Promoting vocational training through skills competition

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Student mechanics from Lotego Friends Vocational Training Center in Vihiga County assembling a car engine at their facility in Vihiga County on September 26, 2019. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

WorldSkills Competitions (WSC) are the benchmark for skill excellence. They inspire young competitors to reach new heights, helping them turn their passion into a profession. The first WorldSkills competition in 1946 in Spain grew out of the ruins of World War II, which devastated European economies and created a huge skills shortage that threatened a new economic depression.

Some seized this challenge as an opportunity to introduce young people to the world of professional skills. The WSCs are organized by WorldSkills International (WSI) which organizes competitions every two years around the world. The 2022 competition which was to take place in Shanghai, China has been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to this cancellation, 15 countries organized WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition in 62 skills which will take place between September and November 2022. The city of Stuttgart, Germany hosted the competition in Industry 4.0, Mechatronics and Technologies water from October 4 to 7, 2022. , bringing together 25 nations. Industry 4.0 essentially defines the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including cyber-physical systems, Internet of Things, cloud and cognitive computing and creation of a smart factory.

Mechatronics brings skill sets that incorporate computer-driven electromechanical systems for industrial automation. Water technology focuses on skills and innovations that ensure the production and supply of safe water for industrial and domestic use. At the end of the four-day competition, Switzerland, Germany and the UK won gold, silver and bronze respectively in Industry 4.0. In mechatronics, gold and silver went to Japan and South Korea respectively, while India, Chinese Taipei and Switzerland all won bronze medals.

For water technology, the gold, silver and bronze medals went to Singapore, India and Japan respectively. WorldSkills organizations are in a unique position to foster skills development. Thousands of young people take part in national, regional and international competitions which arouse enthusiastic interest. It also provides opportunities for skills assessment, exchange of experiences and joining forces to develop skills, effective teaching practices and strong training systems.

The WorldSkills global network is a hub for the development of vocational education and training. Quality training outcomes create opportunities for young people that bring recognition and status and ensure skills development is aligned with workplace demands. Additionally, the experiences and dreams of competitors create powerful stories that inspire others to choose skills education as the foundation for a fulfilling future. WorldSkills competitions improve quality, promote professional development and stimulate the improvement of professional training.

In most cases, it’s not about winning a medal, but the experiences one gains from training for competition is what makes them a long-term winner. WorldSkills competitions provide the opportunity to learn from the best about new technologies, new ways of organizing work and the kind of training that works. They improve skills and characteristics such as teamwork, communication, perseverance, practice, willingness to try new things, and the skills to do things well in the workplace.

Experts are essential to competition because they are essential to competitors at every stage. They talk about their satisfaction in supporting young people to reach the highest level. As mentors and role models, they bind competitors into the profession they desire. WSI invites young people to broaden their professional identity. It deepens their sense of belonging to the trades and professions they have chosen. Being part of a team brings recognition from members who are highly qualified in their trade and profession as well as from their peers and experts.

WorldSkills is also a platform that develops the professional leaders of tomorrow. It is undoubtedly a platform for young artisans and their trainers to showcase, compete and learn from all the best in their crafts from all over the world.

Dr. Kipkirui is the Managing Director of TVETA. [email protected]

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