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6 December 2023

Once a WorldSkills Expert, always a champion of knowledge and passion

Meet Gisèle Fougère from Canada, former Expert in Beauty Therapy and WorldSkills Expert Faculty Member.

Gisèle Fougère’s first taste of WorldSkills was at WorldSkills Calgary 2009. One of her students won the gold medal at Canada’s national competition, and was invited to take part in the world championship, where she earned silver.

“It was so exciting, and I couldn’t believe our luck that we were able to participate in something so big!” recalls Gisèle, an Expert in Beauty Therapy and a WorldSkills Experts Faculty Member.

The following year, another of her students won the gold medal at nationals, and then a bronze medal at WorldSkills London 2011. Captivated by the movement, Gisèle got more involved in the provincial competitions in her home province of New Brunswick and in the nationals. She later represented Canada as an Expert at WorldSkills São Paolo 2015, and at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.

“It wasn’t long after that the WorldSkills Experts Faculty was born,” Gisèle says. “So, I had applied and got in.”

WorldSkills Experts represent their country or region to share their knowledge and experience in their skill. After serving in an official role of Expert at a WorldSkills Competition, you are eligible to join the Experts Faculty, a group of volunteers that helps expand the movement and create a positive impact in skills development around the world.

As part of the Faculty, Gisèle highlights her participation in a mentoring programme with Member country Costa Rica. Triggered by the pandemic, the country began urgently seeking ways to develop new training and work practices.

Costa Rica expressed interest in working with Experts who had experience in vocational training and had worked in industry — two key areas they wanted to develop. Around 350 members of the WorldSkills Experts Faculty were contacted, Gisèle amongst them.

“Tourism being one of Costa Rica’s main industries, there was a lot of questions about my industry as far as spas and salons,” she says. “And it wasn’t just about pandemic. I was about how to promote skilled trades in their country, to the younger population.”

Meeting via Zoom once a week over several months, WorldSkills Experts from all over the world also got to know a lot about the beautiful Central American country, its culture, and cuisine. “It was a lot of fun,” Gisèle says.

Now reaching the end of her career and amassing 40 years of experience as a Beauty Therapist, Gisèle has always combined training with running her own business. She is a part-time instructor in Aesthetics at the Medes College, and has a business that caters mostly to teachers, providing holistic wellness services.

She says combining teaching and practice has allowed her to keep up to date, especially with technological innovations, and to be closer to students’ aspirations.

“Sometimes you need to re-educate yourself on technology, or you have to learn new. So, when it comes to teaching, I always get a lot of questions from the students on how to go about doing certain things and how to develop a portfolio, and I think it is very important to still be in the industry.

“In our industry there are so many different roads that you can go into. So, it’s basically trying to figure out what you love to do the most. Having my own business, I think I can get in their shoes more easily.”

Even after Gisèle retires, she plans to continue sharing her knowledge as part of the WorldSkills Experts Faculty.

“It goes to how passionate you are. And I still remember training Competitors and that feeling when they win. It’s almost like an energy that you can’t control. It’s like there’s fire in your heels. And then you just want to keep going, and you want to continue helping where you can.”

Learn more about how to join the WorldSkills Experts Faculty.