WorldSkills: A true catalyst for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
WorldSkills serves as a solid platform for international exchange and technology and skills transfer, and the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) continues to stage the biennial National Skills Competitions and ensure the country’s participation at WorldSkills competitions.
It thus enables platforms through which the country’s pool of technical and vocational skills can be refined and benchmarked to international best-practices.
Namibia stood toe-to-toe with Ghana for the right to host the WorldSkills Africa Competition in 2020.
NTA CEO Jerry Beukes said the staging of the National Skills Competition is not only a key deliverable under government’s Harambee Prosperity Plan, but also under the NTA’s rolling five-year strategic plan to support the promotion of technical and vocational career paths amongst young Namibians.
“We do this to challenge societal perceptions under which such career paths are stigmatised as low-status options with limited prospects for career advancement,” Beukes said at the welcoming back ceremony for the Namibian team that participated at the 45th WorldSkills Competition in Kazan.
He attributed their success to their sponsors and partners who made vast contributions towards making the 2019 National Skills Competition and participation at the 2019 WorldSkills Competition a resounding success.
Of the 82 countries from around the globe, Namibia was one of six African countries at this important global movement, with Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia also participating.
Namibia often teams up with South Korea to help them prepare their competitors for skills’ competitions.
While in Kazan
WorldSkills Kazan 2019 kicked off on 22 August. The atmosphere was electrifying, with 45 000 people in attendance at the opening ceremony. The Russian Federation was more than ready to host this global showpiece.
Member countries invested significantly in preparing their teams. The NTA’s preparations started immediately after the 2019 National Skills Competition in April.
“Our team was ready to take on about 1 300 participants from 62 countries at the Kazan Expo International Exhibition Centre. The welcoming back event is about reporting back to the nation - this is the year of accountability after all,” Beukes said.
Bound by the common goal to unleash the full potential of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) for sustainable socio-economic development, WorldSkills International advocates for increased investment in this important sector.
Higher education minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi said this investment has been witnessed locally, and she commends the contributions of public and private sector partners and sponsors for valuing the importance of TVET as a source of acquiring readily-employable skills for the world of work.
Namibia, a WorldSkills secretariat
Namibia now has a fully-fledged WorldSkills secretariat and a National Skills Competition system, which not only aligns with the country’s own contextual reality, but with WorldSkills best-practices.
“Our country’s participation at the recent 45th WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia aids our ongoing effort to transform our TVET sector,” Kandjii-Murangi said.
She added that Namibia sending competitors for the third consecutive time is no mean feat and speaks volumes about the good work that is being done to ensure the global relevance of the TVET sector and the growth of its competitiveness.
The ministry’s ongoing participation also aligns well with government’s overall vision for the TVET sector.
This is a vision that appreciates the importance of quality technical and vocational training services as a key driver for economic growth and sustainable development, and a vision under which a relevant and demand-driven national TVET system becomes a prerequisite for all efforts to create employment and fight poverty.
The ministry’s fighting of the negative societal perceptions and stigma around TVET career options remains an important deliverable for the foreseeable future.
“We must intensify our efforts to promote TVET as an education subsector of choice. Through the NTA’s ‘Live Your Passion’ advocacy series, currently in its second broadcast season, we are making steady inroads.
“The bi-annual National Skills Competition and our ongoing participation at WorldSkills competitions also aid ongoing efforts in this regard,” the minister added.
A role model
The participation of 15-year old Rauna Nakasole from Onawa Secondary School was a welcomed entry for everyone involved in the WorldSkills Junior Competition.
The Junior Skills Competition is a new category for youth aged 14 to 16 years, with the objective of providing competitors with an opportunity to find their drive and passion for the future.
Pioneering Namibia’s participation in this category also provided Rauna with an opportunity to train early enough for the 2021 WorldSkills Competition, scheduled to take place in China.
WorldSkills Africa 2020, will not only be a historic competition, but will include a series of skills-training and capacity-building programmes with a strong focus on desirable, feasible, viable and human-centred initiatives.