Positive structural change

Positive structural change refers to a regional business investment that requires close cooperation between the company making the investment and the different operators in the region for its success.  The key issues to be resolved are establishing the company in the area, ensuring the availability of labour, attracting skilled labour to the area, accessibility, and settling in of the labour in the area or its neighbouring municipalities. The Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) will convene the cooperation group. The cooperation group consists of representatives from the Employment and Economic Development Office (TE Office), municipalities/cities in the region, a development company operating in the region, a representative of educational institutions, the Regional Council and representatives of the company or companies.

Anticipation in terms of ensuring the availability of skilled labour and the accessibility of the area is an important factor for success in positive structural change. All regions and sectors in Finland must make an effort to achieve positive structural change so that the investments are realised. 

In recent years, the battery sector has been strengthened through new operators and substantial investments. The Government’s national battery strategy (until 2025) has studied Finland’s preconditions for creating a competitive and sustainable battery industry. To achieve the objectives of the battery strategy, the sector needs to increase and expand its expertise. The Service Centre for Continuous Learning and Employment (JOTPA) is in the process of procuring training related to the battery industry value chain. The training will strengthen competences in the focus areas of the battery strategy, including the beginning and end of the value chain, production and process technology and maintenance. 
The training responds to the demand for skills and the need for training caused by the positive structural change in the labour market, for which the current education system does not offer ready-made training.

Hydrogen plays a key role in the green transition. In June, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment published its Climate and Energy Strategy, Carbon Neutral Finland 2035. Finland has received significant hydrogen investments and will receive more in the next few years. 

Publication: Carbon Neutral Finland 2035

Bridge agreements – cross-administrative cooperation process 

A bridge agreement is based on cooperation between operators and an examination of the situation and measures in the region through several administrative branches and two regions. A bridge agreement combines the region’s own measures with national measures, especially with regard to the availability of labour, R&D platforms, education and knowledge base. Attracting international talent to the area is also part of the process. Accessibility, housing and the awareness of the region are also recognised as factors of growth. 

In May 2020, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment commissioned a report assessing the operating model, process and impacts of bridge agreements. In addition, the report proposed the development of the operating model and the selection criteria for new areas. Experiences and observations from all bridge agreement areas were collected for the report. The research methods used included data analysis, interviews with experts and surveys with representatives of the areas and central government. No bridge agreements are currently in use.  

Report: Bridge agreements between central government and regions contribute to regional development

More information: Marjukka Aarnio, marjukka.aarnio(at)gov.fi