Developing & Understanding Vocational Excellence
The first Skill Olympics were held between Portugal and Spain in 1950. The UK, along with five other European countries, joined this competition in 1953. These events became known as the WorldSkills Competition (WSC). The WSC is organised by WorldSkills International (WSI). WSI is a non-profit association that promotes Vocational Education and Training (VET) internationally in traditional trades and crafts as well as in multi-skilled vocations, such as Manufacturing Team Challenge, and those utilising newer technologies and innovative services. Currently, the competition brings together around 1000 contestants mostly aged 16-22 from 53 countries, who gather every two years to compete publicly and demonstrate excellence in 50 skill areas. The skill areas are grouped into six skills sectors: Construction and Building Technology, Creative Arts and Fashion, Information and Communication Technology, Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Social and Personal Services and Transportation and Logistics.
TeamUK, and the product range of WorldSkills UK (formerly UK Skills), is managed by Find a Future, an organisation which brings together skills and careers experiences from across the UK (WorldSkills UK, 2014a). Find a Future runs skills competitions in partnership with industry and educational institutions (WorldSkills UK, 2014b). Find a Future works closely with the Association of Colleges (AoC), the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to ensure that the work and message of skills competitions impact upon young people, the FE sector, employers, and training providers.