The Opening Ceremony of the WorldSkills Hong Kong Competition 2023 (WHKC 2023) was held yesterday (20 May) to mark the commencement of over 30 skills competitions. In response to the latest social development and industry skills demands, this year's competition expanded to include four skills competitions of “Bakery”, “Hotel Reception”, “Freight Forwarding”, and “IT Network Systems Administration”. Young winners of WHKC 2023 will receive further training and selection to get the opportunity to represent Hong Kong in the WorldSkills Competition, hailed as the “Skills Olympics”, to be held in Lyon, France next year, competing alongside participants from different countries or regions and engaging in skill exchanges for professional advancement.
Taking place at the International Culinary Institute (ICI), member institution of the Vocational Training Council (VTC), the Opening Ceremony was officiated by Dr Clement CHEN, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Youth Skills Competition, along with other guests. The guests also hosted the kick-off ceremony of the "Restaurant Service" competition, sending their best wishes to the competitors. In his speech, Dr CHEN remarked the important role of skills competition played in promoting Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPET) as a pathway parallel to conventional academic education, providing diversified learning opportunities to local young people. This helped them pursue careers in related industries and contribute to the industry and society in future.
This year’s competition attracted close to 700 young skilled individuals to participate, including the students from the institutions of higher education, apprentices and secondary school students. Among them, the secondary school participants soared by 20% compared to the previous edition, a reflection of an increasing number of young people recognising the importance of skills training and developing interests in them. Competitors will compete in over 30 skills trades across six major areas (Please refer to Annex for details). These six major skills competitions are “Construction and Building Technology”, “Creative Arts and Fashion”, “Information and Communication Technology”, “Manufacturing and Engineering Technology”, “Social and Personal Services", and “Transportation and Logistics”, fitting in well with the latest demand of the talent market and economic development. Competitors have already started their intensive trainings to get prepared for the competitions taking place from April to July. Top-performing competitors in each skill competition will be selected as winners to attend the Prize Presentation ceremony held in late November this year. They will also have the opportunity to represent Hong Kong in the WorldSkills Competition taking place in Lyon, France in September next year.
The four skills competitions introduced to this year’s WorldSkills Hong Kong Competition include “Bakery”, “Hotel Reception”, “Freight Forwarding”, and “IT Network Systems Administration”. In recent years, the city sees a surge in the opening of local bakery shops and subsequently rising demand for professional bakers. Recognising this trend, this year’s competition introduced the category of Bakery to discover new stars in the trade. Alexandre Rene Daniel PERRIN, the expert of “Bakery” skills trade and the Chief Instructor of Food Preparation (International) Section of ICI, stated that in Hong Kong, an international city, where East meeting West, Western-style baked food such as bread, pastries and cakes were always in high demand among the younger generation. Lately many people had started their own online bakery shops or private studios to pursue their careers, and local hotels were also looking for talents to join their baking teams. In response to the rising demand on gourmet baked products, ICI had already launched baking and pastry arts related higher diploma, diploma, and certificate programmes to offer pre-employment and in-service training for bakery talents. He appreciated how the WorldSkills Competition adopted international occupational standards and provided a platform for professional skill exchanges, allowing Hong Kong budding bakers to enhance their skills and get inspired for further personal interest and career development.
Held on the same day with the Opening Ceremony, the “Restaurant Service” skills competition required competitors to prepare specialty drinks for guests, set up tables, demonstrate French style table service, and showcase skills in wine opening, decanting and serving. Competitors must exhibit a professional attitude and excellent serving skills throughout the competition. Kitty TSUI, the graduate of Diploma in Food and Beverage Operations of the Hotel and Tourism Institute (HTI), participated in the “Restaurant Service” skills competition at the WorldSkills São Paulo 2015. She is currently working as a captain in a renowned five-star hotel restaurant, responsible for inspecting restaurant’s hygiene and facilities, supervising service quality, arranging reservations and banquets for customers, and coordinating with the kitchen for the design of menu. She serves the VIP guests of the restaurant to taste delicacies. Kitty was thankful for the opportunity of interacting with competitors from over thirty countries or regions during the WorldSkills Competition, which had greatly broadened her horizons and knowledge of restaurant service. “After graduation, I attended a job fair held by various hotels at my institute. An employer was very impressed with my experience in the WorldSkills, and offered me the job. I have been working there ever since.” Kitty expressed that HTI and WorldSkills had both solidified her skills in various aspects of restaurant service, including fine dining and bar service, which has helped her excel in current position at an international luxury hotel. As a former competitor, she advised this year’s participants to seize the opportunity to showcase their strengths, as it will be beneficial for their future career development.
The WorldSkills Hong Kong Competition is jointly organised by VTC, the Construction Industry Council, and the Clothing Industry Training Authority, with an objective to challenge the professional skills of local young people through competitions and to provide a platform for skills exchange. Outstanding participants will have the opportunity to receive further training and be selected to represent Hong Kong in the WorldSkills Competition. In the previous WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition, held from September to November last year, the Team Hong Kong achieved one Gold Medal and 12 Medallions for Excellence, its best result in history, demonstrating how skills change lives and showcasing Hong Kong's young talents can shine in the international arena with exquisite and professional skills.
Established in 1982, the Vocational Training Council (VTC) is the largest vocational and professional education and training provider in Hong Kong. The mission of VTC is to provide a valued choice to school leavers and working people to acquire the values, knowledge and skills for lifelong learning and enhanced employability, and also to provide support to industries for their manpower development. VTC has 13 member institutions, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi), the Institute of Professional Education And Knowledge (PEAK), the School for Higher and Professional Education (SHAPE), the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI), the Hotel and Tourism Institute (HTI), the Chinese Culinary Institute (CCI), the International Culinary Institute (ICI), the Maritime Services Training Institute (MSTI), Youth College, Pro-Act by VTC, the Integrated Vocational Development Centre (IVDC) and the Shine Skills Centre.
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