”Finland has a shortage of skilled craftsmen” – designers and architects to forge links with asylum seekers

According to Finland’s architectural and design industries, asylum applicants seeking refuge in Finland offer a range of skills that, to date, continue to remain untapped. Many are highly trained craftspeople, offering particularly exciting potential.

“Since the wartime in Finland, the education and training in this field in Finland has focused heavily on the design aspect, and, as a consequence, there has been a decline in both the numbers of highly-trained craftsmen available and their skill levels. We now have situation where designers, who need the right people to complete prototypes and create limited edition products, are actually engaged in competition for the best people. I believe businesses in our sector can show their commitment to social inclusion by helping asylum seekers to develop their own professional networks, to find jobs and to build new lives,” said Ornamo Project Manager Petra Ilonen.

“There are a number of industries and specialties in Finland where the lack of Finnish language skills need not be a barrier to accessing work. Asylum seekers in Finland are often highly trained professionals, and it is important that we recognise them as such as we welcome them into Finnish society. At the Design Museum, we want to promote networking and collaboration between the industry and asylum seekers in Finland by fostering opportunities for discussion and debate,” commented Leena Svinhufvud, Educational Curator at the Design Museum.

Crossing borders, breaking barriers

Finland’s architectural and design industries have a proud track record of breaking down barriers. Many businesses operate in the global market and across the board there are close links with international partners. The event organised in August 22nd is intended to bring asylum seekers in Finland together with professionals and businesses from the fields of architecture and design for networking and recruitment opportunities.

A representative from the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) will be on hand at the event to provide information on the legal aspects of recruiting and providing employment to asylum seekers. Other featured speakers are architect Inari Virkkala, designer Tuula Pöyhönen and Heli Mäenpää from Fair Start by Life Seekers. The event also includes a live silver jewellery-making showcase.

The Design Museum, Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo invite architects, designers and asylum seekers based in Finland for an afternoon of networking. The Crossing Borders event takes place in the outdoor area between the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture on Tuesday 22 August, 15:00–18:00.
The event will be in English. Design Museum, Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo. Further information and registration.