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it_world_250.gifBy Jennifer Kavur, Computer World Canada

IT pros can meet peers and hand-pick recruits at this international event aimed to battle the global skills shortage.

Nearly 150,000 people are expected to visit Stampede Park this fall for WorldSkills Calgary 2009, an Olympic-style event with 1000 participants from 51 countries competing for gold, silver and bronze medals in over 40 skill categories.

While the international trade, service and technology Competition is geared to promoting skilled trades careers to youth, it’s also a prime occasion for IT professionals to hand-pick new recruits.

“Most managers and CEOs really get excited about the job recruitment prospects,” said Michelle Bussey, Communications and Marketing Director for WorldSkills International (WSI), the global non-profit organization behind the event.

To qualify for the Competition, participants must be between 17 and 22 years old.

“You get the best interview possible because you get to see them in action,” said Bussey. “And they are the best in the world really.”

The event also “raises the bar” on new technologies and trends, according to Bussey. “We really try to meet the highest industry standards in all the different skills, so it’s a learning process as well,” she said.

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flower_carpet_nz_250.jpgBy Joy Knight, New Zealand Expert, Floristy

The enterprise Floral Art Ladies have once again brought the mastery of the floral and fauna carpet display to the Festival of Flowers.

The Christchurch Cathedral floral carpet is a premier event presented by the Floral Art Group in Canterbury and the Floral Art Group North Canterbury.

This was the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Flowers. There is no doubt the Floral Art Ladies along with their fellow floral artist and designer Jan Leaper pulled out all stops. The planning, the designing, the ordering of the flowers.

The logistics to prepare this mammoth task were assisted by the Academy NZ offering their facilities at the School of Floristry in Manchester Street, Christchurch, along with the recent intake of 11 floristry students.

The students studying horticulture at the Academy were the helpers required to bring the heavy large trays to the Cathedral, and set them up on trestles, the full length of the central isle.

It was quickly evident this was team work. The floral art ladies were taking the young floristry students under their wing and magical things were happening.

First every design was marked and covered with wet moss (dyed with green food colouring) leaving the design markings clear. Then each area in the design was given a little flag with the type of flower to be used. It was a very intricate pattern similar to a panel persian carpet.

All through the cutting and placement of the flowers and foliage, visitors from within New Zealand and around the world came to watch with avid interest as the floral carpet took shape.

The flowers used were green hydrangeas, blue gentians, hot red/orange celosia, cream and yellow chrysanthemums, hot pink gerbera, orange asiatic lilies, white lilies, succulent cacti in shades of green grey blue from tiny to enormous. Agapanthus dried and dyed a deep blue and silvered tipped, aspidistra leaves, conifer, ivy leaves, shells, sticks and coils of rope. Huge hand made paper mashie clam shells opened with pearls and sea urchins all intricately woven into the complex design of magical undersea world of flowers.

Thank you to the Floral Art Groups Canterbury and North Canterbury, the students from Academy NZ floristry and horticulture classes and the many growers and suppliers of quality flowers. You have given so much pleasure to visitors and friends of the Festival of Flowers. I look forward to sharing this experience with you all again next year.

Thank you to the Festival of Flowers for the use of this amazing photo by Rodney Love. Please contact Marisa at the Floral Festival for more information or email

WorldSkills Portal

15 April 2009

wsp_nls_large_250.pngThe WorldSkills Portal is an interactive, informative, multi-lingual, multi-regional and international website that is designed to raise the awareness of the international skills community and the WorldSkills Member countries/regions.

Visit to read great stories about how the WorldSkills Competition has touched the lives of many Champions, how they stay connected within their country/region, read about the WorldSkills Competition skill categories and see what high profile WorldSkills endorsers have to say about global skill issues.

Using the WorldSkills Portal is a simple process and we look forward to welcoming more Member countries/regions in the future. It is the perfect opportunity to profile your WorldSkills Competition team; all you need to do is send us the information and we will make your pages look exactly like you want them too, in the language of your choice. The profiles are also featured on the Champions Exchange and Youth Forum websites. I

If you would like more information about how to take advantage of this great promotional tool please contact Christine Scoot: .

 By Jane Stokie, Technical Director, WorldSkills International

The Technical Committee meeting and following Chief Expert meeting which brought together the full Skill Management teams, by bringing in all of the Workshop Supervisors was a great success. We would like to thank WorldSkills Calgary 2009 Ltd for hosting all of the meetings in support of the WorldSkills Champions on the World Stage vision.

