Project introduction


Benefit for entrepreneurs

Benefit for education

Professional qualification




Benefit for entrepreneurs






















Benefit for entrepreneurs


The system helps entrepreneur in finding out the botlenecks in labour qualification. It is most important to have properly  qualified staff with all relevant qualifiaction certificates and awardes. The system defines necessary skills for that and gives graphic output of existing and needed levels. INNOMET enables also to find necessary complementary courses provided bu educationa organisations. In case of overqualified staff there is possibility, that you pay for unnecessary skills. The other drawback can be, that people working in postions not corresponding to their qualification are not happy and that in turn has negative influence to the inner climate of the enterprise.


Below you can find the description of system activities targeted to enterprise user.


1.    Different user roles

Every user has a role, specifying available/allowed activities in the system. Role of Administrator is special.  In addition to the main activities, e.g. management of system’s core data, the Administrator has possibility and rights to perform all the other activities allowed to other user roles. In the table below this possibility has not been pointed out to emphasize activities that should be main functions of an Administrator.



User role


Educational organisation

Certification authority


Activities associated with courses

Course management




Study programs management




Search courses







Activities associated with certification exams

Certification exams management




Certification exams search







Activities associated with questionnaires

Questionnaires management



Answering to the questionnaires



Reports about skills of employees








Workforce needs table









System management (incl. user accounts, skills, professions and organisations)













1.1.1.   Search exams

Enables user to search certification exams. Search can be performed by profession, exam location, and time period. The search for exam location can be performed also by part of word. For time period determination the exact date input is not essential, setting a year or a year and a month is enough. Please notice that earlier date should be entered to the upper input row and posterior date to the lower input row. If several criteria are determined, then only those exams meeting all of them are searched for.


By clicking on the exam name a screen image with more detailed information about the exam is displayed.


If there is not any exam meeting the entered search criteria, then the system displays corresponding message.   

1.2. Activities associated with questionnaires

Menu Questionnaires enables user to create new questionnaires and edit the existing questionnaires. Firstly, for questionnaires management the list of  all questions available for the user is displayed. Several quizzes can be performed by a single questionnaire – to the same questionnaire is answered several times during a certain time period, to get an overview of skills development over the time. In the list of questionnaires are quizzes displayed under the corresponding questionnaire.


1.2.1.   Creation and editing of questionnaires

To compose a new questionnaire a link new questionnaire should be selected. User can enter name of questionnaire, time period for performing the quiz, and the name of the person filling out the questionnaire. Data can be changed later also in already existing questionnaires. From the list of questionnaires the user should select corresponding link edit questionnaire and at the opened page click on the button  change questionnaire content.


Questions are the most important part of questionnaire. The questionnaire measures level of employees’ skills, thus the subject of questions involves necessary skills for a current vocation and answer is on the form of numerical estimation of skill level. Thus the composing of questionnaire means definition of skills by vocations. In addition, for every skill the type of skill and needed level  of skill is specified for afterward analysis.


For changing the questionnaire select from the list of questionnaires corresponding link edit questionnaire. On the opened page are displayed description of questionnaire and rows of skills. For adding  a new skill row the vocation, skill, skill type, and needed level should be selected from corresponding selection boxes and updated by clicking on the button add row. Afterwards the skill rows can be edited and removed, if  necessary, by using corresponding links edit row and remove row.

1.2.2.   Answering to the questionnaires

Firstly, the new quiz should be specified – for that user has to click in the list of quizzes  of the questionnaire on the link add quiz. User should enter the date of quiz and may also add a comment if necessary. After saving the quiz description the insertion of quiz answers is enabled – you should click on the corresponding quiz link answer!. Entering of answers is realised by vocations; the answer is estimation in five points scale or a number from 1 to 5. After entering the answers click on the button  save answers. After that is possible to enter answers for next vocations, or  the  report of employees’ skill levels on the basis of previous quiz is showed.

1.2.3.   Reports

Enables user to read reports about skills of enterprise employees, generated on the basis of answers to the questionnaires.


Several quizzes conducted at different times can be embedded into a single inquiry. Thus a user should select a desired inquiry and quiz from the corresponding selection rectangle and click on the button display quiz. The system displays a table, where quizzed vocations and corresponding estimated average levels of competence are shown in rows. By clicking on a name of vocation or selecting the vocation from selection rectangle the system displays more detailed report about all skill levels of the vocation. Existing levels (black line) and needed levels (grey line) of competence are represented graphically.


Similarly, by clicking on the name of skill type or selecting the skill type from selection rectangle of general report is possible to generate more detailed report concerning the selected single skill type for all vocations. Estimated existing levels (black line) and needed levels (grey line) of the skill type are represented graphically.

