Your future employer is looking for skill mastery. What does that mean?
Everyone agrees that education is important. It reduces poverty, helps social mobility, and helps us to change the world we live in. What you learn creates a strong foundation that you can and should continue to build on throughout your career. But what makes some graduates stand out from the rest? The answer is skill mastery—the ability to do something extraordinarily well. Knowledge is great, but mastery is better. Mastery is highly sought after and valued by employers and is seen as a sign of motivation and determination to succeed.
Andrew Beel understands the power and advantages that mastery brings. He started his path just like most of his peers—by going to college, taking classes, and passing the exams necessary to graduate. Then, one of his professors introduced him to WorldSkills, an international organization with a mission to promote and recognize skilled people and show how important skill mastery is in achieving economic growth and personal success. WorldSkills runs global skill competitions, which sounded fun to Beel, and he figured it would be a nice addition to his résumé.
“Little did I know at the time how far it would take me,” Beel remembers. “Participating not only helped me craft and hone my skills to an exceptionally high standard, but it also helped to mold me as a person and the way I interact with other members of the industry.”
Beel impressed the competition judges and went on to become the UK national champion, European Gold Medalist and World Medallion of Excellence winner for the Mechanical Engineering CAD skill mastery at the WorldSkills championships, as well as the Best in Nation winner at EuroSkills.
Becoming an Autodesk Student Expert also helped Beel cultivate his skills and gain confidence when presenting his work. “I was invited on multiple occasions to present to industry leaders at Autodesk University. I talked about my competition experiences and showcased some of my projects,” said Beel.
Presenting helped him make important connections and provided some wonderful learning opportunities. “Once, someone told me they loved my presentation but didn’t understand a word I said due to my Scottish accent,” Beel laughs. “But overall, the experiences I had as a Student Expert made me a more confident and outgoing person.”
Beel is now a mechanical designer at Pacson Valves in Dundee, Scotland, and firmly believes that skill mastery gave him the competitive edge needed to secure his position. In his four years as a professional, he’s worked his way up from trainee draughtsman to mechanical designer. He attributes much of his Autodesk product knowledge to his years training and competing at WorldSkills events and from taking advantage of the learning opportunities offered to him as an Autodesk Student Expert. His skill mastery has led him to become the Autodesk software expert within his team at work, and he helps train others when they have product-specific questions. He even developed standard CAD practices for the engineering team that have improved the efficiency and accuracy of the entire department.
Beel also validates his skills through the certification exams. Having certification helped prove his mastery as a student and continues to help him validate his skills as a working professional.
“Having certification gives me credibility, and now software-related questions in my department are directed to me. It feels great to help others and provide direction that helps us be a smarter and more efficient company.”
What advice would Beel give to students who are getting close to graduation? “Do everything you can to push yourself toward skill mastery. It will help you stand out from the rest of your peers and feel confident in your abilities. And stay passionate! It’ll make going into the working environment much more enjoyable—something to look forward to each day.”
Inspired to take the next step towards skill mastery?
Become an Autodesk Student Expert.
Student Experts are active fans of Autodesk technology who are passionate about design and engineering. You’ll be eligible for invitations to exclusive Autodesk events, technical pilot/beta projects, and training workshops.
Take a course on Design Academy.
Take a self-guided course to learn core design principles and Autodesk product skills.
Get certified in Autodesk products.
Become an Autodesk Certified User to get an official industry certification in Autodesk software.
Enter the WorldSkills competition.
The WorldSkills competition is the biggest vocational education and skills event in the world. Get a chance to compete with students like Andrew, who took his skills and recognition to the next level.