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Victory at EuroSkills16th of March 2011
A report on EuroSkills and the Dutch results is presented by scientific journalist Anton Duisterwinkel, ECJ's correspondent.
A lunch with the Dutch minister for education, appearances on several TV shows and a substantial number of articles in newspapers and in trade magazines. That was the effect of the excellent results the Dutch cleaning team obtained at EuroSkills, which took place in Lisbon in December. Positive news on a trade that always needs it.
The Dutch cleaning team had earned the best possible result in Lisbon. Koen Meevissen won the Cleaning Supervision competition and the team of Lindsay van der Velden and Haldun Unalan were named the best cleaners. Consequently, the team also won the team competition, yielding three gold medals out of a possible three – for cleaning.
The competition was quite comprehensive, and difficult. Photos (see www.EuroSkills2010.pt) show that a large number of different cleaning skills needed to be demonstrated. This ranged from toilet cleaning to floor stripping and from cleaning a touring car to cleaning a patient room. In a head-to-head race with Austria, which also had a very good team, the Dutch finally came out on top.
This result was thanks to months of training. It took cleaning lady Lindsay quite some time to realise what she had achieved: “First, you hope to win a medal. During the games, you actually start to believe that is possible. And now we stand here with three times gold!” Team captain Ruud Danklof, general manager at Hago, was proud of his team: “This competition promotes our professional education, helps us to be proud of our trade, and develops the talents of our young professionals. This team of cleaners has shown they know their trade down to the smallest details. They clearly enjoy it. This is a result that makes us at Hago incredibly proud. What skills they have shown!”
Not to take anything away from the results, the competition came from only three countries: Austria, Finland and Portugal. In total 450 candidates from 27 European countries entered the competition in 51 skills, ranging from shoemaker to painter and from florist to fashion designer.
EuroSkills is a biennial event organised by WorldSkills Europe, an association which promotes excellence in the field of skills and competence development. The EuroSkills competition is the most effective instrument of WorldSkills Europe to stress the importance of professional excellence and high quality vocational education and training. EuroSkills is much more than just a competition, it is in fact a kind of Olympic Games for young tradesman and woman.
Educational institutions work together with international industry partners and government agencies to organise vocational skills competitions throughout the EU member states. In these competitions, the best teams and individuals are selected to represent their country in their skill.
EuroSkills was organised for the first time in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in September 2008. In 2012 it will be held in Spa-Francorchamp, Belgium. In alternate years, WorldSkills is organised. This year it will be in London, UK. The Dutch cleaners are the ones to beat there!