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23 June 2023

Meet Shweta Ratanpura, the new WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for Asia

The bronze Medallist in Graphic Design Technology at WorldSkills Kazan 2019 is a WorldSkills Champions Trust representative in Asia for the term 2023-24.

Shweta Ratanpura was the first Indian woman to bring back a WorldSkills medal. The bronze Medallist in Graphic Design Technology at WorldSkills Kazan 2019 is a WorldSkills Champions Trust representative in Asia for the term 2023-24.

A graduate of Graphic Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, she has interned and worked as a Designer at companies like Samsung and Google along with working as a freelancer with smaller studios and businesses.

In a country where success is often restricted to a handful of careers, such as medicine or engineering, her choice was often questioned and undermined by many around her.

“When people heard I wanted to study design they would come up to my parents and say, ‘What happened to Shweta? We thought she was good at studies. Why is she doing this?’,” explains Shweta with a smirk, as she recalls how her achievements at WorldSkills Kazan 2019 immediately gained her the respect from the very same people who had looked down upon her choice.

Having originally heard of WorldSkills through a peer, she applied to compete at IndiaSkills through the National Skill Development Corporation and progressed to be selected to represent India at the 45th WorldSkills Competition.

More than the event itself, Shweta acknowledges that it was all the moments leading up to the Competition that marked her as a person and as a professional. When she started her WorldSkills training – sponsored by the Media and Entertainment Skills Council – she was juggling it along with her final project for graduation.

“Training was very intensive for around 8 to 9 hours a day, 6 days a week, and even on the one free day, we would be trying to sort of study on our own and to gain some advantage. I also visited the Russian Nationals once before the competition, and there's a camp in Italy where there were around six to seven other Competitors. This rigorous training really helped me with my skills,” says Shweta.

“In college we are taught the basics of how to go about, but what I learned is what industry needs and how we need to deliver it. Obviously, it would have come with experience. The training was the equivalent of working in the field for three years, and I think it's made me very, very confident. So right now, while I freelance along with my master studies, I know I'm able to manage it.”

To keep up with the moving world and technology, as she puts it, Shweta is now pursuing her Masters Degree in Interaction Design from the IDC School of Design, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

“There is now AI technology that can create logos based on certain inputs that you give. And this is obviously going to get better in the future. So, I want to instead work on this software and make it work better. This specialization in Interaction Design helps me with that in a way so that I can combine my prior knowledge,” she says.

Shweta has great ideas for her term as a WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for Asia. For instance, she would like to strengthen and formalize unofficial alumni platforms, so that WorldSkills Champions in India and in the continent can collaborate at a professional level, train others, or exchange learnings. 

“In WorldSkills, interacting with other young people from different countries, different cultures, who had faced similar experiences, made me feel recognized. As part of a community, united despite our differences,” she says, as she believes that the spirit, energy, and teamwork lived before and during a competition should live on by providing more opportunities to contribute to the WorldSkills community.

But above all, Shweta hopes to advocate for young people, particularly girls, to consider skill-based careers as a path to personal fulfilment and professional success.

“Through my work with the Champions Trust, I hope that when a young girl chooses to pick an unconventional career path, she gets all the encouragement and support she deserves.”

Meet more of the WorldSkills Champions Trust