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20 June 2017

Vocational skills celebrated in Finland

Competitors from home and abroad showcased their abilities to almost 100,000 visitors in a Finnish celebration of skills that has inclusivity at its core.

Taitaja – Finland’s national skills competition – took place from 15-18 May 2017 in the country’s capital Helsinki, with more than 400 young Competitors participating in 53 skills and the event attracting multinational involvement.

Hosted by Skills Finland and organized by vocational and educational training (VET) providers from the Greater Helsinki area, the national competition was accompanied by two targeted events: TaitajaPLUS, designed for Competitors with disabilities; and Taitaja9, for younger students to demonstrate how they are embracing vocational skills at an early age.

Skills Finland’s Executive Director, Ms. Eija Alhojärvi, was very pleased with the event, especially with the huge number of visitors. “Having the event in Helsinki made it possible for many decision makers from ministries, companies and other organizations to visit the event and see themselves how great it is”, says Alhojärvi.

“The event was very future-oriented and it presented some totally new skills, for example urban farming.  We were also happy to host so many international guest Competitors and delegations.”

Finnish participants were joined by around 50 guest Competitors from Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, the United Arab Emirates – the capital of which, Abu Dhabi, will hold the latest edition of the WorldSkills Competition in October – and the UK. And alongside high school students, teachers, Skills associates and the general public, a number of international delegations were welcomed to Taitaja, including national WorldSkills representatives from China, France, Kenya, Sweden, the UK and Zambia, diplomats from Israel and the UAE, and guests from the Greek and Brazilian Ministries of Education.

For some of the Competitors, Taitaja 2017 was an opportunity for them to sharpen their skills and their focus before heading to WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, where the Finnish team will comprise 27 Competitors and 24 Experts. Among them will be Dominic Ortju, who took the gold medal in the Game Development Skill at Taitaja, and said, “It was tough but awarding, and even considering the amount of work myself and my partner put into Taitaja, winning still came as a surprise.” 

“It has strengthened my faith in my own skills, and I still can’t believe I will soon be representing Finland at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, where the level is extremely high.”

The Closing Ceremony saw Noora Latvakoski, of Lapland Tourism College, named the best Competitor, or ‘Taitajien Taitaja’. From now until the 2018 edition of the Competition, she will represent Taitaja and vocational education at events organized by Skills Finland

As well as the competitive element, Taitaja 2017 included an international seminar, where speakers and workshops addressed topics ranging from VET and educational reform in Finland to global competence and urban learning. The event was made possible with the support of hundreds of companies, including 20 main sponsors, some of which have backed Taitaja for many years.

 For additional information on Skills Finland and Taitaja visit