Here’s where the Champions shine. At WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 the best skilled apprentices and young skilled workers from all over the world compete for the world title. The WorldSkills competitions, which are held every other year, are open to Competitors up to age 22, and are hosted by a different country each time. WorldSkills 2009 took place in Canada, while the UK hosted the 2011 Competition.
The exciting competitions make you want to learn a trade – be it a traditional trade or a new discipline, whether as a cook, a mechatronics expert, or a web designer. This gigantic event is a rendezvous for international specialists in vocational education, business and politics. Their aim is to continue improving standards in vocational education. That is the goal to which they subscribe and for which they share experiences. The WorldSkills Competition is held by WorldSkills International, a membership organisation made up of 61 countries and regions. For more information about WorldSkills International, please visit: http://www.worldskillsleipzig2013.com
So, now that I've had 2 weeks at home to decompress and enjoy summer without training or competition to disturb me, I'm finally sitting down to write about my experience. Since this will be used for one of my requirements for the Clemson e-Portfolio, I will be doing a bit of backstory and explaining about WorldSkills International, all information that can be found on their website but will also be referenced here.
A little history about WorldSkills International as an organization:
It was 1946 and there was a great need for skilled workers in Spain. Mr José Antonio Elola Olaso, who was General Director of OJE (Spanish Youth Organization), had an insight: it was necessary to convince youth, as well as their parents, teachers and prospective employers, that their future depended on an effective vocational training system.
The idea to celebrate Vocational Training Competitions can be rightfully compared to Pierre de Coubertin´s initiative to create the modern Olympic Games. Also its motto "great ideas come from the heart" can be applied to the founders of our international organization.
Nowadays, if you visit a WorldSkills Competition, you will be pleased to see the young skilled workers' know-how and seriousness, their pride on having been selected and the pleasure they feel to meet their counterparts from other continents. In spite of language barriers, the experience they gain will certainly affect the professional, personal and human aspects of their lives forever.
The Competitions were not only designed for ranking Member countries/regions and awarding medals. In fact, they give a new impulse to their vocational training systems.My Story
WorldSkills this year hosted members from 52 countries all across the globe. It was held in Leipzig, Germany, but my journey started in Dulles Airport in Washington, DC. The 20 members of the SkillsUSA WorldSkills team flew from their respective home states to Dulles Airport during a 12-hour layover on June 28. We all met, ate, checked and double checked our boarding passes and passports, and generally chilled in the airport. None of us knew what to expect from the competition. The Lufthansa flight from DC to Munich was about 9 hours long, at night. We slept on the plane, then flew from Munich to Leipzig. Once in Leipzig, we claimed our luggage, got our accreditation tags for the competition venue, and checked into our hotel. The NH-Leipzig Messe was a 4-star hotel and had amazing accomodations. We were there with Ireland, the UK, Canada, Australia, Korea, Macao (China), Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, and several other countries.
The first few days we spent touring the cities and getting used to the area. The US team spent time with Grundschule Bennewitz (the elementary school of Bennewitz, a small village outside Leipzig) as a part of the One School, One Country program. Elementary schools in the vicinity of Leipzig were each assigned a country from the WorldSkills organization to study all year and host for a day to have cultural exchange. I was so impressed--the kindergarten through 4th grade students we visited know more about the US than a lot of students native to our country! The students performed plays and songs for us, and even attempted flag football, American style! It was amazing to see all these kids talk about our country and theirs, and they treated us like heroes. They were incredible. The next four days were spent in competition. I had a blast, and learned a lot, but was a good bit unprepared for some aspects of the competition. The thing I learned too, is that the competition is more academic. Things I could get away with, or make on-the-fly decisions about in a real print shop, I couldn't do there. Either way, I feel like I learned a lot about my industry and I am better prepared for my future in print.
The most amazing thing that I learned, being surrounded by delegates from 52 member countries, is this: Working people of the world are all the same. We're all just people. All we want to do is be happy, take care of our families, and live our lives as we see fit. It was amazing to get to explain to members from Arab countries that no, not all Americans hate all people that look Middle Eastern. I got to witness 52 countries work together for 2 weeks in peace and harmony and friendship, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.
I met people from all over the world. From the UAE, to Kuwait, to Malaysia, China, Russia, South Africa, all over Europe and South America... It was incredible. Even the people that couldn't speak English, I could communicate with hand gestures and drawing pictures. The cultural exchange was astounding. I made friends from Finland that watch the same movies I do, and metalheads from Luxembourg, and old American movie fanatics from the UK. All the people in the world could get along in peace if it weren't for governments causing problems with other countries.
