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WorldSkills Update 29 September 2010

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Editorial: By Christine Scoot, Marketing & Project Coordinator, WSI

This year symbolizes WorldSkills International’s 60th anniversary and it’s time for a special edition celebrating this fantastic milestone.
We dug into our archives and found hundreds of photos from past WorldSkills Competitions and events, had them scanned and they now are all available on Flickr.

The photo’s go back to 1955 and we want to continue to build this archive of history. So please put on your archaeological hat and help us create a bigger library of WorldSkills achievements, experiences and events. You can send the images to

In this edition you can read a collection of WorldSkills memories from our Honorary Members; Anthony Cheng (HK) and Franz Schropp (DE). And a very special piece from Honorary President Cees Beuk (NL), who lead WorldSkills from 1992-1999.

We also have stories from WorldSkills Singapore, Skills Finland and founding Member Skills Spain who share their WorldSkills history.

Last but not least our Global Industry Partners reflect on the early days of sponsorship up until now.

We look forward to seeing many familiar faces in Kingston, Jamaica
for our General Assembly, WorldSkills Leaders Forum and
WorldSkills Youth Forum, where we will celebrate our 60th anniversary on 9 October.

Fluke Networks Fluke Networks Samsung Würth




Honorary President contribution

Looking back in time and congratulations


By Cees Beuk, Honorary President

Even though the WorldSkills organisation already existed for 42 years when I was elected President, it still had all the characteristics of a closed volunteer’s organisation.

We did have a Constitution but for example, the legal responsibility of the organisation was not recorded anywhere. Also, up until then it was custom that the retiring (Spanish) President appointed his (Spanish) successor.

When my acclaimed Spanish predecessor Francesco Albert Vidal, the actual founder and heart of the organisation since 1950, announced his resignation it was time to have the first fully democratic election among all members of the General Assembly, to select his successor.

Read more


Cees BeukOn top of Europe - Jungfrau - before WorldSkills St. Gallen 1997



Honorary Member contributions

Everlasting friendships of WorldSkills

By Franz Schropp, Honorary Member, Germany

The 1978 WorldSkills Competition in Busan, South Korea

Throughout the 20 WorldSkills Competitions that I have experienced, I have made many very good friends and many of these friendships still exist today.

There is one special experience that has been with me for over 30 years, which I would like to share with you:

WorldSkills Busan 1978 was held in South Korea with just 285 participants. I could not understand or read Korean, not even the numbers! So I had an interpreter by my side. A Korean student who studied the German language and culture at the University of Busan. He spoke some German, initiated me into the mysteries of the Korean culture and stood by me day and night to assist me in doing my job as an Expert. This student, who is now a successful professor of German language and culture at the University of Busan, is still in touch with me and my family. A true friendship, even after 32 years!

Read more

  Franz SchroppFranz Schropp at WorldSkills Busan 1978


Unleash your potential

By Anthony Cheng, Honorary Member, Hong Kong, China

The capability of WorldSkills International (WSI) to unleash Members’ otherwise unknown potential is, I believe, one of its many success factors. Implicitly or explicitly, Members believe that ‘if it is impossible, I will do it at once; and if it is a miracle, it will only take me some more time’ (as I was told by Mr Kurt Kern, WorldSkills St Gallen 1997 and 2003, Organising Committee). Members know that they will not be shouldering their responsibility alone because there are precedents, experienced mentors, able and willing helpers, and above all, a solid foundation of the organisational structure with well-documented procedures that always provides amenable solutions to problems. By this, I mean the powerful team of Chief Experts, Experts, Workshop Supervisors, the Organising Committee team, Technical and Strategy Committee Members, and the Competition Rules and the Standing Orders that are meticulously compiled.

Millenniums before the birth of WSI, our sage Confucius once said, ‘the student of virtue does not contend. If he cannot avoid it, shall the contention be in archery? He bows respectfully to his competitors; then he ascends the hall, descends and drinks to the winner. Even in a competition, he is still a gentleman (Junzi).’ Such competitive spirit pervades the atmosphere of all the WorldSkills Competitions (WSC) that I have attended. However, my six years with the WSC is but one tenth of the history of WSI. While we have survived an ever existent psychological peril by resisting the sirens’ seducing lyric of ‘winning a medal at all costs’, we should never be complacent. Always remember to make the WSC a level playing field for our young Competitors.

Read more


Anthony ChengAnthony Cheng before WorldSkills St. Gallen 1997



Member Country/Region contributions

WSI’s founding country, looks back on the history of VET

By Skills Spain

Background on VET* competitions

The national competitions in VET began in Spain in 1947 with the participation of 21-year-old students attending vocational training centres and apprentices of public and private companies. In the first competition, approximately 4,000 young people took part, while in 1968, participation figures rose to 60,000. The cooperation of the state and private teaching institutions and the most important national companies in this preliminary organisation should be emphasised.

In the competitions, a total of 44 jobs or specialised occupations of the industrial, agricultural, craftwork and services fields were included. These contests were organised in local and regional qualifying rounds leading to the national competition. Winners became National Champions. Apart from these awards, both the Ministries and the companies granted special scholarships to the best participants, so that they could have access to intermediate or higher degree education. Similarly, prizes were granted in kind (books, tools, machinery) to outstanding teaching institutions in regards to participating in the competitions.

Read more

  Anthony Cheng


Promoting excellence in VET within the network of WorldSkills

By Eija Alhojärvi, Skills Finland

The history of skills competitions in Finland started in the 1940’s when the first competitions were organised by the Finnish Federation of Industries. Skills Finland, a non-profit organisation promoting excellence in skills, was founded in 1993 in the middle of the previous economic recession. Despite the difficult economic situation, some visionary organisations and individuals saw the benefits of skills competitions, and were prepared to do hard work to launch them in Finland. Since the establishment of Skills Finland, skills competitions have had an essential role in developing VET in Finland. Today the network around Skills Finland consists of all the main stakeholders, and the results of the work done are evident.

Read more



Sowing the seeds of WorldSkills

By Victor Yen, Head/Stakeholder Communication, ITE, Singapore

The story of Singapore’s flight in WorldSkills

Singapore is a small island-country in Southeast Asia, measuring just 700 square kilometres and with a population of 5 million. Apart from a strategic geographical location, Singapore boasts no natural resources. Our only resource is our people. With human capital our greatest asset, it is imperative that each individual is educated and trained to his/her fullest potential.

Read more

  Team Singapore


Global Industry Partner contribution

From Global Sponsor Partners to Global Industry Partners

By David Green and Martin Williams on behalf of the Global Industry Partners

Over the 60 year history of WorldSkills International (and its various identities) there have been many public and private sector supporters of the organisation and in particular the skill competitions. Business and industry has everything to gain by ensuring that these young Competitors and their mentors, get to showcase their skills and their training systems as models for the workforce industry to employ. By contributing time, materials, money and value-in-kind to local, national, regional and global skills events in a wide range of skills categories, industry has helped put Vocational Education and Training (VET) on show. It has also supported the agendas of government, education and all business sectors in focusing on youth, developing a skilled and job-ready workforce, economic growth and prosperity and ultimately national pride.

Read more

  Global Industry Partners



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