the basis for a platform for dialogue between industry, academia and policy-makers on resource efficiency and the circular economy.

In future efforts to promote a resource-efficient Sweden, IVA, as an independent arena, intends to drive development towards Sweden’s private sector offering competitive solutions for the challenges of the future.

Electricity and delivery reliability 

IVA welcomes the Government’s investments in renewable energy, but would like to see a proposal to ensure delivery reliability in the electricity system.

IVA regards electricity as a facilitator for industrial development and reduced climate impact. This idea is put forward in the project Electricity Crossroads. We therefore welcome investments in electrification of the transport sector, expansion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and in Industriklivet – a step towards fossil-free industry in Sweden.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, but IVA believes that in climate-related investment, it is also important to pay attention to other environmental aspects such as biodiversity and the increase in the use of materials and chemicals that harm our environment.

Focus on quality

It is good that the Government is investing in university education and that some investments are being made in quality (including in humanities/social sciences and teacher education). At least as important as increasing the number of places at universities is investment specifically in educational quality – especially in the fields of science and technology. The decline in the amount of lab work in chemistry programmes is one example of an undesirable trend.

IVA wrote in its input report for the research bill that what is needed is “more funding and more robust initiatives to guarantee and raise the quality of Sweden’s higher education and to increase the number of students that earn a degree.” Among other things, IVA pointed out that “.. fewer labs and too few teacher-led classes are threatening students’ critical thinking skills.”