Interview with Jack Dusseldorp – President of WorldSkills International

Jack Dusseldorp explains why skills formation is the new global currency.

06 April 2012 / Be the first to comment

City & Guilds Fellow and President of WorldSkills International, Jack Dusseldorp, explains why skills formation is the new global currency.

I’m in the business of skills formation…

I’ve been in it for 30 years. The reason I say skills formation rather than vocational education is that I’ve not sat formally on the supply side (education) or on the demand side (companies).

I have been working as an intermediary and that gives you a unique perspective – the supply side sees young people as students and the demand side sees them as new arrivals who will be productive. Sitting in between, you just see them as people who are in a major developmental stage of their lives.

 

With WorldSkills, globalisation has increased the number of countries taking part

The internet has made a huge difference and growth over the past 15 years has been amazing. It’s been coupled with a rapidly growing recognition of the importance of skills formation. At this year’s WorldSkills in London, we hosted ministers from across the world over the four days – that would have been unheard of 15 years ago.

 

WorldSkills is a competition that essentially hasn’t changed for 60 years…

But there were a lot more windows opened up at the 2011 event. We had 200,000 visitors, with young people there in large numbers. We also had many of the chiefs from the further education sector and multinationals that wanted to take the measure of different markets as well as look for talent.

But there were a lot more windows opened up at the 2011 event. We had 200,000 visitors, with young people there in large numbers. We also had many of the chiefs from the further education sector and multinationals that wanted to take the measure of different markets as well as look for talent.

 

Then you had the parents who are a critical group in terms of how they perceive skills and therefore what they tell their children – I don’t think they would have left WorldSkills this year with any doubts.

 

Despite the high levels of unemployment, there are still skills shortages…

Holland, for example, has a small economy and an ageing population, so they are now looking at absenting themselves from certain parts of the manufacturing chain that they traditionally excelled at because they don’t have enough new learners.

 

Skills are beginning to be seen as a new global currency…

There’s still that issue around parity of esteem between further and higher education but it’s a false dichotomy – there are pathways that cross between the two and the notion that you have to pick and choose just one is yesterday’s idea. In Australia, young people are seeing that gaining employability skills trumps higher education. I feel like a big window is opening.

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