Worldskills calls for 3rd selection competition entries

Honour to host

18 February 2020 | Youth

Elizabeth Joseph

As part of its mainstream responsibilities, WorldSkills Namibia (WSN), under the auspices of the Namibia Training Authority, is calling on entries for its third national skills selection competitions, in which trainees and artisans between the ages of 18 and 21 can demonstrate and showcase their skills.

The competitions serve as a precursor for the WorldSkills Africa 2020 Competition, which is set to take place at Swakopmund in October. Winners stand a chance to represent Namibia at the WorldSkills International Competition in Shanghai, China, in 2021.

Sens Shoolongo, WSN manager, gave more details about the competitions.

“Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) continues to be rated as a second-class educational stream. It is seen as a stream reserved for learners who performed poorly in the academic stream.

Now, in countering the potential retrogressive effect this negative perception has on our skills and economic development efforts, the Namibia Training Authority joined WorldSkills International as an associate member in 2011, and upgraded to full member status in 2015. We have been to every WorldSkills competition since 2011,” he said.

WorldSkills International (WSI) is a non-political, member-based organisation that promotes skills excellence around the globe, while serving as a learning and collaborative platform among its members. To date, WSI has 83 members of which eight are from Africa (Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia).

As part of its mainstream responsibilities, WSN prepares skills selection competitions which precede the national skills competitions in which competitors from various vocational training institutions and industries in Namibia demonstrate and showcase their talents.

The skills competitions have multiple TVET objectives but central is to encourage more young Namibians to take up technical and vocational paths and to give training providers an opportunity to benchmark their training efforts to that of the world’s best practices.

National Skills Selection Competitions and WorldSkills Africa 2020

At the Skills Development in Africa meeting, which coincided with the 45th WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia in 2019, WSN received the majority of votes to host the WS Africa 2020 Skills Competition.

Not only is Namibia staging this continental showpiece as a country, but the country also needs to field the best trainee and qualified artisans against their counterparts from other African countries.

“That is why we prepare and conduct these preliminary competitions, known as national skills selection competitions, countrywide. During these competitions, hundreds of competitors gather at pre-determined competition venues where they are subjected to a rigorous selection process, which involves theoretical assessments and practical exercises.

“The selection competitions not only capture the best quality competitors for the WorldSkills Africa 2020 competition, but it also evokes competitiveness among training institutions to which these competitors are affiliated,” Shoolongo further said.

For Namibia, these selection competitions serve as a platform from which to select the country’s competitors for the WorldSkills Africa 2020 competitions as well as for the 46th WorldSkills International Competition next year.

Different from past competitions

The selection competitions this time around differ from past platforms in three main ways.

Firstly, the past competitions did not have age restrictions. However, for 2020, they are strategically targeting youth between the ages of 18 and 21, knowing that the winners stand a chance to represent the country at other competitions.

The aim is to select competitors who will meet the WSI age requirement, which is 22 years in the year of competition.

Secondly, WSN added more industry-based trades to the competition portfolio, including the areas of mechatronics, mechanical engineering computer-aided design, digital challenge and water technology. The competitions continue to grow in size and scope, from 10 skill areas in 2016 to 12 in 2018 and 15 in 2020.

“The selection competitions will only stage 15 skills areas, whereas the WS Africa 2020 competition will stage 16 competition areas, including restaurant services. The reason is because we already have a restaurant services competitor who took part in the junior skills competition at the 2019 WS Competition in Kazan. She now automatically qualifies as our only candidate,” Shoolongo said.

What can you expect?

Competitors will be expected to come with their personal tool boxes and tools. The two best competitors from each of the skills areas, and two teams for mechatronics and digital challenges, will be selected for the Namibian team.

Skills trade areas and competition venues

Automotive technology, bricklaying, cooking, digital challenge, electrical installations, fashion technology, hairdressing, joinery, mechanical engineering computer-aided design, mechatronics, plumbing and heating, refrigeration and air conditioning, welding, water technology and wall and floor tiling.

The competitions will take place on 6 and 7 March at the National Youth Service at Grootfontein; Nampower Training Centre; the Namibian University of Science and Technology; NIMT campuses at Arandis and Keetmanshoop; Okakarara VTC; Zambezi VTC; Rundu VTC; Windhoek VTC and Valombola VTC.

Who is eligible to enter?

Trainee or practising artisans who meet the age requirements are encouraged to obtain application forms from the WorldSkills office in Windhoek, at participating centres countrywide or download the application from the WorldSkills Namibia website.

Eligible correctional services inmates will be able to enter into four of the official skills areas. Entrance is free and no qualifications are required. Applications opened on 14 February and can be delivered to the WorldSkills Namibia office, participating centres or emailed to the WorldSkills office. The closing date is 26 February at 12:00.

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