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WorldSkills Premiere Experience 2007


On November 15, 2007 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, WorldSkills International  hosted, as part of the VIP Experience, four concurrent seminars focusing on global skills issues. They were carefully selected with the registered VIP participants in mind. Each VIP was able to attend two of the four sessions as each session was conducted twice. Each session was approximately 50 minutes in length consisting of a 20 minutes presentation and a 30 minute question and answer and discussion period. The four sessions are described below.

Seminar 1: Why Competitions? The need, the support, the legacy

This session was broken into different topics:

  1. Host Country’s needs and reasons to host a WorldSkills Competition, and the enormous benefits the country receives both economically and socially by hosting this unique Competition.
  2. Why companies support the WorldSkills movement and why they are looking to raise the awareness and promotion of skills throughout the world.
  3. What benefits Competitors receive from their involvement in WorldSkills, and why their continued involvement in the WorldSkills movement is important.

Timo Lankinen

Government Counsellor,
Director, Ministry of Education,
President of Skills Finland

“Education and training in modern societies should provide a broad skills base relevant to industry and services – and at the same time highlight excellence in skills at every level. Skills competitions are a unique way to put skills in a spotlight. They are competitions with a difference. Competitions promote skills and high standards of competence for the achievement of economic success and individual fulfilment."

Masters Degree in Law 1983, University of Helsinki (Human Rights in Criminal Proceedings)

Professional Career
Timo Lankinen joined the Finnish Ministry of Education in 1984. From1984 to 1997 he worked as project manager and as  government counsellor with major development projects in the field of education, training and science policies in Finland (Example: the total reform of educational legislation) and in relation to the European Union education and training policies and structural funds.

Since 1997 he has been Director for Vocational Education and Training. He has actively taken part in education and training policy-making by chairing committees and projects, writing articles and books and lecturing, especially at national and at European Union level. His latest task in 2007 was been to act as Special Rapporteur to evaluate the position, role and tasks of the Finnish National Board of Education and the national steering of the educational branch in a changing environment – a task based on the Government Programme of the Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen´s second Cabinet.

He is a member of the Directors-Generals for Vocational Training in EU (DGVT) and Advisory Committee for Vocational Training in EU (ACVT) and the Governing Board of European Training Foundation (ETF). He has been responsible for the Finnish Presidencies of European Union in 1999 and 2006 in the field of vocational education and training.


Tom Joseph

Director of Asia Pacific Education Programs for Autodesk Inc.

Tom leads a team that is focused on introducing Autodesk's 3D Design products to the next generation of architects, engineers and designers.  The Asia Pacific Education team works with educators to drive the adoption of Autodesk tools within technology and academic curriculums in secondary, post secondary, undergraduate and post graduate design education.  The team consists of members from Japan, Korea, China, India, ASEAN and ANZ.  In addition to working with institutions and faculty, the team spearheads a global student community at  The Student Engineering and Design community provides students with access to Autodesk 3D Design tools, learning resources and global networking to help prepare them for visionary careers.

Previously, Tom was the Senior Manager for the Asia Pacific education and marketing team, where he was responsible for marketing of Autodesk's products through multiple sales channels, including reseller partners throughout Asia Pacific. Tom has more than eighteen years of sales and marketing experience in the high tech industry, specifically in marketing and educational channel sales. Tom started his career as designer with Thyssen Krupp – a German heavy engineering conglomerate. Tom has been with Autodesk since 1996, and held various positions within technical sales, marketing, strategic initiatives and educational sales in Asia Pacific.

Tom holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in Machine Design.


Kian Ann Tan

Kian Ann competed and won the gold medal in the 36th WorldSkills Competition in Seoul, 2001, for IT-Software Applications. Kian Ann then represented Singapore at the inaugural WorldSkills Youth Forum in Melbourne, Australia in 2006 and has been assisting in the development of an Alumni group for WorldSkills Competitors in Singapore.

Tapping on the knowledge and experience gained in WorldSkills, Kian Ann is now helping small businesses market their products and services on the Internet using various technologies, including blogs and social networking websites.


