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9 November 2017

WorldSkills President named Ambassador for European Vocational Skills Week

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.


WorldSkills is the global hub of vocational skills. It is a membership organisation, with 78 Member countries and regions from across the globe. Every two years WorldSkills hosts the world championships of vocational skills, during which young competitors compete for prestigious medals. WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 was held in October.

The next international competition is WorldSkills Kazan 2019 (29 August – 3 September 2019).

18 Member States of the EU are Members of WorldSkills.

WorldSkills Europe, the regional organisation, has 28 Members. The next competition hosted by the organization will be EuroSkills Budapest 2018 (26-28 September 2018).

Simon Bartley was elected President of WorldSkills International at the organization’s General Assembly in October 2010 and took up his four-year post on 10th October 2011. Previously Simon had been Chief Executive of UK Skills and WorldSkills London 2011 as well as being the UK’s Official Delegate to both WorldSkills International and WorldSkills Europe (on both of which he was also a Board Member).

Prior to his involvement in UK Skills Simon worked in the Building Services Sector as Chairman of his family business and he now works as an international skills consultant. Simon was educated at Durham University, from where he graduated with a BSc in Engineering Science and Management and an MSc in Management Science. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of City and Guilds. A Member of the UK Governments Skills Commission he is also on the Council of City & Guilds. Simon is a past Chair of the Confederation of British Industry’s Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Council.

European Vocational Skills Week will be held this year under the campaign theme, “Discover your Talent!” Through this campaign and the activities of the week the European Commission aims to show that VET and apprenticeships are a smart choice, that lead to high-quality jobs and increased employability.


  • VET programmes boost your job prospects: in the EU recent vocational graduates who are no longer in education or training have an employment rate of 73% on average (DG EAC, Education and Training Monitor 2016). 
  • More than 30 million adults received education or training during 2016 in the 28 EU Member States (Eurostat, Lifelong learning statistics).
  • One in four adults in Europe is caught in a low-skills trap, unable to find employment or progress in their career. VET represents a way out and brings multiple benefits for both the employers and the individuals (OECD and EC, The Survey of Adult Skills PIAAC 2016).