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Work Life With… Jim So

Regional Development Manager for Asia, Jim So is a fervent believer in connecting education and training stakeholders so everybody is supported to success. 

Joe Robinson

I have a real passion for education. I’ve worked in education for more than 20 years for some of the world’s leading companies. My motivation is to have a positive impact on people’s lives through meaningful education, and my focus at Skills Consulting Group is helping people from all over the world to develop rewarding careers.
Personally, I followed a very traditional route through education: That meant school in the UK followed by university. I wasn’t presented with vocational options. I think it’s so important that vocational education is presented as an option to young people at an early stage, so that they and their parents and guardians have all the information they need to evaluate the right career paths for themselves, to maximise their full potential. 
I love working with people across Asia, sharing best practices from around the world. I help develop training and on-job learning and assessment in a way that is meaningful for employers, employees, and the young people who are trying to find their path. In a previous life, when I worked in English language assessment, I could see education stakeholders faced similar challenges in many different countries and cultures. I set up a program to bring students, teachers, and schools from all over the world together online to share their language learning experiences. Students in these 19,000 member schools from 190 countries were able to engage with each other and see the real meaning and purpose of learning a language. 
A skilled workforce is really, really important and we all have a place in helping build one. An initiative I’ve enjoyed is the APAC TVET Forum – an annual virtual event that brings together leaders in education, government and industry.  In vocational education, people from different countries had the same challenges but felt like they were working in silos. The reason for developing the Asia Pacific Technical and Vocational Education and Training (APAC TVET) Forum was to let people connect, share their challenges and successes and to learn from each other.
Vocational education is as vital and valid as academic education. Nowhere has this been better demonstrated than by the panel of WorldSkills Champions at the APAC TVET Forum. The chefs, engineers, and designers who participate are masters in their craft. I am a panel moderator for the event, and I see the passion those entrants have for what they do. Despite having university offers or job offers, they have chosen to follow their passion and to develop a meaningful career through vocational education and training. It is incredibly inspiring and is a lesson for everyone. We all have our own path.

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