Photo Credits by #SwissSkills2022
SwissSkills is a professions competition championship in Switzerland that allows young professionals to participate in international competitions. The event follows the three elements of: (i) promoting excellence in professional practice, (ii) allowing diverse experience of professions, (iii) promoting the image of apprenticeships in Switzerland to strengthen their reputation.
Starting from 1953, when Switzerland participated in international professions competitions for the first time, to 2022 when it organized the spectacle named #SwissSkills 2022, it has been a long journey in the promotion of what is the backbone of Switzerland’s economy – vocational professions.
The event is packed in 5 days of exciting content, where 1.100 professionals compete under 85 different professions, presenting their skills acquired under the vocational education and training and the apprenticeship processes, two well designed and caried out educational and career development paths. Being the largest competition for young professionals, it aggregates national championships from different sectors, attracts mass crowds as well as extensive media attention, and sheds light on the best electricians, hairdressers, masons, hoteliers, sommeliers, auto-mechanics, bakers, metal construction designers, mechatronics technicians, isolation specialists, air went specialists, bricklayers and many more. The event not only promotes professions but also motivates children to look up to the champions and follow in their footsteps through dual education.
SwissSkills also enables classes and families to discover the diversity of all professions by showcasing 150 professions and trying them on the spot. With diligence, passion, and pride in their profession, more than 1000 participants compete in 85 competitions to show who is the best in Switzerland. As an addition to other vocational education institutions and events, SwissSkills primarily appeal to the emotions and highlights the uniqueness of the dual vocational education system and the career prospects for apprenticeships in Switzerland via its media partner Ringier, reaching an even more impressive numbers of TV audience, attributing to the wide popularity of the event itself.
Day 1 of the #SwissSkills2022 alone reached nearly 25,000 visitors, discovering first-hand the diversity of Swiss professions, while on Day 4, with a magnificent medal ceremony, the event awarded around 250 winners, showcasing the excellence generated by the Swiss VET system.
North Macedonia is also well on track to implement a tailor-made dual model in VET that in 2022 offered more than 220 dual VET classes for over 3000 students, all supported by a promising private sector engagement of 500+ companies, presenting opportunities for practical training of students. What is important for North Macedonia is to keep advancing its dual VET as system and continue applying practices that work for the economy and are sustainable on the long run. The SwissSkills event is a great inspiration for what North Macedonia can consider and do in terms of promoting vocational education and training and vocational skills development, with the essential involvement of the private sector and an enhanced support from all media outlets in the country.
A group of Macedonian journalists also had the opportunity to visit the SwissSkills2022 via the project “Education for Employment in North Macedonia“ https://www.e4e.mk/ a Swiss government program that supports the reforms in the vocational education and training in North Macedonia. The objective of the visit by several media outlets was to (i) witness and report back on the involvement of all private and state stakeholders supporting the organization of the SwissSkills2022 via journalistic articles, video and photo content (ii) capture first-hand the professions competition itself and the high interest by the public, and (iii) identify the focus of the Swiss media on the SwissSkills event and on the vocational education and training in general.
Among the SwissSkills2022 champions, the Macedonian journalists took the opportunity to interview Filip Jovanov, who won a bronze medal in design of water installations. Young Filip, Swiss born with origins from North Macedonia, was one of 1,100 competitors who presented their skills acquired in the Swiss dual education. For the journalists from North Macedonia present at the event, Jovanov explained that after completing a three-year schooling and apprenticeship followed by two years spent at work, he decided to push forward his career as a water installation designer. In his SwissSkills category, Filip proved to be one of the best, proudly standing on the podium.
While the Swiss government continues to support North Macedonia in its endeavor to reform and advance the vocational education and training system, the entire process also needs to be enhanced by all media outlets (TV and online) and more frequently disseminate information on the important changes that are taking place within the educational system such as apprenticeship, private sector engagement in the VET sector, the existence of mentors in companies, the opportunities for youth training and employment initiatives and similar topics of extreme importance for North Macedonia’s current and future generations.