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25 January 2012

Staying involved in WorldSkills reaps rewards

Harry Smith, WorldSkills UK Alumni Co-ordinator

By Sally Eley, WorldSkills International

Former UK Competitor in Graphic Design, Harry Smith enjoyed his WorldSkills experience so much he was determined to give something back. Employed as the WorldSkills, UK Alumni Co-ordinator, Harry has seen the UK Alumni go from strength to strength. He explains why he is still involved:

“Winning a silver medal in Japan in 2007 was an amazing experience and one which I will never forget. It had such a positive effect on me that I was determined to stay involved and help other young people find out about the benefits of skills competitions and ultimately WorldSkills. One of the reasons I wanted to become involved in shaping the WorldSkills, UK Alumni was to encourage others like me who had competed at a WorldSkills event to have a say in the future of the Competition and to share their ideas and vision.”

"I have been fortunate enough to take part in three Youth Forums for WorldSkills and I am proud of the contribution, we, as former Competitors have made to the development of the Competition. One of the ideas we had in Vienna was around sustainability in relation to disposing of some of the products made during the Competition for example, the items produced in the Manufacturing Team Challenge and I am delighted that these were re-cycled in Calgary and London."

"I would encourage all former WorldSkills Competitors to stay involved in WorldSkills. Whether this is though your national/regional Alumni or via the WorldSkills web portal, there are many reasons to stay connected; keeping in touch with your teammates, networking for your business and industry and taking advantage of opportunities to shape future skills competitions are just a few examples. Taking part in WorldSkills is really just the start of the journey. There are so many more opportunities open to you once you have competed and it is genuinely rewarding to have the chance to change other peoples’ perceptions of vocational skills.”

Since being appointed as the WorldSkills, UK Alumni Co-ordinator in December 2008, Harry has led a programme of change that has seen the Alumni grow by 14.5% and he has actively encouraged former Competitors to continue their involvement with WorldSkills.

For more information on the WorldSkills, UK Alumni contact Harry at

In the last 18 months the WorldSkills, UK Alumni have…

  • Spoken at 36 events reaching 107,322 people
  • Contributed 375 days to the training and development of Team UK 2011
  • Created 4,694 opportunities to ‘Have a Go’ at a skill
  • Featured in 79 Press clippings with a total circulation of 14,191,894 and Advertising Value Equivalent of £262,296
  • Volunteered at WorldSkills London 2011. 32 members volunteered representing £100,000 in time