A team mentality helps Saab Kockums' Apprenticeship Coordinator empower tomorrow's shipyard workforce

From goal saver to skill builder Rickard Fransson, apprenticeship coordinator at Saab Kockums, is passionate about empowering the next generation of industrial workers.

At 33 Rickard Fransson had enjoyed a distinguished career at the top of Swedish football when he finally decided to hang up his gloves.

Nine years on, however, it’s clear that he has hardly been idle. Alongside his job at Saab Kockums he instructs goalkeepers at district level, works with a football academy and is an assistant coach with a team in division five.

A busy sporting, working life

“My spontaneous reaction when I think about it is: how do I squeeze it all in? My leisure time is really crammed full... To manage it all, clarity and planning is extremely important. But you also need to have a family that is understanding and shares your interests. Otherwise it would never work,” says Fransson. He has worked as a sheet metal worker for just over 20 years and carried out testing work for a shorter period in the engineering, pipework and composites department. Fransson was attracted to the project when “Saab wanted to invest and saw a bright future for shipyard workers in 2014”.

Training the workforce of tomorrow

Since the end of last year he has also been working as an apprenticeship coordinator for vocational students. In cooperation with Af Chapmangymnasiet, 15 young people are offered training combined with practical experience in the shipyard’s steel and mechanical workshops. The aim is to encourage more young people to pursue a technical education. “We’ll need a large workforce in the future so this gives us a long-term supply of skilled personnel at Saab. By stimulating young people with practical training and learning they automatically become a little more anchored in reality. Given that the apprenticeship is university-based they can go on and study at university after three years’ industrial training.” Apart from coordinating the apprentices on various training courses, Fransson also works on training schedules.

“I am the bridge between school and their first work experience. I am passionate about working with young people, supporting and helping them to obtain an excellent education. It’s wonderful to see and follow their development as individuals; how they slowly but surely become fully fledged industrial workers.”