In the northern city of Rovaniemi, the capital of the Province of Lapland, one can soon become a certified elf. Starting in April of next year, the Lapland Vocational College will offer a one-year course in "elfing" (or should that be "elving"? "gnoming"?) as a response to the growing need of the programme services enterprises in the tourism industry.
Even this Christmas it is estimated that around 500 elves (or gnomes, you decide) will serve in various tasks within the tourism industry in Lapland.
"Various safari and other programme services firms have already established a two-week crash course for those wishing to be employed as seasonal workers in tourism. The elf academy will suit those aiming for a permanent career in the field", explains project manager Kari Rekilä from the Lapland Vocational College.
The elf training will be based on the wilderness guide programme. The focus is on good customer service. For many of the Christmas tourists, the elf guide is often more or less their only human contact during the short visit to Lapland.
"Today a good knowledge of animals and plants is not necessarily required any more", Rekilä states. After the Christmas season a professional elf could act as a regular tour guide or in a number of other tasks in safari firms.
All of Lapland’s major safari companies have taken part in the planning of the new study programme.