Speech by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at Euroskills 2016
Gothenburg, 30 November 2016
Check against delivery.
Young talents, family members, teachers, representatives of business and trade unions, friends.
Welcome to Sweden. Welcome to Gothenburg.
It is an honour for any country to be allowed to organise large events.
And an event of this kind, where young people from 27 European countries, alongside guest competitors from around the globe, have the opportunity to show off the fantastic skills that build all of our societies – in my view, that is the greatest event of all!
Once upon a time, long before any of the contestants here today were born, I worked in a timber sorting plant in Ångermanland in northern Sweden.
And when the sorting equipment broke, we called in a welder.
He had an almost magical ability to take something that was completely broken, and make it like new again. And I thought: "I want to do that!"
So I trained, and went into my first workplace as a welder, and although I never became the best, I remember the pride I felt at doing something really well.
I want to congratulate all of you who are here competing.
You have that pride. You have become the best in your professions. And that is why you are here. And through your efforts, you have also become representatives of your home towns, your countries, your generation.
You also represent the future.
Your hands create the furniture of the future, the design of the future, the communication of the future.
Your drive will digitalise society, produce solutions to the climate threat, build the houses and lay the floors that our children and grandchildren walk on.
Your dreams will become the reality of the future.
So treasure them. Take pride in them. And never hesitate to make them a reality.
* * *
Your know-how and your professional skills inspire me. But I am also inspired by your teachers.
You and your teachers have probably not always got on, and they have probably not always realised how smart you actually are, but they must have been doing something right to have got you here!
So, before you leave this competition, don't forget to thank the people who have inspired and paved the way for you.
Role models like them are one of the most important things in life.
And your presence here today shows that you are potentially on the way to becoming such role models yourselves. Shoulder that responsibility. Help others, just as you yourselves have received help along the way.
* * *
Because I must tell you that you are needed.
In a world in which the pace of change is constantly increasing, the need for people who are constantly striving to develop, to be the best and the most skilled in their profession, to try new technologies and push new boundaries is greater than ever.
Here in Sweden, perhaps the greatest threat to our economy at the moment is the shortage of people with vocational qualifications.
And this competition also shows the absolute best thing about being extremely skilled in your profession: it is really good fun.
So my message here today is this:
The world needs your pride; we need your hands, your drive, your dreams, and we need you as role models for the future.
So once again: welcome to Sweden, welcome to some hard work and difficult challenges.
Let the fun begin and good luck in the competition!