Finland performed excellently in the 2023 Abilympics Metz competition, achieving one gold and four silvers. The picture features gold medalist Saga Naumanen. Photo: Skills Finland / Juha Nurminen

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Helsinki is set to welcome the world's best vocational experts in a unique global event. The International Abilympics, a competition for vocationally skilled individuals who require special support, will be held in May 2027 at the Helsinki Exhibition Center alongside the Taitaja2027 event.

This significant decision comes after member countries of the International Abilympic Federation approved the board's proposal to grant Finland the rights to host the 2027 Abilympics.

The bid saw Finland up against India, with the Nordic nation emerging victorious.

The Abilympics is more than just a competition; it's a three-day event where participants face challenges demanding high proficiency in their respective professions. Through hosting this event, Skills Finland aims to showcase the nation's exceptional special education system and its relevance to the professional world. Additionally, hosting the Abilympics and Taitaja, the national vocational skill championship, simultaneously presents a great opportunity for collaboration between vocational special education institutions and other vocational schools.

The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture is firmly behind the event, lending its support to the Abilympics Helsinki 2027 competition. Petri Lempinen, Director-General of the ministry, expressed his delight at Finland's chance to host this international event. He noted, "Organizing and participating in international vocational competitions has been an excellent way to enhance the quality and appeal of vocational education. This provides Finland with an opportunity to benchmark our national vocational education internationally." Lempinen also recalled when Finland hosted the WorldSkills Championship in 2005, a significant boost for vocational education, expressing optimism that the Abilympics will further advance special vocational education.

Planning for the grand event will commence in 2024. The Abilympics Helsinki 2027 will be a collaborative effort between Skills Finland and vocational education organizers, particularly the Ameo network of vocational special institutions. Organizing the event in tandem with Taitaja2027 Helsinki promises cost efficiencies and a sustainable approach to the events.

Some background on the International Abilympics: This vocational competition for those requiring special support is held every four years, with no age limit for participants. Finland made its debut in the Abilympics in Japan in 2007. The main objective of Finland's participation in these contests is to foster excellence in special vocational education and strengthen international ties. Petteri Ora from the Kiipula Foundation represents Skills Finland on the IAF board.

The last Abilympics was held in Metz, France, on March 24-25, 2023. Around 400 competitors from 27 countries participated across 44 disciplines. Finland's team participated in nine of these and proudly brought home five medals, including a gold and four silvers.

HT

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