WorldSkills Africa postponed

Same venue, two years from now

28 July 2020 | Local News

Justicia Shipena

The Namibia Training Authority (NTA) last Monday announced the postponement of WorldSkills Africa 2020 (WSA2020) competition, which was slated to take place in Swakopmund from 25 to 31 October.

The competition is aimed at inspiring African youth to pursue personal and economic fulfilment through the power of technical and vocational skills and counter the negative societal perception of such career options.

According to Jerry Beukes, the chief executive of NTA, WSA2020 was set to be staged under a tripartite arrangement between the Namibian government through the NTA’s WorldSkills Namibia secretariat, WorldSkills International (WSI) and the African Union secretariat.

Beukes said after taking into consideration concomitant developments and steps to contain the further spread of the coronavirus in neighboring South Africa, the region’s main flight connecting hub, they have decided to postpone.

New date, same venue

“The event will be held in March 2022 and the venue still remains The Dome in Swakopmund,” he said.

Beukes added that the new date was informed by the outcomes of a survey conducted with key project stakeholders, including the following: Participating African countries, global and local sponsors and WorldSkills experts.

“The option of March 2022 was unanimously recommended as it will allow adequate time for the prevailing situation to improve. Also, this will help to ease the financial and logistical burden on Namibia as the host country,” he said.

Beukes father said the postponement was sanctioned by the minister of higher education, technology and innovation, Dr. Itah Kandjii-Murangi and the Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

Preparations continue

He said preparations in staging the competition continue unabated, which include the capacity-building programme, one of the core elements of what was to be WSA2020.

The competition will also be rebranded as WorldSkills Africa 2022 (WSA2022).

“This approach is critical for the technical and vocational education and training system in Africa in the sense that it equips all participating African experts with fundamental knowledge about WorldSkills occupational standards and how these are applied,” he said.

Beukes said national experts join WSI experts in identifying local training delivery gaps and how best to improve the quality of local training and learning outcomes to be on par with WSI occupational standards.

Virtual workshops

“This collaboration also provides a set of standards that are realistic and challenging when creating the test projects for the skills competitions.”

According to him, the initial plan was for national experts to attend workshops in Namibia, however, the capacity-building programme will now continue via virtual workshops.

“We pray for the situation to stabilise and that the risks associated with travelling to and across Africa are minimised to a level where we can at least facilitate face-to-face capacity-building workshop,” he said.

Competition in Shanghai

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, Namibia had already selected and registered a team of competitors for the WorldSkills Africa event and were set to represent the country at the next 46th WorldSkills competition in Shanghai, China, from 22 to 27 September next year, Beukes said.

“Considering that this event will now only take place after the WorldSkills competition in Shanghai, the organising team has crafted a revised plan,” he said.

The team of Namibian competitors that was to take part in the now postponed WorldSkills Africa 2020 skills competition will proceed to represent Namibia at the 46th WorldSkills competition in Shanghai, China.

“Participation will be subject to the age eligibility criterion, which restricts a competitor to be not older than 22 years in the year of the competition,” he said.

Additionally, the WorldSkills Namibia secretariat will host a new selection competition in next March to select national competitors for the rescheduled WSA2022 competition.

“These competitors will subsequently represent Namibia at the 47th WorldSkills Competition in Lyon, France, in 2023,” he said.

Beukes added that competitors and experts set to represent Namibia in China are already busy with high-level and targeted preparation at their respective centres, with the support of the WorldSkills Namibia secretariat and international partners.