The WorldSkills movement is building connections between young people and employers across the globe. We meet a determined young fashion designer in Kazakhstan who is following her dreams through a vocational competition at an international level.

How many of you had your career plans mapped out at the age of 18? Yulduz Murzakhmetova from Shymkent city is one of the lucky ones.

Aged 18, she’s already clear about her future goals and dream job. “Initially, I got into college with the guidance of my parents, then, gradually clothing design attracted me. I wanted to bring in something new, my own vision. Then I started participating in competitions where I gained confidence in my skills and where I realized that I did right choosing my future job.” In September 2016 Yulduz gained first place in the clothing design competition at the WorldSkills Kazakhstan-2016 championships.  

This year Kazakhstan held its second national championships, having joined the movement in 2014. Kazakhstan is the 70th country to join WorldSkills International. The international championships take place every two years in different parts of the world, with young professionals competing to be the best in the skill of their choice.

With ambitions to become one of the world’s top 30 most developed countries by 2050, Kazakhstan needs a highly skilled workforce. The country needs a dynamic vocational education and training system working in partnership with business, responding to the economic and social needs of the country.

There is also a vital need to promote vocational jobs amongst the Kazakhstani youth.  The WorldSkills movement hopes to build stronger connections between educators and employers, helping to modernise the country’s educational and professional standards, implement new technologies into the educational process and improve career guidance work.

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan has given responsibility for the running WorldSkills Kazakhstan-2016 to Kasipkor, a Non-commercial Joint Stock Company.

The first WorldSkills Kazakhstan championships took place in 2015, with 70 participants competing in turning, welding, bricklaying, plastering and decorating, hairdressing, restaurant service and IT network systems administration. The winners then represented Kazakhstan at an international level in Sao-Paulo in Brazil at the biggest event in the history of WorldSkills International. More than 1,200 young people attended from across the globe.

Taking part was a life-changing event for the entire Kazakhstani team, including the young people who participated, their teachers and policy-makers in the field of vocational education and training. They were able to see best practice from across the world, which they could then adopt upon their return home. 

This year Kasipkor has added eight more skills to the WorldSkills Kazakhstan-2016 championship. Next year it aims to have 20 skills, with ambitions to have all of the vocational skills covered by WorldSkills International in a few years’ time. More and more colleges in Kazakhstan are becoming interested in the competition, with more employers getting involved and offering their premises so young people can take part. The aim is for young people to become increasingly attracted to vocational roles, benefiting both them and employers in the country.

The winners of WorldSkills Kazakhstan - 2016” are now preparing for EuroSkills Competition in Sweden in November and for WorldSkills  Abu Dhabi 2017. Yuldyz is one of them. She is ready to work hard and follow her dream.