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OP Pohjola grants EUR 225000 to University of Lapland

1/9/2017 8:00 AM

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The University of Lapland has received a donation of 225,000 euros from the OP Pohjola branches in Lapland and OP Financial Group.

The donation came courtesy of a visit by the chief executives of OP Pohjola bank branches in Lapland at the university on December 20, 2016.

The existence of the University of Lapland is an important factor of attractiveness and retaining the population, said Pentti Alaperä, the CEO of Tornio OP Pohjola bank during the visit.

According to Alaperä, the University of Lapland may support service design projects, among other things, in order to develop the Tornio-Haaparanta region.

“The university could support further the development of business, for instance, in supplementary education and become more active in economic development projects,” said Alaperä.

The CEO of OP Pohjola Keijo Posio specifically emphasised collaboration between the university’s students and the business community, which he pointed out could be strengthened further.

According to Posio, research by the university enhances international visibility and credibility and the region’s vitality. Furthermore, Posio pointed out that cooperation between the University of Lapland and the Lapland University of Applied Sciences and other education institutions gives Lapland’s youth opportunities to bolster their expertise within their own region up to the highest degree.

According to Posio, the different study paths make education possible, even during adult life, up to the doctorate level.

“I am particularly pleased with the collaboration between the University of Lapland and the Lapland University of Applied Sciences, which gives young people opportunity and both professional and theoretical training for work purposes. Lapland needs expertise and in regard to this challenge, Lapland’s institutions of higher education have responded in many ways,” Posio said.

According to the 2016 Lapland Economic Outlook, the business of companies in Lapland has developed more positively compared to elsewhere in the country. The upturn is fuelled by companies hiring more than 20 people. The expectation for the future for companies in Lapland is brighter than average.

“The importance of tourism is strongly growing. Manufacturing is, however, still the most important for the whole region and the sector is doing better these days than for years. We need both production and services. Companies related to new forms of energy also offer significant opportunities for the future,” Alaperä said.

Forestry and steel industries as well as mining operations have invested millions of euros in order to improve capacity. Similarly, the industrial sector in Rovaniemi is growing towards international-oriented business. According to Posio, the university and the business community could be more active in both the areas.

Posio stated that the University of Lapland has set a good example when it comes to design services. It has offered concrete assistance to the tourism industry for many years. It would be good, according to Posio, for businesses to be in active contact with the University of Lapland and other education institutions.

Both Alaperä and Posio pointed out that the future of Lapland looks good. One of the future challenges, according to Alaperä, is that of a shrinking population. However, some of the growth in the region will be as a result of internal migration. On the other hand, Posio believes digitalisation will open opportunities, because people of Lapland will be able to work globally from home.

City Rovaniemi-FNN Report