1.3. Other activities

1.3.1.   Workforce needs table


Enables to enter predicted numbers of new employees of the company for the next five years. The table rows consist of following fields: professions existing in the enterprise; current number of employees working on a certain profession; current number of employees in age over 50 working on a certain profession; expected need for workforce during the next years on a certain profession.


Any changes in table can be realised by clicking on the button edit table. For inserting a new row a certain profession from the lowermost selection rectangle (indicated by label new) should be selected, saving the table afterwards (by clicking on the button save table). It is also possible to remove unnecessary rows – for that purpose an empty field from corresponding profession selection rectangle should be selected. After that the table should be saved.


Starting-point of predictable years can be changed by picking the appropriate year from corresponding selection rectangle. The selected year becomes after saving the first predictable year followed by next four year numbers.


1.4. Administrator’s activities

User with rights of Administrator can manage functional system data – user accounts, organisations, skills, professions and system settings. Correctitude of those data is a precondition for fluent work of the system.


In addition, Administrator can create questionnaires for companies.

1.4.1.   Organisations management

It enables to describe all organisations existing in the system. The most important data are the name and type of organisation. Type is selected from four possible choices – company, educational organisation, certification authority, or system administrator. Type of organisation is essential as it determines the data to be associated; certification exams can be associated only with  certification authorities, courses and study programs with educational organisations, and questionnaires with companies.


In addition, for every organisation registration number, address and contact information can be entered.

1.4.2.   Users management

Using of the system presumes existence of user account. Users’ management enables to specify users allowed to utilize the system. The key data are user name (login), password, user role, and organisation associated with the user.


User name must be unique for every user. For security purposes, password should be chosen strong enough, i.e. mixture of letters and numbers is recommended.


User role is extremely important, as it determines possible activities of the user in the system. For a user of Administrator role all activities are allowed. Data of organisation to be allowed to edit by current user is determined by user associated organisation.  For example, a user associated to an educational organisation is allowed to edit only courses and study programs of this current organisation.


User account can be closed temporarily, if necessary. For that purpose in the window of user information the selection box account closed should be marked.

1.4.3.   Skills management

Specifications of skills serve as basis for several others data sets like courses, certification exams and questionnaires.

1.4.4.   Professions management

A short description of profession and link to corresponding vocational standard can be added during professions management.   

1.4.5.   Questionnaires management

Look at corresponding section in subset Activities associated with questionnaires.

1.4.6.   System settings

System settings are common for all users.  A prefix of header row can be set from system settings.  





3.       Background of the industry in the partner states


By Dr. Jyri Riives

3.1.1 Structure of the industry


There are more than 400 machine-, metal-, and apparatus building companies in Estonia. More than 100 of them are small workshops with number of employees of 1-5 and turnover less than 1 million EEK (0.06 million EUR).


Text Box: North East Estonia 7%


Text Box: North Estonia 55%


Text Box: Central Estonia 10%


Text Box: South Estonia 17%


Text Box: West Estonia 10%




Distribution of Machine Building and Metal Working Companies in Estonia



Distribution of the companies of the sector according to the number of workers (by EMTAK)


Structure of the industrial output (EEK)




Main selling arguments and possible hazards



Relative importance

Good quality of the product

16 %

Fast delivery and flexible respond to the customers’ demands


Price of the product

27 %

Price/quality ratio

35 %


Possible hazards

1)      Increase of products self-cost due to rising price of resources



        Labour costs

2)      Shortage of qualified staff has an impact to the quality of  product

3)      Absence of vocational certificate compromises:

        Receiving of job orders

        Competitiveness of own labour force

3.1.2        State of the art in the field of qualified labour force



Estimated shortage of labour nowadays





Vacant jobs exist

28 %

55 %

57 %

No vacancies

72 %

45 %

43 %



Current labour need

Machine tool operators






Other metal workers








Need for workers in 2002 (by size of enterprises)

Vacant jobs in 2002




Number of answered enterprises








No vacancies








Need in workers in 2002 (by specialities)


Number of needed staff







Other metal workers




Technical manager







As the average age of workers is relatively high, the real need for new workers becomes bigger in future than claimed by enterprises today. The new workers are needed after 4-5 years, when many of current labour will be retired. Even if today enterprises find proper labour, then in future the finding of skilled workers will cause serious problems.


