WorldSkills Kazan: Heidelberg promotes up-and-coming international talent in the print industry
- Gold medals for Russia and Austria, bronze for Switzerland, and Medallion for Excellence for Germany in the “Print Media Technology” skill
- All equipment and almost all consumables provided by Heidelberg
- Promotion of up-and-coming talent for future employees
The figures for WorldSkills 2019 in Kazan, Russia speak for themselves, showing the importance accorded to vocational training worldwide. Kazan, situated 720 km to the east of Moscow, welcomed over 1,350 young skilled workers – the highest number yet – from 63 countries competing in a total of 56 disciplines in the 45th WorldSkills competition from August 22 to 27, 2019. The breathtaking opening ceremony in the specially built “Kazan Expo International Exhibition Centre” was in a league of its own, topped only by the closing ceremony in front of 35,000 guests. Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the achievement and significance of WorldSkills in his speech.
In the “Print Media Technology” skill, 15 participants from 15 countries put their talents to the test. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) supported the skill with manpower and machines. The equipment, consisting of three Speedmaster SX 52 presses (two four-color and one two-color), two Versafire EV digital printing systems with the Digital Front End, a Suprasetter A75 platesetter, and a POLAR cutting machine, was provided by Heidelberg. Over 90 percent of the consumables required, such as ink and paper, were also provided by Heidelberg. The Russian participant was trained and coached by Andrey Slobodchikov from Heidelberg Russia, with the German participant receiving the same attention from Bernhard Nahm, Head of Vocational Training for Media Professions at Heidelberg. The setup and breakdown as well as the ongoing organization over the four days were overseen by a German-Russian organizational team from Heidelberg headed up by the two workshop managers Stephan Bös and Jürgen Fink.
Heidelberg Russia also oversaw the national competition, where the Russian candidate was selected.
Engagement in up-and-coming talent pays off
The results and the outstanding performance in the “Print Media Technology” skill speak for themselves. An almost equal score resulted in two gold medals, one for Austria’s Christof Babinger and one for Russia's Elizaveta Stepanova. Bronze went to Switzerland’s Dario Colucci. A Medallion for Excellence was awarded to the German competitor Jessica Sturm, who won WorldSkills Germany in the Heidelberg Print Media Center in Wiesloch at the end of 2018 (see press release of November 6, 2018). The German-Russian organizational team was awarded the gold medal “Best Workshop Managers” for its outstanding performance. “WorldSkills is the perfect platform for young people to figure out their future career choice and to see the kinds of jobs out there and the requirements for them,” explains Bernhard Nahm. “I’m constantly fascinated by the enthusiasm, innovativeness, and passion with which the participants compete and demonstrate the opportunities available in non-academic careers.”
The German winners and their experts will be the guests at a reception hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the patron of the WorldSkills Germany national team, in Berlin at the beginning of December.
WorldSkills affords the winners and participants the best career opportunities. Janine Bigler from Switzerland won a bronze medal at WorldSkills 2017 in Abu Dhabi. Today she works at Heidelberg Switzerland as a printing instructor. “We see our commitment to training as a win-win. On the one hand we get to show that there is a future in printing, and on the other hand we find talented employees,” explains Bernhard Nahm. “The topics of labels and packaging as well as digitalization processes will move to the fore even more in the future.”
The next WorldSkills will take place in Shanghai, China in 2021, a location where Heidelberg has its own factory and manufactures printing presses. In 2023 it will move to Lyon, France.
Photo caption: Celebrating their medals at WorldSkills in Kazan in the “Print Media Technology” skill: gold for Austria’s Christof Babinger (left) and Russia’s Elizaveta Stepanova. Bronze went to Switzerland’s Dario Colucci (right).