Plenty of excitement in store in its skills
There are over 55 workshop managers whose primary task will be to ensure that the competition areas on site are fully prepared and that all the tools and other materials required are available. All of the workshop managers are unpaid volunteers, who freely give up their time for the event. That’s why we would like to introduce the behind-the-scenes heroes of EuroSkills 2020 in this blog.
Today we are dealing with technology, more precisely information and communications technology. This skill is represented by the two IT network specialists, Rene Schwald and Stefan Berchtold, and by Jaqueline Tanzer, who is the workshop manager for web development.
The two IT network specialists Rene Schwald (l.) and Stefan Berchtold (r.) and web development workshop manager Jaqueline Tanzer
A strong team
Many of the workshop managers are former WorldSkills and EuroSkills competitors. Stefan Berchtold, from the Austrian Province of Vorarlberg, is one among them. He completed his apprenticeship examination with distinction, won the Austrian Skills competition in 2008 and thus qualified for WorldSkills 2009 in Calgary, Canada. From then on, he was hooked on the Skills concept and returned to several European championships as a visitor. So, when the call went out for workshop managers for EuroSkills 2020, he did not hesitate to put himself forward. He also brought his fellow student, Rene Schwald, on board – and now they form the workshop manager team for IT and networking. The two guys are not only friends with a passion for their job, they are both also examiners for the final apprenticeship examination in Vorarlberg. “I worked my way up until I finally landed a role with a global IT corporation: Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Such a goal can only be achieved through continuous professional development,” Stefan says. “Events such as EuroSkills are an excellent opportunity to measure your skills against strong competitors and see where you are in comparison to international standards.”
Rene Schwald is particularly inspired by the motivation that is so evident among the competitors. “It is wonderful to see how the young skilled workers’ careers develop. An event such as EuroSkills shows that an apprenticeship is not the final step – you can always improve, there’s always scope to develop further.” Even at AustrianSkills, where the workshop managers were able to take their first steps in the role, he noticed the unique atmosphere that is so characteristic of a competition of this type. The vocational skills championship in Graz is awaited with much joyful anticipation: “I am looking forward to seeing young talents who are already far more skilled than I am. It will also be a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues and build networks.
Girl power in a man’s world
The vocational category of communications and network technology has also seen a number of powerful women who are managing to break through the structures of this male-dominated field. Jaqueline Tanzer is one of them. The self-employed graphic designer also responded to the “Skills” call and is now the workshop manager for web development. As a former participant, Jaqueline had her first taste of the competitions at EuroSkills 2014 in Lille, France, and at WorldSkills 2015 in São Paolo, Brazil. “Having competed in these events myself, it means a lot to me to give something back in return, because I know how many people it takes to stage such an event.” She will also be putting her experience into practice as a member of the WorldSkills Champions Trust, in which she will work with other former competitors to build an alumni network and promote commitment to and participation in WorldSkills projects, initiatives and activities. There is one thing she likes most about the skills competitions: “Never before have I met so many people who love their job so much!”