In the Arctic “no school” does not equal “no skill” – University of Copenhagen

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06 October 2015

In the Arctic “no school” does not equal “no skill”

Arctic Circle Assembly

How can young Greenlanders’ informal skills be activated and acknowledged better than they are today? This urgent question is at the center of a new project on human capacity building in the Arctic funded by the Dr. Frederik Paulsen Foundation. The project will be kickstarted at a breakout session at the Arctic Circle Assembly i Reykjavik 16-18 October 2015.

Some Arctic societies have experienced improved living conditions due to increased industrialisation. But a too large number of people in the Arctic have little or no formal education, decoupling them from development. This is a great loss of value for society and a personal tragedy for the individual.

Many people with no formal education do, however, have a high level of skills relevant for new industrial actors on the local level as well as in the regional Arctic context. A new project is therefore asking: How can these informal skills be activated, acknowledged and utilised?

Analysis, partnerships and new ideas

The ultimate goal is to generate a comprehensive analysis, to create new partnerships and generate ideas for how the many skills held by those with little or no formal education in Arctic communities can be activated for improving the living conditions and personal well-being of the Arctic populations. Results obtained by focusing specifically on Greenland will be applicable in other Arctic communities as well.

The project is made possible by a generous donation of €150.000 from The Dr. Frederik Paulsen Foundation. Dr. Paulsen states:

”Unfortunately today too many young people in Arctic countries are left without influence and jobs because they do not have any formal education. But that does not mean they do not have skills. My hope is that this project could kick-start a new way of activating young Greenlanders at the edge of the labour market to the benefit of the individual and the society as a whole.”.

"Unfortunately today too many young people in Arctic countries are left without influence and jobs because they do not have any formal education. But that does not mean they do not have skills. My hope is that this project could kick-start a new way of activating young Greenlanders at the edge of the labour market to the benefit of the individual and the society as a whole.

Dr. Frederik Paulsen, Executive Chairman, Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Australian miners, Arctic Cruise ships, Greenlandic educators and Faroese fashion knitters  

The project will be carried out in two phases: A first phase will be leading up to the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, 16-18 October, at the breakout session ‘The human dimension: Greenland Perspective on capacity building in the Arctic’.

By zooming in on the case of Greenland, the session will present the cold facts and discuss the present opportunities and barriers from a civil society, government and international perspective. Initial findings will be made available in a published fact book providing an overview of the present situation, size of the affected group, historic contributory factors and present initiatives for how to solve the challenge.

Inspirational talks and group discussions will focus on how to solve the challenge based on international examples. Ideas and suggestions will be collected and published in a catalogue. Among the speakers will be the Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group who has set up an interesting programme helping young indigenous people without education into jobs in the mining sector, and the Faroese knitting company Guðrun & Guðrun that cooperates with women in Jordan and Peru. Moreover, representatives from the Education Department of Greenland, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators as well as a local upskilling initiative named NUIKI will participate in the session by presenting on Greenland’s educational challenges and an innovative model of training maladjusted young people.

Follow-up analysis and setting up a framework

After the Arctic Circle session a follow-up analysis will be conducted with the ultimate goal of creating a new framework for recognising and making better use of informal skills.