For someone who sees a vocational skills competition for the first time, it is amazing. ”How do those young people know how to do that?” you ask yourself. The respect for the professionals, and for vocational education, gets a boost.
Competing in vocational skills contributes to making professions more visible to audiences. International tournaments in vocational skills is one step further. Arctic Skills-project has taken the ambitious task of carrying out a tournament on the Kolarctic area.
Boosting visibility of vocational education is just one aspect of the competitions. They enhance cooperation between businesses and educational institutions, so that the businesses e.g. get a view to how people are trained – people who later perhaps work with them. Teachers, too, need the interaction between educational institutions, in order to utilise the experiences and best practices of each other.
The project was preparing a tournament to be carried out in March-April 2020. It was planned to be carried out in the premises of Gränsälvsgymnasiet, Övertorneå, Sweden, with 18 professions of different branches competing. At that time the COVID-19 related traveling and gathering restrictions started. The tournament of 2020 had to be cancelled. This was a hard setback for the project. The project plan also involved student exchange, and needless to say that this was severely harmed by the restrictions. The project consortium decided to continue planning alternative solutions.
It became evident during the next weeks and months that planning a live Arctic Skills tournament event with participants from all four countries involves risk. After seeing some examples and alternatives, the solution was to arrange competitions on different premises of the participating countries, and digital, online, tools would serve to combine them and also give a chance for the audiences to follow the competition online.
In short, the restrictions gave the Arctic Skills project a chance to new solutions.
After national competitions were carried out, an Arctic Skills tournament was arranged as a distance competition with digital connections. The competition covered a total of 15 competences. The actions were located in Övertorneå, Tornio, Rovaniemi, Kirkenes, Murmans, and Apatity. The Swedish partner, represented by Utbilding Nord in Övertorneå, was the host and responsible for conducting the competition. Utbildning Nord established a broadcast studio, supported by NorrMedia in Luleå, that carried out live streams from all competences and locations in Sweden, Finland, Russia and Norway.
The broadcast followed a separate broadcast program throughout the completion and led by the studio host, Mattias Söder from Utbildning Nord. From an audiences point of view the experience was perfect.
This is a method how, probably, the Arctic Skills tournament is going to be arranged next time, too. The participating organisations have experience-based knowledge about how to handle.
Project partners of Arctic Skills:
- Lead Partner:
Kirkenes Upper Secondary School
Organization for private training offices in Finnmark (OPPIFINN), Norway
Kemi-Tornionlaakso Municipal Education and Training Consortium Lappia, Finland
Rovaniemi Municipal Federation of Education
Murmansk Technological College of Service (MTCS), Russia
Sami High School and Reindeer Husbandry School, Norway
Sami Education Institute, Finland
Stiftelsen Utbilding Nord, Sweden