3.1.3        Estimation of labour qualification and possible ways for improvement



Main problems with current employees (%)






No problems




Not enough skilled people








Employees are old




Language skills




Alcohol caused problems




Labour flow




Lack of leadership skills




Low salary




Insufficient computer skills






Main problems in finding labour (%)






Not enough skilled people




Not enough dutiable labour




Too low salary




Low prestige of the speciality




No problems




Poor language skills (English, Estonian)




Not enough young people






3.1.4          Cooperation with universities, other education and training providers

Educational organisations are expected to exhibit their relevant courses in the Internet. Data from universities and colleges is as a rule not uniform yet. Enterprises and trade unions are interested in certain vocational standards specifying skills level of employees. Academic world cannot react to these expectations correspondingly without knowing the real needs of industry world. Hence the gap between the needs and reality of labour force structure and quality exists.


3.1.5        Conclusion

In Estonian metalworking and machinery the main weaknesses of the sector are lack of highly qualified workers, low co-operation between companies, and absence of clear national and international cooperation networks. Although the sector has lack of qualified labour force, Estonia has too high rate of unemployed people (12 %), so improvement of existing educational system as well as re-training and improved qualification award system and cooperation is needed. Only after mapping the current situation in an enterprise and answering to the question “What we have?” is possible to move on to the key question of next stage “What we want to know?”, turning to the training programmes mapped by educational institutions.


The main objective of the INNOMET system therefore is to supply enterprises and educational institutions with the updated information related to the needs, structure and qualification as well as about the opportunities of finding/ requesting needed courses.


An important step towards this goal is to define and understand the needs for the manufacturing industry for training and education in manufacturing education on global. Regularly updated data by enterprises and educational institutions will contribute to the development of a time based information system as supporting environment by everyday business planning concerning human resources. This will also give companies the opportunity and benefit to upgrade employees within the latest courses of manufacturing and management based on global industry needs and with the state of the art of educational methodologies. As a reward the educational organisations will have a possibility to predict future needs by using information feeds from variety of enterprises.




3.2     HUNGARY

3.2.1        Global statistics of the structure of industry in Hungary

The distribution of the companies considering the number of employee in processing industry (metal working industry, its apparatus sector, etc.) shows dominance for the subject area of INNOMET. Although the external capital influxes, the appearance of new foreign companies give birth to new workplaces.


Several multi-national companies and foreign ownership companies had established and planted in Hungary in the last decade, especially in the metal industry. These so-called external investments developed the structure of the industrial output, distribution of the net revenues and employees in the sectors (by CSO, 2000)

The manufacture + metal industry and metallurgy + manufacture of metallic raw materials takes up to 45,3% and 11% respectively of the companies and following 41,2% of the active population work in these domains in Hungary (by CSO in 2000).


Industrial and human resource situation in Hungary, survival capabilities, local endowments and regional facilities in pre- and re-qualification are traditionally and precipitously different in the regions of the – not so large – country.

Traditional and future (after joining EU) regional view of the structure of industry


Text Box: No of industrial worker per thousand inhabitants, 2000


Text Box:



Text Box: Traditional counties and the regions facing the European Union






It is absolutely different to speak about North- and East- or West- and mid-counties, or about Budapest and towns in West or East or about civilisation in towns and villages, albeit in some considerations the situation is just slightly going closer.

Text Box: No of enterprises at work per thousand inhabitants in the counties and in the EU regions





Text Box: Relative income per inhabitant (GDP 1999) in 1000HUF per counties and EU regions




In the different regions the range and the changes of unemployment have been rather differing and full with “contradictions” so far. Especially in the mid-west area (near Szkesfehrvr – 70km from Budapest) the range of unemployment was one of the most critical in the previous decade, but – under one roof – the mostly increasing and developing area in the country. Meanwhile in the south-east and north-west the changes of situation (in all terms) were sleeping for years.

Text Box: The range of unemployment (percent), 2000; in the counties and EU regions






The highest concentration of metal industry can be found around Győr, Szkesfehrvr, Tatabnya and Budapest, in the north-west „Dunntl” (over-Danube) regions of Hungary. The concentration of progressive industry is slightly decreasing from 2000, since the west and mid-west area provide 6% less volume of the national total in the processing industry. However, the differentiation in the range of unemployment is still essential: meanwhile in the mid, mid-west and west counties it is up to 4,6%, in the south-west and the north-east regions it can exceed 9,8%. The capital area (Budapest and nearby) shows still the less range of unemployment and in fact the most progressive changes in employment.

3.2.2        State of the art in the field of qualified labour force

The distribution of qualified labour force follows almost the same structure as the concentration of enterprises including processing industries. Meanwhile in the north-east area after the boom of ’90s the second (large) Technical University must change their profile opening in the direction of general universities because of the sudden lack of students had traditionally been oriented in the direction of metallurgy and material industry for years. Hereinafter, in the last decade some new higher education institutes have been established on the west and mid counties of Hungary. The different qualification areas and following the levels and types of qualified labour force are the same differentiated as the location and high concentration of enterprises and education institutes and centres determined by the global and local strategy, yielding opening scissors between north-west and south-east areas of the country.

