In the 43th WorldSkills Competition, also know as the Olympics of skills, this year, Taiwan’s national team won five golds, seven silvers, five bronze and 19 honorable mentions. Taiwan also placed third in total amount of medals, breaking a new record with a winning rate of 92 percent.

China Times reports, this is also the first time Taiwan has won a gold medal in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning category of the competition. The winner, Juan Pei-hao, despised studying since he was a child and often skipped school. But after he started following in his father’s footsteps as an air conditioning technician, he found where his interests were. Juan took a semester off school for a year and half to prepare for the competition and his hard work finally paid off.

Juan says his father originally wanted him to understand the difficulties of the refrigeration and air conditioning industry through working in it, and see if Juan would go back to work when he grew tired of it. But Juan found a sense of accomplishment through learning from his father and says, “Seeing customers smile because their air conditioning has been repaired makes me feel my work was worthwhile."

There’s a long scar on Juan’s right hand. He got the scar a month before the competition when he was practicing and slipped. Juan says he won the gold medal because of the scar. Before he got hurt, all he did was bury himself in work and didn’t stop to think. But after he was injured, Juan had the time to calm down and go through the competition and his advantages and disadvantages in the competition.

Liberty Times reports, Juan says the public stereotype of refrigeration and air conditioning technicians are people who smoke, chew on betel nut and wear sandals. But the industry needs professionals, and Juan has expectations for himself to contribute to Taiwan and change these perspectives. He hopes when people see the technicians they will give them a thumbs up and say they are first-class craftsmen.

Apple Daily reports, the Minister of Labor says it’s better to have a skill than to come from a wealthy background. To encourage young people to hone an expertise, the ministry holds an annual skills competition and hopes these young people can have a place in society in the future.

Lin Qian-yu, coach of the refrigeration and air conditioning category this year, points out the Chinese government and enterprises are promoted together. If Taiwan doesn’t work harder, then aside from being overtaken, there will definitely be a negative impact on the overall industry in Taiwan.

The coach also says, “I often share with my students that competitions are temporary, but a good attitude lasts a lifetime. Gold medals might be a short-term result and don’t represent the future. What’s more important is how to transform the spirit and attitude you obtain as a contestant into your life."

But he also says, “Facing the rise of China, the country never thought about winning honorable mentions ever since it started participating in the competition. Its eyes are fixed on the gold medal, so China has established training bases for each category in every province. The experts and training team are the same group of people and China continuously sends these elites overseas to accumulate experience and improve their training effectiveness. If Taiwan wants to retain its place of top three in the competition, then the island should start examining herself from the system, training, experts and national identity."