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23 October 2008

Two judges – Two experiences

Michael-Hourihan.jpgMichael Hourihan, Ireland

Judge Electrical Installation 

What are your impressions of The Swedish Skills Championships in Jönköping?

Really quite impressive. The Irish finals were held at schools. We have lots of smaller finals rather than a big championship. This is a whole different event. In Ireland, everything is much smaller with far fewer visitors. We’re glad if we get 100 visitors for each final.

Why have you chosen to work with smaller finals in this way?

We have no help from the state – we just can’t afford a big championship. In Sweden, from what I understand, the state provides financing. Unfortunately, there’s just no interest for this sort of thing in Ireland.

What do you think can be done to get even more spectators to attend the event?

Now that I’m standing here judging at our stand, I’ve been wondering a lot about what they’re doing at the other stands. Straight across, for example, (offset printing) – what are they doing? I see that it’s some sort of print, but there are many things I just don’t understand. It might be a good idea for every stand to post some sort of explanation of each part of the competition or have a person there to explain. I think that would help.

How are the Swedish competitors doing?

They are very skilled and focused. There are many stages and it’s already the second day. Tomorrow, we’ll see the finals. I can hardly wait!

Linda_Algrave.jpgLinda Algrave, Norway

Judge, Garden Arrangement  

What are your impressions of The Swedish Skills Championships in Jönköping?

They’re very good – lots of space and good materials. The large signs on the ceiling are very practical and make it easy to find your way around. This is definitely a plus compared to other competitions I’ve been at.

What are these competitions like in Norway?

They are about the same as here, only not as big. We don’t have as many people competing as here. Having said that, I think that with the physical size of the facilities, I think there could have been even more participants.

Did your competition area get a lot of spectators?

There were a lot of spectators yesterday and this morning, which is great, because it isn’t until the end of the second day that you can reall start to see what competitors have in mind with their projects.

How are the Swedish competitors?

They’re great. It’s rewarding to see such enthusiasm, something I think you notice in the entire event. The young people who come here are really psyched up!