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24 July 2023

WorldSkills Members around the world put their young people to the test

In recent months, WorldSkills Members have hosted National Competitions across four continents to prepare teams for WorldSkills Lyon 2024.

Around the world, WorldSkills Members are putting the talents and skills of their young people to the test, hosting National Competitions to prepare their teams for WorldSkills Lyon 2024 in France in September next year.

In over a dozen countries across four continents, young people have demonstrated incredible skills and commitment to learning, while celebrating diversity and inclusion.

In Denmark, the National Skills Competition attracted over 50,000 visitors and saw 45 young people take home medals for skills ranging from furniture upholstery to baking. Their positive attitude to vocational skills, “brings joy to be here with them,” said Søren Heisel, Chair of SkillsDenmark.

It was also clear young people were increasingly following a green agenda, he said. “In the vocational training courses around the country, there is a great focus on sustainability, and this could also be seen at many of the competition stands.”

March saw a burst of national competitions, including Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and the Netherlands.

For Portugal, one of the oldest WorldSkills Members, it was the 45th time the nationals had taken place. This year it was held at Portimão in the southern Algarve region. Over five days, 364 young people competed in more than 50 skills, with the winners heading to EuroSkills Gdansk 2023 in Poland in September this year and the WorldSkills Competition in Lyon, France next year.

As Portugal ended its competition, EmiratesSkills was beginning theirs at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the venue for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017. Over 50 young men and women won gold, silver, and bronze medals in 23 skill competitions. It was the largest national vocational skills competition in the UAE and was watched by the country’s vice president Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.

Skills The Finals hosted by WorldSkills Netherlands saw more than 600 contestants take part in 60 skill competitions. Held at the Amsterdam RAI conference centre, visitors included King Willem-Alexander, with the 23 winners going on to form the team for EuroSkills Gdansk 2023.

March concluded with the Grand Est Regional Finals at the city of Metz in France, and the 10th International Abilympics, the skills global competition for people with disabilities, organized in partnership with WorldSkills France.

SkillsLatvia and WordSkills Hong Kong shared the spotlight in April and May holding national competitions on different sides of the world.

Four new skills — Bakery, Hotel Reception, Freight Forwarding, and IT Network Systems Administration — were added to the Hong Kong national competition, with the winners now preparing for WorldSkills Lyon 2024.

Also in Asia, it was the turn of WorldSkills Thailand, whose 29th national competition was held across six venues in late May. The winners were presented with their medals by Boonchob Sutthamanatwong, Thailand’s Permanent Secretary of Labour, who told them this was only the start of a successful life and a stable job. He added: “We must not stop developing and must learn all the time because the world today is constantly changing. We must adapt to keep up with changes, especially in technology.”

In Europe, Croatia, Finland, and Sweden held their national competitions in May. WorldSkills Croatia attracted over 10,000 visitors, including students from 100 elementary schools, with an event that included two new disciplines — Nutri-vita and Tourist destination, specializing in nutritious eating and trends in tourism respectively.

In Sweden, the national competition was held alongside a jobs tournament for year eight students to encourage vocational training and future job opportunities, while Finland’s Taitaja 2023 took sustainable future, multiculturalism, and internationality as its themes.

Crossing the Atlantic at the end of May, the Skills Canada National Competition was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, bringing together over 500 Competitors in 40 skills and introducing a Skills Showcase featuring First Nations, Inuit, and Métis indigenous skills that included flat stitch beading, soapstone carving, and building mini tipis.

In June, it was the turn of the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic also selecting the team for future regional and international competitions from its national competition winners.

For Jamaica, the first Caribbean country to join WorldSkills, it was their eighth national competition, with 230 young people and 35 skills under the WorldSkills Lyon 2024 “Where there is a Skill, there is a Way.”

As WorldSkills International CEO David Hoey told those taking part: “Skills will not only get you a job, they will also help you fulfil your ambitions – with confidence. Skills can change your life for the better and enable you to bring positive impact into your communities.”