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WorldSkills Conference 2018

Uniting for Youth: Building networks for innovative skills solutions
15–16 October 2018: Amsterdam, Netherlands

The growing disconnect between the skills that are taught and the skills that the market needs, is leaving millions of young people without jobs. Automation is increasingly taking over mundane tasks and new industries are rapidly emerging. This Fourth Industrial Revolution demands a workforce with a new set of core skills to creatively tackle complex and unforeseen challenges. Could the Dutch "Triple Helix" concept that intertwines government, education and industry be part of the solution? That was the question asked throughout WorldSkills Conference 2018.

The three conference tracks followed the WorldSkills building blocks – discussing how young people can be inspired to take up skills, how skills can be developed through raising standards in countries around the world, and how we can all influence national and international stakeholders to improve skills provision.

These tracks helped attendees find solutions to the challenges faced in the vocational sector around the globe. Participants learned how the Dutch approach ensures that skills are consistently raised to a higher level in the Netherlands, and how these lessons can be applied elsewhere. 

Conference Programme (PDF)



15–16 October 2018: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The future will be Skills or will not be

15 October 2018 at 13:15 in Grand Ballroom

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A look to the future on the coming trends and challenges and how to prepare TVET, industry, youth, our organisations, and society in general. What is the long term outlook for the future of skills?


Ruud Veltenaar


With a background as a philosopher, professional speaker, and trend watcher, Ruud Veltenaar, will speak about future trends and the development of skills, VET, labour markets, and how to prepare for jobs that do not yet exist.

Mr Veltenaar used to work as Chair of a venture capital fund and as an executive for companies like McKinsey, Volmac, RAET, and Planet Internet. As a professional speaker, he travels the world giving lectures about megatrends and developments with impact, and how leaders, managers and entrepreneurs can anticipate these trends with the aim of making the best possible decisions. Decisions that will make a difference and create a better world.

Succeeding in TVET with the Triple Helix: the Dutch way (of education systems)

15 October 2018 at 12:30 in Grand Ballroom

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The Dutch ‘Triple Helix’ is recognized as one of the most successful systems in the World. But what is it exactly? And what are its benefits? Does this model bring the answers and innovative solutions necessary to tackle the challenges currently faced by (T)VET, skills, industry, and labour markets?


Ton Heerts

Board Chair, Netherlands Association of VET Colleges (MBO Raad)

Ton Heerts (1966) is since 2016 chair of the board of the Netherlands Association of VET Colleges (MBO Raad). More than 50.000 employees at 61 VET Colleges in the Netherlands prepare half a million students every day for a professional career on the labor market and for the society of tomorrow. MBO (Middelbaar BeroepsOnderwijs) is the Dutch abbreviation for VET.

Heerts decided after his training as military police to attend the officer training. After his graduation he worked as a manager at the Royal Netherlands Military Police. Before Heerts in 2006 took a seat in the House Parliaments on behalf of the political party PvdA, he was a director at labor unions CNV and FNV. Here he was involved in social security and justice. In 2012 he returned to FNV as chair of the board. In 2016 he became chair of the board of the MBO Raad.

MBO has a key role in the policy of the current government: for implementation of virtually all VET agreements. These agreements have been translated recently into the Administrative Agreement 'Pride, trust and courage' that Ton Heerts concluded on behalf of the VET Colleges with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. This Administrative Agreement includes focusing on VET inclusive (equal opportunities for all) and on lifelong learning and development.

Fried Kaanen

Chair, Koninklijke Metaalunie

Chair of Koninklijke Metaalunie, the employers organization for small to midsize companies in the metal industry in The Netherlands.

Member of daily board/ treasurer Royal Association MKB-Nederland, which promotes the interests of 150.000 Dutch entrepreneurs.

Driven entrepreneur with vision in the SME metal industry in The Netherlands with an extensive network. He believes that the industry and in particular SMEs are an indispensable pillar of the economy. His motive is the pursuit of operational excellence. He is seen as one of the ambassadors for QRM (Quick Response Manufacturing).

Forging relationships, coaching leadership style and professionalism are the elements of his management approach. He regularly is asked as a guest speaker on the topic of lead time reduction.

Ingrid van Engelshoven

Minister of Education of the Netherlands

Mrs. Ingrid van Engelshoven

Getting ready for the uncharted territory of tomorrow's jobs

16 October 2018 at 08:00 in Grand Ballroom

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While people are preaching 21st century skills, generic skills, and so forth the basis for getting ready for tomorrow’s jobs is to first create a solid foundation of knowledge and skills. Once this has been done, it is the task of the school to help students acquire an attitude through proper instructional techniques, that what they have learned isn’t enough for today’s challenges – let alone tomorrow’s – so that they will be able to learn and improve and change throughout their lifetimes.




Prof. Dr. Paul Kirschner

Dr Paul A. Kirschner (1951) is Distinguished University Professor at the Open University of the Netherlands as well as Visiting Professor of Education with a special emphasis on Learning and Interaction in Teacher Education at the University of Oulu, Finland. He is an internationally recognised expert in the fields of educational psychology and instructional design. He is Research Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Science, and currently a member of the Scientific Technical Council of the Foundation for University Computing Facilities (SURF WTR) in the Netherlands. Dr Kirschner was a member of the Dutch Educational Council and, as such, was advisor to the Minister of Education (2000-2004). He is also Chief Editor of the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Associate Editor of Computers in Human Behavior, and has published two very successful books: Ten Steps to Complex Learning and Urban Legends about Learning and Education. He co-edited Visualizing Argumentation and What we know about CSCL. His areas of expertise include interaction in learning, collaboration for learning (computer supported collaborative learning), and regulation of learning.


Krasnapolsky Hotel - a magnificent historic building with an exceptional location in the heart of the city

The Krasnapolsky Hotel is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s historical centre on Dam Square, the main square of the city with a view of the Royal Palace. Trendsetting shopping streets are around the corner, as well as museums like Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum. Amsterdam Central Station is at seven minutes walking distance, and bus and tram stops are just around the corner. The hotel building dates back to 1855 and has 451 guest rooms and 22 meeting rooms, each with a contemporary décor and an natural color scheme.