European Vocational Skills Week


Meet our ambassadors for 2018

Our Ambassadors are spreading the word about vocational skills. Each of our Ambassadors are part of the huge number of people across Europe who have taken part in vocational education or training.

Stephan Howeg

Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Adecco

Stephan is a Swiss and German national, born in 1965. He holds a University of Zurich master’s degree and has completed a four-year apprenticeship in Mechanics. He is an Ambassador for the European Vocational Training Week and a board member of economiesuisse.

Simon Bartley

President, WorldSkills International

As President of WorldSkills International, Simon Bartley is responsible for the organisation’s governance and global impact.

Simon has a BSc in Engineering Science Management, and a master’s degree in Management Studies. As a Chartered Civil Engineer Simon has worked on many projects including Heathrow Terminal 4 and Drax Power Station. 

Ali Mahlodji

Entrepeneur and Co-founder of

Ali is Co-Founder of Whatchado, a video storytelling platform empowering young people to pursue their dreams.

Ali was raised at a refugee camp and later became a school dropout. Today he inspires young people to seize their opportunities.

In 2013, he was appointed European Youth Ambassador by the European Union.

Lieselot Van Gysel

Teacher of Mechanics, GTI Beveren

Lieselot Van Gysel graduated from Sint-Jorisinstituut-Bazel in 2012 with a degree in electromechanics. She was the only girl in the class.

She qualified as a teacher of electromechanics from Vives Bruges in 2018 and now teaches mechanics at GTI Beveren.  Lieselot wants to encourage more girls to choose vocational education.

Martina Čičko Karapetrić & Morana Saračević

Fashion Designers, Boudoir

Sisters Morana Saračević and Martina Čičko-Karapetrić are pioneers of the Croatian fashion scene. They founded their fashion studio Boudoir in September 2001.

They studied at the School for Applied Art and Design. They are very vocal about the importance of VET and are encouraging others to pursue such careers.

Costas Argyrides

Senior Member of Technical Staff, Advanced Micro Devices

Costas works as a Reliability Architect at Advanced Micro Devices, splitting his time between Santa Clara and Shanghai.

He studied Computer Sciences at the B technical school of Limassol and holds an MSc and PhD in Computer Sciences from the University of Bristol. 

Czech Republic
Libor Witassek

Cybernetician and Corporate Transformations Manager

Libor specialises in second-order cybernetics. He holds degrees in cybernetics and artificial intelligence, international marketing management, and an MBA from the Dominican University in Chicago. 

He is an advocate of vocational education and training in the Czech Republic and has worked on vocational education projects in 10 European countries. 


Palle Damborg

CEO, Jysk Display

Palle qualified as a technician and started his career with TDC Group Denmark. He spent two years in the Silicon Valley, and later became President and CEO of a Danish company in Michigan.

Palle has been responsible for hundreds of apprentices during his career and works to promote VET. 

Marko Ala

CEO, Oot-Oot Studio

Marko studied at Tartu Art School for four years before graduating in 2008. There he met his good friend and business partner Joonas Torim. Vocational education gave them the skills and knowledge they needed to establish Oot-Oot Studio, one of Estonia’s most beloved furniture design companies.​

Elke Büdenbender

Spouse of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany

Elke Büdenbender trained as an industrial clerk at a machine building company in Siegen, and went on to gain a degree in law. She has been a judge at Berlin Administrative Court since 2000 and is currently on long-term leave.

She is married to Frank-Walter Steinmeier. They have one daughter.

Olga Papakyriakou


Olga holds a degree and a postgraduate diploma from the Medical School of the University of Ioannina. She works at the Blood Donation Unit of the Agia Sofia General Children's Hospital.

She has worked as a teacher and hosts a radio show called "It's up to you. Save a Life". 

Miklós Beothy

Mentor, Codecool

Miklós studied Computer Engineering at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, complementing his studies with hands-on industry experience.

Miklós works as a mentor at a programming school, Codecool, where he develops his soft skills while helping others change their lives. 

Margaret Reilly

Entrepeneur, Grand Designs Kitchen & Bedrooms

Margaret left school aged 15 and undertook an apprenticeship in Cabinet Making.

