In January 2014 the Republic of Belarus officially became the 68th member of the international organisation “WorldSkills International” (WSI). The mission of this organisation is to raise the status and standards of skills and vocational training worldwide. The main objective of WSI is to organize international skills competitions. In Belarus, the member organisation of WorldSkills is the educational institution "Republican Institute for Vocational Education" (RIPO).

On May 20-22, 2014 for the first time in the country RIPO organized the Republican skills competition "First Championship WorldSkills Belarus – 2014", which used the original competition methodology and content of WSI competition tasks. The Republican competition took place at the Football Arena in Minsk, its participants were the winners of regional competitions WorldSkills. More than 150 competitors who were representatives of technical vocational, secondary specialised, higher educational institutions and workers of enterprises up to 21 years of age competed in 20 skills.

More than 60 experts representing the enterprises of the leading sectors of economy and educational institutions assessed the participants of the Republican competition.

Among the partners of the championship there were more than 55 enterprises and organisations, including Integral, Kamvol, Belarusian refrigeration and air conditioning association, Henkel Bautechnik, the representations of the companies Volkswagen, Bosh, Festo, Cisco et al., providing modern equipment and materials which were used for the competition tasks preparation.

The championship was visited by foreign delegations from Germany, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Nigeria, Russia, and Tajikistan. The guest of honor was the President of the WSI Simon Bartley. This event had a wide public resonance, raising to another level of understanding the problem of improving the status and quality of vocational training and qualifications for worker professions based on international standards, providing innovative perceptivity of vocational education, as well as the necessary motivation for professional self-determination, personal and professional growth, creative work of Belarusian citizens.

It was formed a list of candidates for the Republican WorldSkills Belarus team, following the results of the first championship, consisting of students from the VET institutions, universities and young employees of enterprises in 18 skills for participation in WorldSkills International (Brazil, Sao Paulo, August 11-16, 2015).

An Expert (specialist of the educational institution or enterprise); Interpreter; Supervisor (methodologist or teacher of the EI "RIPO") are in charge of every skill. The Experts are registered on the official website of WorldSkills International and have access to the technical descriptions of skills, to the tasks for the international championship and to the accompanied documentation.

Joining of the WorldSkills movement by the Republic of Belarus opens an access to invaluable experience for our country, namely:

• gives a realistic assessment of the level of preparation of local young professionals;

• increases the motivation of young workers to personal and professional growth;

• synchronises the Belarusian and international specifications.

The participation in WorldSkills International is a good opportunity not only to improve the image of worker professions and VET institutions in the minds of young people, but also the prestige of our country, to attract additional foreign investment, demonstrate the highly skilled national workforce, capable of developing innovative economy.

Eduard Kalitski
Official Delegate of WorldSkills International from the Republic of Belarus First Vice Rector of the EI “Republican Institute for Vocational Education”
Olga Dekhtiarenko
Technical Delegate of WorldSkills International from the Republic of Belarus Head of the Department for comparative research and international cooperation in VET