Just as the worlds’ athletes gather every four years to compete in the Olympic Games, practitioners of a variety of technical and vocational professions attend WorldSkills International every two years as a way of acquiring valuable new information and presenting advancements within their fields. Scott Norman, professor of automotive technology and the United States technical delegate for WorldSkills, plays a key role in sending American representatives to the WorldSkills competition.
The 2022 competition will be held in Shanghai, China on Oct. 12 through Oct. 17 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center. It is the forty-sixth annual WorldSkills international competition.
“The WorldSkills competition is the largest skills competition in the world,” Norman said. “It’s held every two years, so it’s like the Olympics that’s coming up in Beijing in February, but instead of competing in athletics we compete in skill trades. There are over 60 different skill trades that are in the competition, anywhere from automotive technology to welding to cooking, health and social care, hair-cutting, IT skills: so it’s not just hard skills but also soft skills and social skills. There’s over 70 countries that are involved in WorldSkills so, when you are looking at competitors, there’s over a thousand competitors competing (in the competition).”
Norman’s role with the WorldSkills competition revolves around preparing potential USA entrants for WorldSkills and providing them with beneficial resources and training.
“My part of WorldSkills is that I help SkillsUSA, which is our parent company in the United States,” Norman said. “Every country has their Skills branch. I help manage ‘Team USA,’ so you can think of me like the team manager. I help coordinate training for the competitors: every competitor has an expert. (For example), the expert we have is Mike Elder, our USA expert in automotive technology, and all the other competitors also have experts in their field to help make sure that everyone is trained and up to date. I am looking at getting passports, vaccinations, flights, and hotels, coordinating all that to get to Shanghai in October. Once we get to Shanghai, I help run the competition.”
Ian Gregor, one of the WorldSkills competitors in automotive technology for the United States, began training in automotive technology during his time at Doherty high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After succeeding in local, state, and national competition, Gregor now gets the opportunity to present his talents on an international stage and interact with fellow competitors from around the globe.
“My motivation for competing is that it was so informative, so thrilling, so exciting to compete at the national level,” Gregor said. “That (experience) led me to want to interview and compete in a shoot-out against other competitors that were in the running to be the WorldSkills representative, made me want to be the WorldSkills representative.”
While PSU does not have any representatives competing at WorldSkills International this cycle, PSU does host a local Skills competition for area high school students called PSU Skills. This year’s PSU Skills competition will be held on March 10.