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17 April 2024

Sustainability and greening of skills embedded into all WorldSkills competitions

Sustainable practices will be assessed in all skill competitions for the first time at WorldSkills Lyon 2024 following their integration into the WorldSkills Occupational Standards.

WorldSkills Lyon 2024 will be the first WorldSkills Competition to assess all Competitors on sustainable practice.

Once an award measuring eco-effectiveness in a limited number of skill competitions, demonstrating sustainable practice has become a transversal skill as part of the WorldSkills Occupational Standards.

Following every WorldSkills Competition, the WorldSkills Occupational Standards are reviewed and updated in consultation with industry and businesses worldwide. This process ensures they continue to reflect industry expectations within WorldSkills competitions.

With sustainable manufacturing having become an important objective across sectors due to its environmental and financial benefits, the WorldSkills Occupational Standards for WorldSkills Competition 2024 have now incorporated sustainable practice as an essential component of demonstrating skills excellence.

Transversal skills are crucial aspects of occupational excellence, as they look beyond the technical abilities and at the essential traits that make a professional stand out. Other transversal skills measured are work organization and management, communication and interpersonal skills, problem solving, as well as innovation and creativity, each accounting for around 5% of the total marks in the Marking Scheme of each skill competition.

Through its inclusion in the Occupational Standards, sustainable practice is now an expectation of Competitors in completing their Test Project – the work that Competitors undertake to demonstrate their abilities – and included in the Marking Scheme, which is how WorldSkills rates their performance and assesses who is bestowed a WorldSkills medal.

“Now, not only are our skill competitions more closely aligned with what’s happening in industry, but we are raising the awareness of Experts and Competitors on how to be more sustainable in everything they do,” says Jane Stokie, Director of Skills Competitions at WorldSkills.

“Including sustainability into our Occupational Standards has a much wider and lasting impact than an award, because the standards are the basis of the training all Competitors undergo to prepare for WorldSkills, and the WorldSkills Occupational Standards are a tool used globally for benchmarking Technical and Vocational Education and Training,” she added.

The way sustainability is reflected varies widely from skill to skill. Depending on the nature of each occupation, some skills might have sustainable practice specifically outlined and determined, and in others it might be embedded across the Technical Description of each job or allow Competitors to address sustainability in more creative ways.

For instance, in the skill competition of Plumbing and Heating there is explicit mention of how the job contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To ensure access to water and sanitation for all, Goal 6, the Occupational Standards outline that future plumbers should have the technical knowledge to install rainwater harvesting or grey water systems, or systems that reduce water consumption and provide access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Installing the right heat pump systems can also help ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy, as described in Goal 7, or combat climate change and its impacts.

The skill competition Renewable Energy stresses the importance of using green materials, and correct waste disposal and recycling, while in Joinery, an “eco-consciousness” is valued, which implies knowing the significance of using environmentally friendly material.

“To everyone’s advantage, current Competitors and their generation are already advocates of sustainability. We hope for them to drive the Experts training them to be more sustainable, as well as the workplaces they will join in the near future,” said Ms Stokie.

WorldSkills Lyon 2024 will show the world that Where there is a skill, There is a way. A major industrial centre and a global reference for gastronomy and cuisine, the city of Lyon will host the 47th WorldSkills Competition from 10 to 15 September 2024. Over 1,500 Competitors from over 65 countries and regions will compete in 62 skill competitions. Sustainability is one of the three pillars guiding the organization of the Competition.