4. Sep, 2017
The opening ceremony of the 52nd National Skills Competition, the breeding ground for next-generation skilled talent who will lead the future of 'skills Korea' and the country's biggest skills festival, was held at the International Convention Center Jeju in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province on September 4th (Mon.).
The competition, co-hosted by the Ministry of Employment and Labor (Minister Kim Young-joo), the Jeju Provincial Government (Governor Won Hee-ryong) and the Jeju Provincial Office of Education (Superintendent of Education Lee Seok-moon) and co-organized by the Human Resources Development Service of Korea (i.e. the Korea Committee of WorldSkills Competition) and the Jeju Skills Competition Committee, will last for eight days until September 11th (Mon.).
A total of 1,901 contestants from across the country, along with more than 13,000 related people, participate in the event at which they will compete fiercely in 50 trade categories, including mobile robotics.
This year's competition, held under the slogan, 'The Island of Natural Beauty and Culture Plus Skills', is the first such event held in Jeju since the National Skills Competition began its history in 1966. Thus, it is expected to be a meaningful event that contributes to the advancement of skills in Jeju and the balanced development of regions.
The National Skills Competition, which has produced more than 270,000 would-be skilled technicians (craftsmen) so far, has performed a pivotal role in industrial development by valuing people's efforts to diligently hone their skills and played a large part in improving national competitiveness.
During the opening ceremony, proud contestants selected through the regional skills competitions held in 17 cities and provinces last April to represent their regions marched into the venue, and events organized by the Skills Competition's sponsors took place with a view to securing jobs and fair treatment for skilled workers.
In particular, 34 skills competition-related people from 15 countries, including Russia, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, attend the event to observe the Skills Competition which has established itself as a symbol of the rise of Korea's skills and to find the best practices they can apply in their countries. This shows the global status of Korea's skills which have spread throughout the world.
During the National Skills Competition, residents and elementary, middle and high school students in Jeju who have got little benefit from skills because of the island's geographical conditions despite its beautiful natural landscapes and advanced culture will be provided with the opportunity to experience various jobs and careers so that they can systematically prepare themselves for the future society.
Moreover, there will be demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and environment-friendly solar power generation, as Korea faces the fourth industrial revolution. And corporate PR booths run by local companies, such as Jeju Horse Co., Ltd., will offer various programs that are a win-win for both the Skills Competition and local industries.
Meanwhile, for this Skills Competition which claims to be fair and transparent, a new operating method, including open recruitment of judges, integrity certification and education, and multilateral assessment of members of the technical committee, was introduced to enhance the transparency of its business process.
And four international judges from Russia which will host the next WorldSkills Competition, the U.K., Germany, etc., were appointed to improve the fairness of evaluation. Friendly matches with foreign contestants in the category of industrial robots are expected to serve as an opportunity to publicize Korea's outstanding skills and promote skills exchanges between skilled technicians in Korea and other countries.
Employment and Labor Minister Kim Young-joo, who attended the opening ceremony, said, "Skilled workers have made significant contributions to making Korea a skills power and are still the driving force behind Korea's economic development."
"The government will expand investment in cultivating a skilled workforce and help skilled technicians transfer their excellent skills to young people, thereby actively helping young people be competitive enough to face the world."
National Skills Competition medalists are awarded cash prizes - 12 million won for gold medals, 8 million won for silver medals and 4 million won for bronze medals - and qualify to participate in the competition to select the members of Korea's national team for the 45th WorldSkills Competition to be held in Kazan, Russia in 2019. They are given other benefits, such as exemption from the written examination for industrial engineers under the national technical qualification system.
Meanwhile, the 44th WorldSkills Competition will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirate, this October.
It will be the first WorldSkills Competition to be held in the Arab region. More than 1,200 skilled young people under the age of 22 from over 60 countries will compete in 51 trade categories, including mobile robotics, at the Competition. Korea will field 46 contestants in 42 trade categories, including aircraft maintenance, aiming to top the medal table for the 20th time.
In order to expand its role as a skills power in the international community and lead the fourth industrial change, Korea has continuously strived to add new trade categories. As a result, '3D digital game art' (the corresponding trade category in the National Skills Competition: animation) was adopted as an official skills category for this year's WorldSkills Competition. The upcoming Worldskills Competition will be a meaningful event at which Korea will show the world the trade category of 'industrial robots' which is designed to meet international standards with a view to its adoption for the next WorldSkills Competition.