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WorldSkills 2017 – finished, relieved and excited

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

The final gong sounds every half hour, ending the last tasks for the different skills. All the built-up tension is slowly dissolving, giving way for an even greater feeling of relief among the competitors. With a large retinue of fans, the young Swiss professionals celebrate the end of four days performing at the highest level. Now the anxious waiting begins to find out how successful they were.

Plumbing and heating technician Marcel Wyss almost doesn’t notice that the competition is over: «I wasn’t even aware of it, I just worked until the last second.» This has been a tremendous experience for him, and when he looks back on the past few days, he’s happy to have had the privilege to be a part of it. Not until he turns around does he see the familiar faces of those who have cheered him on to the last. His parents accompanied him to Abu Dhabi, along with his boss and half the workforce at his company.

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

Cook Evelyne Tanner likewise didn’t realise at first what a huge fan club she had behind her. «I had to concentrate on getting done and I only realized when I sent off my finished dish that so many people were here.» After four days of focused efforts, she and all the other team members are finally ready to receive hugs and congratulations. Many of the competitors and their visitors have tears in their eyes now that it’s all over.

Pascal Mathis, an IT network systems administrator, is likewise «definitely relieved» to have handed in his final task. He was so focused on what he was doing that the four days of competition just flew by. He has a «good feeling,» he says in retrospect. «They were very exciting challenges and I had a lot of fun. Now I’m looking forward to seeing the results.»

Debrunner Acifer WorldSkills Competitions 2017 SwissSkills Team

But for that he’ll have to wait until the closing ceremony this evening. First, he and his colleagues will be received at the traditional Swiss evening at the Ritz Carlton hotel, where the visitors have been staying. With their cow bell, the whole team will parade past hundreds of Swiss fans, greeted with thunderous applause. Also on hand will be Reto Wyss, President of the SwissSkills Foundation, who accompanied the Swiss delegation for the first time. «You all did an extremely good job representing Swiss vocational education and training, putting it in an exceptionally good light.»