Celebrating 70 years of WorldSkills

In November 2020, WorldSkills celebrated 70 years of its existence and the impact it has had on “millions of young people, empowering communities and fuelling economies” [1]. They have built a movement that now reaches two-thirds of the world’s population, combining the strengths of 85 member organisations. It was formerly known as the International Vocation Training Organisation (IVTO), founded in Spain during the 1940s, initially holding national competitions that encouraged young men to learn a trade through various challenges presented to them and by winning resulted in monetary prizes. This was a pre-emptive move by the ruler at the time, as it was predicted that a skilled workforce will be required to help provide nation-wide economic development after the effects Second World War.

This competition was further expanded internationally in 1950 to Spain’s neighbouring country Portugal. Then in 1953, general invites from Spain brought in addition to Portugal; Germany, United Kingdom, France and Switzerland to also take part. Further historical information about the legacy of WorldSkills can be found in the article link below: https://worldskills.org/media/news/worldskills-celebrates-70-years/

After 45 international competitions, the vision and mission of WorldSkills is needed more now than ever. The amicable building blocks of WorldSkills are: Inspire, Develop and Influence. [2]

WorldSkills UK

Photo credit: Toby Bell

Toby Bell is a lecturer in network computing at Northumberland College. He teaches CCNA and Cyber Security Essentials content from Cisco NetAcad to Levels 1-3 students. When he is not doing his day-to-day job, he is also spending most of his time as a Competition Organising Partner for WorldSkills UK. Toby organises four IT competitions, with each competition having a national qualifier competition, which happen in Further Education Colleges and various locations around the UK. For example, one competition he organises is called Network Infrastructure Technician, it is based on skills and knowledge that students Levels 1-4 have learned and developed through the Cisco NetAcad CCNA programme. 

Those who do very well in the National Qualifiers then progress to the National Finals, which is a huge 3-day event at the NEC in Birmingham of November each year in front of over 73,000 visitors. This event was formerly named The Skills Show and is now renamed to WorldSkills UK Live. It brings together all ranges of skills, which include Stone Masonry, Car Body Painting, Hair and Beauty, Catering and IT are among up to 37 skill areas displayed on the day for the national competition. Similar to the Olympics, there are Bronze, Silver and Gold awards that can be achieved for each skills competition and those that score above the average receive a medallion of excellence. Furthermore, if in receipt of the awards, they then qualify to the International Squad selection, where they can compete in the international WorldSkills competition that occurs every two years. Currently the next International event has been scheduled to be hosted in Shanghai 2022.

Outside of being recognised and representing the college and country, the WorldSkills competitions can be seen as opportunities for young students to build a range of soft skills which are highly sought after in all business areas. From working under pressure to working to tight deadlines, there are many employable skills acquired, which also provides students a favourable impression about how they might work and cope in the field of work.

Due to the current pandemic challenges, last year’s plans are being made for regional competitions and national qualifiers for this year to be taking place remotely, with potential for the National Finals to take place in person, so do access the links below this blog to have the latest updates in relation to this.

We would like to thank all Students, Teachers, competition organisers and all individuals involved for helping make the WorldSkills events Inspire, Develop and Influence year on year!

To learn about WorldSkills Events and courses featured in this blog, please visit:

WorldSkills UK

WorldSkills International

Teaching Digital - Cisco Networking Academy Courses

If you would like to learn about Cisco Networking Academy Students and Instructors, please visit:

Cisco Networking Academy Instructors

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