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By Tjerk Dusseldorp, President, WorldSkills International


Just the change of a single word can make so much difference to the meaning of a sentence. If I'd written "Competition" instead of "Experience" you would have expected me to focus on all the outstanding successes of the Competition - the record number of competitors and visitors, and the massive logistics and cost involved in staging the event and so on.

But by focusing on the WorldSkills "Experience" I think we get to our purpose and role which is animating a world wide skill and learning network of individuals, organisations, agencies and communities to promote the essential contribution that skills make to any society.

I believe the overall WorldSkills Experience in Shizuoka was significantly richer than ever before, simply because I could see that the experiences of all our key stakeholders were significantly enhanced, as they were meant to be.

SE_3.jpg Of course our young skill champions wanted and got an environment that enabled them to do their best work, but they were also looking for opportunities to make new contacts and friends from around the world, and a chance to learn something about the host country.

Our Japanese hosts helped them to achieve this by providing shared accommodation in a Japanese resort in the foothills of Mt Fuji, arranging the immensely successful "One School One Country" cultural exchange experience where each country/region was supported by a local school, and transported 200,000 visitors to the Competition site which left our young champions with a precious lifelong memory of being highly appreciated for their skills and determination to succeed.

This same spirit was evident in the work of the multinational expert groups and delegates who conducted the nearly 50 separate skill category competitions without any significant disputation despite the inevitable obstacles some of them confronted.

SE_2.jpgThis can be attributed in part to the high quality service of our small but very talented and dedicated Secretariat and the new IT communication and management tools they have created to help our hundreds of volunteer experts to share their expertise before, during and after the Competition.

I was also pleased with how the proposed future direction for WSI was strongly endorsed by our member delegates, and supported by a willingness to add some modest new financial resources to the Secretariat to implement it.

I am glad to see that the Action Plan  "Releasing the Full WorldSkills Potential" is now posted right up front on the WSI web site homepage (under "News") so members can easily refer to it and be reminded of where the organisation is headed.

Looking ahead, I believe WorldSkills will not only continue to manage big skills competition events such as Calgary 2009 and London 2011 and beyond, but also continue to evolve as a dynamic global skills development network of like minded individuals and organisations which will benefit untold numbers of young people to achieve their potential.

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The 39th WorldSkills Competition is officially over. The medals, awards and certificates have all been given out and the Competitors be returning to their home country shortly. The Closing Ceremony was a wonderful display of energy and excitement. All 47 skill categories announced their champions, followed by the Best of Nation announcements and finally the Albert Vidal Award was presented.

The Albert Vidal Award was achieved by Nicolas Drouin from Canada who participated in Cooking. This Award is named after the founder of WorldSkills International from Spain. During thirty-one Skill Olympics, Francisco Albert-Vidal was responsible for the achievement of the original goals in a changing world: 33 years as an untiring promoter in his position as Secretary General and seven years as President of the International Organisation constantly presenting new ideas. The Vocational Training Competitions became his life's work and the International Organisation was shaped into what it is today. In memory of Albert Vidal, the Award signifies the Competitor that achieves the highest score out of all the Competitors.

All WorldSkills International Members are returning home having had a great experience, having learned a lot of new things about their skill and having made connections, memories, and friendships to last them a lifetime.

The Farewell Party, also hosted by Numazu City, afterwards for all the participants was extremely well attended and enjoyed by all.



The last day of the WorldSkills Competition is here! Months and sometimes years of training are all leading up to this day. Competitors have to strategise carefully to ensure that they meet their goals. The pressure is high and the concentration is intense. Walking throughout the Competition site, you can see the focus written all over the faces of the Competitors. They are working hard to finish their projects but equally hard to keep their calm.

Visitors continue to flood the Competition site, it is a sea of people everywhere. Raising the awareness of the skills and the WorldSkills movement has been a huge success in Numazu. Visitors from around the world and from Japan are all captivated at the magnitude of the Competition and the level of skill the Competitors hold.

Numazu City has hosted thousands of people at their festival by the lake near the WorldSkills Competition site. It has been a wonderful place for local hospitality. Visitors have been able to sample the traditional food, music, culture and crafts.

All sights are turning towards the Closing Ceremony on November 21.

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With tens of thousands of visitors each day of the Competition, the WorldSkills Competition has been extremely well attended. There are thousands of people wandering the Halls and the grounds of the Competition site. Spectators were perched at the side of each skill area tentatively watching the Competitors at work. Web cameras on each Competitor helped the spectators get up close and personal with the Competitors to truly witness and understand the complexity of the projects and tasks that were being worked on.

Over 500 media are registered from domestic and international media outlets making the coverage of the WorldSkills Competition worldwide. The WorldSkills online Media Centre is expanding at a phenomenal rate as photographers from around the world upload photos onto the website. Interviews are being hosted throughout the site and broadcasts around the world are being conducted everywhere you look.

The Competitors have reached the half way mark in the Competition. They are busily working to stay on schedule and keep their focus. As the crowds grow and the pressure increases, the Competitors have to test their ability to remain on task. As Day 3 of the Competition comes and goes, the Competitors quickly realize that they only have one more day mto realize their goals. The key is to remain calm and concentrated.

Good luck to all the Competitors on Day 4!

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Day 2 of the WorldSkills Competition started with visits from very special guests. The Crown Prince of Japan visited several of the skills in the morning, talking to and watched the Competitors in action. There was an arranged time for him with various Workshop Supervisors. At the other side of the Competition site, 130 VIP leaders from over 15 countries representing government, education, training, industry and organisations arrived to see the Competition for the first time. They were lead in small groups throughout the site by Executive Board members, past WorldSkills Champions, Global Sponsor Partners and dedicated volunteers.

The guided tour ended at the WorldSkills Leaders Forum. The Vice Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture gave a warm welcome to the VIPs where he expressed the Shizuoka Prefecture's excitement and gratitude for hosting the WorldSkills Competition and International Abilympics. With 200 leaders in attendance Dr. Ji Oh Song gave a dynamic and interactive keynote presentation on Samsung Electronics. All the VIPs were captivated by Dr. Song's message.

Meanwhile, the Competitors continued to work away on their test projects throughout the day. With thousands of school children and general public, the Competition site was a thriving place of activities. Everyone expressed their amazement over the magnitude of the Competition. Mt. Fuji has also been gracing us with her presence and provides the prefect back drop to the Competition site.