I’m certified!

My studies and extra-curricular activities over the past few months have added a heap of cards and titles to my arsenal of important things to have!

First up was the Amadeus training. Many of my class mates found it difficult to get to grips with, fortunately for me it was pretty straightforward. I’m not sure if it was the fact that a lot of the terms were ones that I was familiar with or that it just made sense. Either way, in the words of my teacher I was the ‘miracle child’ of the class. We were a test class also, in that usually the training is given on the job rather than in the classroom.

At the end of the course came an optional exam.The exam was a timed multiple choice on-line session and some of the questions were quite tricky. I went right to the end of the time, and was lucky enough to be one of the few that passed. It’s not something that I believe I have to know for my own business, although if I do any work placement in a travel agency it will definitely be put to use again.

The next course that came along was the MATUPA (Matkailualan Turvallisuus Passi) or Travel Industry Safety Passport *.  It was a really informative course, although the delivery was a little bit dry. Most of the more interesting stories came from the other students 🙂 We spent class time following case studies, learning about risk analysis and then designing our own analysis for a fictional happening. Our group based our happening for May Day, which is always hectic and slightly risky to the uninitiated! Again there was an exam at the end, this time based on true or false questions.


MATUPA / Travel Industry Safety Passport

The exam was on a Wednesday and we were told it would take a week or two for the results to be in. You can imagine my surprise and happiness to receive an email the next Friday confirming that I’d passed and the card would be delivered when school resumes in the autumn. I just have to make sure that I keep it updated! Next test will be in five years time…

The last certification was my first aid. It is as least 20 years since I’ve attended any formal first aid training. Safety training on-board was continuous, unfortunately not certified by the Red Cross or any other body. I elected to do a course in English rather than Finnish, more because the common language with my customers will be English and I would feel more comfortable learning the terms in English rather than Finnish.

I turned up to the allotted space desperately trying to recall any of my previous training. ABC was the best that I could recall. I needn’t have worried, the first thing our instructor did was ask us to tell about previous training and if we’d ever used our training. I wasn’t alone in being tardy in updating my first aid skills. The group was varied, most appeared to be there as it was compulsory for their work position, while a few of us were just interested in bring ourselves up to speed.

In a happy coincidence the trainer was a friend of mine. I knew she did work with the Red Cross, as well as pulling shifts as a midwife and a paramedic, so I really should not have been so surprised. As a teacher / instructor she was quite on the ball and kept us on track. The information flowed free and fast and we all enjoyed the two-day course. So now I know what to do if you are bleeding profusely, bump your head, show signs of suffering heart attack or stroke or even need CPR administered.

Our test involved working through 15 different scenarios in small groups. At each ‘station’ one of us would be the ‘actor’ and pretend to be one in need of care. The exception was the CPR station where we presented with the practice dummies and set to work! The most interesting scenario was the car crash, where first we were presented with a ‘crashed car’ and had to work out who needed what. It felt chaotic even in the pretend situation. Then we has to be the crash victims and the cared for by the next group. Interesting, fun and education all at once!

This certificate is valid for use in Finland / EU only and will be valid until 2016. Unfortunately the training isn’t recognised anywhere else – the same applies no matter where you do the training. This situation will remain unchanged as long as every country follows their own first aid rules.

Another post will follow shortly and I’ll share what’s been happening on the work front. Very exciting news on that front!

Thanks for reading this far! So much has happened and I didn’t want to leave you thinking that nothing was going on!

*Unfortunately I can’t find anything in English. It’s a collaborative effort originating in Lapland and aims at ensuring that all employers, employees and entrepreneurs in the Finnish travel industry operate with customer safety in mind. While it’s not compulsory, it’s definitely recommended and I can only hope that in time it becomes compulsory.


Computers and a competition

Hah! (I’ve been waiting for such a long time to open a blog post like so :)) What a couple of days I’ve just been through…

Firstly my sound card has given up the ghost. This happened some time last week, though I thought if I restored to the last pre-update status and restarted two or three times that the problem would miraculously repair itself. Not so. That brought me to Monday afternoon hanging on the line for customer service. The helpful gentleman on the other end of the line didn’t really want to speak English with me, which left me struggling for such technical terms as speakers (kaiuttimet) and headsets (kuulokkeet) etc. These are not words that fill my daily vocabulary anyway!

Luckily we crossed that barrier and traversed the sticky ground of serial numbers. Thank goodness for the universally recognised Alpha, Romeo, Sierra etc. There are Finnish equivalents (Aarne, Risto, Sakari) although they don’t spring to mind readily. This is definitely one list that I need to learn. Back to the service call and after a few seconds I’m instructed to write down a warranty return code and head to an special site dedicated for returns… Too easy.

Yes, too easy. It took me a long half an hour to work out that I should have used “http” instead of “www”. Then once that hurdle had been overcome I was faced with a page of text. Including a statement in bold red saying “read first”. It was far too much for my frazzled brain to deal with at the time, so this morning I picked up where I left off.

It turns out that the original packing that I tossed about a month ago is required for return. Humph. Oh well, I’m sure I can find some bubble wrap and cardboard. Reading further the power source has to go back as well. Hmm, odd shaped package then! Reading to the bottom of the page it appeared that every second statement seemed to absolve everybody of responsibility if something went wrong…

Eventually all fields are filled and appropriate boxes checked. An email has arrived with information about scheduling a pickup. I’m tempted to arrange pickup for after Easter. There’s some things I want to work on that don’t need sound… Wordt case scenario I could use the ‘house’computer. Upside it has sound, downside I’m last in line for access after The Engineer and Mr. 13. Very thankful for the “cloud” though. No last minute panic to back everything up 🙂

Now for the competition part! I’m contemplating holding a contest over on Heather’s Helsinki. I have some prizes. I have the “subject”. What do you think faithful follower? Do blog competitions work? Have you ever taken part in a competition that had prizes – real things that is? Was it properly run? Would it better on Facebook or Twitter? Serious questions that need answers! 😉