September 16, 2011
First term started at the new Fjardaál Industrial School

The Fjardaál Industrial School on the Alcoa Fjardaál smelter site in Reydarfjördur was set for the first time on September 13th. That morning, thirty men and women, all Fjardaál employees, were seated in the smelter’s classroom in order to obtain a diverse education, which can help them to excel at their jobs in the smelter – and also to set the foundation for further studies in the future. Over eighty employees applied for the school, but one of the conditions for applying is at least three years of work experience for the company.

The school is a collaboration project between VMA (The East Iceland Vocational College), the East Iceland Center of Knowledge, and Alcoa Fjardaál. Teachers from all three organizers handle the teaching which is based on some other programs, including a Power-Intensive Industry Educational Program issued by Iceland’s Education and Training Service Centre.
 
The Fjardaál Industrial School offers a basic course of study which covers three semesters, and an advanced course of study which covers four semesters. After graduation, students can have the courses evaluated into the Icelandic junior college system, where it can count towards a metraculation examination or a vocational degree.
 
The basic course of study is meant for production workers and tradesmen in the smelter. Those who finish the basic course can start the advanced course in power-intensive industry studies. The school does not set any preliminary requirements for education, but plans to assess and meet each individual’s needs and abilities regarding their previous education.
 
According to Sigurdur Ólafsson, Alcoa Fjardaál’s Training Manager, a committee established by AFL Union of East Iceland and the Union of Icelandic Electrical Workers (RSI) was involved in the preparation of the school and all parties unanimously agreed with the organization.
 
After graduation, the students get a notable wage increase, in accordance with a recent wage agreement signed by Alcoa Fjardaál and the two unions.



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First day at school


The picture shows the first group to start their course of study at the Fjardaál Industrial School.



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Coordinated couple


Björgvin Gudmundsson, production worker in the Fjardaál potroom, and his wife Hrönn Bergthórsdóttir, production worker in the rodding shop, both work on the same shift, so they can enjoy the break periods together. Luckily, both were accepted into the new school, so they can sit side by side to study various subjects.