28 October 2015

Informal skills: From impediment to asset

kick start

The Greenland Perspective breakout session at the recent Arctic Circle assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, marked the kick start of a project focusing on recognising informal skills in Greenland. Approximately 200 people attended the session where a new publication on informal skills was launched. Next step is a dialogue meeting in Nuuk.

Judging by the number of participants, the inspirational speakers and the amount of input and questions left on sticky notes by the attendants, Greenland Perspective’s Arctic Circle breakout session was a great success. The session marked the kick start of a new project focusing on how to recognise and activate informal skills in the Greenlandic society. At the session Project manager Kuupik V. Kleist launched a new Greenland Perspective publication called “Everybody on board” – a collection of facts on the situation in Greenland today regarding education, unemployment and upskilling and an outlook on future possibilities.

Kuupik V. Kleist

Kuupik V. Kleist launched the publication "Everybody on board"

A local and an international level

The session consisted of a local level analysis, an international section and a workshop where attendants turned into participants by sharing their perspectives on human capacity building in the Arctic. The highly valuable input will help shape the further analysis to be published primo 2016.

During the session participants discussed and gave their input to the further steps of the project

The local section focused on the educational and occupational challenges in Greenland and on the local initiatives – such as Piareersarfiit, NUIKI and Piorsaavik – already present.Former Premier of Greenland, Kuupik V. Kleist, chaired the session and presented the newly published analysis ‘Everybody on board’, which provides an overview of what characterises the group of unemployed in Greenland, what skills they may possess and how similar skills are used elsewhere in the world.

The publication is the first step in the present project, which will culminate with a more thorough analysis in the beginning of 2016.

The international section consisted of three inspiring presentations of how informal skills should be seen as great assets to companies who do – or would like to do – business in the Arctic. First, the Australian mining company, Fortescue Metals Group, showed how their special initiative has heightened the living conditions of more than a 1000 aboriginal people. Second, the Faroese knitting company, Guðrun & Guðrun, revealed that they would like to expand their production with musk wool processed by Greenlanders who, in return, could be employed and receive small business training. Guðrun & Guðrun are conducting similar empowerment projects in Peru and Jordan.

The participants engaged in discussion during the session

Third and last, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators highlighted that the tourism industry is happy to cooperate with local citizens; the town of Itilleq being a great example of how this cooperation should be conducted elsewhere in the Arctic.

A dialogue meeting in Nuuk to include all relevant parties

Greenland Perspective does not rest on its laurels so the successful session in Reykjavik will be followed up by a dialogue meeting with local businesses, politicians and students in Nuuk, 19 November 2015. The aim of the meeting is to contribute to a positive and productive dialogue that, first of all, will shed light upon the many informal skills that some of the unemployed Greenlanders do possess. Secondly, the meeting will, hopefully, result in new concrete initiatives and partnerships activating these skills to the benefit of all parts involved.