Seminar 2: The Youth Experience

WorldSkills exists to promote excellence in skills among youth around the world. In this session young champions told their stories and outline what WorldSkills and skills in general have done for them. These youth have inspirational and eye-opening stories to tell and that government, education and industry need to hear to connect with the new generation of skilled workers.

Mikaeli Costello

In 2006, Mikaeli Costello helped to co-ordinate the first ever WorldSkills Youth Forum in Melbourne, Australia - bringing together 35 former Competitors from 16 WorldSkills Members to provide feedback to the Executive Board about their vision for the future of WorldSkills.

Mikaeli is now putting part of this vision into practice with the launch of the WorldSkills Champions Exchange, an initiative designed to help former Competitors connect to the global skills economy by providing opportunities for 'Champions' to live, work and enhance their skills in another Member country/region.

Mikaeli comes from Australia but has spent the last 18 months living and working in London.


Ross Wasson

Ross was a gold medallist in Automotive Technology at the WorldSkills Competition in Helsinki, Finland in 2005. He was also awarded the ‘best of nation’ prize for Ireland, which is an award for the highest scoring person from each Member Country or Region. Ross represented Ireland again at the WorldSkills Youth Forum in 2006, and completed an exchange placement with a Ferrari car garage in Sydney, Australia immediately after.

Ross is now working for Land Rover Ireland National Sales Company as technical service advisor.


Seminar 3: Raising the bar in Competitions in 2009, 2011, and beyond

This session investigated and explored the future of WorldSkills Competitions. Our next two Host Members, Canada and United Kingdom showed how they plan to raise the global awareness of the skills agenda by dramatically increasing media visibility and the WorldSkills brand recognition. One of WorldSkills newest Members outlined how they have used the WorldSkills brand to lift the focus on skills excellence in their country. The audience had an opportunity to comment on these plans.

Richard Walker

President and CEO of WorldSkills Calgary 2009

Richard Walker is the President and Chief Executive Officer for WorldSkills Calgary 2009.  He was responsible for the planning the lead-up, launch and legacy for the 40th WorldSkills Competition held at Stampede Park in September 2009.

Prior to joining WorldSkills Calgary 2009, Mr. Walker was the Chief Executive Officer of the Jubilee Auditoria Foundation, a non-profit organization that worked in partnership with the Government of Alberta to restore and renovate the twin Jubilee Auditorium Performing Arts Theatres in time for Alberta’s Centennial in 2005.  Before that, he was National Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Membership for Ducks Unlimited Canada. In the early 1990’s he was recruited by the University of Alberta to establish and manage the Southern Alberta Liaison Office and coordinate the south Alberta portion of their very successful capital campaign.  He has experience in residential subdivision development, golf course and resort planning as well as the oil and gas industry.

A professional project manager by training, Mr. Walker holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Victoria and is an alumni of the Banff Centre School of Management.  He has been a guest lecturer at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Technology and the University of Victoria, as well as key note speaker at several conferences including the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and the Alberta Construction Labour Relations Association.


Simon Bartley

Chief Executive of UK Skills

UK Skills is a not for profit organisation which champions skills and learning for work through competitions and awards.  Established in 1990 it has the prime purpose of raising skills levels in the UK through skills competitions and managing the UK Team which competes in the WorldSkills Competition.  UK Skills was at the heart of the successful bid to bring WorldSkills to London in 2011.  UK Skills also manages the National Training Awards and other skills related events.

Simon has extensive experience in the learning and skills sector and in industry.  He is a past chair of the CBI SME Council and currently a member of their Education and Training Committee. He leads for Sector Skills Councils on the development of Diplomas and is Chair of SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the Building Services Engineering Sector.  He is a member of the City & Guilds Council and the Skills Commission.  He also plays a number of other significant roles in organisations such as the British Standards Institute, the Centre for Enterprise and the Worshipful Company of Lightmongers.

His particular interests are vocational education, especially in small and start-up businesses.  His hobbies are sailing and skiing, opera and London.


