Monday, 17 October 2011

Young professionals competing in London

Katja Sauvola from the Finnish Institute blogs about young professionals competing in London.
London hosted a week ago a huge international event called World Skills. World Skills are World Championships for vocational skills for contestants under 25 years of age.  This was the 41st time World Skills were organised. There were more than 960 competitors  representating 50 countries and more than 200,000 visitors came to see World Skills London during the four days of competition.

Finland has taken part in the World Skills since 1989 and over the years the Finnish teams have won a total of 37 medals. This year Team Finland consisted of 46 competitors and 40 experts. Members of the Finnish team have taken part in training which includes fine-tuning vocational skills as well as physical and mental preparation. Their success was good – Finland got five silver medals and three bronze medals. The results can be found here.

National Championship levels are organised in many countries as well. In Finland the competitions are held in co-operation with Skills Finland association, vocational schools, Finnish National Board of Education, Ministry of Education and culture and business partners. The aim of the competitions is to promote the awareness and development of skill levels.

Good example is that large number of school groups visit the competitions. One purpose of the Skills is to make pupils interested in vocational skills and give them options concerning their further education. One could say that Skills Championships are a trendy and fashionable way of showing where a career with a vocational education could lead.

In Finland the number of applicants and the appeal for vocational training has been on the rise for several years. Skilled professionals are needed in working life now even more, when the elder generations are retiring. Skills competitions are one way of increasing the appeal of vocational training.

Katja Sauvola
The Finnish Institute in London

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