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The World Skill Competition

“For 63 years and counting, the WorldSkills Competition has acted as a mirror to the evolution of trades across the world. Throughout these years many competition skills have disappeared, many have merged, and many new ones have materialized,” quoting from the site worldskills.org

This year, at the WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi from 15th to 18th October, 28 competitors from India took part in 26 skill categories. Mohit Dudeja from India won silver for Pastry and Kiran K got a bronze for Prototype Modeling. Medallions are given to the top ten performers in every category and India got ten. In graphic design, our contestant Simoul Alva was a winner.

Simoul’s journey to WorldSkills began with Lopez Design. In 2016, Anthony Lopez, Founder Director Lopez Design was appointed Graphic Design Expert for WorldSkills from India and he set up a strategic and thorough process to find the perfect candidate. Aside of the candidates chosen through an entrance exam set up by the National Skill Development Corporation India, a wildcard entry was proposed and 30 candidates selected in the first round. Lopez Design implemented a rigorous process in the next rounds through various tests and interviews to judge IQ, skills and psychological strength capability for the tough road ahead. A score sheet was created with attributes given to each capacity that was to be judged and the weight given to each was determined. Through this systematic process, we narrowed down the field. From the three candidates who emerged successful in the final phase, Simoul Alva from NID was picked as the best choice.

Simoul says, “After I was selected, I was informed how I needed to learn not just graphic design, but how I should be technically sound. I was sent by Anthony to the best studios for technical learning. We often looked at design articles to critique what is good design and what is not. I gained a holistic understanding of design practice.” Simoul trained for over a year with Anthony. Then, she spent two months at Lopez Design’s studio from August to October with designers Deekshit Sebastian and Shivani Prakash giving her specialized inputs. Anthony Lopez explains, “We trained the candidate in identity, packaging, editorial and all aspects of design. She was recommended to Itu Chaudhari’s office where she could get a first hand learning of editorial. Closer to the competition, Wolfgang, a retired WorldSkill expert from Italy coached Simoul especially for the competition.”

Simoul, who went to a University in France on a student-exchange program from NID in the same year she was being trained, would call her mentors at Lopez Design to continue getting expertise and to broaden her horizons. She was also sent to Bordeaux, France to get a feel of a competition being held there. Two months before the Abu Dhabi event, Simoul and Anthony travelled to Moscow where a mini competition was organized for three days. Six countries, including Russia, Italy, Germany, France and India took part in this trial set-up.

WorldSkills is a community of 77 member countries with skill-oriented people coming together in an organized way to make an extraordinary impact. Doing well at the WorldSkills Competition is a major effort for competitors as unlike a sports event, this is a one-time chance to prove themselves. Competing member countries very seriously prepare their candidates, some for a period of four years. The event itself is spread across a huge arena in a temperature controlled space, where thousands come in through the day. Young people can observe what the participants are doing on machines as well as on their screens and get interested in acquiring skills. Anthony sums up, “There were 30 countries coming together, around 1300 participants and three to four thousand people who are actively involved in World Skills. The experience at Abu Dhabi was very humbling as I was constantly working with top notch experts in their field. A very intense training happens for participants.”

Simoul reflects, “You realize how big and important this competition is when you enter the hall, the magnitude of the entire enterprise. The pressure to perform with all of your abilities comes together in one place.”  For Anthony Lopez, this is one step for Lopez Design but a huge leap for India – and he intends to ride this ship for as long to take forward design, education and skills to place our flag on this moon.

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