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Shaping the future of skills through harnessing global knowledge and insight

20 September 2017

Key global challenges that must be tackled to nurture skills, and maximize their impact on economic prosperity, will be placed in focus through expert led forums at WorldSkills Conference 2017, 16-17 October in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, is a Coalition Partner of the WorldSkills Conference. It is hosting three sessions at the Conference at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, that will each address a pivotal topic in the sphere of skills development.

The sessions are designed to capitalize on the global profile of the event – with 1,300 young people from 60 Member countries and regions competing in 51 skills categories at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 14-19 October. Education leaders, policy makers, senior practitioners, and employers will also be in attendance and will exchange knowledge, ideas, and opinions on how to ensure Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) plays a central role in economic strategies around the world.

Two panels – one comprising employers, and the other consisting of educational representatives – will examine whether educators are equipped to meet the needs of employers, and if companies recognize precisely which skills will drive long-term economic growth, through a session entitled ‘What Skills Do Employers Really Need?’, hosted by the British Council and global skills development leader, City & Guilds.

The ‘Skills Development in Cities: Powering the Engines of Economic Growth’ forum will analyze how universal and sustainable skills solutions can be provided and societal borders broken down within cities. ‘Global Skills Snapshot: A Look at Three Systems’ will discuss lessons that can be learned from skills development frameworks in three countries. These have different types of systems and both shared and divergent challenges.

“Making connections, sharing knowledge, and building understanding between the UK and other countries is central to our work, and one of the important areas in which we do this is education,” said Tracy Ferrier, Global Head of Skills, British Council.

“As well as cultural relations, our aim is to enhance the employability of young people by making a difference at the systemic and policy level.

“WorldSkills Competitions fit very well with our mission, and WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 will bring together many organizations that we already work with, providing an opportunity to raise the profile, status, and quality of TVET around the world.”

Ms Ferrier emphasizes the importance of skilled young people having a holistic view of the options available to them, in order to define their future and make the biggest contribution to economies and societies. “The TVET route can lead to many jobs in many areas, where there may be skills shortages or gaps, and where there is likely to be great demand or growth in the future,” she said.

“WorldSkills Competitions elevate the status of these roles and occupations, and awareness of what can be achieved through them. They also provide a global platform for vocational education. This aspect of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 drives our interest, due to the opportunity it provides to bring people together from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures."

“Many events of this kind take place around the world, but I believe this is the one where there is a real connection with young people. This can make a big difference in terms of going from talk to action – discussing issues in a way that is not purely theoretical, but which has a genuine and strong focus on the needs, and the futures, of young people.”

Visit WorldSkills Conference 2017 website for more information and to register.