TaitajaPLUS is the Finnish National Skills Competition for student with disabilities and special needs. The competition is held annually in connection with the National Skills Competition, Taitaja.
In TaitajaPLUS, participants compete in different vocational skills, striving to become acknowledged experts of their own field. TaitajaPLUS aims at improving the vocational education of students with special needs, raising the awareness of vocational skills competitions for students with special needs, and connecting the skilful competitors with each other and with potential employers.
Students taking part in this competition have a disadvantage or disability that affects their everyday life. Individual Educational Plan (IEP) is a prerequisite for participation. The competitors have to be at least 15 years old, but there is no maximum age-limit.
The TaitajaPLUS competition was first introduced in Finland in the form of a demonstration at the Taitaja 2006 competition in Tampere. Having received an enthusiastic reception, a similar demonstration was held in 2007 in Joensuu, paving the way for the first real TaitajaPLUS competition in 2008 in Espoo. The competition consisted of five competition categories and four demonstration categories. In addition, the 8+1 model was put to use, meaning that top scorer TaitajaPLUS students entering ordinary Taitaja semifinals were admitted in Taitaja finals.
Skills Trainers' Academy at HAMK University of Applied Sciences has published the book Competitions for Everyone which presents the aims of and experiences accrued from TaitajaPLUS competitions.