Towards the skills competitions of 2020

Eija_1.jpgSkills Finland's Executive Manager Eija Alhojärvi's new blog explains what new measures the new decade brings with it and orients itself towards the skills competitions of 2020.

The guiding principles while preparing Skills Finland’s new strategy were participation and integration. During these two years countless discussions were held in various forums between both members, affected parties and others with an interest in developing vocational education and skills competitions. These discussions laid the groundwork for our activities for the year 2020 and especially for our new strategy.

Our most important assignment for 2020 is to turn the strategy that was approved at the annual meeting in 2019 into an actual operations plan, which will guide our activities in the coming years.

Many of the strategic decisions require further precision and continued pondering. How will climate change and other complex environmental issues affect competency requirements? How will they be noticed at Taitaja, our national skills competition, and what role could competitions serve in preventing these issues? How do we organize Taitaja in a sustainable way? What does improved participation mean in practice, who can participate in skills competitions? An increasing number of adult students has created new challenges, that we have yet to solve. And what does being future-oriented and anticipating mean for our organization? These and other questions should be answered during the coming spring, for us to be able to present our operations plan at the annual meeting next fall.

The development of Taitaja is advancing at a good pace. The future Taitaja-hosts internal co-operation enables planning for the long term. Due to this co-operation we can multiply the amount of knowledge and know-how at our disposal, as well as share the workload between multiple parties. The development has taken a new leap, especially in regard to Taitaja and the institutions that have committed to its development, largely due to the new rotational model used for hosting, where the institutions one at a time take responsibility for hosting the event.

The selection process for our new Competition Manager is at this moment still ongoing. I am happy that so many showed interest in the position. Our new Competition Manager will take over leadership over Taitaja and the responsibility for developing it.

I am also happy that Abilympics most likely will be held again in 2021, after a long pause. The competition will take place in Moscow in May. The preparations for the event are already in full speed. Skills Finland is a member of the Erasmus+ project, led by France, which has as its ambitious goal to create a European Abilympics competition. As a part of this project, practice competitions will be held in five countries. Finland will host its competition in November 2020. The project is an excellent opportunity for both competitors and judges to practice before Abilympics.

The preparations for the next WorldSkills are also starting this year. The next WorldSkills will take place in Shanghai in September 2021. Next fall new WorldSkills-experts and Skills Managers for the years 2021–2023. We will also be sending various goods to the WorldSkills-museum in Shanghai, which will be opened during the competitions. It will be interesting to see how Finnish skills competence will be present in the museum.

While interviewing candidates for the position of Competitions Manager, I’ve had the chance to think about the importance and weight that competitions and what we do has. The best part of our work is definitely the impact it has and the challenges it presents, the opportunities to make a change and to improve the world as well as the co-operating through a wide and very competent network.

This is an excellent position to begin the new decade. Together we can make the Skills Competitions of 2020 the best of all times.