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WorldSkills Shanghai 2021 or WorldSkills Basel 2021?

13 February 2017

WorldSkills never stands still – and even before the start of the 2017 event in Abu Dhabi, work has begun on the bids to host the global skills showcase in four years time.

The race to host WorldSkills 2021 is currently a two-way contest, with China and Switzerland having both expressed their interest. Both countries are active and dedicated Members of WorldSkills and they have made compelling reasons why Members of WorldSkills should support their candidate bids. 

Speaking on the side lines of the recent Competition Preparation Week (CPW) in Abu Dhabi Jia Jie, the Team Leader for WorldSkills China said, "For China, the WorldSkills movement and skills competitions as a whole are a good tool to promote the spirit of craftsmanship, which was called for by Li Keqiang, Premier of the People's Republic of China, as well as to create a friendly atmosphere that respects skills and work.” 

"China has accumulated experience in skills development and TVET systems, which could be a solid foundation for China's bid. Every year, a great number of skill competitions at various levels take place nationwide, so China is experienced in organizing skill competitions.”

"China is now the second largest economy in the world and the largest developing country, as well as the most populous country. So, it is necessary to bring the WorldSkills Competition to China to raise the visibility of WorldSkills as a whole. At the same time, a WorldSkills Competition in China will raise recognition for skills and attract more young people to TVET in China. Through WorldSkills Competitions the technical standards are also heightened."

Switzerland, also made a comprehensive and appealing case to be the host of WorldSkills in four years, with Christine Davatz-Höchner, the country’s Official Delegate to WorldSkills pointing to Switzerland’s long association with the movement – it has been a WorldSkills member for more than 50 years and has hosted the Competition three times before (1968, 1997, and 2003). 

"We have seen the development of WorldSkills; it grows and grows and grows,” she said. “The venue two years ago in São Paulo was immense, and we know that the 2019 Competition venue in Kazan, Russia, is also huge.” 

“But we have to bring WorldSkills back to its roots, and have a high-quality Competition that is not only held in huge venues, but that also has high-value competitions in each trade. What we really want to focus on is quality, because we want to have the WorldSkills World Champions. That is our goal.”

Ms Davatz-Höchner said Switzerland’s advantages as a WorldSkills host include its cultural diversity, its "tradition and innovation", its vast experience partnering with the WorldSkills brand, its central location and, above all, its success in promoting vocational skills and apprenticeship programmes.  

"Two-thirds of our young people are apprentices," she said. "For us, it's a real career-building system. Other countries are coming to us to see how we do it because they need skilled people, not only academic people.”

If Switzerland’s bid succeeds, the 2021 Competition would be held in Basel, and if China wins the vote of WorldSkills Delegates later this year, the Competition will be in Shanghai. The decision will be made at the General Assembly in Abu Dhabi later this year. WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 – the first to be held in the Middle East and North Africa – will take place in October. The Russian city of Kazan will host WorldSkills in August 2019.