In October 2017, the WorldSkills Event took place in Abu Dhabi. It is held every two years and is the biggest vocational education and professional qualification competition in the world. Portugal was represented by 17 highly qualified young learners.
The Portuguese contestants awarded excellence medals are:
- Admário Ferreira in the automobile mechatronics profession, from CEPRA. He also won the title ‘Best of Nation’ (the highest Portuguese ranking), a gold medal at the national championship of professions in Coimbra 2016, and a silver medal at EuroSkills 2016 in Gothenburg.
- Fábio Oliveira and Pedro Sardinha in the mechatronic profession, from CENFIM. They also won gold medals at the national championship and excellence medals at EuroSkills 2016.
- José Pereira in the industrial control profession, from CENFIM. He also won a gold medal at the national championship and the title of ‘Best of Nation’ in EuroSkills 2016.
- Renato Carvalho in the CAD profession, from CENFIM. He also won a gold medal at the national championship and a bronze medal at EuroSkills 2016.
Other participants who received merit certificates were: Alexandre Ferreira in cooking, from Escola Hotelaria e Turismo do Douro; António Moreira in stonework, from Gárgula Gótica enterprise (one of the sponsors of this event) and Manuel Gonçalves in carpentry, from the Employment and Vocational Training Centre of Braga.
The selection procedure for the Portuguese contestants started in 2015 when 150 VET institutions and 1500 young learners participated in several preparation stages of the national championship of professions in Coimbra 2016. The winners of the national championship applied for participation in the European and World Skills competitions organised, respectively, by WorldSkills Europe and WorldSkills International.
These competitions, addressed to VET learners from 17 to 25 years old, aim at:
- highlighting participants' skills, such as mastery of techniques and use of tools through practical performance tests;
- advertising the importance of VET as one of the tools for socioeconomic transformation;
- providing opportunities to exchange information and showcase best practices in VET that can inspire young people to pursue technical and technological careers;
- highlighting the importance of partnerships, in making VET skills a central part of Portugal’s economy and society.
Within the framework of a partnership between WorldSkills Portugal and CENJOR, a series of interviews was conducted and filmed at the WorldSkills Event. Recently, parts of this work were available through WorldSkills Portugal’s social media channels.
As a result of the success of the WorldSkills competition, the president of the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP), and the Vice President and Official Delegate of WorldSkills Portugal pointed out the need to invest in events that can help upgrade professional training programmes developed by IEFP centres.