Wanted: 100,000 pioneers for a green jobs Klondike in the Arctic

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Fancy moving to Sweden? “Northvolt is looking in particular for immigrants to Sweden who have good English and a technical background, says Katarina Borstedt, the person responsible for finding the more than 3,000 people needed for the battery factory. ‘You don’t have to learn Swedish before you can work at Northvolt,’ she says”.

One by one, the 20 engineers and technicians step up to receive their equipment before the briefing. They have come to the far north of Sweden from as far away as Mexico, the US, Saudi Arabia, China, Germany and Russia.

“Welcome!” bellows Håkan Pålsson, their instructor. “We’re here to show you how to do curling, and then you’re going to go out on the ice and show us.”

This is the fourth curling session for new arrivals organised by staff at Northvolt, a company whose car battery gigafactory is rising at breathtaking speed on the outskirts of Skellefteå, this old gold-mining city just 200km south of the Arctic Circle.

The company, the city and the local Västerbotten county are doing everything they can to help arrivals get comfortable. This summer there was a foraging and wild cooking event for German engineers considering the move north. Locals are instructed to be friendly: “You are going to see more new faces in Skellefteå than ever before,” runs an encouraging post on the city website. “Their experience of Skellefteå will, to a large extent, depend on how good we are at welcoming them.”

Most impressive of all is the 20-storey Sara Cultural Centre, which opened last month. One of the tallest wooden buildings in the world, it has two theatres, a gallery, a library and a luxury hotel.

The reason for all this effort is simple.

If Northvolt is going to succeed in its plans to build Europe’s biggest battery factory, it and its host city need to convince thousands of people to move to the edge of the Arctic Circle, to a region where snow cover is constant from November to April and where the winter sun shines for no more than four hours a day. Read the full article on The Guardian.

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