I feel so blessed and honored that I was chosen to represent my country in this event, and even more blessed to have learned so much. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and I really hope to continue to support and volunteer with SkillsUSA and WorldSkills in the future.
I've been in Dewitt, Michigan for the last week and a half, and have another 6 days here. I've been apprenticing under Rich Jenkins at Foresight group on the SM-52 4-color, and have been doing really well. I feel a lot more comfortable on the equipment, and will be running the press on my own next week to prepare for WorldSkills. Dr. Klarecki took me to Ricoh in Grand Rapids yesterday and I was given a demo on the Ricoh digital press I will be running, as well as how to use the EFI Fiery RIP software. I feel a LOT better about that, now that I've had practice, and realize that I will spend more of my time programming the cutter than printing for the digital jobs. Overall, I'm feeling a lot more confident about my skills, and I feel like I have a chance for at least a Medal of Excellence. I'm having a lot of fun, learning a lot, and I'm excited to go home this Friday. Thanks to everyone for their support, especially Dr. Klarecki, Ms. Adams, and Ms. Clarkson.
This is the first time the entire WorldSkills team for 2013 has been together! The bonding experience has been amazing, and I am going to Germany with some fantastic people. We spent all of Sunday doing US Ambassador training, leadership training, and stress-management training, as well as resolving uniform issues and taking care of last minute scheduling issues. We also got to tour the national SkillsUSA headquarters and learn about the history of our organization, our sponsors, and all of the opportunities SkillsUSA provides. On Monday, we spent the morning at the German Embassy learning about the country, and then we went to an authentic German restaurant for lunch, followed by team photos at the White House. I had a great time this weekend, and learned a lot. This competition is starting to look a lot more real to me now. We have exactly 2 months before we leave for Leipzig! I'm so excited! I'd like to say a big thank you to Lowe's, Timberland, Carhartt, and all of our other amazing sponsors, as well as my state and national SkillsUSA organizations for all of their support. Thank you so much for helping me jump start my career with so much training and experience.
This weekend I had the opportunity to not only attend the SC SkillsUSA state conference, but to interact with upcoming SkillsUSA students, judge a few competitions, and be a guest speaker at the awards ceremony at the end of the conference. It was an amazing experience to get to see a completely different aspect of the organization, as well as to inspire future generations of CATE students to strive for excellence in their fields of study, as well as their lives. I had a wonderful time, and I am so glad to still be involved as an alumnus and WorldSkills competitor. If you'd like to read my speech, it is attached.
I am excited to say that the Clemson University PGSF scholars are taking photos today to thank the foundation for all of their support for our education and industry endeavors. Today is also the last meeting of the year for Gamma Epsilon Tau, and we will be having our officer elections. I signed up for service chair, and sincerely hope that I receive the position. I have a lot of ideas for things we can do as an organization to not only promote ourselves, but enrich the experience of graphic communications students in our program.
I am also excited to announce that I got an internship for the Fall 2013 semester at View Digital Media in Central, SC. It is a small video and film production company about 1.2 miles from my apartment, and I will be able to work to earn my GC35o and CO-OP201 credits as well as take night and online classes to stay in school full time. I am really excited about this opportunity and grateful to my GC H340 instructor for putting me in touch with them.
The graphic communications awards night is this Wednesday at the Madren Center at Clemson University, and I am excited to see what it has in store for me. I applied for the David Sheriff Jr. Memorial Scholarship (a Clemson University graphic communications scholarship for rising juniors and seniors) and I will find out who received it at awards night.
I am currently studying color theory for WorldSkills, and learning a great deal about metric units and customary units in measuring both ink and paper. Once again, I'd like to thank all of my readers and I appreciate all of the support I have received from all of my advisors, professors, industry sponsors, and friends. Thank you for everything that you do, I couldn't do this without you.
A special thank you goes out to Ms. Jackie Clarkson, Director of SC SkillsUSA, for her help, support, and generous travel stipend for WorldSkills. None of this would be possible without her, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunities afforded to me because of her hard work, dedication, and support of SkillsUSA. Thanks so much. Further updates will be posted after awards night on Wednesday.
On March 14th, Dr. Klarecki came to visit me in Clemson from Ferris State. When he got to Clemson that Thursday night, we went to dinner, then I gave him a tour of our printing facilities in Godfrey hall and our packaging facilities in the Sonoco Institute. We then went to the Academic
Success Center and went through the technical description of the competition and made plans for my training for over the summer. Over the summer, I will be going up to Michigan to practice at a print shop owned by the family of one of his students. I will be there for 3-4 weeks running the Heidelberg SM52-4. Sometime before or after that, we are still looking for a place for me to practice on the digital press that I will be competing on.
