Young professionals from Latvia receive 8 medals at the EuroSkills competition

The Latvian young professionals have returned from the European skills competition of young professionals EuroSkills 2014 with eight prizes. Annija Kalnbirze and Simona Zelča, who participated in the fashion technology discipline, received gold medals and the nomination "Best of the Nation". Excellence medals were received by the cook Haralds Saušs, the waiter Mārtiņš Kukojs, the graphic designer Līva Trasūne and the web designer Artūrs Krapāns. 

The Latvian team was ranked the 9th in the overall performance among 25 countries, the mean point score of its competitors being 504 which is above the level of excellence. The excellence awards were received by the competitors who received minimum 500 points on a point scale of 599. The Latvian team left behind teams from Finland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Estonia and other countries.

Dita Traidās, the Head of the Latvian team, the Board Member of WorldSkills Europe and the Director of the State Education Development Agency (VIAA): “The performance of Latvia should be viewed as very high and worth appreciation. This proves that our vocational education on the European level is not just equal, it is even better in some fields. The 9th best result among 25 European countries confirms that the vocational education available in Latvia is heading in the right direction.”

The national team trained by the VIAA, the industry experts and professionals from companies had to complete numerous professional challenges during three days. For example, Annija and Simona had 18 hours for designing and making a silk dress for official dinner in compliance with the high fashion design requirements by gaining inspiration from the French designer Yves Saint Laurent

Both winners Annija and Simona admit: "We were learning and planning the tasks of the next day every evening after the competition. Preparation for the Olympics has been a process of work lasting for nine months. Of course, we wanted to be among the best and hoped for success. At the same time, when we heard our names among the winners, this was a huge surprise."

The winning competitors have graduated from the following vocational education establishments of Latvia or are students there:

Fashion technologies:

  • Annija Kalnbirze, a graduate of Riga Vocational Secondary School of Style and Fashion
  • Simona Zelča, a graduate of Ogre Technical College,

Web design:

  • Artūrs Krapāns, a graduate of Riga Technical College,

Graphic design:

  • Līva Trasūne, a student at Riga Secondary School of Crafts,

Cooking service (cook):

  • Haralds Saušs, a graduate of Riga Technical School of Tourism and Creative Industry,

Restaurant service (host):

  • Mārtiņš Kukojs, a graduate of Riga Technical School of Tourism and Creative Industry

We would like to remind that 11 young professionals from Latvia went to Lille, France where they participated in the competition WorldSkills 2014 from the 2nd to the 4th October. Young professionals or students of vocational education establishments aged from 17 to 25 are entitled to participate in the competition. According to the conditions a young professional may participate in this competition only once. The competition is organised by WorldSkills Europe in cooperation with the host country. The aim of the competition is to promote achievement of the member states in the vocational education, to improve the prestige of professions and the vocational education and to present and honour the excellence of young professionals.

More information about the competition is available at the SkillsLatvia Facebook profile and the VIAA website Section EuroSkills.

Photos from the prize-giving ceremony are available here: Flickr.