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‘Young specialists are the future of Kuzbass’: 8th WorldSkills Russia National Competition holds opening ceremony

‘Young specialists are the future of Kuzbass’: 8th WorldSkills Russia National Competition holds opening ceremony
The 8th WorldSkills Russia National Competition finals have kicked off in Moscow. This competition, held in Kuzbass for the first time ever, will be the largest one yet.

The opening ceremony set a Guinness world record: over five thousand people submitted videos greeting each other with high fives, which made for the longest greetings sequence in the world. Governor Sergey Tsivilyov said that the regional authorities are hoping to show Kuzbass is an actively developing region, offering a lot of opportunities for learning and working.

The opening ceremony for the 8th Young Professionals National Competition (WorldSkills Russia-2020) finals was held on Sunday, September 6, in Moscow and hosted by Rodion Gazmanov and Yana Churikova. This competition is already one of a kind: for the first time ever, it will combine remote and onsite formats, with young professionals working onsite and experts watching them live and assessing their performance from other locations.

Every year, more and more people are taking part in this national competition. There were only 800 participants in 2018 and 1,500 in 2019, while in 2020, the number exceeded 2,800. They represent all Russian regions, as well as 78 other countries.

This year, the finals are hosted by Kuzbass – an industrial locomotive and a key region for coal-mining, metallurgy and the chemical industry. Having sought to host this event for two years, Kuzbass finally got its wish and truly outdid itself preparing for it.

“Here in Kuzbass, we carried out a major reform of the vocational education system. We spare no effort to support young professionals, because Kuzbass needs highly competent specialists. We have upgraded the entire education system in the region, bringing it to a completely new level. We’d like to invite you to our important new facility, the Kuzbass Construction Technical School. From now on, we’re striving to have all our regional learning institutions meet this kind of benchmark,” Kuzbass governor Sergey Tsivilyov said.

Initially, the finals were scheduled to take place in Novokuznetsk in July, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the organizers to make adjustments and drastically change the format. The regional authorities and the Young Professionals Union quickly discarded the idea of cancelling the competition, since WorldSkills is very important for the rapidly developing Kemerovo Region, where plenty of industry-relevant vacancies keep appearing. Regional authorities also believe that young professionals are the future of Kuzbass.

“We want to show our Kuzbass – an amazing, beautiful, developing region – that offers opportunities for learning and working to everyone. We try to encourage everyone to work with us. Today, it’s not just about competition – it’s a special time to celebrate our young people,” Tsivilyov noted.

He also said that the competition will rely on a data processing center, created specifically for these kinds of events. Considering the solutions already utilized in the region, Kuzbass is now becoming one of the leaders of digitalization in the country. As Director General of Young Professionals Robert Urazov points out, the competition offers a great opportunity to try the technologies that people were wary of fully utilizing before.

“We were forced to keep people separate, while the competition was supposed to unite them. But for our huge country, it actually helped solve a number of issues, like when there is no skilled teacher in your town or village. Now, through remote connection, you can engage with them, regardless of where they are in our country or the world. This technology can now benefit even such occupations as a cook or a welder,” Urazov explained.

‘Young specialists are the future of Kuzbass’: 8th WorldSkills Russia National Competition holds opening ceremony

He also praised the organization of the championship, saying WorldSkills Russia managers were hard pressed. But the competition will go ahead as scheduled, which means Kuzbass does have a lot of potential, according to the head of the union.

The WorldSkills Russia-2020 finals are unique in their form and scale, bringing together almost 3,000 participants from 78 countries and all of Russia’s regions, from Kamchatka to Sevastopol. Even remotely, contestants could feel the support of their family, friends and co-workers, thanks to the ‘Give Me Five’ flashmob, a gesture of hospitality and friendship, well known to every person on the planet. Anyone was welcome to record a video featuring this gesture and send it to the organizers. All the clips were edited together to become the world’s longest welcoming sequence, making it into the Guinness World Records: 5,069 people from six continents and 10,136 high-fives! It serves to prove that Kuzbass did unite the entire world.

Like the entire WorldSkills Russia-2020, the finals opening ceremony became a one-of-a-kind event. It kicked off with Sergey Lazarev’s rendition of his 2016 world hit ‘You Are The Only One’, followed by a welcoming ceremony from a trio of stars hailing from Kuzbass: Vladimir Mashkov, actor and artistic director of the Oleg Tabakov Moscow Theater, Evgeny Grishkovets, author and theater director and Vadim Takmenyov, a journalist and TV host. During their online commentaries, they gave an overview of the region’s key enterprises, museums, and tourist sights.

The opening ceremony also featured performer Oleg Gazmanov with a song called ‘Kuzbass’. He confessed he loved the Kemerovo Region very deeply and talked about its people, achievements and unique nature.

“I’ve been doing trips around Russia for 52 years, travelling to every part of the country. I was here in the 1990s and saw how everything was crumbled and how it was revived. I wrote the lyrics myself and even to this day as I sing it, it sends shivers down my spine,” he said.

He also shared his recipe for success with the WorldSkills participants: Choose a goal, believe in it, believe in yourself and focus strongly on achieving it. A strong-minded person could make the planet turn the other way round, he said. “You need to believe in yourself and your country,” Gazmanov concluded.

State officials also made their welcoming remarks. In his address, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin wished everyone success, fun networking, new knowledge and victories.

“The country’s economic development will heavily depend on innovations, new high tech jobs and new skills. And it’s our human talent that will play the key role here – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, creative, competent and passionate. The Young Professionals Union relies on exactly these types of individuals,” said Mishustin.

The festival’s participants were also greeted by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov and presidential envoy Sergey Menyailo. They all praised how fast and well Kuzbass had managed to prepare for the event, highlighting its importance and geography.

The teams staged a parade during the opening ceremony. Contestants from Primorye Region, Oryol Region, Krasnodar Region, Kamchatka Region, the city of Sevastopol, the Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia and other Russian regions shared their stories of the sights and successes of their home places. The hosts also listed other nations that are taking part in the finals, including Germany, Ghana, Belarus, Costa Rica, the US, Canada, Belgium, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Finland, the UAE, Poland, as well as many others.