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NORDIC EXCELLENCE Nordic Excellence is a commercial supplement produced by Editor Helsinki. May 2019.

Editor Helsinki is an independent expert in business communications. We work in close co-operation with the leading media houses and reach the business decision makers in the Nordics. For additional information, please contact Valtteri Rantalainen, +358 40 561 7703, tuotanto@editorhelsinki.fi.

Executive Producer: Jarmo Perälä Art Director: Jenni Hyttinen Journalists: Maija-Liisa Saksa, Eila Lokka, David J. Cord






inland is known abroad for education. Pupil achievement has been world-class for around two decades already. The results cannot be explained by monetary factors or long schooldays. In primary education, for instance, less money is spent per pupil than in the other Nordic countries. Schooldays are shorter, too. Behind this success are competent and highly educated teachers with mostly a Master’s degree. “In Finland, the teaching profession is very highly valued, and only a fraction of applicants are admitted a place of study,” explains development manager Jaakko Salo from the Trade Union of Education in Finland, OAJ. OAJ represents teachers and superiors in the education sector, members at all levels from pre-school teachers to university lecturers. Teacher education is based on researched information, and the aim is, that teachers develop their own work throughout their career using the same research-based approach. “Supervised teaching practicals at university training schools is a substantial part of the studies. This is where the connection between the teachers’ day-to-day work with research-based education is created,” Salo emphasizes. Teacher motivation and the quality of teaching are also boosted by the fact that educators have exceptionally broad professional autonomy regarding their work. The national curricula provide the frames, but within those boundaries 2


teachers are free to decide which methods to use. This shows in a concrete fashion in Hannaleena Maarianvaara’s work as a preparatory class teacher in Helsinki.

Hannaleena Maarianvaara and Jaakko Salo emphasize that the cornerstone of the Finnish school system is to take care of each pupil’s learning and ignoring no-one. “I teach children who have just arrived into the country, and in practice teaching methods are always molded in accordance with every individual group’s contemporary needs. It has been a pleasure to observe how teachers across Finland develop totally new perspectives on teaching and share their experiences with others, with the aim to develop the entire education system further on a national scale,” Maarianvaara says. The Finnish education system is additionally exceptional because every student has an option to achieve an academic degree regardless of family background, wealth or educational choices at the secondary level. “There are no dead ends in the system,” says Jaakko Salo.

Experience today’s school at SuomiAreena! OAJ’s pop-up school takes over an entire school block at SuomiAreena in Pori on July 17, 2019. The pop-up school is open to everybody. Everyone is free to experience today’s school and learn about modern teaching methods under the guidance of the best teachers in the world. What can you really learn from an escape room game? How would you do in an electronic matriculation examination? For the first 500 visitors, there is also a genuine and free-of-charge school lunch on offer!

There are no dead ends in the system, Jaakko Salo and Hannaleena Maarianvaara point out. www.oaj.fi


Northern Power, Clean and Safe

Energy is just as important for companies as oxygen is for human beings, therefore the how, from where, and at what price they acquire energy is especially important. A responsibly operating company uses as environmentally-friendly produced energy as possible. TEXT: EILA LOKKA


“Oulun Energia’s smart energy services also include the building and maintenance of electricity networks, street lighting, traffic lights, heating systems, CCTV systems, and telecommunications networks,” says Tuomas Savola.


ulun Energia strives to offer its customers cost-efficient electricity contracts and other energy services taking into account the responsibility to and safety of customers and our own employees. Our intermediate goal is for the company’s power production to be 90% carbon-neutral before the year 2030. “More and more of our customers want the electricity they use to be produced as cleanly as possible. An EU Directive guides companies to operate in a more environment-friendly way and this is also a competitive advantage,” states Tuomas Savola, Business Director at Oulun Energia. In the case of need, we buy emission trading derivatives, so that the customer receives a certificate of the origin of the electricity used. We have also started a bio-power plant project, which is part of our strategy to achieve carbon neutrality.