Today, her company Grand Designs Kitchen & Bedrooms Ltd (Est 2009) is one of the leading manufacturers in Ireland. Her passion comes from the support of her husband Gulam and their three children Aisha, Ruhan and Aamil.

Paride Contin

Project Engineer, Continental Automotive.

Paride works in the UK as a Project Engineer for Continental Automotive and an external consultant for Lamborghini. In the past, he has worked for Formula One team Ferrari and McLaren Automotive. Paride is working in the industry he loves thanks to his vocational training in Italy.  

Katrina Elizabete Sile

Graphic designer

Katrīna Elizabete Sīle graduated with a degree in graphic design in 2017.

She won the ‘best of nation’ title in the Abu Dhabi WorldSkills contest in 2017. She also participated in Euroskills Budapest in 2018, and was the Latvian Ambassador for the 2018 WorldSkills General Assembly in Amsterdam. 

Gintautas Dervinis

Director of sectoral practical training centre

Gintautas Dervinis is the Director of the Sectoral Practical Training Centre at the Visaginas Technology and Business Vocational Education and Training Centre. He is also a vocational teacher – expert at the same institution. 

He holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering and Masters in Energy Engineering from Kaunas University of Technology. 


Sebastien Detti

Heating engineer

Sebastien Detti worked for La Poste for eleven years before deciding to change his career aged 37.

He undertook vocational training in Luxembourg and qualified with distinction. He was named apprentice of the year in 2017 and in received the 2018 Brevet de Maitrise from the Grand Duchy of Luxemboug.

Elaine Pavia

Head of Services, Dar Merhba Bik Foundation

Elaine is Head of Services for the Dar Merhba Bik Foundation, a domestic violence shelter for women and children.

Elaine studied Health and Social Care at the Malta College for Arts Science and Technology, graduating with a first class bachelor’s degree in Health and Social Care Management. 

Jinko Adams

Urban Dance Artist

Jinko has just finished his secondary education at a vocational school of performing arts and urban dance. This year, he will begin his studies in Urban Contemporary Arts at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. ​

His goal is to inspire more people to chase their dreams and pursue their passions.

Pawel Salamon

Professional Chef

Pawel is a professional chef at the Smolarnia Hotel & Restaurant, and winner of several prestigious culinary awards. He achieved distinction in the Gault & Millau yellow guide in 2016 and 2017.

For many years, he has shared his passion and experience with students and promoted VET education in Poland.

Ivo Soares

Singer, Composer

Ivo Soares is a musician and producer who seeks to inspire new generations to follow their dreams.

He studied at the Palmela Conservatory before gaining a degree in Jazz and Modern Music. He’s considered one of the best technical singers in his country and has appeared in many TV shows. 

Mona Nicolici

Head of Sustainability, OMV Petrom

As Head of Sustainability for OMV Petrom, Mona has championed many ground-breaking programs focused on long-term professional development and vocational training. She has received an Excellence Award for 10 years of corporate social responsibility at OMV Petrom, and a Gold Sabre Award in 2016 for the Vocational Romania programme.

Jaroslav Baška

President of the Self-governing Region of Trenčín

Jaroslav Baška has been the Chairman of the Trenčín Self-Governing Region in Slovakia since 2013 and is also a Member of the National Council of the Slovak Republic.​

Salvador Lorenzo Martínez

Manager of Professional Integration and the School of Trainers, REPSOL

Salvador is the manager of Professional Integration and of the School of Internal Trainers at REPSOL’s Corporate Learning Centre, where he also oversees the development and coordination of dual training programmes. ​

Pontus Slättman

CEO, Worldskills Sweden

Pontus is CEO of WorldSkills Sweden, an organisation that promotes the value of skills by raising the recognition of skilled professionals as well as the status and quality of vocational education. They are a collaboration between The Confederation of Swedish Enterprises, The Swedish Trade Union Confederation and The Swedish Government.​

United Kingdom
Jason Holt

Jason Holt CBE, CEO of Holts Group of Companies

Jason is CEO of Holts Group, a family of SME businesses specialising in augmented and virtual reality, AI, apprenticeships and jewellery manufacturing.

He is founder of Holts Academy (now the British Academy of Jewellery) and created the only further education provider for the UK jewellery industry.  He is Chair of the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network for England.