It is a year since WorldSkills publicly made its commitment to HeForShe, the United Nations solidarity campaign for gender equality. This was in the main, symbolic – an attempt by our movement to highlight the continued disparity between the opportunities that young women and men face as they pursue careers in vocational skills.
This year more WorldSkills Members have publicly stated their commitment to the campaign – 49 of our 79 Members have now backed HeForShe. We are delighted by this progress but urge more Members to make this commitment to changing gender inequalities in our field.
Of course, symbolism only goes so far. We all have walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. Writing this time last year, we stressed that Skills have no gender.
In 2016, WorldSkills Champions Forum participants presented the project idea “Skills on the Move” at the General Assembly. This was a project designed to use the WorldSkills community to help educate and better the lives of refugees in Rwanda, through skills.
Through the support of Autodesk, an initial visit to Rwanda and meeting with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Ministry of Education, and Skills for Rwanda took place to begin the conversations about future projects.
With just a day remaining until the WorldSkills Flag is due to return to Earth, two Russian cosmonauts have been speaking about the importance of skills from the International Space Station.
The WorldSkills Flag was launched into space in December and is currently on board the International Space Station. Anton Shkaplerov and Alexander Misurkin addressed the participants of the 45th WorldSkills Competition, which will take place in Kazan 22-27 August 2019.
"We are happy to contribute to the preparation of the upcoming event,” said Anton Shkaplerov. “The WorldSkills movement Flag is now with us on the International Space Station! It will shortly return to Earth and continue its journey around the planet, before visiting all parts of Russia – the country that was the first to open space to our world."
Alexander Misurkin underlined that a cosmonaut's work and vocational skills are closely related. “The International Space Station is a great project. Hundreds of people with different skills work on it, and each of them puts their skills, talents, effort, and their soul into their job. In other words, they show their professional excellence."
“A great future for both humans and humankind begins with a first step, with the first skill,” said Mr Misurkin. “The development of humans, their skills, and the infinite search for excellence is the idea of WorldSkills.”
The President and CEO of WorldSkills celebrated ten years of global partnership with Samsung, at a meeting with Samsung Electronics executives including Vice Chairman and CEO, Mr Boo-Keun Yoon.
During the meetings at the end of January WorldSkills and Samsung reflected on the past 10 years of partnership, as well as the outlook for the next decade. Mr. Yoon noted the joint achievements and expressed Samsung’s willingness to maintain this long-term fruitful partnership.
WorldSkills also presented the first WorldSkills Fellowship to the former Secretary General of Samsung Skills, Dr. Ji Oh Song, who has been a strong and consistent advocate for WorldSkills. This prestigious award recognized Dr. Song’s outstanding contribution to WorldSkills, as well as his commitment to inspiring and advancing the prospects of young people around the world. Dr. Song steered and led Samsung’s support for WorldSkills throughout the last decade.
The first WorldSkills International Capacity Building Centre to support global skills development has been established. The Global Institute for Transferring Skills (GIFTS) of the Human Resources Development Service of Republic of Korea (HRD Korea) will have an emphasis on Africa and other developing countries and regions.
To officially mark this collaboration, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Kim Dongman, the President of HRD Korea, Simon Bartley, the President, and David Hoey, the CEO of WorldSkills International (WSI), at a signing ceremony in Seoul on 29 January.
Also present were representatives of HRD Korea and the Director of Sponsorship and Partnership for WorldSkills, Alexander Amiri. The event offered an opportunity for the two organizations to reaffirm their commitment to strengthening skills development through strategic partnership and collaboration.
Through the WorldSkills Capacity Building Centre, WorldSkills International and GIFTS will work together on projects and activities that focus on skills competitions, capacity building, and skills training, especially in developing countries. These will include Members and non-Members of WorldSkills.