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Tuesday's papers: Lapland labour, booze smugglers and ski tracks open in Helsinki

Tuesday's press covers a reported labour shortage in Lapland, modern-day alcohol bootleggers, and the long-awaited opening of cross-country skiing tracks.

Kakslauttasen lasi-iglut, Saariselkä, Sodankylä,Lappi
Want to work in Lapland? There may be an opening for you. Image: Kakslauttanen

The Lapland tourist season is in full swing, and travel businesses are once again worried about a shortage of labour. Helsingin Sanomat's business section leads with a story based on temp agency Barona's CEO Minna Vanhala-Harmanen's assessment of the employment situation.

She tells HS that in Finland, workers with the rights skills are often unavailable to fill the plentiful openings. While she dismisses suggestions that Finns don't want to work, she says that trained workers are unavailable, and that therefore more training is the way to raise employment rates.

That shift should, in Vanhala-Harmanen's opinion, involve a change in policy to ensure people are ready and able to re-train several times over the course of their working lives. She says employers are also now more willing than before to train workers, as trained labour is not always available.

Iltalehti, meanwhile, covers the other common solution to the labour shortage: immigration. Lapland is unable to provide all the workers required, so employees are arriving from Britain, China, Russia and elsewhere to service the travel industry. There are other issues too however, with a shortage of accommodation and low pay among the obstacles to attracting suitable workers.

Social media alcohol bootleggers

Helsingin Sanomat goes to meet a pair of alcohol merchants in a car park, aiming to uncover the modern face of alcohol smuggling: 'Tarmo' and 'Veiko'*. The pair advertise and reach customers on social media, particularly via an 8,000-strong Facebook group, and meet customers all over Uusimaa.

They moved to Finland from Estonia ten years ago, and claim they can make up to 4,000 euros a month selling booze illegally.

Or not quite illegally: they believe that offering to 'lend' alcohol against a deposit is not against the law. The deposit can in theory be returned if people return the drinks within 24 hours, but has anyone ever asked for their money back?

"Never," replies Veiko.

The National Police Board have a different view of the legality of the 'lending' system, saying that the alcohol is changing hands and therefore the transaction is against the law.

Veiko and Tarmo, however, blame the Finnish state for restricting alcohol sales: if people want booze they will get it somehow.

* Names have been changed by Helsingin Sanomat

Ski tracks finally open

HS has happy news for skiers in Helsinki, reporting that the Paloheinä centre has opened a one kilometre-long cross-country skiing track to enthusiasts. The snow is artificial, as there hasn't yet been significant snowfall in the capital, but temperatures are well below zero and those desperate to get their skis on can now get a taste of winter sports.

The paper says that Helsinki, Vantaa and Espoo all have ski tracks open to punters now. Paloheinä staff are now aiming to open a 1.8 kilometre track next, although there's no major snowfall on the horizon until at least the weekend.

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