Sitting on gold and Perspectives on skills – University of Copenhagen

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17 June 2016

Sitting on gold and Perspectives on skills

Human gold

A systematic and holistic approach might the key to a sustainable development in Greenland when it comes to human resources. A new anthology called 'Perspectives on skills' and the report 'Sitting on gold' explores new ways to recognise and use informally acquired skills in Greenland.

Greenland might be sitting on an under-explored reserve of gold. Not the reserve in the ground, but the warm gold in the shape of human resources. 

Anthology and a report on informally acquired skills in Greenland

The report Sitting on gold investigates how informally acquired skills could be activated towards development of the Greenlandic society. 

The report suggests to look closer into 8 focus areas for a fuller use of the potentials of people without a formal education. 

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There is a potential in recognition of traditional as well as modern skills

Perspectives on skills

The report is largely based on a new anthology named Perspectives on skills containing a large variety of insights on informally acquired skills in Greenland as well as in an international context. The report is also based on a former publication called Everybody on board as well as a range of meetings with relevant stakeholders in and outside Greenland. 

The 15 chapters of the anthology points to the many different aspects of dealing with informally acquired skills - from the many local examples such as widespread CSR-efforts, new ways of activating human resources through events such as the Arctic Winter Games, innovation in settlements and educational programmes dealing with personal issues such as NUIKI - to international experiences with recognition of skills and volunteer-spirit. 

Big potential 

Sitting on Gold concludes that there is a great need for - but also a great potential in - a systematic focus on how to include people with no formal education in society by activating their "invisible" skills. The gains for both the individual and for society could be massive. 

Informally acquired skills can be modern as well as traditional

The report includes a range of examples of how informally acquired skills are already put to use in todays Greenlandic society and how a systematization of the efforts could form a new model for sustainable development. It points to the potential in setting up a system for recognition of both traditional and modern informally acquired skills. These skills could be assets in a future Greenlandic job market with new types of emerging industries - and they could benefit the individuals in Greenland who are having difficulties entering a formal job market. 

People are left outside 

The background for the optimistic conclusion of the report is severe and calls for urgent action. A rather large group of people - and among them a large number of young people - are in danger of marginalization because they have no formal education. This reduces their chances of employment and in general they have fewer options in life compared to their better-educated peers. 

Many initatives have already been taken but there seem to be room for supplementary approaches. 

Solutions could be found within Greenland 

The report has shown that there is a potential in finding answers within the Greenlandic context by looking at human resources of the country in a holistic and systematic way. Taking a point of departure in the country’s own resources and specific culture and conditions might be the road to a more sustainable development. There is a potential in activating human resources in connection to events in a very broad sense as a catalyst for activating skills. Sportsevents, festivals, researchers’ fieldwork, summercamps, cultural events, annual environmental clean-ups, just to mention a few opportunities, which could be seen as occasions suitable for activating human resources. There is also a potential in a more flexible approach to competence portfolios, especially in remote areas, where local and traditional knowledge might be used more systematically in a collaboration across sectors. Finally there seems to be a potential in activating volunteer resources as part of a constant up-skilling process as well as a way to support sectors in need of hands.