My first day in Jeju, Korea began with a welcome dinner for official and technical delegates at the “Spirited Gardens” on Jeju Island. A beautiful setting in a bonsai garden hosted the dinner that included welcome addresses from Korean officials, and the President and CEO of World Skills International. (a couple of photos attached). A great time to network with delegates from the 39 countries attending and with World Skills board and foundation members as well as Global Industry Partners (GIP)of World Skills. Scott and I have had very good conversations with three of our own partners who also are GIPs of World Skills: Carl Peters of Lincoln Electric, David Greene of Fluke and Bob Schoener (sp) of Cisco.
On Day Two, we attended the World Leaders Forum and participated in three discussions: (1) Skills for sustainable growth – the role of skills competitions, (2) Keeping competitors engaged beyond the competition, and (3) The world’s top skills performers – how do they do it? The third and final discussion was extremely interesting as we heard from Switzerland and Korea, the two best performing countries in World Skills Competitions over the past decade. The governmental support, training and rewards systems in these countries are all very impressive and great examples of national commitment for world competitors. Our cultural experience for the afternoon involved attending a women’s ocean diving competition and we saw the divers bring up shellfish, blowfish and octupus. We experienced Korean folk dancing performances and an ocean kayak race where our own Bob Schoener placed second overall in the race in the harbor off JeJu Island.
Day Three was the first day of General Assembly meetings. Thirty nine member countries answered roll call and we reviewed the World Skills Action Plan that is being implemented to rise to the goals of World Skills Vision 2020. We heard campaign speeches and elected a new vice-president of the Strategy Committee and heard updates on the state of World Skills International from both President Simon Bartley and CEO David Hoey. We approved SanPalo Brazil as the site for the 2015 World Skills Competition and heard a proposal from the official delegate from the United Arab Emerates for hosting the event in 2017. We also heard presentations and voted to approve the membership of three new countries to join World Skills International. Russia, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago were all three approved as new members, bringing the total number of countries involved to 61. We broke into working groups for the entire afternoon to generate ideas on how World Skills should go about implementation of the Action Plan.
We have two more days of General Assembly meetings and lots more business to address, including introduction of new competitions and a revisit of Vision 2020 to secure member ideas in the process. More to follow as we close out the assembly on Saturday night.
Here are a few photos from our time here: