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Vocational qualifications in vehicle recycling – what are the benefits?

We recently spoke to Kari Laine, CEO of Volvoks, a vehicle repair and dismantling operation specializing in Volvos in Finland, about the vehicle recycling course, as part of the national education programme, which is on offer to those wishing to learn more about this process to benefit from future employment in the industry.


About the course

The course on dismantling is included in the vocational qualification in the motor vehicles sector. To graduate in the motor vehicles sector, students must complete qualification units, which, in total, amount to 180 credits. 

There are three different qualification units that concern vehicle recycling: 

  • preparation of end-of-life vehicles 
  • dismantling of reusable parts 
  • sales of reusable parts.

Each unit counts as 15 credits. The units include the dismantling of vehicles, how to recognize reusable parts and components, and the sorting of materials.

How the course was developed and the value it can bring

There is quite a funny story behind it. Travelling Route 66 in the United States with my spouse in the summer of 2019, we found out through social media that my old teacher from my studying days, Matti Alanko (who still teaches at Keuda Vocational College), was also travelling in the States. We decided to meet in Los Angeles for dinner. During dinner, we discussed, among other things, the current situation in the vehicle dismantling field, and I shared my concerns about the quality of car dismantling and also the impact of car repairs on the environment by using only new parts and discarding the possibility to use original parts, even if used. When we returned to Finland, we picked up the discussion. We shared our thoughts with Timo Repo, Chief Engineer at the Finnish National Agency for Education, and Jouko Sohlberg, Technical Director at the Finnish Foundation for Promotion of Motor Vehicles Sector Training. They were the initial force to start the vehicle dismantling units. Hermanni Salonen, responsible for the motor vehicles sector training at Turun ammatti-opisto, did a great job putting the units. 

Students get value from the units as they get a comprehensive picture of the life cycle of vehicles and how they can reduce the costs of car repairs. It also allows the students to participate in sustainable development and take action against climate change when they learn how proper car dismantling contributes to reusing natural resources.

Advantages to future employers 

Studying at a car dismantling facility provides a new approach in how to produce sustainable car repair procedures. Students get the chance to recognize different components and car diagnostics. It is like working at a car factory, but you do it in reverse order, breaking down the total into components. They also learn that using a used car part is cost-efficient even by repairing older vehicles, and often, instead of using new spare parts, it can give a better result financially.

Changes and the evolution in vehicle recycling

For a long time, vehicle recycling has been consumer culture and the vehicles that have served their purpose have been regarded as waste and metal raw material. Now circular economy thinking has made car producers think differently. Car dismantlers produce original, even if used, spare parts. This contributes to prolonging the life cycle of vehicles and upholding the brand with reasonable costs. From the dismantler’s perspective, we wish for more cooperation and more detailed information on parts and components and how they can be reused. For example, electrically coded spare parts need to be enabled for parts to be reused. Car dismantlers are also very good at sorting materials when the collection of materials becomes more comprehensive.

Staff requirements in an ever-changing industry

The complexity of vehicles demands that the dismantling staff keep up their knowledge of vehicle components and techniques. Just like the staff at car repair shops, it is good for students to learn from the start, that also in the motor vehicle field, you need to develop your knowledge constantly. It is also very important that the possibility of a reused car part is recognized not only at the vehicle dismantling site but also at car repair shops. 

The dismantled car part can be seen as an enabler. It has a carbon footprint of 0%, is domestic, and provides jobs.

For information about Volvoks, please visit 

About Volvoks

Volvo is the only workshop/demolition company in Southern Finland that specializes in Volvo cars and is one of the few in Finland. Founded in 1990, its operations include Volvo maintenance and repair, as well as supporting Volvo-specific dismantling operations. Volvoks is a non-attached, private company and not part of the Volvo Group.