WorldSkills competitions hold value for youth

Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Deputy Minister Buti Manamela, has emphasised the importance of the WorldSkills Competitions saying that they hold immense value for young people. 'By participating in these competitions, they not only showcase their skills but also gain exposure to international standards and best practices. 'The experience gained at these competitions is invaluable and can shape the future trajectory of their careers. Therefore, we must continue to support and promote the participation of our young people in such events,' Manamela said on Thursday. The Deputy Minister was speaking during the opening of the WorldSkills South Africa National Competition at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Durban International Convention Centre (DICC) in KwaZulu-Natal. The WorldSkills Conference is taking place under the theme 'Skills Change Lives'. World Skills South Africa has biennial national competitions where students from Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and Universitie s of Technology compete in various artisan trades. This year, students will participate in 21 different skill areas and the winners will represent South Africa at the World Skills International competition in Lyon, France in September 2024. The Deputy Minister said the department's responsibility extends beyond the organisation of events and competitions. 'We are committed to improving the quality of apprenticeship and artisan training across the board. We recognise the importance of providing the necessary support to ensure the production of highly skilled artisans who can contribute meaningfully to our economy. 'To achieve this, we are working towards aligning our training programs with industry needs. We are constantly evolving our curriculum to ensure relevance and responsiveness to changing market demands.' Government is also implementing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure the quality of training provided by higher education institutions. He added that the post-school education a nd training system is required to respond to the needs of the economy and the labour market through imparting skills. This is done in collaboration with various stakeholders such as Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges, organised business, organised labour, and many other stakeholders. Last year, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Professor Blade Nzimande launched the National Plan for Post-School Education and Training (NPPSET). Launched in September 2023, the NPPSET showcases government's continuous effort towards achieving an improved, transformed, expanded, responsive and articulated post-school education and training. Manamela also highlighted the importance of effective coordination and collaboration among all stakeholders. 'It is through our collective efforts that we can overcome the challenges and harness the opportunities posed by skills development. 'Let us continue to work hand in hand, leveragin g each other's strengths to create an environment that is conducive to the growth and success of our apprenticeship and artisan development initiatives,' he said. Support In preparation of the WorldSkills International Competition taking place in Lyon later this year, the Deputy Minister said the department has taken robust measures to support the competitors throughout their journey. He said the department's foremost plan is to provide comprehensive support to competitors as it is understood that proper training and skill development play a pivotal role in achieving success at such competitions. 'Therefore, we have planned a series of initiatives to enhance skills development within our participating teams. To begin with, we will organise workshops and training sessions led by industry experts and experienced professionals for our national competition winners. 'These sessions will focus on honing the technical skills of our competitors and preparing them for the challenges they will face in Lyon. Our go al is to equip them with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel in their respective fields.' He further encouraged everyone to actively participate in fruitful deliberations throughout the conference, sharing their valuable insights and experiences. Source: South African Government News Agency