The Olympics of Skills

Ever since India first took part in the WorldSkill competition in 2007, its participation has increased and diversified manifold

The Olympics of Skills

The National Education Policy 2020 reinforced the notion of integrating skill in the formal education sector and has provided vocational education its due credit. A great deal of focus is being placed upon allowing students to explore vocational subjects as a career prospect. A similar call for building skilled citizens for the upliftment of the country was witnessed in Europe post second world war that led to establishment of a platform for young minds to gain higher skill competence and gain recognition in the industry. WorldSkills International, an Amsterdam-based not-for-profit organisation, in 1950, organised the first international competition dedicated to vocational skills. This marked the onset of an international movement in bringing the youth closer to the world of vocational skills and the competition was colloquially called the 'Olympics of Skills'. Over 1,000 young people, up to 23 years of age, from across the globe display their expertise in 65 skills & trades covering traditional to multi-skilled technology.

The Indian Connection: Where does India Stand at the WorldSkills?

India first participated in WorldSkills Shizuoka, Japan, in 2007, becoming the 48th member of the WorldSkills International. Over the years, India's participation at WorldSkills has increased steadily from five competitors in 2007 to 47 in the WorldSkills, Kazan 2019. The first medal for India was won by N Priyadarshan in WorldSkills, Calgary 2009 in Mould Making. With an immense rise in participation, 50+ medals at WorldSkills International since 2007 have been won by Indian participants in a variety of fields. There is increased participation in diversified skills & trades from India such as Information Network Cabling, Print Media Technology, Auto Body Repair, Aircraft Maintenance, Mobile Robotics, Jewellery, Joinery, Pâtisserie and Confectionery amongst many more.

For WorldSkills India, the first level of competition is held at the state level, from which winners are chosen for the regional rounds. Winners from the regional rounds, then go on and compete at the IndiaSkills (National level). The winners at the national level represent India at the international level.

At each level, competitors are tested on hands-on experience in their chosen skill and undergo rigorous training moving to the next level. This training is facilitated by relevant industry partners and/or Sector Skill Councils in their domain. The preparation of world skills helps the youth to master and learn from national and international experts and from peers throughout the competitions.

The competitions also help to build pride and a sense of self that is derived from representing one's village, state and country among the world's best. The skill champions opine that it opens doors for them such as challenging job roles, starting businesses, becoming a mentor, trainer etc. Neha Chande, who started her journey through a diploma course and has represented India at the WorldSkills competition twice and bagged the first gold for the country in Beauty Therapy in 2015, is a successful entrepreneur and founder of two companies — Indian School of Beauty and Amygdala. Sachin Narale who won Medallion of Excellence at WorldSkills AbuDhabi 2017, started working as a Skill Excellence and Team Lead at Mahindra & Mahindra, who also trained and mentored Sachin during the competition.

As of now more than 20 states will participate in the national competition this year. Youth have entered skill competitions from states that host the competition. The Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University is hosting the first-ever state-level competitions in Delhi for WorldSkills 2022 for 33+ skills. Established with the aim to set skilling educational standards for the country, DSEU has successfully conducted the two-tier selection process for the first level for IndiaSkills 2021 in collaboration with NSDC, Sector Skill Councils, and various industry partners. 5000 plus participants registered for 33 skills and 55 have been selected to represent Delhi at the regional level.

Prof. Neharika Vohra is the Vice Chancellor at Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University. Views expressed are personal

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