Sitting on Gold identifies 8 different focus areas which could be interesting to consider if there is a wish to with informally acquired skills and the benefits to be gained from them.
1. Finding the answers within
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.
2. Test of actual potential
The papers, on which this report is based, suggest that there exists a considerable societal potential in the informally acquired skills in Greenland. There is a strong need to verify that the group who are presently outside the work force and not enrolled in further education will benefit from better visibility and certification of their skills. Likewise, quantification of the socio-economic potential of matching these skills with existing and potential demands for the workforce is essential for allocation of resources to these efforts.
3. Mapping of skills – across sectors
In order to match the potential work force with the potential opportunities there is a need for a geographic and demographic mapping of the distribution of skills and the size of the potential work force possessing informally acquired skills. Indications can be found in the current statistics but there is a need for a specific focus on informally acquired skills. This will require a division of informally acquired skill into a small set of clearly defined categories, deemed to be relevant for future opportunities. All relevant stakeholders (companies, authorities, unions etc.) should be included or at least consulted in such a mapping process to make sure, that the identified skills are generally accepted as being relevant for society.
4. A system of recognition
If the test of the actual potential and the mapping of skills succeeds, these steps could be followed by establishing a system for recognition of informally acquired skills addressed at the group of people who are not inclined to pursue further education. Our findings show that there is a wide acceptance and experience with inclusion of people with informally acquired skills, but initiatives and practices are often local and not systematic. This recognition could be systematized through certificates, “on-the-job-tests” or light assessments. Again, it will be a task for the relevant stakeholders to identify the right means of such a system.
5. Clear definition of causes of unemployment
A prerequisite for any focused actions to minimize the level of unemployment and disengagement in education is a clear definition of their causes. There is a need to address social and health causes, lack of visibility and appreciation of informally acquired skills, and lack of work opportunities that match these skills as three separate causes. They require different actions, and may act separately or in concert. We suggest that these causes be defined individually and their geographic and demographic distributions are mapped and registered separately. A match group system already exists in Greenland, but there seems to be a need for standardization and more specific definition of the groups
6. A holistic approach
The need to address personal challenges and the development of personal skills is underlined in much of the available research. Some of the existing preparation- and upskilling programs in Greenland are already including efforts to deal with this challenge and our findings indicate that this is a justified approach which could be included in even more programs. A holistic approach also includes an awareness of solving “technical constraints” such as lack of housing for students and interns and the lack of internships. Thus a mere focus on employment or education cannot stand alone.
7. Dialogue and focus
Addressing the potentials of including informally acquired skills in a systematized way might in itself be beneficial because it can help provide a focus on the challenge. This focus should be followed up by establishing a more stable and continuing dialogue between municipalities and companies on how to match relevant skills with relevant employment or other types of occupation. Our findings have pointed towards the benefits of a “broker” institution and at the same time companies have pointed to their wishes of a close collaboration with municipalities and contact persons on possession of the needed local knowledge to match people and jobs.
8. Definition of goals and objectives
Informally acquired skills can contribute more actively to development of the Greenland society. A crucial first step is to discuss and define a vision and decide on the objectives. Appropriate policy strategies can only be designed on the basis of a clear vision. At the same time the creation of more tangible ideas about how future family life can be interwoven with work life in new trades and industries can be a decisive and creative mover for personal engagement in skills development.
About the project
How can young Greenlanders’ informally acquired skills be activated and acknowledged better than they are today? This urgent question is at the center of this project on human capacity building in the Arctic funded by the Dr Frederik Paulsen Foundation. The project was started at a session at the Arctic Circle Assembly i Reykjavik 16-18 October 2015.
Chapters and authors
The report could not have been written without the contributions of a large range of stakeholders and contributors. A special thanks goes to the authors of the anthology Perspectives on skills - check out their profiles here:
Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen. Professor of Northern Studies and Barents Chair in Politics at the University of Tromsø-The Arctic University of Norway
Coco Smits. Consultant at Royal HaskoningDHV and Wageningen University
Jens Justinussen. Ass. Professor in Social Sciences, University of the Faroese Islands
Merete Watt Boolsen, Ass. professor at Dep. of Political Science, Uni. of Copenhagen and Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland
Torben M. Andersen. Professor of Economics at Aarhus University, Denmark and a Fellow of CESifo, Centre for Economic Policy Research and IZA
- Read his chapter on the financial perspectives
Patrick Werquin. PhD in Economics and Professor at CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers)
Frank Sejersen. Ass. Professor at Dep. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen
- Read his chapter on social innovation in Greenland
Kuupik Vandersee Kleist. Social worker, University of Roskilde. Consultant for Tanbreez and Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC.)
Ilja Leo Lang. Office Manager with the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO)
Nikoline Ziemer. Development Manager, Royal Greenland
- Read their chapter on sectors with potential
Anne-Mette Christiansen. Consultant at CSR Greenland
- Read her chapter on CSR and interviews with 12 companies
- Read their chapter on the power of knowledge
Kåre Hendriksen. Ass. Professor at Dep. of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
- Read his & Birgitte Hoffmann's chapter on sectorization
Anne Merrild Hansen. Professor at Ilisimatusarfik, head of Arctic Oil and Gas research center and Aalborg University
Pelle Tejsner. Ass. Professor at Dep. of Anthropology and Arctic Research Center, Uni. of Aarhus.
Parnuna Egede, Advisor on Environmental Issues at Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC)
- Read their chapter on traditional knowledge and industry
- Read their chapter on Arctic Winter Games as a new way of building capacities
Anders Øgaard. Ph.D, Ilisimatusarfik, University of Greenland
- Read his chapter on digital opportunities