At WorldSkills 2011, Girl Power Prevails in the Offset Printing Category

Gold in the offset printing category went to 22-year-old Makiko Ito from Japan. One of the presses she works on is a Printmaster PM 74 from Heidelberg.

Susanna Virtanen from Finland honed her skills on a Printmaster PM 52 four-color press. Alongside her job as a printer, she is a college student in Finland.

HEIDELBERG, GERMANY—Oct. 19, 2011—The 41st WorldSkills competition concluded in style on Oct. 9, 2011, with an impressive closing ceremony before a packed house of more than 22,000 at London’s O2 arena. Over the four days of the event, world champions were crowned in 46 different disciplines.

The 1,000 participants from 51 countries were watched by some 200,000 visitors, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and other high-ranking politicians and business people, as they did battle for medals and the best possible ranking.

For the first time in the offset printing category, the gold and silver medals went to two young women. The pace was set by 22-year-old printer Makiko Ito, who finished some way ahead of Susanna Virtanen from Finland.

Makiko has been working for the Asia Printing Corp. in Japan since 2008 and honed her skills on a Printmaster PM 74 from Heidelberg. In 2010, she won Japan’s national championship in the printing category. Silver medal winner Susanna Virtanen works at a print shop that forms part of the training institute in Turku, Finland, which is equipped with a Printmaster PM 52 four-color press. Alongside her job as a printer, Susanna is a college student in the Finnish town of Jyväskylä.

Sascha Epp, who was crowned national champion ahead of seven other competitors in the German final, came fourth—just behind Olivier Deloge from Belgium. Epp, who works at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), was awarded the “Medallion for Excellence” in recognition of his outstanding performance.

“The WorldSkills competition was an amazing experience for me and I am proud to have been able to compete in the event. The tasks were well designed and the experts went to great lengths to ensure a fair and objective assessment of the contestants’ performance,” Epp said.

Bernhard Nahm, a member of the management team at the Print Media Center in Heidelberg, was one of the judges assessing the performance of the young printers in London. He was delighted at the success of the female contestants.

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