On the other hand, the financial restraint in the educational sectors – for years – have provided opening gap between the level of technical equipment used in leading industry and demonstrated in the workshops, laboratories of educational institutes. This situation cannot help to break the tendency of dramatically decreasing number of younger and entrant labour facing metal industry. They prefer selecting more administrative jobs, services, and financial areas still believing in obsolete views of “begrimed” and fully oily engineering and technical jobs. General problem is the lack of skilled worker for the metal industry even in the most prosperous – west – areas of the country.

3.2.3        Estimation of labour qualification and possible ways for improvement

In the last years the process industry (with the trade industry and public administration) offered the most workplaces for unemployment.

Text Box: Agricultural industry
Processing industry
Civil service
Building industry
Trade and -catering industry
Financial institutes and banks
Public administration
Health and medical industry



3.2.4        Main problem of existing qualification in the current industries:

         the qualified labour force in metal industry is getting elderly and increasingly concentrated to the capital town area.

         even in the north-west area the range of commuters and day-workers is increasing

Main problem of finding skilled workers or qualified labours:

         the requirement of increasing specialisation and division of skilled labour force cannot be followed efficiently by the traditional education institutes and labour centres.

         the development of skills is cumbersome because of the concentrated education opportunities located nearby the capital and county-seats far from the enterprise.

3.2.5        Co-operation with universities, other education and training providers

High-level co-operation required within the wide range of educational opportunities. Recently the regional labour centres are to harmonise the emerging ad-hoc enterprise demands for special skills and the requirements of “free” labours seeking new jobs or being unemployed momentarily. The traditional education institutes prefer contracts with large or multi-national enterprises for general and special labour qualification development. The small- and medium-size enterprises (SME-s – more depending on local opportunities) must rest satisfied with the commercial offers of educational institutes or qualification centres. Albeit its fast developing the far-distance, so called “tele-education“ and web-based solutions supported by multimedia applications – being in their infancy – cannot provide trusty and creditable solutions either for the labour willing higher qualification and or the SME-s being more defenceless locally.

3.2.6        Conclusion

INNOMET can provide solution for the problems of labour development in Hungary with diminution of

-        deep differentiation in the required qualified labour force and local makings;

-        the “causeless” range of unemployment, commuters and day-workers even in the most prosperous areas without providing chance for closing the gap between the regions.

And with providing clear map of industry proven needs for educational institutions

-        to get accommodate with what jobs, occupations are needed in the near future and

-        to yield industry conform courses and skills answering on the real industrial needs.




3.3    SWEDEN


By Mattias Larsson

3.3.1        Structure of the industry


The Swedish enterprises in the machinery, metal engineering, and apparatus sector (i.e. companies in the “INNOMET” fields) form a rather heterogeneous group with many different areas of operation. Traditionally the Swedish industry has been dominated by a number of work intensive industries but during the last decade a rapid shift towards knowledge intensive industries have occurred and knowledge intensive industries in the medicine, electro, telecom and production industry have increased their share of the overall production value considerably.


As can be seen in figure below the Swedish companies in the INNOMET sector are unevenly distributed. In the inner parts of the country paper and mass industries are dominating but in the more populated regions the electro, telecom and transportation sectors have grown considerably during the last decade.  





Geographical distribution of no. of workplaces according to county and branches respectively (based on official Swedish statistics, 2001).   









No. of employees by company size (based on official Swedish statistics, 2001)


The Swedish industry will have to cope with many challenges in the future in order to stay competitive. Generally speaking one could say that it’s important to have the right market mix. That is, to have the right product, at the right time and to the right price.


In cooperation with the industry a number of selling arguments have been identified. They concern both the products and corresponding production systems and are considered to be very important in order to stay competitive. Hence, in order to stay competitive a manufacturer must be able to deal with increasing requirements concerning (Main selling arguments and possible hazards in order to stay competitive. No order of precedence):






        “Time-to-market” and “Ramp-up”

        Changeover times

        Product variation


        Visual feed back



3.3.2        State of the art in the field of qualified labour force


According to the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises access to technology and capital is no longer the key to success - the key is the company’s ability to attract and develop competence. This is emphasised by statistics that shows clearly how the export of heavy and simple products has decreased while the export and production of highly refined products has increased.


As a result to this access to qualified workforce will be even more important in the future. However, with the fast changing requirements on new personnel it is almost impossible to make long-term predictions what kind of competence is needed. Detailed prognoses of what range of courses the educational institutions should provide must be based on a dynamic structure characterised by sought-after demand, renewal and development trends.  




