With 2017 drawing to a close, it is time to look back at an unforgettable year of improving our world through the power of skills, and advancing the global WorldSkills movement.
The highlight of the year was undoubtedly WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 in October. The 44th edition of the world championship of vocational skills, which was hosted in the capital of the United Arab Emirates - the first time the WorldSkills Competition has been held in the Middle East and North Africa region. The hosting of this event demonstrated the essential role of vocational education and training in developing the economy of the United Arab Emirates beyond oil.
The WorldSkills flag traveled to the International Space Station on board the Soyuz MS-07 spaceship that launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 17 December 2017.
The flag was delivered to the International Space Station by the crew, consisting of Anton Shkaplerov, Russian cosmonaut from the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC), Norishige Kanai, JAXA astronaut from Japan, and Scott David Tingle, NASA astronaut from the USA.
After winning the World Youth Skills Day video contest, Jacob Dawson, product design student and vlogger, was invited to Abu Dhabi to capture a behind the scenes look at the 44th WorldSkills Competition.
In his four part series, Jacob documents WorldSkills with an all access pass to the Competitor Excursion, Opening Ceremony, Competition site, and even gets first access to the Competitors as they exit the stage into the Winners Circle.
The President of WorldSkills, Simon Bartley, has been named as an Ambassador for the annual European celebration of vocational education and training, which is led by the European Commission. The European Vocational Skills Week takes place across the European Union’s 28 Member States. This year it is being held 20-24 November, and will involve hundreds of events to highlight the benefits that Vocational Education and Training (VET) brings to people of all ages.
The President of WorldSkills is one of a group of Ambassadors who have volunteered to spread the word about VET and apprenticeships. “WorldSkills and the European Commission are natural partners in the promotion of vocational skills, and education”, said Simon Bartley.
“Through our Competitions, especially the European Championships – EuroSkills – and the global WorldSkills Competition, we help young people throughout Europe and beyond discover the benefits of VET and apprenticeships. The European Commission has always been a strong supporter of our mission to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, and European Vocational Skills Week is a great way for us to continue this important work together.”
Marianne Thyssen, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "Making vocational education and training a first option – not a second choice – is at the heart of the European Vocational Skills Week.”
Jyrki Katainen, the Commission’s Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, echoed this, adding: “The most competitive countries in the EU, and in the world, are those that invest most in skills.”
During European VET week WorldSkills will also announce and honour the Best of Europe competitor from the recent championships, WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.
The WorldSkills Champions Trust is a volunteer group of past Competitors who are the voice of young people in the WorldSkills movement. The initiative was developed by Champions for Champions at the WorldSkills Champions Forum 2014 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Their idea was to establish an advisory group to works closely throughout the year with WorldSkills.
This group works to raise levels of engagement among WorldSkills Champions and promote active involvement in WorldSkills projects, initiatives and activities. As a member of the Champions Trust you represent an exclusive network of Champions that have participated in a WorldSkills Competition. You also serve to advocate the power of skills to transform the lives of young people around the world