EU neighbours taking centre stage at WorldSkills

Seven countries neighbouring the European Union (Armenia, Belarus, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Palestine, Russia) took active part in WorldSkills, an international competition where young people (17-24 years old) demonstrate their vocational skills – from joinery to floristry; hairdressing to electronics; and auto repair to bakery. The competition took place in Kazan, Russia, and was attended by 1,354 competitors from 63 countries and regions, competing in 56 skills’ categories. The European Training Foundation also keenly participated in the event, given its key role in supporting countries around the EU to develop through vocational education reforms.

EU neighbouring countries: prominently on world skills

During an outstanding award ceremony, winners took stage surrounded by vocal supporters. With 153 competitors overall, countries neighbouring the European Union collected 108 total medal points, with Russia leading with 14 gold medals, 4 silver, 45 bronze and 25 medallions for excellence. Among the other prizes, Russia performed greatly on plastering and drywall systems whereas Belarus obtained medallions of excellence in fashion technology.

Morocco: outstanding in entrepreneurship

As a lateral prize, two Moroccan teams excelled in their group of 270 competitors ranking second and third as innovative young social entrepreneurs of the category BeChangeMaker 2019. Seaskin Morocco’s project consisted in transforming fish waste into fashionable handmade products. “We believe that fish skins are a good alternative to help prevent the unethical and unsustainable practice of using animal skin  for producing fashionable items”, they said. Adding “We also empower women in our communities by learning more about the impact of our actions on the environment while having a decent job”. Meanwhile, Zelij Invent was awarded for its commitment in turning plastic waste into eco-friendly construction materials. “Plastic waste has become a major global issue. By 2050 our oceans will contain more plastic than fish”, they explained, “therefore, we are searching for sustainable solutions to transform waste into resources. Our first product is a paving block that can be used in gardens, sidewalks, parking, and more”.

Future skills

For the first time in the history of World Skills, outstanding workers in categories of the future also received awards. Over three days, 169 participants from 16 countries competed in professions making an impact on the world economy. Competing in 25 categories, ranging from mechatronics to graphic design technology, participants brought attention to evolving sectors of the economy, such as technologies simplifying our lives and connecting our homes.


WorldSkills is an international non-profit organisation, created in 1950, whose mission is to support the development and promotion of skills and vocational training in general. 80 member countries and regions all around the world, including six coming from the EU neighbourhood are members. WorldSkills organises an international competition every two years: next one will take place in Shanghai, China, in 2021. 

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