While facing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the WorldSkills Croatia 2021 competition was held live from 11 to 13 May in Zagreb, Croatia, for over 300 IVET learners in 43 disciplines.
The national skills competition engaged 29 VET providers hosting competition disciplines and 156 evaluation committee members. Over 30 partners, including enterprises, the Chamber of crafts, and local authorities supported the event. The competition was organised at a single location of over 16 000 m2, following strict health and safety measures. As the largest regional skills competition – one of the few organised live globally – and the first large-scale indoor event organised in Croatia since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was presented to the WorldSkills International community in June as a good practice example of competition organisation in times of the pandemic.
2021 national skills competition goes live again following a strict health and safety protocol
Following the cancellation of the 2020 WorldSkills Croatia competition after the pandemic outbreak, the Agency for VET and Adult Education (ASOO) prepared the Rules and instructions for the organisation and implementation of IVET learner competitions in 2020/21 (in Croatian) and a health and safety protocol, involving detailed physical distancing and sanitary measures, including facemasks and mandatory testing for SARS-CoV-2 for all participants. As visitors were not allowed to the event, the entire competition was delivered via live streaming over social media to ensure promotion of VET – one of the core missions of the skills competition in Croatia. Online voting was organised to raise attention of virtual IVET fairs for learners with disabilities, practice firms and a cross-sector fair, engaging 7 000 voters, who selected the best learner product/project in IVET. A new central information competition system, introduced at the WorldSkills Croatia competition in 2021, allowed easier application to competitions and smoother data management.
Showcasing vocational skills of IVET learners
In 2021, the WorldSkills Croatia competition went beyond VET skills promotion, networking with enterprises and employers, and promoting excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship in VET. As observed in ASOO Recommendations for the achievement of learning outcomes in 13 sectors in VET in 2020/21, practical skills attainment in VET had been considerably affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, with closure of schools and enterprises vital for VET learner training in the world of work. Under such circumstances, the 2021 WorldSkills Croatia competition offered a unique opportunity for learners, mentors and enterprises to work together, practise and showcase VET skills in real-life conditions.