Three years ago, we launched the pre-project ArcticSkills. Since then the competition has been developed through competitions in Kirkenes, Murmansk and, this year, in Tornio, Finland. Moreover, let there be no doubt, the pilot has landed on solid ground and is ready for a new take-off. If we succeed in financing the main project for the years to come, the competition will return to Kirkenes in 2019. With more partners, more competences, more participants and experts and hopefully, a more professional organization.
This year’s event was a great success. The college Lappia had put all its resources together, and managed to add more quality into both the competitions the guest program and the logistics. Everything was well prepared, and the participants could concentrate on their main task, competing.
The number of competences was increased. This year’s official program included reindeer herding, IKT-services, house painting, car body repairing and painting and heavy machinery operators. Some of the competences were tried out before, but are now secured participants from some or all countries. The results shows a fair and equal competition in most of the competences. Home field is always an advantage. We experienced that in Kirkenes, Murmansk and likewise, in Tornio. Team Lappia/Rovaniemi won eight gold medals, Team Finnmark went home with four, and Team Murmansk had to settle with two. However, as we always underline, those who reach the ArcticSkills final round are all winners.
Many guests and spectators had found their way to Tornio. Politicians, school administrators, representatives from trade unions and employers. All sharing an interest of developing the vocational education in The Barents region. The organisers used the opportunity to focus on exchange of vocational skilled students, and contributors from Utbildning Nord, Lappia, Statoil, OPPIFINN, and East Finnmark regional Councel, shared their experiences and thoughts with an interested audience.
Well conducted opening and closing ceremonies in the college’s music hall, gave the event a grand atmosphere. Principal Virpi Lilja greeted the participants with a speech that underlined the importance and need of vocational skills in the Barents region, before all participants were presented on the stage.
The prize giving ceremony had the same touch of ceremonial cordiality, which included and focused on all participants.
Before the event ended with an evening party and the college’s own Beatles tribute band, we had a tasty dinner in the school’s restaurant. Both Russian, Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian participants and guests appreciated tasty food from a rich buffet.
Thank you Tornio, thank you Lappia. You have added a new dimension to ArcticSkills and given next year’s organiser, Kirkenes, a tough challenge.
Last, but not least, we express our gratitude to the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, the North Calotte council, Kolarctic and the county of Finnmark for their substantial grants to develop the pilot. Let us hope we are now able to fly.