Educational profile in the industry in percent.


Compulsory school

Upper secondary school

Post secondary school

Knowledge intensive




Capital intensive




Work intensive




Source: NUTEK, FLEX-2

3.3.3        Estimation of labour qualification and possible ways for improvement


During the later years it has been very difficult for the companies to requite personnel with some type of technical background like manufacturing, production and design engineering and it is likely that this trend will continue. People with professional degrees in engineering are often mentioned in this context although people with less education are also sought after. It might even be impossible to find applicants with an advanced vocational education since many of the vocational schools have been shut down during the last decade.



Estimated need for labour force based on level of education in the industry in thousands (based on official Swedish statistics, 2000).


3.3.4        Cooperation with universities, other education and training providers


Many of the major actors in the Swedish industry cooperate with the universities (e.g. through industrial research students, apprenticeships etc.) and in the case of the Advanced Vocational Education (AVE) they are usually invited to the managerial body of each school.


However, the real problem is not related to the core subjects that are similar to all programmes. The problem is how to adapt the syllabus to local needs, and the needs of SME’s in particular, since they usually do not have any direct connections to the educational institutions. In order to stay competitive they often need narrow specialists with vocational background that cannot be found today. Hence, it’s extremely important to find solutions to this problem and effective channels through which the companies can communicate their needs.

3.3.5        Conclusion


As mentioned earlier detailed prognoses, concerning the educational need, should be based on a dynamic structure categorized by sought after demand, renewal and development trends.


This further emphasises the need for national and in the long term trans- national communication channel through which all the different partners can meet to share ideas and, based on their actual needs, affect the educational system as a whole. 


The main goal with the INNOMET system in Sweden will be to provide educational institutions with an up to date view of the companies’ actual need. At the same time this will be a possibility for companies to stay competitive and up to date as well as a natural coupling to the research institutions.


SME’s are considered as extra important in this context since they often do not have any direct connections to the educational institutions. However, there are other potential applications for the INNOMET system as well. One such application is related to the so called extended enterprise where companies come together to share ideas and experience in a certain field. In such organizations it is essential that the participating companies have well defined human resources in terms of competence and ability to perform a certain task. With the INNOMET approach this vision is reachable and the companies will have an unambiguous way to describe their human resources in terms of knowledge and skills, on company, as well as individual level.


3.4     ITALY, Piemonte region

3.4.1        Structure of the industry

The Metalworking Industry, excluding artisan enterprises, consists of about 60,000 companies which employ about 1,600,000 people.


On average each industry employs 27 people, demonstrating a strong presence of small-medium enterprises that constitute the backbone of the Italian economy.


The industries that employ less than 200 people represent 98.5% of the market, and employ 43% of the total workforce.



Almost 35% of companies in the metalworking industry belong to the "manufacture and processing of metal products" sector which employs 22% of the total number of workers. The largest sector with 29.6%, in terms of employment, is the "mechanical machinery and equipment manufacture, installation and repair" sector. Employment in the metalworking industry represents 10% of overall employment of the economy and 40% of employment in the manufacturing industry. Around 61% of metalworking employees are factory workers, 38% are office workers. Women make up 19% of the total workforce in the industry.




The highest concentration of the metal working industry is to be found in the South west area of Italy, in the four regions (Lombardia, Vall D’Aosta, Piemonte and Liguria) there are about 42,000 establishments and more than 800,000 workers which reflect respectively 39.1% and 46.5% of the national total.


        In the Piemonte region metal workers account for 15% of the workers with 5.9 metal workers every 100 inhabitants.

        In 2002 exports amounted to €128,704 million, imports to €116,962 million. Most of these were within the European community.

        The Italian metal mechanic sector is mainly identified on international markets for the exportation of machine tools.

Forecast for the future

The general forecast is that the national situation will not undergo big changes in the near future.


The forecast is however positive, 80% of persons interviewed during a recent survey believe that production will increase; internal demand will increase according to 35% and will remain stationary for 58%; foreign demand will increase according to 43% and will remain stationary according to 50%; 94% of the enterprises do not intend to increase prices of sale, 35% think that employment will increase while 59% think it will remain unchanged.

3.4.2        State of the art in the field of qualified labour force

Shortage of labour – there is an increasing difficulty for enterprises to find specialised labour. The younger generation prefer employment outside the metal-mechanic sector. Younger people tend to refuse ‘dirty’ jobs even though this means accepting occasional employment in the tertiary and services sectors, not guaranteed and underpaid.

