First of all - thank you for taking the time to come to this site and to read some of the posts here. It is fantastic you are making the effort to investigate WorldSkills, the vocational skills that it promotes and the plans for WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.
I am delighted in particular that I will be able to start telling people immediately about our efforts to produce an outstanding experience for visitors in October 2017. We believe that this will be a vital event for skills promotion in the UAE and in the Middle East.
Over the past couple of decades I have had the honour to work and travel across the Middle East witnessing some of the greatness of this region, as well as the violence that affects so many countries.
WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 will not solve the political problems of the Middle East but I do believe, truly, that the promotion of vocational skills and education in this troubled region is critical - and if we as a team do our job well, could also help many people to find opportunities to escape the realities of life, be it conflict or poverty or both.
I believe that these lofty ambitions should also be applied globally and that's one of the reasons that WorldSkills is such a potent idea. Having just returned from the 2015 competition in São Paulo I was stunned how often I heard the movement and the event being described as "the world's best kept secret".
Clearly one blog is not going to change that but a free conversation and exchange of ideas here will help to influence the way that WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017 is promoted. I've picked up a lot in the past 20 years in journalism/communications but I certainly don't have a monopoly on good ideas - so please if you want to see something change or something new tried let me know!
There's a contact form on the site and you can also comment on all posts. In particular I would love to hear from teenagers and people in their early twenties about how we should be communicating with you - both the platforms that you engage with and the content you want to see/hear/read.
Finally, I am on a steep learning curve - navigating my way through WorldSkills and all its component parts and personalities. I want to understand the membership, the secretariat and the organising committees. As a former journalist I also want to write about what I learn. So I will do my best here to profile some of the interesting characters and countries that I come across over the next couple of years and to tell some of the best stories in the WorldSkills family.
Keep reading and get in touch!