Oct. 23, 2017
The Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL, Minister Kim Young-joo) held a welcome-home ceremony for Team Korea for the 44th WorldSkills Competition at Incheon International Airport on October 23rd (Mon.).
The Korean national team, which arrived home on that day, had participated in the 44th WorldSkills Competition held in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) from October 14th to 19th and achieved the excellent feat of securing second place in the overall ranking among a total of 57 participating countries.
The welcome-home event was attended by more than 200 members of Team Korea and related people, including Employment and Labor Minister Kim Young-joo, president of the Korean Federation of Skilled Technicians Choi Chang-mook, HRD Korea's acting president and Team Korea's leader Park Soon-hwan and Seo Jae-eun, a competitor in the category of mechanical engineering/CAD, who was named the MVP of the 44th Worldskills Competition.
Minister Kim said emphatically in her welcoming remarks, "Technicians have made great contributions to our country's rapid growth and are still the driving force behind its development."
She said, "The skills and experience you have acquired and amassed will serve as a stepping stone towards innovation-based growth that will drive Korea's future. If you continue to strive, you will become the world's top technicians."
She gave encouragement to the national team members by saying, "Although our team ended up in second place at the competition, you are already proud members of Team Korea and demonstrated the excellence of Korea's skilled technicians and imprinted Korea's image as a skills power all over the world."
She also said, "The government will analyze trends found at such international competitions and develop new training and competitor selection methods to strengthen Korean competitors' competitiveness and will come up with measures to enable outstanding skilled technicians to pursue their dreams as much as they can."
Korea had fielded 46 competitors in 42 skill or trade categories at this year's WorldSkills Competition. It won 8 gold, 8 silver and 8 bronze medals and achieved second place in the overall ranking based on the scores of WorldSkills International's five official indicators.
* Scores of WSI's five official indicators by country:
▴(1st place) China 281, ▴(2nd place) Korea 279, ▴(3rd place) Switzerland 272
▴ Number of medals: (China) 15 golds, 7 silvers, 8 bronzes, (Switzerland) 11 golds, 6 silvers, 3 bronzes
In particular, Korea has taken first place in the medal table at five WorldSkills Competitions in a row including the 43rd WorldSkills Competition held in Brazil in 2015. Since it first joined the 16th Worldskills Competition in Spain in 1967, Korea has participated in 29 WorldSkills Competitions and secured the top spot in the overall medal count at 19 of them, showing its dominance as a skills power.
The government gives each gold, silver and bronze medalist 67.2 million won, 56 million won and 39.2 million won, respectively, in prize money and an order of merit, just as it does to Olympic medalists. Medalists are given other benefits, too. They are exempt from the industrial engineer qualification examination under the national technical qualification system, allowed to work as skilled industrial personnel instead of serving in the military and offered grants if they have been engaged in their skill areas for at least one year after winning a medal.