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At the end of September, Austria held a vocational skills competition EuroSkills 2021 in Schwarzl Leisure Centre in Graz. The three-day event served as a platform for 400 participants from 19 nations and guest countries to compete and showcase their talent in various vocational categories. Russia, the host of the next EuroSkills championship, came out in the first place.

At the end of September, Austria hosted a vocational skills competition called EuroSkills 2021 in the Schwarzl Leisure Centre in Graz, the capital of the Austrian province of Styria. EuroSkills is a vocational skills competition that takes place every two years and has the status of the European Championship. It is organized by WorldSkills Europe – a non-profit association founded in 2007 and headquartered in the Netherlands. The organization has 31 member countries, including almost all EU members, the UK, the European Economic Area countries, and the Russian Federation.

In an effort to make vocational training in the European Union more competitive and attractive, World Skills Europe’s mission aims to raise awareness of the importance of highly qualified vocational education and training for the European population, and of the need for a highly trained and skilled workforce in Europe.

The three-day event, held from 23-25 September, served as a platform for 400 international participants from 19 nations, and the guest countries of Albania, Thailand, and the UAE to compete and showcase their talent in six different professional categories: construction and building technology; manufacturing and engineering technology; information and communication technology; creative arts and fashion; service industry; transportation and logistics; and presentation skills. The competition is open to young, talented, and qualified people up to 26 years of age who specialize in one of the 45 vocations represented in Europe.

During EuroSkills 2021, the competitors demonstrated their skills and knowledge under real-life working scenarios related to their vocational domains. Experts prepared tasks and evaluated the performances, while visitors were able to watch the participants during the competition and get to know the vocational fields they are interested in, as well as the companies for which the competitors work.

Many were present at the competition kick-off with more than 7 500 people registered visitors on the first day. According to the official website, a total of 30 000 visitors attended the European Skills Championship over the course of three days. The importance of the event was highlighted by the visit of Austrian Federal Minister of Education Heinz Fassman and Federal Minister of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger, as well as Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, a member of the Styrian government, ensuring representation from both national and local politicians.

The organization of EuroSkills was largely facilitated by a great number of workshop or event managers and experts, as well as volunteers and helpers. Coupled with cutting-edge equipment and a supply of top-quality materials and machinery provided by approximately 150 sponsors, the event provided fair and excellent conditions for the competitors to deliver their best performance.

Taking place at the same time as this vocational competition was another important event, the EuroSkills 2021 Conference. This Conference served as a unique platform for bilateral and multilateral networking, mutual exchange, and knowledge transfer on the topic of the “Future of Skills”. According to the EuroSkills 2021 website: “The Conference intended to provide fundamental impulses for the development of new, future-oriented educational and economic policy approaches and to show ways and possible solutions for an economically strong Europe of tomorrow”.

After a rigorous three-day competition, the host country Austria came in second place for the fourth time in a row, with the national team earning eleven gold, twelve silver and ten bronze medals, as well as four “Medallions of Excellence” that were awarded for outstanding performances.

The Russian team, consisting of 57 people from 15 regions of the country, won first place in the number of medals and points earned. This year, the Russian team earned thirteen gold, six silver and eight bronze medals in the main vocational categories, and four gold, two silver and two bronze medals in the presentation skills category. Russia has been a member of the international WorldSkills movement for nine years, eight of which it has been participating in European and World Championships.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Golikova congratulated the Russian participants, noting the excellent performance of the national team: “Our task is to provide an easily, understandable formula for millions of young Russians to discover their talents, so that not only participants of the Worldskills Russia movement but also any graduate of a Russian college could be proud of their skills and realize their professional potential. Another undisputed victory in the championship over teams from other European countries once again proves the effectiveness of using the experience and practices of Worldskills in our country,” said Golikova, as quoted by the secretariat of the Russian Parliament.

In the final ceremony in Graz, the competition flag was handed over to the representatives of Russia. EuroSkills 2021 served as a successful platform for showcasing and sharing expertise in a wide variety of vocations that are relevant in today’s competitive environment.

In August 2023, Russia will host the EuroSkills European Skills Championships for the first time, which will be held in St. Petersburg.

Picture: Domodedovo, Moscow region, Russia, September 27, 2021: Maria Nezhdanova, a member of the Russian WorldSkills team, is welcomed at Domodedovo International Airport upon her return from Austria. Team Russia has won the EuroSkills Graz 2021 vocational competition. © IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
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