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WorldSkills Netherlands Official Delegate elected to WorldSkills Europe Board



Erik van der Zwan, CEO of WorldSkills Netherlands, has been appointed as a Member of the WorldSkills Europe Board following a vote by Member countries at the WorldSkills Europe General Assembly 2024, which took place on 6 June 2024.

Currently the Netherland’s Official Delegate for WorldSkills Europe and WorldSkills International, Erik van der Zwan is responsible for leading WorldSkills Netherlands’ programme of work both nationally and internationally.

Erik has worked at WorldSkills Netherlands for more than 15 years and has been its CEO since 2020. He has served as the Netherlands’ Official Delegate since 2021, previously as Technical Delegate since 2015. Erik has also fulfilled the role of Jury President in past Competitions, and has been active in several working groups for both WorldSkills Europe and WorldSkills International. In the Netherlands, Erik is also Chair of the Issue and dispute resolution team for National Competitions.

Erik has a bachelor’s degree in communication and marketing, and during his 10 years working in management, he has completed a business course in ‘Supervisory Board Member Non- profit’. Erik is also a former European Champion in Curling and has served as Chair of a Regional Sport Association for almost 12 years and was a consultant for the Dutch Curling Association the early 2000s.

Laurence Gates, CEO, WorldSkills Europe, said: “Erik has already contributed so much to the growth of the WorldSkills movement in the Netherlands and internationally. I congratulate Erik on his appointment and very much look forward to working with him in his new role on the Board.”

Erik van der Zwan said: “It is a great honour to get the support from the members of WorldSkills Europe to look after their interests. I‘m very excited to work with the Board and the Members, to make the movement future proof and showcase the gifted vocational talents from all over Europe. Let‘s not forget they built Europe!”   

Ben Blackledge becomes Chair of the Board

Erik’s appointment comes as Guillaume Suteau (France), current Chair of the Board, completes his nine-year mandate as a Board Member at the General Assembly 2024.

Ben Blackledge (UK), current WSE Board Member, takes up the role of Chair of the Board following Guillaume’s departure, with Erik appointed as Board Member responsible for Member Engagement, and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Ben Blackledge, WorldSkills UK CEO, said "I am excited to take up the role of Chair of the Board, and I also want to extend my sincere thanks to Guillaume Suteau for his service to the Board,

“Since joining in 2021, it has been a pleasure working with the Members to share and harness best practices in skills development. I look forward to collaborating with Erik van der Zwan and the rest of the Board to continue raising standards in technical education and supporting young people across Europe."

WorldSkills Europe thanks Guillaume Suteau for his service

“We extend our sincere thanks to Guillaume, who has been unwavering in his support for the WorldSkills movement, for being cheerleader for our Members and young people, and for vocational skills and education,” said Laurence Gates, CEO, WorldSkills Europe.

Guillaume Suteau has served as a Member of the WorldSkills Europe Board since 2015. He is currently Deputy Director of Performance, Territorial Development and New Professions at WorldSkills France.

Guillaume’s WorldSkills journey started at the 35th WorldSkills Competition in Montreal, Canada in 1999, where he participated as a Competitor in Plastering and Drywall Systems. Keen to remain involved in the skills movement, Guillaume subsequently became a WorldSkills Expert in 2006 and then Chief Expert up until 2009, during which time he ran a successful plastering business.

Prior to his current role at WorldSkills France, Guillaume held positions as France’s Technical Delegate Assistant and then Technical Delegate for WorldSkills and EuroSkills Competitions between 2009 to 2017.

WorldSkills Europe Board – as of 7 June 2024

  • Ben Blackledge (UK), Chair of the Board
  • Christine Davatz (Switzerland), Treasurer and Board Secretary
  • Patrik Svensson (Sweden) Chair, Competition Committee
  • Alina Fleaca (Belgium) Vice Chair, Competition Committee
  • Erik van der Zwan (Netherlands) Member Engagement, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.