3.4.3        Estimation of labour qualification

        Main problem with current employees are related to the fact that many of the workers are over 55 and will leave employment in the next five years;

        Main problem in finding labour is that enterprises can often find many people with degrees, architects and engineers, but where are the foremen and specialised workers?

3.4.4        Cooperation with universities, other education and training providers

Vocational training activities must depend on strong cooperation between education/training institutes and enterprises. Awareness must be raised towards enterprises about the importance of offering space, experience and qualified personnel for hosting work experience and planning training. The regions, who have recently become responsible for vocational training, must be able to make forecasts for future employment needs in the enterprises.

3.4.5        Conclusion

The main feature of the INNOMET project for Piemonte region will be to collaborate with our local and trans-European project partners to see how they are facing the question of matching employment demand to preparation of work force.


In Italy at local level there has been an improvement in dialogue between universities/ vocational training centres and enterprises, school institutes tend to be a little behind but  will be forced to ‘catch up’ with the new schools reform.  Therefore the INNOMET system will be tested with our local partners.


The regions are now responsible for active labour policies so the final tested INNOMET system could be of interest to them. At trans-national level the INNOMET system could also be interesting for planning future student work experience in partner countries for mobility programmes.




3.5.1        Structure of the industry


Finnish technology companies operate in three main industrial sectors:

         mechanical engineering (machine and metalwork)

         electronics and electricity

         metals work (metal processing)


As a relatively new field, environmental technology, saving energy and raw materials, has become an important field.


The size of the companies ranges from one man's workshops to companies operating

word wide, the products are of all kind from spade to luxury cruiser and  stone chipper to  mobile phone.


The economic situation in metal industry is very much similar to the trend in the whole economy. The economic growth this year is about 2,5 % and a several years' unstable period with slower growth and rapid changes is to expected. The different fields of metal industry, however, differ from each other. In base metals industry production decreased in 2002 but it is expected to increase slowly in 2003. Metal engineering companies made a peak result in 2001, in 2002 the production clearly slowed down but is expected to increase again 2003. In 2002 differences in profitability grew between different companies. This year the results should improve.



Figure Production volume of Finnish metal industry monthly






The turnover in the different metal industry fields has progressed as follows:



Figure Development of turnover in mechanical engineering


Metal industry employs at the moment 215 000 people i.e. about 45 % of Finland's total labour force. Most of these work in machine and metalwork, i.e.140 000 people or 60 % ( app. 60 % blue collar); metals industry account for about 10 % (app. 70 % blue collar), electronics account for about  30 % (app. 50 %  blue collar). The sales of the companies being 5 per cent lower in 2003 than in 2002, the number of work force diminished by 6 000 people, nearly 3 per cent. However, investments in research and development  have remained approximately on the same high level. Mechanical engineering, electronics and metals industry account for up to 80 % of the total Finnish R&D expenditure.




Figure Number of staff in metal industry (1000 people)


The median age for blue colour workers is 41 years but  the most workers are in the age bracket 50-54. The curve drops abruptly after 54 years and only 2 % of the workers are 60 years. 14 % of the workers are 20-24 years old and the number of those 30-40 years is somewhat smaller. 


Metal and machine products, vehicles, cruiser ships, paper machines, stone treatment 

equipment, engines, elevators, cranes and lifting devices, forestry and agricultural machines, and of course mobile phones, are examples of products that are appreciated all over the world. The value of exports in August 2003 was 1700 million €, 17 % less than in 2002. However, business prospects in metal industry improved towards the end of 2003, whereas those in other fields stayed negative. 56 % of the production goes to exports.


To maintain the strong marketing position calls for development. The aim is therefore to apply new technology as quickly as possible and tailor products according to customers' needs. Overall business solutions are increasingly done in co-operation networks. In this is a way new jobs can also be created in subcontracting companies.


Main selling arguments and possible hazards:


Know-how, quality and technological edge are important considerations, and will increase in importance, in fields where Finnish metal industry has the best possibilities. To keep the competitive edge companies are increasing their investments in quality management and product research.


An obstacle in metal industry is the quality of labour. There is a shortage of experts, such as electronics engineers and skilled workers for metal engineering workshop. Another staff-related problem is ageing, as a great number of  experienced  workers will retire in the near future and young persons are not attracted by jobs in metal industry.


Other hazards that can be mentioned are different operating possibilities and prospects for companies and pressures from countries with lower labour costs and government subsidies. Globalisation will unavoidably lead to an exodus of at least mass production to countries offering cheaper labour, but the real threat today is that Finland may be losing its advantage in technological competence as well. The state of art of the products  will be our chance and challenge in the future as well. One way to meet this challenge is to invest in people by creating flexible training structures and opportunities to continuously develop the skills of the work force in metal sector.



