Being part of a global movement has its benefits. As a member country of WorldSkills International (currently one of sixty eight) the obvious benefit is the opportunity for Australia to benchmark its Vocational Education and Training system against the rest of the world.
Increasingly though, being a part of the WorldSkills movement provides Australia with the opportunity to network with Governments, VET systems and industry across the world.
While in Bogota, Colombia recently, with a WorldSkills International Board Working Group, I had an opportunity to be a part of and present at a Leaders Forum as part of WorldSkills Americas. I was involved in a panel session with representatives from Colombia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Canada and Vietnam. Each provided an overview of VET in their country and spoke of how WorldSkills plays an important role within VET. While cultures may differ, the challenges we face here in Australia exist globally. How do we raise the profile of VET and how do we increase the status of VET, or, to put it another way, build a skills respect culture in order to attract more people to pursue a VET pathway?
Asked by Gina Parody D’Ecenoa (Managing Director of SENA in Colombia) of how this can be achieved, all spoke of the WorldSkills Competition as being a great way to do this. Perhaps more importantly though, all agreed that it is the work that is done following the competition that is of most importance. We need to continue to promote the opportunities available via a VET pathway, to build awareness of and respect for skills and maybe then, we can achieve the WorldSkills International vision of “improving the world with the power of skills”.Image L – R: Nguyen Chi Truong, Directorate of Vocational Training, Vietnam, Terry Cooke, WSI Board member, past president of WorldSkills Canada, Mark Callaghan, CEO WorldSkills Australia, Gina Parody D’Echenoa, Managing Director, SENA, Colombia, Rafael Lucchesi, General Director of SENAI, Brazil & President WorldSkills Americas and Jos de Goey, General Manager, Skills Netherlands, President WorldSkills Europe and WSI Board member