Keflavík Airport and the local community


A successful workshop on career development and sustainability at Keflavík Airport was held yesterday, April 18.

The workshop was intended to continue the conversation about how Isavia and Keflavík Airport as a workplace can meet the needs of people in the local community. How can you influence more people to choose an education or a career in the jobs that are available there, or find a way through, for example, unemployment benefits into the workplace?

Representatives from Ístak, Kadeco, Miðstöð Símenntunar á Suðurnesja (MSS), Keili, Fjölbrautskóli Suðurnesja (FSS), Samtakinin söderinins, Reykjanesbær, Suðurnesjabær, Vinnumálastofnun, Virk and the Electrical Industry Association attended the workshop.

The last workshop was held on September 27 last year.

Four presentations were given:

Theodóra Þorsteinsdóttir, Project Manager in Isavia's Development Department, presented the Keflavík Airport Development Plan. In order to ensure that the planned works for the development of Keflavík Airport are in accordance with Isavia's strategy when it comes to sustainability, it was decided to set a clear framework with sustainability criteria for all the future works.

She said Isavia wants to open the debate on adding requirements for social responsibility in the tendering process, but today requirements are made related to environmental issues.

Theodóra Þorsteinsdóttir.
Theodóra Þorsteinsdóttir.

Pálmi Freyr Randverson, Managing Director of Kadeco, presented a new development plan for the area around Keflavík Airport, which aims to use the strength of the airport and the great opportunities that can be found in Reykjanes as a driving force for economic investment, job creation and general quality of life in the region and for society as a whole.

The development plan extends to the year 2050, but the first steps have already begun, e.g. the development of green industrial parks at Helguvík Harbour, improved public transport between the airport and the capital and the development of apartments.

Bjarki Þór Iversen, Ístak's human resources manager, discussed the situation at Ístak in general and in the area near Keflavík Airport, actions to promote recruitment and actions in the local environment of the southern islands.

Bjarki discussed that there is a serious shortage of staff in several branches. Ístak wants to be able to hire people from the local area, but a rapid increase often means that foreign labor must be resorted to. However, there is the challenge that the lack of housing makes it difficult for employees who come here from outside to find shelter.

Ístak's main challenge when it comes to influencing the local environment is that smaller contracts and short project times make it difficult for them to have a real impact. Larger and longer projects, on the other hand, offer other conditions to support the labor market in the local area.

Tia Patel.
Tia Patel.

Tia Patel from Mace presented the future jobs that can be expected to accompany the development of Keflavík Airport in the coming years, among which are jobs for electricians, carpenters, plumbers, laborers, masons, engineers and technicians, for example.

Discussions arose about what is needed in order for the local community to be able to meet this professional development. Language teaching was high on the minds of the meeting attendees, but many believe there is a need for special courses where vocabulary related to each job is taught so that the parties have the necessary vocabulary to do their job.

Tia also discussed the recently announced graduate program where recent university graduates are offered the opportunity to work in project management at Mace and receive training and support for the first 2 years of their career. This is full employment and paid work, following a foreign model.

Attendees welcomed such training, but it was discussed whether such training would also be useful for positions that do not require a university degree, e.g. industrial or machine management, and opportunities for younger people who are not interested in traditional education but would be interested in vocational training like this.

After the presentations, about 40 minutes were used for open discussions, but it was decided to establish a working group that can meet more often and come up with proposals on how to meet the challenges of the future.

More information about the Keflavík Airport development plan can be found here.