Are you a Taitaja? Print E-mail
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26th April 2010

Are you a Taitaja?

That’s the question the finalists of Oulu Vocational College in the Taitaja 2010 competition asked other finalists. Students from vocational schools around Finland had gathered in Oulu today to attend the Opening Ceremony of the Championships.

The Taitaja 2010 competition is the Finnish Championships in vocational skills. The games began today with the first Taitaja March ever held. Over a thousand people including competitors, their coaches and other members of the teams marched from Oulu’s Toripoliisi statue to the venue of the competition, Ouluhalli.

The March made the games more familiar to the citizen’s of Oulu, the host city. One of the many Oulu residents watching the March was Leena Pöykiö. Pöykiö said she heard about the games from her niece who studies tourism.

“I am quite curious by nature so I’m sure I’ll go to Ouluhalli tomorrow to watch the games and events. I’m interested in finding out what the competition is all about,” Pöykiö said.

A window into Finnish vocational skills

At the press conference prior to the Opening Ceremony, Sauli Jaara, the project manager of the Taitaja 2010 games, said he was calm about the competition which begins on Tuesday. “The organizations have gone well and now the three hectare area will be filled with the best skilled youth in the country.”

Seija Rasku, Counsellor for Education and Skills Finland Vice Chairperson, commented that the Taitaja games are an excellent way to showcase various occupations to young people.

“Recent projections show that in the future there will be a lack of vocational skills in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. The Taitaja games have a huge impact on the visibility of vocational training across Finland,” Rasku stated.

A bit of zing to Oulu

More than 50 000 visitors are expected to attend the Taitaja games. The organization of an event of this scale is no small thing.

“Our teachers are very committed and motivated. I just heard a comment from one teacher that they’re busy but they feel confident about the games,” said Jarmo Paloniemi, the Principal of Oulu Vocational College.

Not only have the schools been busy. Kari Juntunen, the manager of the Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education describes the games as a bit of zing to the Oulu region.

“This competition has meant more acquisitions, hotel nights and transporting logistics to Oulu and the Oulu region. Co-operation with companies has grown and both teachers and students have learnt a great deal,” said Juntunen.

Filled with skills

Following the Taitaja March the competitors, the organizers of the games and guests gathered into the NRJ Arena just outside Ouluhalli for the Official Opening Ceremony. Competitors arrived into the arena one team at a time while the crowd applauded.

At the Opening Ceremony project manager Sauli Jaara greeted the competitors. Other speakers were Kari Juntunen, the manager of the Oulu Region Joint Authority for Education, Jorma Ketola, the chairman of the Entrepreneurs of Northern Ostrobotnia and Skills Finland’s vice chairperson Seija Rasku. The Championships were official opened by Suvi Lindén, the Minister of Communications.

Musical numbers at the Opening Ceremony were provided by pop/jazz students from Oulu University of Applied Sciences and Starcrash. The Official Mascot of the games, Taito Hyppynen, was also on stage encouraging the competitors.

Last year’s Best of the Nation Sami Puhakka’s greetings to the competitors were given by Skills Finland’s Taitaja manager Pekka Matikainen.

“The Taitaja games were an encouraging and enriching experience for me. They boosted my self confidence on the job market. Keep your attitudes in sync and show your true skills,” were Pekka’s words to the competitors.

Starting on Tuesday the competitors will have to give the games all they’ve got and show everyone who’s a Taitaja.

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