What is it?
WorldSkills is the international non-profit movement, which aimed to increase the prestige of blue-collar jobs and to develop professional skills. WorldSkills has a direct impact on the growth of vocational education worldwide: from traditional crafts to multidisciplinary professions of manufactory and service industries in the 76 participating countries.
WorldSkills Championships held every two years in different countries, participants are young skilled workers, college and university students under the age of 22 years. Additionally, well-known professionals, specialists, trainers and mentors participate as experts, evaluating the performance of the contestants.
Contestants selected from the regional professional championships in the 76 member countries. They demonstrate technical abilities, individual and collective skills of solving the real-world problems. The result of the team performance is not only demonstrate the personal professional skills of the participants, but also the level of training and the general level of service quality at their home regions.
Origin of WorldSkills
In 1947, Spain first conducted the national competition of technical vocational training. It was intended to raise the popularity of blue-collar jobs, and promote the creation of an effective system of vocational education. As the country recovered from the World War II, there was an acute shortage of skilled workers. The author of this idea was the Spanish youth organization’s CEO Jose Antonio Elola Olaso.
Portugal first supported this initiative. As a result, 12 representatives from both countries participated in the first Pyrenean international competition. Three years later, contestants from Germany, Britain, France, Morocco and Switzerland joined the competitions. Thus, International Vocational Training Organization (IVTO), the organization that conducts the competitions of the professional skills, formed in 1983.
In 1958, competitions held at the World Exhibition in Brussels, for the first time outside the Spain. In 1970, they held in other parts of the world – in Tokyo. In the early 2000s, IVTO changed its name and logo, and then has been operating as ‘WorldSkills International’ (WSI). Today, many activities such as regional and national competitions, continental championships and the once-in-two-years world championships are organized and/or mentored by WSI.
WorldSkills in the world
Today WorldSkills International (WSI) is a non-profit association, which is open-to-join for agencies or official bodies responsible for the development of vocational education and trainings (VET) in the region or country, which they represent. WSI operates worldwide, being politically and religiously neutral organization.
Vision of WSI is to improve the world through the development of skills and competencies. The organization’s mission is to show that competent, high-skilled people could contribute to economic growth and self-fulfillment in own life.
The main objective of WSI is conduction of the WorldSkills Competition (WSC), the once-in-two-years world championship, which is accompanied by a variety of activities, to prepare and to improve the effectiveness of the event.
In 2011, Terka Dyusseldorpa and Simon Bartley, ex and current Presidents of WSI, initiated the fund ‘WorldSkills Foundation’ (WSF). The appearance of WSF contributed to the development of the WSC concept and to more effective analysis of the competition results for the development of VET in member countries of associations and enhance career success for winners. Hence, the new focuses of development are following: vocational guidance (Promoting Skills), the development of career paths of participants (Career Building), worldwide competition (Skills Competitions), VET development (Education and Training), international cooperation issues of vocational education (International Cooperation), and research the development of competencies (Research). New focuses of system development directed to the implementation of the mission of the movement.