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16 October 2017

Groundbreaking Summit at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 brings international ministers together to focus on future of vocational education and training

Key decision-makers from around the world have gathered in the United Arab Emirates to discuss how technical and vocational skills can play a key part in shaping the economies and societies of the future, at a groundbreaking summit on the sidelines of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.

The 44th edition of the WorldSkills Competition – the largest and most prestigious of its kind in the world – is taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 15-18 October, the first time it has been held in the Middle East and North Africa region.

And alongside the event, the first-ever Ministers TVET Summit is seeing ministers of education, skills, industry and business from five continents discuss developments in technical and vocational education and training (TVET), with the aim of ensuring it continues to nurture skills that meet market needs and provide young people with pathways to rewarding and impactful careers.

The Summit is taking place from 16-17 October at ADNEC, with those attending including 20 UAE ministers – among them His Excellency Hussain Al Hammadi, UAE Cabinet Member and Minister of Education - and 19 international ministers, as well as 10 high-level ministerial representatives from international organizations. Plenary speakers include Ministers and representatives from Brazil, China, Finland, India, Jamaica, Russia, Singapore, Zambia, the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and UNESCO.

At the Summit, ministers from nations across the world also endorsed the first-ever ‘Youth Declaration’ on the future of skills and TVET, drafted through the active participation of 300 young professionals who teamed up in ‘Think Tanks’ formed to address issues central to the future role of technical and vocational education and training, including ‘Industry 4.0’ or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Global Citizenship, the Green Economy, and Happiness and Tolerance. 

The Youth Declaration is designed to launch a skills legacy, providing a foundation for further discussion that catalyzes tangible action and ensures WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 leaves an enduring mark on the vocational skills landscape.

In his opening speech, H.E. Hussain Al Hammadi highlighted to those attending the importance of enhancing education, emphasizing its role as the best form of investment and the most important pillar in building human capital.  

“It is also the key to development that the wise leadership of the UAE aspires to, through the leading UAE educational strategy, based on a comprehensive plan that involves creativity, innovation and continuous development, using modern technology, and introducing education into early ages,” he said. 

“Your meeting in the forum to discuss the professional and education future in light of the modern technological developments is a great responsibility. It is a fundamental pillar, because the main task of education is to build the future, which is inseparable in any way from modern technological developments.

“Your creative ideas and thoughts will guide us to achieve our vision of building a generation capable of utilizing technological tools in solutions identification, constant development, and making the transition to a knowledge-based economy.”

His Excellency Mubarak Saeed Al Shamsi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Centre For Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET) – the organisers of WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 - said: “I thank the youth who participated in the TVET Youth Forum and drafting the first ever Youth Declaration.

“As we endorse the Declaration, the onus is on us, as Ministers, to strive and build a consensus on the priorities advocated by our young people and play a significant role in promoting vocational skill and education.”

Abu Dhabi was selected as host city for the 44th edition of the biannual WorldSkills Competition – awarded to EmiratesSkills under the umbrella of ACTVET - in 2013. About 1,300 young participants from around the world are competing in 51 Skills categories across six overarching sectors, with more than 100,000 visitors from the UAE and more than 10,000 from around the world expected to attend.