Raising awareness of what has many times been called ‘the world’s best kept secret’ is just one of the desired outcomes for the 40th WorldSkills Competition (WSC2009). WorldSkills International in partnership with its Members, WorldSkills Calgary 2009 Ltd. and stakeholders are hopeful their focus on sustainability and media engagement can contribute to this outcome.

Underlying the sustainability goals of WorldSkills International a task force lead by Tommy Hellström from Sweden has been developing proposals for inclusion in a Sustainability Policy to be implemented at WSC2009. The task force recognises that sustainability is critical to enable the future growth of the organisation and promotes and recognises the basic principle of the 3 Rs; Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. These are all global issues which when brought under the WorldSkills banner allow Members to work together to provide an outcome not only for the Competition but as an example for industries globally. 

tc_don_250.jpgCurrent tough economic times coupled with the growth of membership lays the perfect platform for WorldSkills International to be seen as a driving force in initiatives for cost reduction. A perfect example is the Cooking skill which is traditionally cost reliant, has managed to reduce infrastructure requirements by imaginative thinking and better use of resources and time.

Currently having 32 Competitors registered to compete, the proposal to reduce the number of kitchens available to 17 was widely accepted by the Technical Committee and Chief Expert, Ctefan Wohlfeil from Germany. By agreeing to this reduction and consequent cost, WorldSkills Calgary 2009 has made the commitment to better equip the kitchens resulting in Competitors being able to bring smaller toolboxes. The flow-on effect reduces cartage costs for members but also helps to reduce greenhouse emissions created by transporting large toolboxes. The Cooking Skill Management Team is currently working on devising a shift arrangement for Competitors during the Competition.

tc_li_250.jpgRecycling and reusing household materials has been buzzing around us for years. The Sustainability Policy will also bring these into focus. Experts have been asked to consider making changes to their Technical Descriptions to include the requirement of Test Projects to have a purpose after the Competition. In skills such as Carpentry, Sheet Metal Technology and Web Design the Test Projects created over the four days will be donated to organisations as a legacy of the Competition.

In conjunction with these initiatives the Sustainability Task Force has proposed the implementation of a Sustainability Award which will be open to all skills. Stringent criteria covering the impact on the environment and community, consideration for future growth of the skill and best practice has been developed to be consistent with the proposed Policy.

Engaging the media in the excitement of the Competition is an ongoing challenge and this year an Expert in each skill will be responsible for liaising with the media at the Competition about their skill, the Competitors and the projects been undertaken. For the first time media will receive daily reporting for the majority of skills. The daily reporting will announce the top Competitors in the skills in random order, to still leave the element of surprise in the Closing Ceremony.

We are very excited about the new initiatives and look forward to a successful Competition. For more information about the 40th WorldSkills Competition in Calgary, Canada visit:

WSPE_calgary_2009.gifBy Stephen Chase, WorldSkills Premiere Experience Coordinator

The WorldSkills Premiere Experience (WSPE ) , September 1-6, 2009 offers a unique opportunity for leaders from industry, government, and education to gather and discuss global skills issues, to network, and to experience the 40th WorldSkills Competition (WSC2009) in Calgary, Canada.

The WSPE includes the WorldSkills Leaders Forum (WSLF), the Global Skills Marketplace (GSM), VIP access to the at the Opening Ceremony at the Calgary Stampede Grandstand and the Closing Ceremony at the BMO Centre, guided tours of the Competition site, participation in the Restaurant Services competition , and many other premiere networking events.

More than 500 people will be attending the WSLF, making it the largest to date. The keynote address will be given by business executive, author, and consultant Don Tapscott. An internationally renowned authority on the impact of information technology on business, Don Tapscott is the author of "Wikinomics - How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything " , and "Growing Up Digital". In addition to giving the keynote address Don Tapscott will also moderate an interactive panel discussion with five Past Champions of the WorldSkills Competition. The panel will represent a cross section of various skills and technologies. The Past Champions will discuss the positive impact that participating in the WorldSkills Competition has had on both their personal and professional lives. Following the conclusion of the WSLF the Past Champions will take the WSPE participants on a guided tour of the WSC2009.

The GSM is a morning of interactive workshops that will address various global skills issues, followed by a luncheon for all of the 250 GSM participants. The workshops topics will include; utilisation of e-learning in skill development, international vs. national labour mobility, multiple assessment pathways and industry driven standards development.

“The WorldSkills Premiere Experience is for those people involved in the decision making on the employers side, on the education side, to meet and dialogue and put in impulse for better quality skills training,” said Jack Dusseldorp, President of WorldSkills International.

Registrations are accepted on a first come first serve basis. To secure your place in the WSPE, please e-mail your expressed interest by April 24, 2009 to Stephen Chase,

To download the registration form click here .

For more information, please visit