Cost Efficiency and Risk Management Aspirations towards carbon-neutral and cost-effective energy can also be seen in the solar-power plant boom. They have become profitable investments for companies as the technology has developed, and repayment terms have shortened. Oulun Energia meets the demand by guaranteeing a long lifecycle for its devices even in the harsh weather conditions of Finland. Cost-consciousness and risk management are the trump cards of electricity contracts for businesses, which can be tailored according to the customer´s needs. “The portfolio management service is popular, since it offers predictability and cost savings in a company’s energy costs. A fixed price time-limited contract is again popular among SMEs,” Savola states. NORDIC EXCELLENCE


Smart consulting for hard work

Taratest are experts in understanding bedrock and soil for major infrastructure and construction projects. TEXT: DAVID J. CORD


othing will last without a good foundation, and to have a good foundation you need to know what you are building on. For more than forty years Taratest have specialised in geotechnics and foundation engineering, helping to understand the soil and rock below some of the Nordic region’s largest infrastructure projects. “We are big enough to handle major undertakings, but we are small enough to remain fast and flexible,” says Managing Director Tero Mäkinen. “This is really important in our line of work.” Based in Finland, Taratest have 65 staff members and generated 6.7 million euros in turnover in 2018. Recently they have provided geodesign, soil exploration and versatile building measurement and surveying services to railroad projects, road expansions, underground tunnels and nuclear power plants.

Stand on solid ground

Taratest’s fifteen drilling rigs are used for rock surveys and soil exploration for the sensitive environments of infrastructure and construction 4


projects. They also have a new underground drilling rig for the mining industry. Rock core sampling is used in large infrastructure projects such as nuclear power plants, spent nuclear material repositories, traffic and railway tunnels, underground construction and ore prospecting. Taratest provide rock core geological research and reporting, and measurements for hole deviation and stress. Taratest specialists also use optical and acoustic hole imaging.

“We are big enough to handle major undertakings, but we are small enough to remain fast and flexible” In soil exploration, Taratest produces high-quality content for infrastructure and building construction sites. Their solutions include Swedish weight sounding test, CPTU sounding, static-dynamic penetration test, vane test, bedrock survey drilling, sampling and ground penetrating radar survey.

Best in the business “We also have a soil and rock laboratory in accordance with EN standards, PANK approved,” Mäkinen continues. “Additionally, we have an environment division which can provide soil contamination surveys, noise surveys, vibration and dust measurements.” This versatility has made Taratest much in demand throughout Scandinavia, including for special projects in urban environments, at sea or other challenging locations. “We are able to do multipurpose projects alone, such as surveying and drilling, so our partners only have one company to deal with,” Mäkinen explains. “Taratest is in a good position because we have professional and experienced employees who are equipped with the latest technology and techniques. We have the best toys in the business!”





in the Finnish fur branch and its benefits for Finland



with an exceptional customer service attitude Besase Oy is a Finnish expert and family business in automatic fire extinguishing systems, and the company’s main aim is to help you choose the most sustainable fire extinguishing system or service that best meets your needs. The company is also an innovative developer in its industry.


he starting point for our operations is a solution-oriented customer service attitude. We are a company independent from any system and device suppliers, in other words we do not persistently deliver only one manufacturer’s product, but instead the aim is to cooperate with the customer and find a system or service that is most suitable for the customer’s needs,” says CEO Kimmo Metso. Sales Director Outi Metso adds that the company wants to make a difference in developing the industry, which is perceived to be rather traditional. “A good example is the world of care homes, where we understand the everyday life of employees and residents, instead of merely providing a technical solution. We communicate with the client in an

understandable manner and we conclude the suppression system project in a resident-friendly and sustainable manner.” EVERYONE IS A WINNER IN THE BESASE CARE SERVICE Besase has also been involved in VTT’s projects in the development of installation work services of extinguishing systems. “With the Besase Care service, the renovation work of care homes is implemented so that residents do not need to be relocated to different premises for the duration of the renovation. Humane perspectives are emphasised in terms of the residents, and the municipality and care home entrepreneur achieve economic benefits,” says Kimmo Metso. MIA HEISKANEN www.turkiskasvattajat.fi

Did you know?

Besase also delivers projects to other Nordic countries. The company’s service portfolio also includes international consultations. Ask us for more information at www.besase.com or by calling Outi Metso +358 290 020 021

Ideal product lifecycle solutions


Ilkka Karvonen, IDEAL PLM’s business development manager


It is no longer a one-size-fits-all world. Industrial companies increasingly look to IDEAL PLM for Engineer-to-Order process automation.

