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How a WorldSkills Competition made him grow up

We, Mono Zukuri Vocational Research Institute LLP in Japan, conducted an interview with Mr. Katsuya Yamazaki, the silver medalist of Construction Metal works of WorldSkills Calgary 2009. We learned much regarding how the vocational training and competition made him grow up.

I did not feel nervous at WorldSkills Competition. I managed to keep my motivation up for best performance. The environmental conditions at the workplace including the brightness offered by the ceiling lights and the quality of the floor were not better than expected. But I was not anxious about the proceeding of competition.

The hard vocational training which was starting from early morning to late night weekday with young colleagues selected by his company, Hitachi, Ltd., had continued for about 3 years. He sometimes felt exhausted for the duration of his training but did not think to quit it because he took this experience as an opportunity for development of his skill and mind.

I had always reminded myself of the purpose to concentrate on this training. I also understood the meaning of the result I would get.

His private time was almost carved out for this training. But he said he did not regret his choice but appreciated the opportunities to having tried the competition.

I had never undertaken this kind of important mission in my life

Hitachi, Ltd. by which Yamazaki is employed, is the one of the most famous Japanese large industrial companies which produces from IT infrastructure to power generation systems and chemical plants.

The products and systems this company provides are very huge and complicated ones compared to the work he made at the competition. Nevertheless the skills required to win the contest are the basics of today’s manufacturing and engineering which are necessary for engineer to step toward the higher level. So he is promised to be a good professional engineer or a young team leader as early as possible.

I want to become a person to be admitted as a good engineer in this company. The experience of having overcome the hard training and the pressure of the competition has built my mindset stronger so that it will be capable of solving any problem I will face in the future.

His competition was over but he has just stood at start of his long journey as a genuine engineer.

We asked Yamazaki what he experienced during WorldSkills Calgary 2009.

Each thing I have experienced through the events related to WorldSkills is a good memory for me. Especially I was impressed with the moment when the contest in which I competed had ended. Soon after finishing the competition, I felt the burden taken off my shoulders. And then we, the coaches and stuffs with me, shared the same feeling. We appreciated patience and supporting efforts made for the competition with each other.

I have never forgotten the smiley face of the foreign youth competitors who had been rivals just moment ago but turned good colleagues. That scene is the one of my happiest memories. I felt sad and almost wanted to cry when I noticed that this was the last chance to come here with these good fellows.

During my training period in Japan, I usually have few opportunities for having a conversation with foreigners who are about the same age as mine. Therefore I did not communicate well in English. But I believe that warm friendship between us was established with sharing the common experience and acting playful with them.

Many people had supported and cheered me up for participating in the contest at WorldSkills. I am very grateful to them and want to recompense that. I think that this kind of appreciation evoked in my heart suggested my psychological maturation through the experience acquired during the competition.

Have you asked yourself, “What do I want to do with my life?”

I can well understand that junior and senior high school students in Japan often struggle with deciding what they are supposed to do to realize their dream.

The main reason I chose the technical high school was the famousness of student clubs and activities at the school which I entered, not because I wanted to learn the vocational skills regarding manufacturing. I did not even think myself worthy to compete at WorldSkills unless I entered that school. But the lecture and class made me interested in creating something. Also I learned the things about WorldSkills as well. I assumed that I would not have had a curiosity about manufacturing if I had never experienced with learning that. Thus if you have not yet had a dream then you should start to try practicing anything you learn.

Does effort eventually pay off?

What interests me most about WorldSkills is that this event gives any youth people opportunities to compete with their same generation in the world. And you have possibilities to be awarded.

Being a member of the delegate of competition team is not privilege given only to talented people. I think it is not necessarily to have a special talent to enter the skill contest. I know my colleagues who have better skills than I have. In spite of that, I could attain the permission to enter the competition.

A person who makes an effort without thinking whether he/she has a talent or not seems to be rewarded for as much as the effort. The more you make an effort, the closer you reach the top. I could not be awarded the gold medal. But the scene I saw from the stage at the medal ceremony was the most brilliant one that I had ever experienced.

This is Yamazaki’s story, What’s yours?

One Comment to “How a WorldSkills Competition made him grow up”

Jane Stokie WS 25 October 2010 at 1:29 am #

A very inspiring story. It took me way back (1988) to when I was a Competitor, almost a snap shot of my journey that I could relate to.

I particularly like the last paragraph, words that really ring true. They are something we should all take on board in everything we set out to achieve. It doesn’t matter if we are old or young, experienced or inexperienced.

“A person who makes an effort without thinking whether he/she has a talent or not seems to be rewarded for as much as the effort. The more you make an effort, the closer you reach the top.”

Always give it your best shot as you never know where that will take you.