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At it again

7 Oct

Austria cleaned up at the EuroSkills competition (for people learning trades and crafts) for the fourth time in a row with a total of 21 medals. Russia (a rather larger country than Austria, if I may point that out) came in second with a total of 19. The Russians did have more gold medals (nine to Austria’s four), but still. I’m so glad there are still countries that promote and reward the trades!

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NYTimes: Cleaving to the Medieval, Journeymen Ply Their Trades in Europe

8 Aug

Cleaving to the Medieval, Journeymen Ply Their Trades in Europe https://nyti.ms/2uzbiyq

The Times makes the point that this is a tradition mainly in German-speaking countries. That’s in keeping with the respect for apprenticeships I’m so fond of writing about.

The trades

18 Mar

I have reported in the past on how well Austria does in international competitions of apprentices. Today in the Kurier is an article about how the chosen representatives are already intensively (and, according to the vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce, “conscientiously”) preparing for the WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi in October. As usual the competitors are honing their professional skills as well as preparing mentally. This year, in addition, they are working with top sports trainers to improve their performances. Austria takes this seriously. It seems to be almost as much a part of the national identity as the dominance in skiing. And long may it last. I think it’s great that people who make a point of doing their jobs spectacularly well have the chance to gain national and international recognition, not on the basis of how much they earn but on the basis of what they physically produce.

They’re at it again

10 Dec

The EuroSkills championship has just taken place in Göteborg,  Sweden, and once again Austria has done extremely well for such a small country (see below).

At the top of the list is Lisa Janisch, painter. She had the highest points of all competitors and with that got a gold medal and was “Best of Nation” and “Best of Europe”. The tasks she had to complete: painting an inside door in two colors, putting up wallpaper, painting Göteborg’s opera house on a wall (with some technical details I can’t translate because I don’t understand them), speed painting, and finally using a technique of her choice to decorate a 2 m2 wall area. (She chose to paint her shadow on the wall using a sophisticated stucco technique.) She said the hardest part was  completing these tasks well in the time allowed and that she was helped by the fact that she had been practicing all day, every day for months until her boss told her to go home and get some sleep. I continue to love the fact that there are competitions for work performance.

From today’s Kurier the list of winners:

And the former president …

4 Dec

And the former president of Austria, Heinz Fischer, recently was at a gala concert in the Musikverein to celebrate pianist Rudolf Buchbinder’s 70th birthday. One thing I have always appreciated about Fischer is that he likes classical music and can often be seen at concerts, usually without any obvious security. The first time I saw him, I was dissecting a concert with some Austrian friends and interrupted to point and say, “Der Bundespräsident!” They glanced over and said, more or less, “Of course. What did you expect? He often comes to concerts” and turned back to continue our conversation. What did I expect??? A security detail taking the president out through a back passage, not this short, middle-aged man walking out alone looking contemplative.

A new president for Austria

4 Dec

Austria has elected Alexander van der Bellen as its new president. Van der Bellen was formerly head of the Green Party and ran as an independent. He won against Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the right-wing, nationalist party. Thank you, Austria!

Back

1 Dec

After four months in the U.S. Maylo and I are back in Vienna. Anyone who’s been following this blog at all knows how much I love this city, but what did I notice most in the last 48 hours? Sadly, how much and how indiscriminately people smoke. Ah, well. Nothing is perfect.