The winners of the China International Skills Competition 2017 will be announced at a prize-giving and closing ceremony in Shanghai tonight.
Over the last two days, 227 contestants from 35 countries and regions competed in 21 events.
It is the largest international skills competition ever held in China, and is expected to provide a platform for members of WorldSkills International, a global organization that promotes skills excellence and development. Participants share their experiences and enhance friendship and learn from each other in a win-win benefit for all.
Shanghai hosted 15 events including joinery, hairdressing, restaurant service, mobile robotics and electronics at the World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center.
Joinery is believed to be one of the strengths of China with its long history. The earliest well-known master craftsman was Lu Ban. But in the WorldSkills Competition, China is a new player. It will participate in a joinery event of the WorldSkills Competition for the first time in October in Abu Dhabi.
China joined the WSI membership in 2010 and started participating in WorldSkills Competition from 2011.
"Traditional Chinese joinery is quite different from the western style, which is the competition style," said Zhang Julang from Shanghai City Science and Technology School, a vocational school.
"Traditional Chinese joinery relies on handicrafts while the western style prefers machines," he added. "No traditional carpenter can win this competition as they have to spend one or two weeks to make the window, but the competition requires them to finish it in two days with high precision."
Zhang said there was also a lot for China to learn from the other countries, such as the norms and manners.
"For example, participants have to put away their devices during breaks," he said. "It's a good thing in terms of security."
Promising career in joinery
Zhang said joinery was a promising career as more and more people in modern society wanted customized products of high quality. Joinery workshops are also popular among young people who enjoy the process of turning wood into all kinds of trendy appliances by their own hands.
"It's like Lego and other recreational choices for them," he said. "The price of such programs is also rising. I know that a two-week training program is very popular although it costs 40,000 yuan. That means the traditional handicrafts are still attractive for young people, especially when it merges with modern technology. It also gives them another career opportunity."
Zhang said a student from his school had picked up joinery at a student club and was hooked on to it. He is now one of the two prospective candidates to represent China at the WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi in October. A decision on which one makes to Abu Dhabi will be announced at the end of this month.
As many of the participants competing in Shanghai this week will compete in the WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi in October, it is also an opportunity for them to test their own skills and prepare for the event which is known as the "Olympics of Skills." The Shanghai event was organized in the same model.
"It was the first time for us in Shanghai and also the first time to participate in an international competition," said Abdelhadi Hibot, a Moroccan who competed in mobile robotics.
"This competition is helpful for us as we can get experience about international competition, meeting other competitors and other experts, so that we are not scared at the next competition," he added.