On Mr Putin’s instruction, Russia submitted its bid to host the international competition in professional skills in January 2015. If Russia’s bid wins, the competition will take place in Kazan.
Worldskills is an international non-commercial movement established in 1950 to promote trades’ prestige and develop vocational education. The movement currently brings together 72 countries. Russia joined in May 2012 and has held two national championships since then, the trade-related Worldskills Hi-Tech championship for young specialists at big Russian companies and students at corporate and state educational establishments, and 46 regional competitions. The tradespeople who took first place in the Russian competition went on to take part in the international competitions in Leipzig (Germany) in 2013, and Lille (France) in 2014.
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Beginning of meeting with President of WorldSkills International Simon Bartley
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Bartley, friends,
I am happy to welcome such a prestigious and influential organisation to our nation.
Your organisation, WorldSkills, is one of the most important instruments for raising the prestige of vocational professions; we regard it with a great deal of respect and attention.
In 2012, Russia joined the WorldSkills movement, and since November 2012, we have held a whole series of events: two national competitions and 46 regional competitions, with 5,000 participants and 300,000 spectators.
We are now conducting a great deal of work with professional communities and entrepreneurial organisations to create a national system of qualifications and therefore want to establish permanent working contacts with your organisation.
As you know, we have submitted an initial bid to hold the 2019 WorldSkills Championship in Kazan. We know that Kazan has some respectable competitors, such as the Belgian city of Charleroi and Paris.
I must say that Kazan is better than Charleroi and Paris. I will tell you why. First of all, Kazan is not overburdened with various events. And second, we have built truly world-class infrastructure there.
Just now, very recently, we held the summer’s World Student Games there and in 2018, we will host the FIFA World Cup games there. In other words, the city is entirely ready in terms of infrastructure. But there are other advantages, culturally, because Kazan is at the crossroads of Asia and Europe.
This can be seen in all areas of life. And in addition to everything else, Kazan is a major commercial centre with a very rapidly and energetically developing economy.
We understand that you have a difficult choice. We are prepared for whatever decision you make. And indeed, Kazan’s initial bid – at least as far as we’re concerned – is also an element of support for WorldSkills International. We look forward to working jointly with you in the long-term.
Thank you very much.
President of WorldSkills International Simon Bartley: Mr President, it is a delight to be here in Moscow, and a real privilege for Stefan [Vice President of WorldSkills International Stefan Praschl] and myself to be meeting with you and representatives of Russia.
We are becoming friends with your Deputy Prime Minister [Olga Golodets]. This is the third time I have met her on a visit here to Moscow. And also, I have visited Kazan twice before, and also met the President of Tatarstan as well.
The purpose of Stefan’s and my visit here is really to check the facilities exist and the support of the country exists for the possibility of hosting the competition in Kazan.
As well as looking at the physical facilities in Kazan, which we will do tomorrow, we look to see the engagement of the government at every level.
And I have to say that, already, since we have been here in Moscow, arriving yesterday, we have seen the enthusiasm and the real attitude of the government, the government of the Russian Federation, for wishing to host the competition. And for that, I thank you for your interest and your comments about wishing to compete with Charleroi and Paris.
Vladimir Putin: I also commented that Kazan is better than Charleroi and Paris.
Simon Bartley: Interesting, the Prime Minister of Belgium and the Labour Minister of France said that their cities were the best as well.
Vladimir Putin: It’s surprising. (Laughter.)
Simon Bartley: The other thing we experienced here in Moscow on this visit was the interest of your media.
This morning, we met with the press at TASS. And I gather there has been quite a lot of coverage since that occurred. So two of the twelve things that we have to report back to our board about I think have been satisfactorily achieved so far. And before we leave on Thursday from Kazan, I’m sure that we will have all the information we require in order to explain to our board of directors that Kazan should be allowed to put a formal bid to our general assembly in Sao Paulo in August.
And then, the member countries of WorldSkills will have a vote after they have seen the documentation from Kazan, from Charleroi and from Paris and heard the presentations made to them live about the benefits of each city.
You will recognise the process as one you have been through in relation to winning the Olympics in Sochi. And I think all of us are admiring of the way that you managed to make Sochi a venue, with all of the buildings, with all of the infrastructure, all ready for the Winter Olympics.
We are, I think, confident that because of that example, what is being developed in Tatarstan, in Kazan, will also go smoothly.
And of course, if you were to visit the competition in Kazan in 2019, I am absolutely certain that it will be finished in time for your visit. And I think it would be a very nice thing in the bid if there were some indication that you might be prepared to come to the opening or closing ceremony together with members of your Cabinet and your Government.
When we hosted the competition in London in 2011, we had visits from the Prime Minister, members of the royal family, the Mayor of London, and this makes the people who visit really understand the importance of what we are trying to do.
So thank you very much for your interest. Thank you very much for your support of WorldSkills Russia. I was delighted – Stefan and I were delighted to be in Jeju when Russia was admitted to WorldSkills. You help us make a real family.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
The event we are discussing will take place in 2019; the presidential elections will be held in Russia in 2018. But I am confident that whoever becomes the Russian head of state will be happy to participate in these events, because increasing the prestige of vocational professions is directly tied to the development of the economy, which is one of our highest-priority objectives. We will treat preparations for these events very seriously – if, of course, Kazan is selected to host the events.