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30 December 2017

Happy New Year from WorldSkills

With 2017 drawing to a close, it is time to look back at an unforgettable year of improving our world through the power of skills, and advancing the global WorldSkills movement.

The highlight of the year was undoubtedly WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 in October. The 44th edition of the world championship of vocational skills, which was hosted in the capital of the United Arab Emirates - the first time the WorldSkills Competition has been held in the Middle East and North Africa region. The hosting of this event demonstrated the essential role of vocational education and training in developing the economy of the United Arab Emirates beyond oil.

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 brought together the world for another epic demonstration of the power of skills. In terms of Competitor numbers - with 1,300 young people from 59 WorldSkills Member countries and regions showcasing their talent across 51 skills competitions at an event which attracted more than 125,000 visitors. More than 1,000 members of the media from around the world covered the event in person, leading to unprecedented coverage. Articles and reports appeared in heavyweight print and broadcasting media outlets across the world including CNN, BBC, Wall Street Journal and Agence France Press, helping to make WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 one of the trending topics on Twitter.

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 was also the stage for the WorldSkills Conference 2017, and the first ever Ministers TVET Summit and International TVET Youth Forum - providing a unique opportunity for young professionals, Ministers, and other global policymakers to debate the major issues facing the vocational education sector to ensure that vocational skills meet the needs of a changing world. These events provide a foundation for further discussion that triggers tangible action and ensures that WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 leaves an enduring mark on the vocational skills landscape.

While WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 was the centrepiece of the past year, there are many other events and achievements that contributed to making 2017 memorable for WorldSkills.

The WorldSkills Champions Trust formalized its role within the WorldSkills movement and lead key elements of the WorldSkills Champions Forum. WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 Competitors were encouraged to continue their WorldSkills journey by becoming members of the WorldSkills Champions Trust, engaging in WorldSkills strategic planning, and representing WorldSkills at events to provide the personal stories that inspire and motivate audiences everywhere.

WorldSkills welcomed a new addition in 2017, with Pakistan becoming the 78th Member of the global hub of skills excellence and development. The country has emphasized its intention to play a key role in the future of the WorldSkills movement, and to embrace technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a way of addressing its socioeconomic and employment challenges.

As WorldSkills expanded, so did the number of international industry partners whose goal is to improve the world through the power of skills.

Glasurit, the premium paint brand of global chemical giant BASF, became a Global Industry Partner of WorldSkills, as did robotics development and STEM company Studica. Meanwhile, leading global robotics provider VEX Robotics took its already-established partnership with WorldSkills to a global level, becoming a Global Supporter.  

Together, these new Global Partners - with our existing supporters - are helping to bridge the gap between traditional skills and the new skills that are needed today and tomorrow. We are tremendously grateful to all our Members and partners who are committed to improving the world through the power of skills.

Throughout 2017, the implementation process of WorldSkills Vision 2025 progressed towards the realisation of its strategic plan of raising ambition and opportunity in TVET for young people, employers, and societies; enhancing the quality of TVET provision through stronger connections to labour markets, employers, and economies; and helping to build the organizational capability of WorldSkills and the global competitiveness of its Members. 

WorldSkills has provided unanimous and unequivocal support for the HeForShe campaign. As a global movement that promotes access to vocational skills, WorldSkills believes that skills have no gender, and that it is time for inequality in the workplace to be eradicated. Consequently, support for this campaign for the advancement of women, which was initiated by UN Women, was formally endorsed by WorldSkills. This initiative calls on people around the world to stand together to create a “bold, visible force for gender equality.”

WorldSkills also continued to demonstrate its commitment to inclusiveness and engagement by helping to mark World Youth Skills Day in July, under the campaign theme #SkillsForAll, inspiring young individuals across the globe to consider pursuing vocational pathways, and how they can lead to successful - and enjoyable - careers.

In 2017, WorldSkills International and the HP Foundation teamed up to launch BeChangeMaker, a series of online training projects that help young people explore their career potential as social entrepreneurs. The programme for social entrepreneurs focuses on addressing social, cultural, economic, health, educational, and environmental problems, and saw BeChangeMaker participants team up with talented and like-minded young people from their communities to take part in an online competition that will see them influence social change on a global level.

In November, our President, Simon Bartley, was selected as an Ambassador for the European Vocational Skills Week. This took place across the 28 Member States of the European Union and over hundreds of events, highlighting the benefits that VET brings to people of all ages. 

Now that WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is behind us, we have shifted our focus to capitalizing on all we have learned from past events to prepare for the 45th WorldSkills Competition - WorldSkills Kazan 2019. 

The WorldSkills flag has begun its extraordinary journey to space, and then around the world, before beginning a domestic journey to Kazan. The plan is for the flag to pass through all 33 cities that have hosted the WorldSkills Competition, across 21 countries, after returning from its trip to the International Space Station.

After the international leg, the WorldSkills Flag Relay will continue to make its way through all 85 regions of the Russian Federation, as well as 43 municipal districts and two city districts of the Republic of Tatarstan. Finally, the WorldSkills flag will be delivered to Kazan for the Opening Ceremony of WorldSkills Kazan 2019. 

We hope that all that we have achieved in this year can be built upon in the new year. Throughout 2018, WorldSkills has many other events to look forward to, including another exciting year of national skills competitions around the globe, and, of course,  WorldSkills General Assembly 2018 and WorldSkills Conference 2018 both of which will be held in Amsterdam in October.

From the Board of Directors of WorldSkills, the Board of Trustees of the WorldSkills Foundation, and the WorldSkills Secretariat, we wish you all a prosperous, happy, and successful New Year.