Latvian participants bring home unique experience from WorldSkills 2011


The Latvian participants have participated in the Olympic Games of professional skills WorldSkills 2011. Unique experience has been gained and the competitiveness of the Latvian vocational education on the global scale has been evaluated by international experts focusing on the quality and culture of work of the competitors.

The youth global 41st WorldSkills competition took place in London on 5-9 October, where competitors from more than 50 countries presented their skills in 46 disciplines on the international stage. Latvia joined this organisation this year as an associate member entitling it to participate in the competition in two disciplines with the participants who did not compete for places and obtained the experts' evaluation of the work completed by them. In the cabinet making profession Latvia was represented by Haralds Kresse, a 3rd year student of Riga Secondary School of Crafts, and in the plastering and drywall works the representative was Aleksejs Žarkovs, a graduate of Riga Construction Secondary School who currently is a 1st year student at Riga Construction College.

Dita Traidās, the Head of the Latvian delegation and the Director of the State Education Development Agency (VIAA), says: "The start of this year was an important test for the offer of our vocational education system at the competition of global countries. We know from the last year's EuroSkills competition in Lisbon that we are competitive on the European level and we can compete for medals and excellence awards. Participation of the competitors on the global scale was a challenge with the main objective to prove that the students of vocational schools of Latvia are competitive on the global scale. All the tasks were generally performed and fully completed within the provided time limit. We cannot compete as regards the speed of work and the tools available to us."

Both participants had to complete competition tasks by both the tools they had with them and the tools provided by the organisers, therefore performance of some tasks caused difficulty. New or recently mastered techniques and materials of completion of the work had to be applied, a certain scope of work had to be performed within very short time which turned out to be more difficult than it had seemed at first. There were competitors who were running within their work area and there were also quite a few of them who did not complete their tasks.

Haralds Kresse was building a veneered cabinet in the competition and missed 50 points on a 500 point evaluation scale among 24 participants to reach the level of excellence. In the plastering and drywall building competition Aleksejs Žarkovs missed just 33 points to reach the level of excellence among 12 participants.

Participants were preparing for the competition during the whole summer. Haralds was improving his skills under the supervision of Haralds Laucis, an industry expert at SIA "Stila mēbeles" and a teacher at Riga Secondary School of Crafts. Sandra Miklaševica, a teacher at Riga Construction Secondary School, helped Aleksejs to prepare for the competition and professional support to him was provided by Andris Veinbergs from SIA "Knauf' and experts from "Re&Re".

By summarising the achievement of the Latvian delegation, D. Traidās emphasises that the experience gained from and the observations at London are sufficient for thinking about further participation of the Latvian participants at such competitions. During all the competition days the work of the young professionals was also observed by representatives from various international companies who analysed what labour could be offered by countries in future for business development in particular regions.

More information about the competition and the competitors' performance is available at the VIAA website Section „WorldSkills”. 

The global scale competition WorldSkills takes place every second year and alternates with the professional skills competition of the European scale EuroSkills. At present there are 58 member skills in the WorldSkills International Association. Each country is represented in this organisation by just one institution delegated by the state; in Latvia this is the State Education Development Agency.