A visit by a UK delegation to India Skills Week 2016 is helping to promote and celebrate skills competitions for young people in India.
One of the major objectives of the national policy for skills development and entrepreneurship in India is to make vocational training aspirational for young people. Skill competitions are seen as an important factor in this.
In July 2016 the British Council, the British High Commission and the Department for International Development (DfID) were proud to come together with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), Government of India to celebrate India Skills Week.
Following on from a successful visit by a group of Indian students to the UK Skills Show in 2015, British Council India arranged for a UK delegation to visit the India Skills Week event to experience India's largest national skills competition and share their experience of organising skills competitions in the UK.
The UK delegation included representatives from WorldSkills UK, training experts and Skills Champions (young people who have previously participated in skills competitions at national or international level). WorldSkills UK is unique among the 75 countries associated with WorldSkills on account of its scale. The Skills Show UK is the UK’s largest skills and careers advice event with 75,000 visitors each year.
Together the UK delegation provided masterclasses and sessions on skills competitions, development and entrepreneurship including:
- The complete guide to being a WorldSkills Expert
- Accelerated training: tips and tricks on how to create world-class competitors
- The wider impact of skills competitions: up-skilling a nation
- Enabling global mobility of the Indian workforce: transnational skill standards
Over the course of the sessions several hundred competition organisers, experts and state skill mission representatives heard the delegation share how the UK is using skills competitions to improve teaching and learning in the UK education system.
Influencing young people
The two Skills Champions from the UK played a particularly important role in the visit - sharing their experience with fellow competitors, as well as training managers and educational professionals.
Elijah Sumner, who won a Medallion of Excellence in Automotive Technology at WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015, is now a sought after self-employed and contract automotive electrician. Alongside the high level training in technical skills that he received, Elijah credits his success in competitions in helping him to perform at his best in challenging situations:
"Participating has boosted my confidence and has set me in great stead for setting up and managing a successful business".
Naomi Radbourne, who achieved a silver medal at the UK’s national finals in beauty therapy, now runs a successful beauty therapy business, something that she puts down to the skills and confidence gained through competitions:
"Few young people can establish their own business at the age of 18. I credit this achievement with the way in which competitions have improved my self-belief and enabled me to turn my passion into a thriving business".
The three day event saw substantial participation from skills stakeholders including more than 35,000 students, 4000 corporates, 1000 government representatives, and 8000 influencers and parents. The opening ceremony of the event, held in New Dehli and inaugurated by the Honourable President of India, was celebrated as UN World Youth Skills Day.
Raising the profile of skills competitions in this way will undoubtedly play a role in helping to attract more young people to take part, leading to increased opportunities.
Research by WorldSkills UK has shown that skills competitions can play an important role in developing a young person’s employability skills. When asked about their experiences, over 95% of skills competition participants believed their technical and employability skills had improved, while over 80% felt competing had increased their confidence, team working, time management and ability to work under pressure.
WorldSkills UK and WorldSkills India will continue to work together to shape skills competition experiences for young people.