3.5.2 State of the art in the field of qualified labour force


According to an estimation 40 000 employees aged 55-60 will disappear from metal and electronics industry in 2000-2010, whereas the number of graduates is about two thirds of this. In a recent business research the companies estimated the need for the main qualifications in metal industry as follows




In mechanical engineering:




in 5 years







mechanical fitter







In electronics industry:




in 5 years

automation fitter







The need for new metal workers will manifold in the future, even though metal industry is planning to reduce staff at the moment. The lack of skilled labour will culminate in 2006 and after that availability of skilled new labour will continue to cause problems, since metalwork is not seen as an attractive option by young people.



3.5.3 Estimation of labour qualification and possible ways for improvement


On the basis of the above research it is clear that the companies will need new skilled metal workers  in 5-10 years' time, even though they were rather guarded with their answers. According to the same research training is needed, besides in skills directly connected with metalwork, also in the employees' language, IT, first aid, firework, social and teamwork skills. New workers will be needed because 1) business expands 2) old workers retire 3) skills requirements in the field change. 


3.5.4 Co-operation with universities, other education and training providers


The strategic aim of the educational and training organisations is to increase the  appreciation and attractiveness of metal industry and metalwork as well as ensure that there are skilled metalworkers available also in the future.


Several projects are being developed which aim at  promoting mathematics and physics studies at school, making technical education more attractive, also among girls, and providing information on the opportunities offered by the field.


The educational organisations, on the other hand, must keep the companies informed of  their courses and qualifications, since these are often unfamiliar to the companies. Co-operation is important also in that respect that educational organisations must be able to change their curricula and adapt it to the needs of working life. Machine and metalwork companies are most interested to take vocational qualification students (i.e. not further or specialist's qualification) during the on-the-job-training period to learn the central metalwork tasks there.


3.5.5 Conclusion


There is a need to make vocational education and training organisations and companies work more closely together. As mentioned the companies do not often know what kind qualifications are done. Similarly, the curricula and courses have to be made to match the needs of working life. To do this the education and training providers must know what the needs of the companies really are. As educators and trainers may risk being stuck in the their world,  it is important to make them aware of what is really needed in the working life at any one moment. For this end an on-line system featuring the actual labour demand and supply is valuable tool. This will be  all the more important as we will soon be faced with a situation that old experienced metal workers retire and there are not enough new skilled people to replace them.        






3           System and realisation of INNOMET tool in practice


Effective recruitment and training of qualified labour force is one of the biggest challenges and problems for industrial enterprises (hereinafter Enterprises) today. At the same time educational institutions are particularly interested in following information – what are those professions needed in enterprises both in short and long-term, what kind of corrections and renewals should be made in curricula, which vocational training courses are required today or in further perspective, etc.


In practice common interests of enterprises and education providers can be solved by vocational certification and through the development of cooperation networks and systems.


        Requirements to professions are set in accordance to vocational certification principles (transparent system which is a basis for both for education and recruitment and training in enterprises) which are based on market situation of needed qualifications;

        Training programmes and courses raise skills levels of trainees in categories determined by vocational standards


























Conceptual scheme of the system


In order to create the virtual sector based cooperation system, a database test-version (INNOMET demo version) is introduced as an open access type system, which structure includes three main parts:


1) All the relevant education institutions, study programmes, re-training programmes and links to e-learning platforms of the sector in detail;

2) Private sector - human resources and labour force demand taking into account present situation and strategic development of manufacturing sector, and based on the existing employee qualification standards - detailed human competence system. Partners develop a common structure of advisory system; however, each partner is responsible for the further development and management of advisory systems in their regions.

3) Public and support organisations who need surveys and analysis related to human resources in private sector.


The purpose of the INNOMET software is to create a prototypic Internet-based information exchange environment connecting both enterprises and education.  The software operates with terms like Vocation (i.e. profession, described within boundaries of a current enterprise), Skill, Inquiry and Profession.



The INNOMET demo database has the following functions:



    1. Mapping of companies’ employees qualifications and skills level according to professions (eg. foreman, welder). Electronic questionnaire has already been developed in the frame of the INNOMET demo version in order to map different angles of skills and qualifications (general skills, specific skills, personal skills, etc) in companies.






    1. In future, during the follow-up projects in each partner country the INNOMET system can be developed in focusing on individual employees according to professions evaluation of his/her qualifications in the company’s structure (human resource development in the company).







    1. According to the gaps in qualifications – specific training programmes can be developed. Short term training programmes can be initiated within the project consortium. Concerning longer courses and new full-scale programmes  – recommendations will be made to existing education institutions (universities, vocational schools and other training bodies);







    1. Both lack of specific qualified labour force and specific training needs can be identified with the INNOMET database in long perspective when critical mass of companies are involved by 2006.






