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WorldSkills London 2011


A new ‘Era of Skills’ for the economy W


orldSkills London 2011 took place from 5-8th October at ExCeL London. Almost 1,000 young people from more than 50 Member countries and regions competed in 46 skill areas including Mobile Robotics, Landscape Gardening, Mechatronics, Cooking, and Automobile Technology.


Speaking as the event closed at a glittering Ceremony at The O2, organisers said the event had showed how skills can deliver innovation, economic growth and engage young people. Chris Humphries, Chair of WorldSkills London 2011, said: "The young people who have competed in WorldSkills are the very best in the world and we know these Competitors will go on to establish multi-national businesses, develop new products and services and continue to lead their industries – just as their predecessors have done. "Skills shape our world and we have seen that businesses, politicians as well as teachers and young people realise this. We will only see growth return to our economies through an era of skills and entrepreneurship and that's why we're so delighted that 200,000 visitors have been inspired by new job and career opportunities at WorldSkills London with hundreds of thousands more having a go at new skills around the UK.


"The global response to the Competition online and in the world's media shows that it's not just the young people of the UK that are desperate to explore skills.


"Hundreds of employers have committed to investing in Apprenticeships and training for the future this week and the UK government has announced extra investment in skills and growth at the conference programme. Meanwhile, political leaders from around the UK, Europe and the world have come to London to show their support for skills."


WorldSkills London 2011 has been the biggest event ever to be held at ExCeL London, attracting 200,000 young people in four days and has seen the largest ever number of people travel on London’s Docklands Light Railway in a single day.


As the London organising committee passes on the baton to Leipzig to stage the event in 2013, current UK delegate to WorldSkills International, Simon Bartley takes up the role of global President. Simon Bartley said: “To have been elected to the office of President of WorldSkills International at the end of a truly inspirational and successful WorldSkills London 2011 is an honour and a challenge. I will strive to make WorldSkills International the authoritative voice for skills around the world and to ensure that the Competition rises to ever greater heights."


Leaders of the global skills movement have set out a vision for a new era of skills to drive global economic growth.


Chris Humphries added: "I’ve been delighted to work with Simon as we’ve put together the London event and congratulate him on being elected by his peers to the Presidency of WorldSkills International.” Autodesk, a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, congratulated student champions at WorldSkills London 2011. Skills using Autodesk Inventor Professional software for digital prototyping were measured in the Manufacturing Technologies category for Mechanical Engineering Design CAD (Skill 5) and Creative Modelling (D2), with gold, silver and bronze medals given for proficiency in each skill at the event’s closing ceremony, held at London’s O2 Arena.


Autodesk is focused on providing design software, innovative programs and other resources designed to inspire the next generation of professionals and enable them to develop their talents. By supporting educators to advance design education and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, Autodesk is helping prepare students for future academic and career success. The company supports schools and institutions of higher learning worldwide through substantial discounts, subscriptions, grant programs, training, curriculum development and community resources. As such, it is delighted to be involved in an event like WorldSkills London, which recognises the importance of young people striving to be the best in their chosen skills area.


Speaking exclusively to Education Today, Don Carlson, EMEA education director at Autodesk said: "This is the olympics for the technical/ vocational area of education. STEM is an area where we are very firmly focused in terms of what we do, ie construction, industrial design, gaming and animation, but because design and creativity are the background to problem solving and that's what STEM is all about, we like to add the 'A' for Arts and call it STEAM instead." Is there a Skills shortage? Don thinks so: "What I am hearing is that there are a shortage of engineers coming through the system, not just in the UK but in other countries too. The skill sets that engineers require are presentation and collaboration skills." AutoDesk has 300 student experts in a programme to work with customers and give presentations on their behalf to partners. Don said: "It's part of our strategy to link academia to worldwide industry experience. We are inundated with customers looking to employ them; these are students we know are outstanding. Some of these guys are better than our application engineers - they are using the technology in ways we never even thought about!"


Don agrees that the perception that the technical/voactional path is for those who are not 'bright enough' for a University education, has to change. "We have got to get away from the feeling that it's a failure not getting into university, by making sure that we are investing in vocational education."


Speaking at the event, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Sustained economic recovery will depend on our ability to excel in the high tech skills that our most innovative companies need to compete in the globalised economy."


He announced a new investment of more than £20 million to boost skills and drive growth in key industries including nuclear manufacturing, renewable energy and healthcare. £11 million of Government matched funding, awarded following the first round of bids to the Growth and Innovation Fund (GIF), will enable employers to deliver more effective skills solutions through more apprenticeships, new professional standards and closer partnerships with education and training providers. “That is why this Government is committed to skilling up our workforce through work based training. By providing concentrated seed funding for employer led projects that attract further investment from business, we’re targeting money where it will be best placed to drive growth.”


Skills Minister John Hayes said: “We know that business is best qualified to identify how skills can drive growth. This investment will help employers develop their own solutions to the barriers that stand in the way of opportunity.”


uwww.worldskillslondon2011.com 8 www.education-today.co.uk November 2011


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