Some 117 Namibian youths who aspire to become artisans are hard at work fine-tuning their skills and capabilities in various vocational trades in preparation for the National Skills Competition that is due to take place at Ramatex in Windhoek from September 14 to 17.
Ten young people that will be selected at the National Skills Competition will have the opportunity to compete against trainees from around the world during the bi-annual WorldSkills competition to be held in Abu Dhabi in 2017.
President of WorldSkills International Simon Bartley, who was recently in Namibia for three days, wished all Namibians good luck during the national competition to be held in September.
‘’I’ve seen and heard of the preparations that are being made. This is a major step in what the government has planned for its people. I see a future of high level skills available for all throughout the country, which will improve the economy of Namibia to be better placed to be able to compete in a global market, a market that extends beyond your borders through southern Africa, to the continent of Africa and indeed around the world. I thank everybody who has participated in this exercise and give credit for a job well done,” stated an upbeat Bartley.
He said WorldSkills International competitions are the institution’s flagship event held every two years and is the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world that truly reflects the global vocational industry. “The competitors represent the best of their peers and are selected from skills competitions in WorldSkills member countries and regions,” noted the WorldSkills president.
Competitors in the national WorldSkills competition are all under the age of 23 years (except for four skills that have an age limit of 25). Bartley said it is expected from the entrants to demonstrate technical abilities – both individually and collectively – in executing specific tasks for which they have studied and are expected to one day perform in the workplace.
He said one of the main legacies of the WorldSkills competitions is to give visibility and importance to professional education as one of the true tools of socio-economic transformation. The competition also provides leaders in industry, government and education the opportunity to exchange information and best practices regarding industry and professional education.
The selection competitions will take place in the following occupational areas: automotive technology, bricklaying, carpentry, cooking, electrical installation, joinery, plumbing and heating, refrigeration and air-conditioning, wall and floor tiling and welding. “New ideas and processes inspire school-aged youth to dedicate themselves to technical and technological careers towards a better future,” Bartley said.
WorldSkills international technical delegate and manager for WorldSkills Namibia Sens Shoolongo said it will be the first time for Namibia to stage a National Skills Competition. “It’s our first National Skills Competition. Namibia joined WorldSkills International in 2011 as an associate member and became a full member in 2015, the year in which four Namibian competitors represented the country at the WorldSkills Competition that was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil in August 2015.
“This year we’ve grown the coverage, whereby we will have ten skills areas for our inaugural skills competition. We have between ten to twelve young Namibians in each skill area. These competitors were drawn from different institutions, the private sector, government, NGOs and even correctional services and armed forces,” said Shoolongo.
“We held selection competitions from 27 to 28 May in various regions, from which we selected competitors for the 2016 National Skills Competition,” Shoolongo explained. “The competition will be an exciting platform. Apart from walking away with big prizes, ten competitors, one from each of the 10 participating skills categories, will be chosen to represent Namibia at next year’s international competition in Abu Dhabi,” he said.
He said the judges for the national skills competition are drawn from a pool of trainers from various vocational schools and experts from industries.
“We had a series of training sessions where we had to train our judges/experts to understand what skills competitions are about, what the required skills standards are, how to prepare the test projects and – most importantly – how to objectively judge the test projects,” said Shoolongo.
“In terms of technical expertise, WorldSkills Namibia is blessed to have a technical advisor from Korea to specifically assist us with the setting up of our inaugural national skills competition,” he further noted.