Tributes paid to WorldSkills president Jos de Goey

Jos de Goey, who took over as WorldSkills president last summer, passed away on Friday

Julia Belgutay

The president of WorldSkills has passed away suddenly, the skills competition body has announced

The international skills movement has paid tribute to Jos de Goey, president and chair of skills competition body WorldSkills, after it was announced that he passed away suddenly last week. 

Mr de Goey, who also held the role of chief executive of WorldSkills Netherlands, had taken up his post at the international organisation last August, succeeding Simon Bartley. 

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'Deeply shocked'

In a tribute published on the WorldSkills website, chief executive David Hoey said Mr de Goey had died on 21 February at the age of 56. "We are all deeply shocked and are lost for words. His contribution to the development and promotion of skills and skills excellence in the Netherlands, Europe, and the across the world was huge."
He added he was "particularly saddened that he had such a short time as the president of our movement". 

"Jos was also the [chief executive] of WorldSkills Netherlands – the team and country have lost a charismatic, passionate, and highly committed CEO. Jos de Goey was instrumental in the creation of WorldSkills Netherlands and put skills competitions on the map in the country.
"His vision was defined by his ambition to give young people a chance to hone their skills and develop their talents. He continued this cause in Europe, through the establishment of WorldSkills Europe and the EuroSkills competition. 

"In Jos' memory the Dutch national competition, Skills The Finals, will take place in Leeuwarden as planned from 4 – 6 March. Jos would have wanted it that way."

Speaking to Tes shortly after taking up his post Mr de Goey spoke of his early years, training to be a florist in the family business. “I was trying to make beautiful arrangements, and mine didn’t look how they were supposed to or like anyone else’s. I realised that the talent to be a florist was not in me.

“My passion for skills originated from that time. The admiration for craftsmen, for shop owners, for little companies, for the ones who don’t count the hours, who continuously work on making their efforts successful." 

He said he wanted people to stop talking about "higher and lower education". "It’s a different form of education, it’s not higher or lower. And sometimes, it better suits young people in finding their talent," he said. 

"My role in life is to inform parents of another successful pathway, and I’m so happy that more and more of that is coming through." 

Neil Bentley–Gockmann, chief executive of WorldSkills UK said: “We are all, in the WorldSkills UK network, shocked and saddened by the death of Jos de Goey.

"Jos’ contribution to the development and promotion of skills and skills excellence in the Netherlands, Europe, and across the world was huge.  He was passionate about ensuring all young people had the opportunity to develop their talents and this passion led to Jos being instrumental in the establishment of WorldSkills Europe and the EuroSkills competition.

"Jos will be dearly missed by all of us at WorldSkills UK and our thoughts are with Jos’ wife and children and the wider WorldSkills family."

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Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

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