Global Meetings

When ‘Hands On’ Means Hands On

At the 2015 WorldSkills Competition, more than a thousand young people tested their skills in a variety of vocational, technical, and service-oriented disciplines.

WorldSkills_signYou think your show floor is experiential? At the 2015 WorldSkills Competition, held in São Paulo on Aug. 12–15, 1,189 young people from more than 60 countries competed in tests of 50 different skills, from aircraft maintenance, construction metal work, and fashion technology to health and social care, IT network systems administration, and patisserie and confectionary.

Presented by WorldSkills International — a Netherlands-headquartered organization that promotes  the importance of education and professional qualification as a social- and economic-transformation tool — the event drew nearly 260,000 spectators to São Paulo’s Anhembi Parque convention center.

How do you build an international event around the demonstration of so many different highly specialized, hands-on demonstrations? We asked Karina Brandford, senior communication consultant for WorldSkills 2015.


What were some of the challenges of staging this program?
One of the biggest challenges was to receive thousands of people of different nationalities and offer the necessary attention, with all comfort and security.

WorldSkills_panelWas there a conference portion to WorldSkills?
In addition to the 50 skills, WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 discussed the future of vocational education and its relationship with developing countries. The conference program took place from Aug. 11–16 at Anhembi Park. Leaders and representatives from industry, government, and education talked about trends, new technologies, and innovative public policies for education and professional initiatives to promote skills excellence and development.

Why was São Paulo a good destination to host WorldSkills?
São Paulo is an emblematic and surprising city. As a business hub, it is a leader in South America, due to its large market, its infrastructure, and its service network, and for boasting some of the best research centers and qualified professionals — all of which make the metropolis a commercial and trendsetter hub where subsidiaries of the world’s largest companies are located.

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.