In June 2014, international attendees gathered at Marina Congress Center in Helsinki for the Hidden Competences conference. SMT's event team handled the attendance management, website and practical arrangements for the conference. Helena Kähkönen from CIMO shares her best ideas and experiences.
(Photo: Minister of Education Krista Kiuru © CIMO)
Centre for International Mobility CIMO and the Ministry of Education and Culture organised a conference whose theme was “Hidden Competences - Do we recognise the full impact of learning mobility in our societies and working life”. The conference also served as the official Finnish launch event for the Erasmus+ programme.
Executive Secretary Helena Kähkönen was the contact person between CIMO and SMT and participated in the practical arrangements of meetings and visits during the conference.
CIMO decided to employ the professional services of SMT as it was difficult to assign a sufficient number of our internal personnel to organise a large-scale international conference, she explains.
In three days, some 300 persons from around Europe attended the conference and the related events. The night before, some guests joined us for dinner, and the activities continued with an Erasmus+ workshop after the conference. It was necessary to start planning three months ahead.
- SMT helped us book the venue, equipment, food and drinks. We also hired a professional lighting planner for the event through SMT. Internally, we set up a light wall for the location and recorded the event. Some presentations can be found on the event website, says Helena.
SMT also handled the attendance management for the event. The company created and updated the event website, created the registration form, sent out invitations and reminders and received the notices of attendance. This enabled CIMO to track the attendance data in real time.
Event Manager Eeva Herranen was SMT's contact person for the event. - We assign a customer-specific project manager, who is in charge of the project throughout the process and acts as the point of contact for the client, Eeva explains. - This way, we can offer the customer seamless collaboration.
Eeva was on location also during the conference. She was in charge of receiving the guests, attendance and running all the errands. - I was very satisfied with the arrangement, says Helena. - We also had summer trainees who helped Eeva. Everything went smoothly.
- A successful event requires a great deal of advance planning and coordination on location, Eeva points out. - We prepared the conference venue in advance. Everything from the event equipment and microphones to food and drinks, guest reception and attendance recording must work as planned. The special arrangements for CIMO included a grand piano in the Europaea hall of the Marina Congress Center.
How did the collaboration work out? Would you use SMT for similar events in the future, Helena Kähkönen?
Centre for International Mobility CIMO organised the Hidden Competences conference based on a 2013 research project “Piilotettu osaaminen (Hidden Competences)”, which CIMO carried out with Demos Helsinki. The project has attracted much attention. Its findings include that, often, employers' recruitment does not recognise competence obtained through international mobility, even though international experience creates just the global know-how that is needed in the working life and society of the future. It seems that there is a tendency to define international competence too narrowly, and its different dimensions are not recognised. This discrepancy was the outset of the Hidden Competences conference.
The conference was looking for answers to the following questions:
What are the competences stemming from the learning mobility or, more broadly, international activities?
How do these skills and competences meet with the future needs of individuals, society and working life?
Do the employers – and the young people themselves – recognise these competences?
What could be done to make these competences better identified and more visible?
The conference took place in the Marina Congress Center in Helsinki on 11 June 2014. The event was conducted in English, and it was aimed at Finnish and international participants working in the field of internationalisation and international competence.