he business model is changing away from mass-produced items,” says Ilkka Karvonen, IDEAL PLM’s business development manager. “You can even see this in products such as tennis shoes. This focus on tailored products is also prevalent in industrial firms.” IDEAL PLM helps companies across the Nordic region take advantage of digitalisation with product lifecycle solutions. Through their partnership with Siemens, IDEAL PLM empowers manufacturers who need tailored solutions for their unique environment. “This changes the engineering process,” Karvonen continues. “You can increase speed, improve quality, lower costs, get better service and capture that knowledge. We build a bridge between Sales and Engineering, so sales people have all the information and tools they need to help their customers.” One example is Seco, one of the world’s largest providers of comprehensive metal cutting solutions for milling, stationary tools, holemaking and tooling systems, who with the support of IDEAL PLM extended their customer portal to

include customised products. They have connected Product Data Management, CAD, Language Translation and Quote Management Systems into one consolidated solution to improve customer order processes. ”The possibility to connect the entire workflow for customized products enables automation of the supply process and thereby increasing the productivity and efficiency of Seco as a company, and at the same time connecting us with customers as well as shortening delivery times,” says Helena Söderström, Vice President Marketing & Product Line. “We are always looking ahead and helping our customers for the future,” Karvonen concludes. “Our ambition is to offer a solution which improves flexibility and the bottom line.” DAVID J. CORD




or those who value silence and clean

experiences without the fuss of mass tourism. Hotel Ivalo is situated on a river-

Hotel room and restaurant windows land landscape, where, in the dark, you can admire the northern lights from eiSini Suomalainen, managing director of Hotel Ivalo. Our guests also have three saunas, hot jacuzzis on the riverside, and a hole in the ice for winter swimming experience .

A GENUINE EXPERIENCE IN THE PEACE OF NATURE According to the Finnish Meteorologi-


lights can be seen in Ivalo four nights ins at Aurora Village, 1.5 kilometres from

northern lights excursions by snowmobile, reindeer, car, skis or snowshoes, as well as horse- or reindeer-drawn -

northern lights. In each wooden cabin, the glass roof faces the northern starry sky, so you can admire the slow dance of the northern lights from your own bed. A northern lights Alert System is also available so you can ensure you won’t miss the show even if you fell a sleep.

One of our most popular northern lights excursions is snow shoe hiking in the dark wilderness. During the excursion the guides tell stories about Lapland, the nature, and the northern lights, says Juha Tuunanen, managing director at Aurora Village.

HOTEL IVALO Rooms: 92 rooms, 3 suites with sauna Sauna: 3 saunas, swimming pool and hot jacuzzis. A winter swimming hole nearby. Restaurant: 200 seats + a private restaurant for 40 guests. -

AURORA VILLAGE IVALO Rooms: 28 Aurora Glass Cabins Sauna: Panorama Glass Sauna on a riverbank with an outdoor hot jacuzzi and a winter swimming spot in the frozen river. Restaurant: Unique 60-seat restaurant Exclusive premium guided tours and free use of winter equipment.




Illustration: Lundén Architecture Company

Turku, Finland’s oldest city updates its image The city of Turku aims at having a pleasant, commercially attractive and an even more extensive as well as easily accessible city-centre full of culture and events.


eveloping the centre area is one of the city’s spearhead projects based on Turku 2029 city-strategy. Planning has been coordinated in close cooperation with visionary experts representing e.g. university, commerce, architecture, cultural institutions as well as city administration. “In Turku, we have a culture of cooperation not to be found in cities everywhere,” cheers Program Director Riitta Birkstedt. Physical environment has traditionally been considered starting point for city-centre visions, where planning is based on a constructional perspective. In Turku, the focus is on contents. “The built environment is important, but activities which can be promoted by structural development is pivotal.” Thus, the city is not merely a stage for urban activities but an organ which activates and creates vitality. A plan to build a tram network has, for example, gained a great deal of interest from industries. The city’s ambitious climate targets have also drawn wide attention. “As a result, Turku has been among top cities in international climate policy comparisons,” says 8


Director of Urban Planning Timo Hintsanen. The city centre will undergo comprehensive development with the aim to attract also new jobs as well as inhabitants. Therefore traffic planning linked with the quality of public space and city centre vitality development plays a key role. “We have thought a lot about how people want to move around in the city centre and how solutions associated with this influence the development of urban space,” says Birkstedt.

“The built environment is important, but activities which can be promoted by structural development is pivotal.”

According to the city’s spearhead project, the city centre spreads from the vicinity of the Market Square to the riverfront around the Old Great Square and University campus. The project also focuses on the redesign of the harbour area as well as the development of the railyard area featuring new travel and experience centres in the future.

Riitta Birkstedt and Timo Hintsanen say that, as for developing the city of Turku, eyes are focused on 2029, the year when the city celebrates its 800th jubilee.

It is also central that Turku aims to become known as world’s most beautiful archipelago capital. “Turku is changing from a river city to a maritime capital of the Finnish archipelago”, concludes Hintsanen. ADVERTISEMENT

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