Connecting Global Cities: World Skills

Oct 19, 2017 10:30:00 AM / by 'Connecting Global Cities' by Colin Speakman

Connecting Global Cities” is a monthly column written by Colin Speakman, Resident Director for CAPA Shanghai.


Now that sounds pretty Global—"World Skills." In fact Wordskills International is a global event that dates back to 1950, when it was first held in Madrid, Spain. It is a suitable event to bring together participants from global (and other) cities worldwide; almost 60 WorldSkills Member countries and regions typically enter teams to compete. WorldSkills promotes vocational skills through its membership, which represents two-thirds of the world’s population.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - WorldSkills_1.pngPhoto: WorldSkills Competition Media Release

The event is held every two years, and has been dubbed the "World Skill Olympics," as it displays world-class levels of vocational skills in various fields. It is topical to cover it here as the 2017 edition (the 44th) recently got underway this month in Abu Dhabi.

The competitions opened to the public in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 15th October and ran for 5 days. 100,000 people were expected to attend including 80,000 school children, and 10,000 international visitors.

During the 2017 event 1,300 competitors from across the globe competed to be the very best in their chosen Skills. Competitions were held in 51 different Skills ranging from floristry to bricklaying; aircraft maintenance to mobile robotics. One of the benefits of such events is "benchmarking" a person's skills against the best in the world.

Running alongside the competitions was a World Skills Conference over two days—"Skills strategies for a globalized world." This was an event where participants could help shape the global skills agenda, with other leading figures from industry, governments, international organizations, and academia all involved to explore the changing skills demands of the globalized world, and the required responses.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - WorldSkills_2.png

Photo: co-working space Global Internship Program presentation by Colin Speakman

We will keep an eye out for a report on the conclusions/recommendations in due course. The 45th Edition will be held in Kazan, Russia, in late August/early September 2019.

Worldskills recognises that 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. Put simply, Skills keep the world working.

Such skills development are an important parallel to study in college and university where employers often complain that graduates are not "industry-ready" and lack practical skills and business skills. In the changing World of Work, skill development will be crucial, especially as Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises to replace human labor in many routine jobs—employability, whether as graduates or school leavers, will require higher order skills including working with those robots!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - WorldSkills_3.pngPhoto: Masterclass Shanghai by Colin Speakman

CAPA is of course committed to professional and personal skills development through its My Global City student learning outcomes for all its students across all its locations, and particularly the business skills development found in the Global Internship Program that many students choose to take.

My students in Shanghai had a nice insight this month into "the Future of Work in China" at a masterclass delivered by Professor Edward Buckingham of Monash University. It was a thought-provoking presentation. Shanghai, China's City of Innovation, is expected to be a leading global player in new skills development and new methods of working with co-working, skills network sharing workspaces, incubator and accelerator support—if you are not sure what all this means, I will be writing about it in a future post.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Shanghai_From Colin Speakman - WorldSkills_4.png

Photo: Shanghai Selected for Future WorldSkills Media Release

If anyone was not sure of how important Shanghai will be in this new world, a clue was also provided this month. Shanghai won the bid to host the 46th WorldSkills Competition in 2021. “I hereby confirm that the city of Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China shall host the 46th WorldSkills competition,” announced Simon Bartley, president of WorldSkills International at Abu Dhahi 2017.

See you there, perhaps?

Thanks Colin!

Read more "Connecting Global Cities" posts

Topics: Shanghai, China, Global Cities