Worldskills is a global hub for the development and showcasing of vocational skills. Every two years the WorldSkills Competition assembles competitors across 50 vocational skills sets from around the world to demonstrate their technical abilities. It is the biggest vocational skills competition in the world, and the know-how on display is staggering.
From creative arts and fashion, social and personal services, to transportation and logistics, via construction, manufacturing and information technology, Worldskills is a skills behemoth that brings together no fewer than 1,000 competitors – the best in their field – from 53 participating countries.
Cisco has been an industry partner of WorldSkills since 2006 and was the presenter in the information and communication technology sector in Worldskills 2013, celebrated in Leipzig, Germany.
We caught up with some of the experts and specialists who were on hand to oversee the competition, to hear first-hand what was up at stake for the young hopefuls taking on the world.
From Leipzig to the World
Of the more than 50 competitions celebrated in 2013, seven were focused on tech know-how.
Skill #39 is the Cisco Networking Academy competition on IT Systems and Network Administration. A whopping 90 percent of the competitors were NetAcad students from around the world – regional winners who had proved their prowess in local competitions leading up to the Leipzig grand finale.
NetAcad instructor and WorldSkills expert, Kelly Caudle, was part of the team overseeng Skill #39: Network Systems and Administration. Kelly explained that this particular competition was run over a total of four days and pushed competitors to the max across a range of key skills: Linux systems, Windows, network integration and unified communications, and network security.
“The final day tested competitors on things like configuring Cisco routers for security, configuring different operating systems for security.”
“So really, over the four days these youngsters got to try out across the breadth of all the skills you would need to be the ideal network administrator for any company,” he said.
But the advantages to the candidates did not stop there.
“The really great thing about WorldSkills is that it exposes participants to IT as a worldwide field, not just a local field. They get to see how IT works in Europe, the U.S., Asia – throughout the world. And this really helps prepare them for the differences that they will encounter if they work for a global company.”
The WorldSkills Advantage
Doug Warden, a Worldskills expert from Canada agrees. He told us that one of the biggest advantages to competitors is the chance to talk to industry experts from around the world, and really boost their understanding of what it means to work in IT.
“Leipzig was my seventh WorldSkills and I think it is such a great opportunity for these smart and talented young people to connect with the experts running the contests and have them open up to them.”
Zoltán Sisák from Hungary told us that quite apart from the thrill of the competition and the experience of taking part, students get to acquire the kind of knowledge that will be “very useful for their careers.”
We also caught up with David Konopek, former NetAcad student and Euroskills champ, who participated as a workshop supervisor in Leipzig.
David told us that the experience had been seminal for him: “I took this role following my own personal experience with Euroskills and Worldskills. I am so glad to have been there. Worldskills is a wonderful competition.”
From the World to Sao Paulo
The Worldskills Competition is back in 2015. Sao Paulo will host this year’s tournament in August.
For the first time in its history the competition is coming to South America. And it is expected to be exceptionally large: the 43rd edition is expected to surpass the record number of 1,000 competitors.
So if you think you might have the skills to take on the world, and if you would like to meet experts from around the globe, acquire career-boosting knowledge and showcase what you can do, why not head over to WorldSkills and find out how you too could take part.
You have nothing to lose by competing. And the world is waiting for you.
World Youth Skills Day is a new UN International Day of observance on July 15, 2015.
NetAcad Advantage Reading Note: Participating in competitions is an excellent way to grow your technical skills and also gain practical experience that can be shared on your resume as hands on experience. You also learn to communicate, solve problems, and how to think quickly as well as creatively.