Kevin Mullings

WorldSkills Jamaica

Official Delegate WorldSkills Jamaica and Senior Programmes Director of the Human Employment and Resource Training Trust. (HEART Trust NTA). HEART Trust /NTA is the premier national training agency in the Caribbean 

Kevin joined HEART/NTA in August 1991 and has served in various managerial positions including, Director of Compliance and Remittance from January 1996 to May 2004 and Senior Programmes Director since 2004. His main responsibility is that of the general administration and management of programme delivery, ensuring relevance of training assessment and certification services for workforce development and productivity enhancement. In this capacity, he facilitates, integrates, directs and reviews the operations of Programme Directors, while working with institutions and projects to ensure relevant and effective programmes and processes.

Kevin holds a Masters in Finance and Bachelors in Management from the University of the West Indies. He has an interest in Strategic Planning and has pursued a number of related development courses over the years.

He is an Adjunct Faculty member of the Vocational Training Development Institute, the tertiary arm of HEART/NTA, lecturing in strategic management.

Kevin is a trained facilitator in Log Frame Planning Methodology and has facilitated strategic planning sessions utilizing this methodology within HEART/NTA, as well as for departments of the Jamaican Tax Administration System and regionally with the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies.

Married for 11 years, with one daughter, Kevin is a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club where he serves on the managing committee. He enjoys travelling.


Seminar 4: State of the art methods to promote the image of skills

Presented by SkillsOne, an organisation that is doing incredibly innovative things in Australia to grab the attention of youth, employers, parents, educators and governments. They are using all the latest technologies and media to engage the public. SkillsOne will share their secrets to creating a positive image for careers in skills and technologies!

Peter Sjoquist AM

Executive Producer - Rock Eisteddfod Challenge®, Croc Festival®, Rock Challenge®, Stage Challenge®, Global Rock Challenge™ and SkillsOne™

Peter Sjoquist has worked in television, film and the live event industry for 35 years as production accountant, unit manager, associate producer, producer and executive producer. Peter worked at Channel 7, Granada TV, ITC Entertainment, General Cinema Corporation and the Nine Network before starting his own production consulting company, Scorpio Investments Pty Ltd, with his wife Helen.

Peter was involved in the Voyage of the Damned, The Boys from Brazil, The Eagle has Landed, Capricorn One, the Royal Charity Concert for the Queen (1980), opening of the Sydney Entertainment Centre (1983), Narara Festival (1984), Crocodile Dundee (1985), opening of the Bicentenary (1988) and Ferngully – the Last Rainforest (1990). In the eighties, he also acted as Co-Producer for the entertainment at several AFL, Rugby League and Rugby Union events, and as producer for television specials for John Farnham, Boy George, Cliff Richard, Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan’s segment in the 2001 Academy Awards.

In 1996, he was Co-Executive Producer for the movie The Phantom, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Zane. In 2000 with the eyes of the world on Sydney, Peter was responsible for producing the television coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Since 1988, Peter has undertaken the role of Executive Producer on the highly successful Rock Eisteddfod Challenge®, and in 1998, with Helen, initiated the Croc Festival® (promoting positive lifestyle messages for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in rural and remote areas of Australia) with related television programs.  In 2004, the Junior Rock Eisteddfod Challenge®, now known as JRock™ was launched in Australia for primary schools. These events attract around 50,000 school students from around Australia each year.

Internationally the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® concept is staged in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, UAE, Japan and South Africa to form the Global Rock Challenge™ with some 100,000 students on stage each year.

Peter is also Executive Producer of SkillsOne a new initiative of the industry led, Australian Government funded Institute for Trade Skills Excellence established to elevate the status of trades, promote excellence in Registered Training Organisations and excellence in trades teaching. SkillsOne is a multi-media digital platform being produced by the Australian Channel with 18 hours of television to be screened on Foxtel and Austar Channel 183 and on the web commencing on 28th July 2007.

Peter is a graduate of Macquarie University (BA) in Accounting and a Master of Science in Broadcast Administration from Boston University (MSc). He is a Fellow Certified Public Accountant (FCPA), a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD), and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (AFAIM).

In 2001, Peter was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award by the NSW Benevolent Society which was presented by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honorable John Howard, and in April 2003 Peter was awarded the Centenary Medal for his work with Indigenous education, youth affairs and Croc Festival®.  Peter became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) on Australia Day 2004 for service to the visual and performing arts, to youth through Rock Eisteddfod Challenge® and Croc Festival® and to the community.

In 2007, Peter was awarded the Macquarie University Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.