New pros for wood

With Kouvola City’s funding there’s established a new 5-year (2016-2020) Wooden structures professorship at Aalto University, in Department of Civil Engineering in Otaniemi in Espoo.  With the professorship’s help, as well as with the local actors, we’ll strengthen wood construction knowledge capital in private companies here in Kouvola.

Our county, Kymenlaakso, has a strong chemical forest industry sector. In 2012, Finnish Forest Industry, told industry as a whole in our county, represented 52 % of industry value and employed 5,7 % of all employed.

However, we don’t have any mechanical forest industry, more handwork demanding lumber industry cluster.  But, the beginning of this decade has already pointed the way to development. Despite of 2010-decade recession in greenfield construction outside couple of our growing cities, our lumber industry, including wooden products and prefabricated modules, totally 23 biggest companies,  has increased its turnover 14 million Euros and employ as own workers 33 persons more (up till 2015 official figures available).

When based on powerful entrepreneurship, we are on a way for the future. Our task as the local development company is to accelerate this arising positive trend.

Kouvola’s way to accelerate, some of us still remember we have set out to plan and build all forms construction projects around neighbouring counties and the whole southern Finland already from 1970’s on. We are used “to export” our resources - our brains and muscles.  

We older engineers also remember, as background, Kouvola has always been the city with several experienced engineering offices and plenty of planners, engineers for industry as well as housing needs.   

We’ve started a EU funded “Knowledge capital increase in wood construction” – project and have three acting partners to conclude this project. Besides Aalto University there are two local education organisations: Kouvola Region Vocational College and Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences

Knowledge capital focuses to the new talents, chaining process know-how and way of thinking of people. The priority of our project is to find significant competitive advantages and for a long life.

The aim of this becoming education cluster is to strengthen competitiveness of increasing industry and low-carbon economy, as well as to make new expertise from various education levels available for companies to support their competitiveness. In the basics the project will enhance the second level apprenticeship and corresponding labour contract based education contract modelling implementation.

At local university level new national wood construction study program will be adopted hopefully already during first project year. The Aalto’s task is, besides its main research and education function, to assist local units by teaching and, with its international relations, find right and timely development steps for wood industrialization and site processes.                     

In the new expertise cluster, education levels function together, form an entity that is unique in Finland. This entity will produce the best professionals for companies domestically.

Education collaboration will launched in step with the roadmap. Fund’s horizontal principles are considered on all education levels, e.g. with regards to communications and vocational, course titles. Activities that promote the use of domestic wood as raw material are part of sustainable development. 

Tero Hasu
Project Manager