10 December 2015

A step towards better recognition of skills

Nuuk talks

Greenland Perspective’s project on better use and recognition of informal skills has successfully moved into the next phase. A dialogue meeting with some of Greenland’s key players has taken place at Ilimmarfik (University of Greenland). Fruitful discussions, innovative ideas and – most importantly – a widespread will to do something about the challenge give hope for a brighter future for young unemployed people, businesses and the national economy in Greenland.

Former Premier of Greenland, Kuupik V. Kleist, set the scene at the dialogue meeting in Nuuk by sketching the present challenges and possible solutions as explained in ‘Everybody on board’. More than 80 percent of Greenland’s group of unemployed have merely finished elementary school, thus narrowing their opportunities for employment.

Gujo Thorsteinsson

Gujo Thorsteinsson who has years of experience working with young people gave a talk

While their formal education is limited, many of them have informal skills achieved by e.g. spending a lot of time in Greenland’s magnificent nature. Instead of focusing on the educational limits, the informal competences should be acknowledged and used to the benefit of everybody involved: From minus to plus!

Suggestions and ideas from industry, civil society and authorities

Representatives from Sermersooq municipality, local schools, Inuit Circumpolar Council, CSR Greenland and some of Greenland’s largest businesses such as Royal Greenland, Nukissiorfiit and Brugseni participated in the meeting together with university students and SIK. – Greenland’s largest trade union. All agreed that an enhanced focus on informal skills can contribute to improving the present situation and many were keen to take part in this process:

SIK – who has approximately 10.000 members and 33.000 members in their pension fund – announced that they are open for further dialogue and encouraged the Government of Greenland to take this perspective seriously by conducting an official strategy for better use of informal skills. They further suggested that e-learning could be very beneficial in this process and that more internships should be made available for young people.

At the meeting the participants worked in groups

CSR Greenland emphasised the importance of offering more internships and suggested that companies should agree to common guidelines in order to ensure a certain level of training and knowledge sharing with interns. Gujo Thorsteinsson – an independent social worker counsellor – provided insightful perspectives from his own experiences with young Greenlanders and suggested that one should meet them on their own premises.

A need for role models and entrepreneurship

Presentations were followed up by group discussions of current barriers and solutions. Among some of the valuable inputs were: the need for good role models, to focus more on entrepreneurships and to simply ask the young people what they are good at. A representative from Nukissiorfiit – the energy company – told that they have been very successful with their upskilling initiative of i.a. autodidact electricians, but that there are still too many restrictions on what kind of courses they are allowed to offer. A representative from Royal Greenland shared a similar experience and told that they are currently looking at how to improve their internal credit system.

Altogether, the meeting resulted in new valuable ideas and concrete cooperation; both bilaterally between the representatives present and with Greenland Perspective. Next step is a more thorough analysis based on ‘Everybody on board’ with contribution from more than twenty of the most prominent experts in the area of informal skills and Greenland’s society respectively. To be continued…