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8 May 2017

WorldSkills Champions visit Rwanda for Skills On The Move project

A team of six WorldSkills Champions is developing the next steps of a project that is aimed at providing skills training and expertise, to refugees and citizens in Rwanda – after the first visit by the Champions to the African country.

A team of six WorldSkills Champions is developing the next steps of a project that is aimed at providing skills training and expertise, to refugees and citizens in Rwanda – after the first visit by the Champions to the African country.

Skills On The Move is a project developed around the train-the-trainers principle, born when a group of young people whose individual excellence matched by their global citizenship dedicated themselves to making a difference to other people’s lives, and helping to strengthen Rwanda’s labour market and social fabric.

Their mission, in partnership with Autodesk – a WorldSkills Global Partner – aims to establish a self-sustaining vocational and technical skills exchange program where WorldSkills Champions and Experts pass on their knowledge to local Rwandan trainers, equipping them to increase the employability skills of refugees and nationals. Their four-day visit to the country has now given them greater insight into how aspiration can become action.

During the visit, Autodesk Global Strategic Partnerships Manager Matthew Bell – a former WorldSkills Expert – WorldSkills International Conference and Projects Manager Alex Musial, and selected WorldSkills Champions, visited the Gihembe and Mahama refugee camps and met with representatives from the UNCHR (the United Nations refugee agency), Rwanda’s Minister of State for Technical Vocational Education and Training, and other organizations.

Mr Bell said the “reconnaissance mission” left a lasting, and inspirational, mark. “We had four incredibly intense days, meeting with NGOs and WorldSkills and Autodesk partners, visiting huge refugee camps and meeting refugees themselves,” he said. “And it was completely different to what we had expected.”

“It was brilliant to see how well-structured these camps are and how communities have already started to form. These refugees are skilled and educated people – engineers, doctors, carpenters – who had to take the biggest decision of their lives, leaving their country and their security and taking their children to a place where they have no idea what the future holds.”