French Abilympics guests in Finland
Finnish and French students faced each other in the Abilympics training competition taking place at the Live and Luovi vocational colleges in Helsinki.
The French Abilympics team has almost 60 competitors and experts in 17 different competitive skills. Some of them visited Finland between 2 and 6 May 2022. The group of 17 guests included competitors and experts in four skills: Cooking, Cleaning Services, Photography-Outdoor and Poster Design.
For all these skills, a training competition in which the Finns and the French competed against each other was organised during the visit. The Live and Luovi vocational colleges were responsible for organising the competitions. French experts and Finnish educational institutions’ teachers acted as judges, and they also designed the competition tasks.
Competing offers new experiences
Sari Stirkkinen, who is studying to become a domestic aid at Live, competed in the Cleaning Services skill.
–I used to work in a kitchen, but I am switching careers, says Stirkkinen. –I see my new profession as customer service. My studies have progressed quickly, and I have a summer job at an assisted living building’s dementia ward. I think you learn well by working, and I could have completed the entire qualification as an apprenticeship, but unfortunately there were no suitable places.
Encouraged by her teacher, Stirkkinen entered the competition, and she has been satisfied with her experience.
–You do not get the chance to work with the French very often. I have learned a lot of English while preparing for the competition.
A successful visit
The Finnish coordinators of the visit, Education Manager Anu Kilkku from Live Vocational College and Petri Hämäläinen, who is responsible for Skills Finland’s special needs competition activities, from Luovi Vocational College, were satisfied with the visit.
−The competitors felt that the tasks represented the competence needed when working professionally with the skills. The machines, tools and equipment in Finland and France are primarily the same, but there are differences in, for example, the equivalence of ingredients used by the Cooking competitors, says Kilkku.
−The members of the French team are very glad for the chance to learn about Finland and Finnish vocational education and training. They were thankful for the well-organised event held for them. The French said that their team spirit strengthened during the visit, Hämäläinen adds.
Petri Hämäläinen, +358 40 319 3124, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anu Kilkku, +358 40 482 2606, email@example.com
- The International Abilympics competition is intended for persons with disabilities and professionals with special needs. Finland will send vocational education and training students to the competition. There is no age limit for the competition.
- Finland has participated in the competition in Japan in 2007, Seoul in 2011 and Bordeaux in 2016. The dates and host country of the next Abilympics competition are expected to be confirmed this year.
- Skills Finland joined the International Abilympic Federation (IAF) in 2005. Skills Finland’s official representative in the IAF and its board is Petteri Ora from the Kiipula Foundation.
Inclusive Skills Europe
- A project coordinated by France under the Erasmus+ exchange programme.
- The exchange programme began in 2018 as an exchange programme for England, Scotland, Germany, Finland and France. After Brexit, Germany, France and Finland continued the development of competition, education and training activities.
- Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the actual exchange did not take place until May 2022 when the French team arrived in Finland to train for competitions.