    1. Also qualification awarding process can be linked to the INNOMET database analysis of existing qualifications in companies training of the lacking skills qualification award system according to national qualification standards.



Tasks to be solved on the basis of companies’ human resources description


Number of enterprises and education providers from each partners’ region have been selected to develop and test the INNOMET database test-version (the INNOMET demo) in order to gain the widest possible variation of the elements of the advisory open-access environment.  In each partner area a sample of 2-5 education providers and companies are selected for survey during the first phase of 2003-2004.


The interviews with representatives from different educational institutions have resulted in a number of filled in questionnaires as well as comments. This questionnaire is less extensive than the company questionnaires and has a different form. Hence, it is not possible to make any major conclusions concerning the results. However, the comments could be summarised as follows:


  • The first interviews with the schools showed that the schools were interested in the INNOMET project and the expected outcome.

  • Most information in the questionnaire was accepted and available.

  • There are problems with graduates’ feedback and it was suggested that the INNOMET applications should provide this.

  • The list of topics is not expedient. Some schools have left this section unmarked and put a link to their web page instead. However, these are not always complete and up to date either.

  • The list of topics is not complete. Some schools have added a number of topics to the list.


The questionnaire comprises three different parts and a guiding description at the end. These include: “Questions on institution information”, “specialisation of the educational institution” and finally “topics of continuing education”. Educational institutions at four different levels are targeted. That is, technical universities, universities, schools of applied science and vocational schools.   


In total 10 educational institutions have participated in this interview and the distribution between different type of schools is illustrated in table below.


Educational institutions questionnaires’ distribution


Technical University


School of Applied Science

Vocational School





















In total







The common efforts to engage companies and to build the INNOMET network have resulted in a number of filled in questionnaires from each partner country although the total number of companies in this survey is limited so far. Managers on different levels and with different responsibilities have been interviewed. Together the participating companies form a rather heterogeneous group with different area of operation, as well as location have been finally taken into the sample interviews. Consequently, the results cannot be verified statistically although some conclusion can be made.


Companies’ questionnaires’ distribution


Machine building

Tools production

Part production

Mounting and assembly

Apparatus sector

























In total







In total 13 companies have answered the questionnaire in the preliminary phase and as can be seen in Table above all types of companies are represented. The turn over of the companies range from 1.4 million EUROS to 80 million EUROS and the number of employees from 34 to 703 persons.


Diagram: Operator  


The use of labour force categories also affects the results as well as location of the company. Different countries have different labour force categories within their vocational system.


Apart from the questionnaires the interviews have resulted in lots of comments and input from the participating companies.


Needed specialists are described by skills. For workers level the possible solution is shown in Table below.

Categorised skills of workers in machinery sector

General skills


 Basic skills

Extra skills

Specific skills of profession

Knowledge of specific materials

selection of working tools

Management and economy

Skills of reading technical drawings

knowledge of manufacturing technologies

Work safety

Knowledge of necessary handling operations


Work law

 Knowledge of working principles and procedures of necessary equipment

knowledge of  standard technologies

Computer skills

Knowledge of necessary technologies

adjustment of machine tool

Language skills

User skills of lifting and handling equipment

benching skills


The enterprise users are asked to fill an electronic table, consisting of following fields (see next table):


1)      Profession  – professions described in the system

2)      Current number of employees

3)      Qualification certificates, describing which certificates the persons working at corresponding profession have

4)      Number of employees over 50 years – current number of persons in age over 50

5)      Expected need for workforce during the period –the user can enter the number of expected need for workforce for the next 5 years.


Example of table of estimated demand for workforce



Current number of employees

Gained qualification certificates

Employees  – over 50 years old

Estimated labour force demand in















































Educational organisations are expected to exhibit their relevant courses in a database linkable manner. Data from universities and colleges is as a rule not uniform. As a reward they will have a possibility to predict future needs by using information feeds from variety of enterprises.


The main practical result of the proposed system is to supply enterprises and educational institutions with the updated information related to the needs, structure and qualification as well as about the opportunities to find needed labour force. An important step towards this goal is to define and understand the needs for the manufacturing industry for training and education in manufacturing education on global.


Regularly updated data by enterprises and educational institutions will contribute to the development of a time based information system as supporting environment by everyday business planning and human resources.


The main information from enterprises is also gathered by completed questionnaires.  Human resources potential in the company is evaluated based on skills or professions (see figure below). Companies following ISO certification rules can find it helpful.



Needed and existing level of competence in the company based on professions and skills