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European Year of Skills

Meet the Champions of Excellence – João Teixeira’s journey from beginner to Vocational Trainer in Computer-Aided Design

In 2018, João Teixeira enrolled in a training programme with a professional development centre in Ermesinde, Portugal. That decision led him to the dream job he has today, working as an instructor to a new generation of product designers, and enabled him to go on to win the gold medal in the 2022 WorldSkills competition.


João is obsessed with inventing and creating things, so when he finished secondary school, he was keen to leave formal education behind and pursue his passion. He jumped at an opportunity to enrol in a three-year training programme in computer-aided design (CAD), which promised him practical experience and qualifications to achieve his dream career. CENFIM, the training provider, is a national professional development centre for the metalworking sector. Their programme prepared João in creating 2D drawings and 3D models of real-world products, ready to be manufactured. It was exactly what he had been looking for, and more.

Hands-on, immersive learning

Enrolling in vocational education and training or an apprenticeship is like unlocking a door to a world of practical skills and real-world experience,’ João explains. ‘It's not just about theoretical knowledge; it's hands-on, immersive learning that equips you with the tools needed in the professional realm.

With his eyes opened to the world of vocational training, João still wanted to develop his technical skills further, so he followed up his CAD qualification by completing a one-year mechatronics engineering course.

Recognising his talent and growing number of qualifications, CENFIM recently recruited João as an instructor. Now he is teaching a new generation of talent at the very centre that trained him! Meanwhile, João continues to broaden his own skills by studying mechanical engineering in the evenings at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto.

Skills put to the test

João’s continuous pursuit of mastery and desire to inspire others led him to the international stage, with CENFIM’s support. In 2022, he competed in WorldSkills, where he won a gold medal in Mechanical Engineering CAD.

João wants his success and the publicity surrounding the competition to motivate others to follow in his footsteps.

‘I hope the experience is inspiring and educational’ he explains. ‘These interactions can be instrumental in shaping the paths of those aspiring to excel in their fields.’

See João in action!

João is one of many EuroSkills, WorldSkills and Abylimpics Champions who will be sharing their journeys to success and demonstrating their skills live at the upcoming ‘Meet the Champions of Excellence’ event on 23 February 2024 organised by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee in the framework of the European Year of Skills.

The European Year of Skills helps people get the right skills for quality jobs and supports companies in addressing skill shortages in Europe. Having a workforce with in-demand skills is important for long-term sustainable growth and competitiveness. Interested in finding your path through vocational education and training and work-based learning?  Check out our upcoming articles on other inspiring Champions of Excellence and learn more about the opportunities available for you!