The University of Borås is now gathering its strengh for next year and is opening up 300 new places at the school.
<br />We have planned for an expansion, and we have both the teachers and the premises for it. In many ways we have an excellent starting point when it comes to doing something about the challenges that the entire West Swedish society faces due to the lay-offs at Volvo and its suppliers. So says Jörgen Tholin, vice-rector at the University of Borås.
"The problems that are affecting the western part of Sweden also affect Borås and its surroundings. Education is a good way out of the crisis. Through education we are securing the competence that is needed for the long-term structural change that all of western Sweden must go through, and thereby we are better equipped for the future."
"It is also important to consider that the student is always in focus. It is not about filling empty seats in the classes, but about which educational alternatives are attractive on the labour market."
Why is the University of Borås a suitable alternative?
"Our educational programmes meet the needs of the labour market. It is known nationally that our students are the quickest to get a job upon graduation. We are a professions seat of learning and we offer education where you get a job. In this case it is about people who have lost their jobs. They can't afford to study for two or three more years and then be unemployed again."
"We are doing this because we keep our promises. The University of Borås is one of six seats of learning in the country that, for the fiscal year 2008, is estimated to not have to return money for unused funds. In addition, we have increased the number of applicants for several years running."
Is the University now only reaching out to the unemployed?
"In part we are reaching out to those who will lose their jobs. That is not a homogenous group, but people with varying backgrounds. Among those there are young people who are now given the opportunity to attend the university or to reschool themselves. We are good at validation. A lot of those who will be applying are very knowledgeable, and their skills will be acknowledged."
"We are especially skilled when it comes to taking care of people with a foreign background who are academics. That's what our Immigrants' Academy is for."
"A new employment opportunity can also arise when someone who is permanently employed chooses to educate themselves. The effect can be likened to rings on the water."
What is required of the University now?
"We are well prepared. After making a re-inventory of our range of education we have reached the conclusion that we can expand our range by 300 places. That is an expansion of our ordinary range of education. I should add that this is nothing extraordinary. We have the capacity when it comes to both teachers and premises."
There is a rumour that a new entrepreneurial package has been developed?
"That was intended to be presented later this winter, but since the situation is as it is now, this feels like the right time. It is, among other things, about letting the students on our educational programmes attend inspirational training and getting businessmen to attend coaching training so that they can support new entrepreneurs."
Are we receiving regional support for this project?
"There has been tremendous interest. Everybody agrees that the University of Borås is an important part of the Västra Götaland Region. We have spoken with all riksdag representatives (MPs) in the region, as well as all municipal councilmen, a large number of companies, friends of the University and other seats of learning in western Sweden. They all support us."
Here are a few of the educational alternatives on offer:
Higher studies preparatory:
Technical Science Base Year
Basic level education:
Pre-school teacher training
Recreation leader training
Higher studies technician
Project management focusing on informatics
Education in the field of textiles with a connection to SmartTextiles
Advanced level education:
Master's programme in industrial economics