An inside look as preparations begin for WorldSkills 2017

Feb 21 2017


Craig Brazil knows the road to world championships is a long one. For Ontario’s Industrial Mechanic Millwright Tech Chair, the road is paved with extensive planning, groundwork, and over 47,000 km of travel so far.

Over the last three weeks, Craig has travelled to the Middle East and Asia in preparation of the 44th WorldSkills Competition to be held in Abu Dhabi this October. The United Arab Emirates capital will host 1400 competitors from 50 WorldSkills member countries – a first-time opportunity for the Middle East.

Ali Al Marzouqi, EmiratesSkills President, presenting his opening statement at the Abu Dhabi 2017 Competition Preparation Week.

It all began in late January, when Craig and 400 other organizing committee members from across the globe – including technical delegates, sector managers, Skills Competition managers, chief experts, and workshop crews – flocked to Abu Dhabi’s Competition Preparation Week.

“WorldSkills has grown so much over the past decade,” WorldSkills International CEO David Hoey said. “It’s unsung heroes like you who are doing the work to make the Competition happen.”

Hoey recognizes that organizing committee members go “above and beyond” to create the 51 competitions. In fact, for Craig and the rest of the committee, WorldSkills 2017 has meant three years of planning; for competitors, preparation has meant training non-stop for up to 12 months for what can only be deemed the Superbowl of the Skilled Trades.

At WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, Craig will work to oversee the Industrial Mechanic Millwright (IMM) competitors from 11 countries. The 2017 IMM Project – designed and built in-house between the Skilled Trades and Mechanical Engineering Departments – aims to showcase the best and brightest talents from around the world, while offering an appropriate challenge level.

A mere week after returning from the UAE, Craig was travelling again – this time to Changzhou, China. Alongside, IMM Competition Chief Expert Pete Buttenshaw from Australia, Craig worked to oversee the first of three run-off IMM competitions at one of two Chinese IMM National Training Centres. All this to determine the best competitor to represent China – first-time participants in the international IMM competition.

Craig was also invited to the Guangzhou region, 1400 km South-East of Shanghai, to visit the second Chinese IMM National Training Centre. Craig said this was an opportunity to see the facility, and exchange information from a training, curriculum, and project point-of-view between the Chinese and Canadian apprenticeships systems.

Craig and the Chinese-Australian team of Experts and Competitors in Changzhou.

A first-timer to both the UAE and China, Craig said the experiences were eye-opening – coupled with an “outstanding welcome, hospitality second-to-none, [and] with no stone left unturned for the successful outcomes of both journeys.”

From October 14-19, the near 800,000 square foot Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre – the largest in the event space in the Middle East – will come alive with an array of skilled trades and technologies competitions.

Visit WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 online for more content and information. 

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