On March 15th, Dr. Klarecki and I met with my department chair, Dr. Ingram. We discussed color theory and CIELAB, and what I would need to be able to measure and adjust for in the competition. I was given color theory textbooks to read over spring break this week. Dr. Klarecki and I then met with Dr. Weisenmiller, who has been training me on the presses. We talked about things I needed to go over in my free time at Clemson this semester, such as the SHOTS simulator, mixing ink, plate and blanket packing, roller maintenance, etc. I was also given the Heidelberg Handbook of Print Media to study from. We took some photos and I will be posting more press releases as a receive them.
I am still looking for an internship for the fall to be able to stay in the graphic communications program at Clemson. I have emailed every company I interviewed with on Intern Employer Day, as well as applied for some other positions. I hope that I can get something soon.
I am excited for SC SkillsUSA graphic communications and screenprinting competitions tomorrow, as I am volunteering as an alumnus to help out with proctoring sections of the competition. I am also excited for our team-building trip April 27-29 to Washington, D.C. This will be the first time the entire USA WorldTeam will be together at the same time, since there are some of us who did not compete at WorldSkills Americas in Sao Paolo. Other than those events, I was just accepted into the Clemson Mortar Board honor society, and have been working very hard on my classes this semester. I can't wait for the WorldSkills International Competition!
Thank you to all of my supporters and readers both in education and industry, I wouldn't be where I am without you all!
So, I have been asked by Dr. Klarecki to come up to Grand Rapids, MI for the summer before the WorldSkills competition to train for six weeks on a Heidelberg SM52-4 instead of going to summer school. It sounds like a lot of work, but a lot of fun. I hope I can get Dr. Ingram to give me some kind of credit for all of it to go towards graduation. Also, I have been informed that SkillsUSA has given my information to a lady who works for USA Today, and that I will be interviewed in the next week or so to be featured along with some industry professionals and two other WorldTeam members as part of a twelve-page spread in the February edition of the magazine. I am so excited! I can't believe it. I have also recently been interviewed for a press release through Clemson University's media relations department, which is also very, very cool. I am so blessed to have all of these opportunities presented to me, and I plan to use them to the fullest extent that I can in hopes for a brighter future. I want to make my country proud at the competition this summer, and I can't wait to see what my future career has in store for me. I am happy to see that my hard work and dedication to my craft over the last six years is finally starting to pay off. And to my readers, thank you for your overwhelming support. Jackie Clarkson, Sherry Adams, Dr. Patrick Klarecki, Dr. Samuel Ingram, Dr. Eric Weisenmiller, and everyone else who has helped me along my way, thank you so much.
It is now the end of the first week of Spring Semester, and I can definitely say that I am glad to be back. I have officially been enrolled in the Calhoun Honors College and I am continuing in the Graphic Communications program. I am looking forward to the team building trip to Washington, DC that is coming up, as well as to WorldSkills Canada, in which Dr. Klarecki has informed me that I may be competing. I made the Dean's list last semester, and have been invited to rush Phi Sigma Pi co-ed honor fraternity this semester. I have also been given some information on travel outside of WorldSkills, and may be completing a study abroad course once the competition is over. I am currently enrolled in 20 credit hours, which is a lot, but I know I can handle it, and I cannot wait for the WorldSkills competition. In the spirit of keeping all informed, I will have much more news once I have confirmation about my study abroad and continued WorldSkills training, as well as a hopeful internship opportunity in the fall. Thanks to all of my readers for your continued support.
We have been having problems with scumming on the magenta unit in the DI due to roller pressures. We have been working on these problems, but will not have a solution until probably next week. We have made no further progress on the Godfrey print job to date, due to the issues with the magenta unit.
Log: 11/22/12 2 hours; 11/27/12 1hour; 11/29/12 1 hour
Today, Dr. Weisenmiller and I began running the job for the Graphic Communications alumni from Clemson University. We are running it in four color process on the Heidelberg DI on 100lb. cover stock cut to 11.5"x17.5". We had a lot of issues with feeding, delivery, and impression due to the age of the press and the fact that ithasn't been run in months. Overall, I am learning a lot and will continue this project later today.
We continued to run the press later on after my lecture classes. We got the color requirements very close to GraCOL standards, but they were not quite right. We cleaned the press and will continue the project on Tuesday, when we should be able to finish printing it, then do finishing activities after Thanksgiving break.
Log: 10am-1pm, 3hours; 3pm-6:00pm, 3 hours