Teacher Markku Vengasaho joined the competition activities with full vigour. He has brought together young students, local entrepreneurs, vocational qualification students and the top professionals of the industry.
"I am no longer the same teacher as I was five years ago. My role as a teacher and teaching methods have changed", Teacher Markku Vengasaho says.
He is a teacher at Saimaa Vocational College Sampo and also the event manager for confectioners. Vengasaho feels that the competition activities have allowed him to learn teamwork skills understand the power of networking. If he has a difficult problem to resolve, help can be requested from the network and someone can help as quickly as in fifteen minutes.
"When a youth is creating his own future, I think how I could create a professional spark in him that would result in him becoming inspired by a sector. The student and competitor have their own view and the idea is not that they do what I feel is best." In order to understand this, Vengasaho has had to learn how to listen with humility.
Work as the Skills manager and as a WorldSkills trainer for Emeliina Papinniemi, who won gold medal in WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, has been worth the effort. This has been among my best projects during working life and good training for the upcoming reform. I’ve been in the working life for 22 years. Sampo’s confectioner education is currently also very popular.
Vengasaho also combined Papinniemi’s training with the Excellence in Skills to Entrepreneurship training. He invited top experts to Sampo to train Papinniemi; youth services students, apprenticeship students, entrepreneurs from South Karelia and industry teachers from different parts of Finland.
Attracting top talent to a vocational institute in Lappeenranta sounds like a difficult task, but it is possible if you can find enthusiastic people.
"Many are willing to share information on their top expertise to others. Once the number of participants is large enough, the fee per person is not too high."
Apprenticeship students were working on their vocational qualification in the group and those in secondary school were working toward their education. A local foundation supported the participation of entrepreneurs. An apprentice-ship student also developed competition recipes with Papinniemi.
"Often, combining education with training is mostly limited by one’s own thinking."
Vengasaho also funded Papinniemi’s WorldSkills competition trip through a company partnership.
"I first asked myself how a specific company could benefit from funding Emeliina’s competition. If I could think of a good reason and have it clear in my mind, I would be able to get a company to participate."
For example, the WSC2017 preliminary rounds were held at Keittiömaailma, a partner company. Previously, the preliminary rounds had been held on school premises. Vengasaho focused on acquiring funding from a few companies. They would also obtain visibility on Papinniemi’s website and on the work coats of the competing team.
As a developer type, Vengasaho suspects that he would become bored if he would have to work alone as a teacher.
"When I am part of a team, I can give so much more."
Teija Ripattila, Chief Training Manager, Skills Finland ry: ”This is a financially effective method for combining training and education. In addition to the expertise, the student will also receive the certificates for completing qualifications.”