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    Fostering youth skills development

    The Youth Skills Championship aims at bringing together a large number of participants in diversified fields. In addition, the competitions aim at creating awareness and promote vocational skills, writes Bekele Matewos.

    Olympics is not only for sports. Nowadays, various skills Olympics are also arising as a new global youth event. The idea emanated from sports Olympics which was tailored to become Olympic for skills competition. The history dates back to the 1950s where Spain and Portugal together organized the first youth Olympics. Youngsters from Germany, the UK, France, Morocco and Switzerland took part in the event. Currently, the event is organized every two years by members of the International Vocational Training Organization which is called World Skills. The event showcases the value of skills and raises the recognition of skilled professionals worldwide. According to the organizers, “skills are the foundation of modern life. Everything, from the houses we live in to the societies we create, is the result of skills. They are the driving force behind successful careers and companies, thriving industries, and economies. Skills keep the world working.”

    Competitions are effective particularly in the context of providing positive career role models for school-age youngsters. They provide a unique means of comparison of world-class competence in the industrial building and service rendering global economy. It is the largest skills competition and job career event in the world. It is not just a competition; it is a grand global event for skills excellence and development with ongoing processes at national, regional, and global levels. Members of World Skills are part of a global movement dedicated to promoting the benefits of skills training. They have access to resources, activities, and events. World Skills also hosts conferences about vocational skills and describes itself as the global center for skills.

    The types of vocational skills for the world skills competition include: stone masonry, bricklaying, wall and floor tiling, sanitary installation, carpentry, fashion technology, information network, IT application, web design, bakery, cooking, beauty therapy, health and social care, hairdressing, furniture making, automobile repair and the like. It is a wide range of industries — from joinery to floristry; hairdressing to electronics; and auto body repair to bakery. The competitors represent the best of their peers and are selected from skills competitions that are held in World Skills member countries and regions. The competition aims to:

    1. Create awareness and promote vocational skills.
    2. Share ideas and experiences.
    3. Network through word-of-mouth, social media, events, and other outlets.
    4. Be committed and work together with educators, policymakers, industry, and other organizations to redefine the value and improve the attractiveness of skills.
    5. Emphasize the need of trained manpower in the area of globalization.
    6. Improve the quality of skills and services.

    The Youth Skills Championship aims at bringing together a large number of participants in diversified fields. In that regard, the following outcomes are expected:

    1. Creating constructive competition among skilled youth.
    2. Improving work attitudes and motivation among the general working community.
    3. Increasing the level of social recognition of vocational skills.
    4. Increasing productivity per unit of input in the individual business; be it regional economies or national ones.
    5. Sharing innovative idea.
    6. Acquiring world-class skills level standards and improved work environment as a positive reaction.
    7. Equipping individuals with relevant productive and entrepreneurial skills that will prepare them for skilled labor force which is the key for development.
    8. Facilitating the relation between TVET institutions and industries which is a major advantage in the development and implementation of TVET programs.
    9. Providing knowledge and skills in technical and vocational fields in order to meet national workforce demand in industry, business, agriculture and the like.

    The most recent events in world skills Olympic were the 43rd edition which was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil from August 11-16, 2015. It was a welcoming occasion to promote vocational training for the first time in Latin America. The 44th edition was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from October 15-18, 2017. It was the largest and most prestigious skills competition hosted by the Middle East and North Africa region for the first time – the high-level conference has brought together government representatives, thought leaders, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in a rapidly-changing world.

    The upcoming 45th World Skills Competition will be held in Kazan, Russia. It is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, the third capital of Russia; which is one of the largest economic, scientific and cultural centers in the country, located 820 kilometers east of Moscow. About 1.2 million people – from more than 100 nationalities – live in Kazan in an atmosphere of cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity. The city celebrated its 1,000th anniversary in 2005. Kazan was granted the right to host the 45th World Skills Competition after winning a vote by the General Assembly in São Paulo, Brazil in August 2015. Also, bidding for the right to hold the competition were Paris, France and Charleroi, Belgium. The Competition will take place in Kazan from August 22-27, 2019 bringing together 1,300 young professionals representing more than 70 countries who will compete in over 50 skills. Around 1,000 experts will evaluate the competitors’ work. Medals will be awarded in a colorful ceremony just like in the spirit of the Olympics.

    The World Skills Russia Juniors Competition will be held on the sidelines of the main event and will see school children, aged 10-17, also compete for medals in a range of skills.

    Membership in World Skills offers access to impressive activities, programmers, and forums that have evolved over 65 years to reflect best practices and excellence in skills development and promotion. Members can:

    1. Gain access to the world’s leading network of organizations promoting skills training.
    2. Learn best practices about how other countries and regions are attracting young people to skilled careers.
    3. Adopt the World Skills brand, which is recognized by partners and stakeholders who are committed to skill development.
    4. Use World Skills initiatives to accelerate promotion of skills and become champions within their own country/region of the World Skills brand.
    5. Access and usage rights to World Skills intellectual property, resources, photos, videos, social media, marketing, and communications tools.

    In Ethiopia, in the past few years, adequate attention and time were not properly given to the youth. There were no opportunities enabling them to overcome their obstacles, use their knowledge and skills intelligently to seize opportunities and be innovative and creative.

    The Ethiopian youth may be remote from the benefits of participating in the competition. However, taking part will help inject dynamism and excitement into training activities. It will also boost the confidence for competitors. Competition is a great way to exchange experiences and is a way of working with other people who are in the same profession. We need to encourage the youth to get involved in the skills competition and increasing the quality of awareness across the board. Practicing skills competition among Ethiopian youth and being the member of World Skills will provide a lot of positive things. It simply is turning powerful ideas into practice. This is the time of moving and mobilizing.

    Ed.’s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]

     

    Contributed by Bekele Matewos

     

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