Construction company in Skellefteå got help from students

The lack of workers in the construction industry is a national problem and Skellefteå-based construction company Berglund bygg is no exception. But thanks to students at Luleå University of Technology, the company now has a strategy for how to attract its future workers.

Berglund bygg was founded in 1993 and has grown steadily in recent years. Today the company has 22 employees but could double its workforce, says Kristoffer Holmström, CEO of Berglund bygg, but adds that lack of manpower is a major obstacle:

– As we want to deliver high quality of work, it´s important that we make sure we are recruiting the right talent. At the same time, the whole industry is fighting for new workers which makes it very difficult. This means we actively need to work on how to become a more attractive employer, he says.

Kristoffer Holmström heard about the project SIRT (Collaboration for innovation and regional growth) through LTU Business. In SIRT, companies get the chance to receive help with specific issues from students or researchers at Luleå University of Technology. Were there any students available who could help Berglund Bygg with a strategy?

No previous connection to construction

The group who were assigned with the task were students from industrial economics; project manager Filippa Larsson and her student colleagues Leo Dahlqvist, Benjamin Aidanpää and Martin Söderberg. During the spring of 2021, they were commissioned to take a closer look at what Berglund Bygg could do to increase its attractiveness.

– I have a father who has worked in the real estate industry, but otherwise I have no connection to construction, so this was completely new to me. But thanks to a good and careful process, we were able to give concrete recommendations for implementation at the end of the project, which was fantastic, says Filippa Larsson.

The group gave several recommendations on everything ranging from how Berglund bygg can engage young, newly trained carpenters to how the company can work more with soft values ​​in its employer marketing.

Kristoffer Holmström says that he is impressed with what the students have produced and that the result gives him assurance to continue with the work.

– It was impressive that the students in such a short amount of time could do such a thorough review. They were responsive and often came up with good suggestions of their own, even though none of them had previous experience from this particular industry. The students’ conclusions have given us reassurance that we are on the right track with the work we had gradually started and I look forward to continuing to work with the strategy, he says.

More collaborations

The SIRT project aims to develop collaboration between students and researchers at Luleå University of Technology as well as entrepreneurs and companies in Norrbotten and Skellefteå municipality, for mutual benefit. The project has resulted in many new relationships, and lowered thresholds.

– It is important that entrepreneurs in the region feel that universities are for them. Through SIRT, we have created new collaborations and made it easier for companies to contact the university to initiate collaborations, says Anna-Sara Lantz at LTU Business, one of the project managers in SIRT.

FACTS

The project Collaboration for innovation and regional growth (SIRT) is run by Luleå University of Technology with LTU Business as a partner and funded by the EU / ERDF through the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, the Norrbotten Region, Skellefteå municipality and Luleå University of Technology.