Erica and Maritza are coworkers and work side-by-side with final assembly of Gripen. They were chosen to compete by their schools. Erica studied aircraft mechanics at Anders Ljungstedts High School in Linköping and Maritza at Flygteknikcenter in Ljungbyhed. Both eventually applied to work in Linköping at Saab, where they were employed at nearly the same time in August of 2016.
You're coworkers, friends and even neighbours – what will competing against each other be like?
Maritza: "We don't see it as a disadvantage that we're competing; we instead see it as an advantage. If it doesn't go well for me, I'll be happier to see my coworker win than someone else. But if we both end up on the podium, that'd be even better..."
What will you be competing in?
Maritza: "The events are Repair of aircraft fuselage damage, Daily inspection of helicopters, Troubleshooting and repair of electrical systems, Leakage test for piston engines and Component replacement on aircraft engines. These aren't exactly jobs that we normally do daily here at final assembly."
How are you preparing for the contest?
Erica: "We've made daily inspections of helicopters and practiced riveting and drilling. We'll also be visiting our old schools and make use of them as support."
Maritza: "Exactly. We'll go through the things we don't know how to do and practice them here. We'll also be talking a lot with each other and people here at Saab. The more we talk about it the less nervous we'll be before the contest."
So, how do you like working at Saab?
Maritza: "We like it a lot. Saab is a company with many opportunities. That's what attracted me to Saab, that it's so big. If I put in the effort, I know that Saab will back me up and help me sharpen my skills."
Erica: "It feels great to be working with something that is at the leading edge, like when we work on the E-planes. When we run into problems we get together and talk it over to come up with a solution instead of trying to work it out alone. Here we work together and solve problems together."
Hobbies and interests: Visiting with friends and family, working on cars
Favourite car: My very first, a Volvo 940 ltt, bought when I was 14
Dream trip: Backpacking around the world
Hobbies and interests: Building cars, going to car events, visiting with friends and family
Dream car: My own Nissan S14, otherwise a Nissan PS13 with a 2JZ engine
In ten years: Further trained as an aircraft technician, bought a house and finished building that drifting project at home
About WorldSkills Sweden
WorldSkills Sweden – Sweden's most work-oriented event – is arranged by WorldSkills Sweden, a three-party collaborative organisation with the Swedish Trade Union Federation, the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and the Swedish state. It is an initiative to increase interest and recruitment for vocational training. Schools and the general public can visit the event to watch, ask questions and try out the various professions. The winners from WorldSkills Sweden are selected for the Swedish National Skills Team and they can represent Sweden in the upcoming WorldSkills Europe competition, as well as in the global WorldSkills championships.
Saab is participating with a stand where visitors for example can try their hands at steering a CNC lathe and meet Saab employees from several different business areas.