Sermitsaiq: 12 Apprentices at Pituffik

Sep 13, 2022

American Vectrus which currently has the base maintenance contract at Pituffik has continued the apprenticeship program. Currently, there are 12 apprentices from Greenland on base. Two of them are Aima Qvist and Aqqaluk Fleischer, who both want to work at the base when they conclude their education.

Since 2017 the American company Vectrus’ flag has been flown over Pituffik. The company took over the Base Maintenance Contract after Greenland Contractors and chose to continue the apprentice program on base.

At the moment there are 12 apprentices on base that have very different educational backgrounds. In addition, there is one apprentice from the service economics education. The young apprentices come from all over Greenland and after an apprenticeship at Pituffik, they have good chance to land a job at Pituffik or other places in Greenland. This is stated by Margrethe Poulsen, the Apprentice Supervisor at Pituffik.

A busy workday

One of the apprentices that are at base is Aima Qvist, who was born in Uummannaq, but attends school in Nuuk. “It is wonderful to be at Pituffik as there is much to do here, and we are never bored. We work a lot and generally keep busy. The best part is to have fun colleagues and that means you feel very comfortable at your job. I learn a lot, and everybody helps each other.”

Aima Qvist will graduate as an auto mechanic in 2024, and afterward, she would like to stay at Pituffik:

“People at Pituffik is very friendly, smile a lot, and remember to greet each other when they meet. No matter where you are if there are people there, they will greet you. On weekends it is great fun to hang out with your friends. We rent cars and drive around the base and surrounding area. We can feel that the dark time with very little sun is drawing near. Even though we have the same in Uummannaq, I could feel it here too. You can get tired, but because the workplace is great, it is still a good place to be.”

Aqqaluk Fleischer is also from Uummannaq. He studies Service Economics at Campus Kujalleq but is at Pituffik for a 12-week apprenticeship.

“I think the apprenticeship has been very successful, in which I have taken part in many different tasks and made a difference. Another thing is the fact that it is peaceful here, and as a Greenlandic speaker, you get to use both Danish and English in your daily work. I really want to come back and work at the base at a point in the future.”

“The best thing is that I have had the chance of communicating with both civil and military personnel. That way, I have now had multiple experiences with cultural differences, because that was challenging in the beginning. It was also challenging to work 10.5 hours a day on average. But you get used to it, and you have to have the ability to adapt to new surroundings says Aqqaluk Fleischer.

Right now, the Base Maintenance Contract is in solicitation, and the next contract will likely run for a longer period from 2022 and all the way to 2027 with the possibility for a 5-year and subsequently a 2-year option period.

Vectrus has not been eligible to make its bid for the base Maintenance Contract as the rules have been changed in the meantime so that companies that place a bid have to be anchored in Greenland. For that same reason, Vectrus has teamed up with the Greenlandic contracting company Permagreen and formed the company Inuksuk A/S which is among the companies that have placed a bid on the new contract. Another one of those companies is Greenland Contractors and Greenland Holding.

A decision regarding the Base Maintenance Contract is expected very soon.