Young South African artisans are invited to showcase their abilities by pitting their skills against their peers at the inaugural World Skills South Africa (WSSA) competition. Entries are currently open for artisans across 17 categories to enter for the regional competition – the online entries close on 31st October, and youth artisans from the following s are encouraged to enter on www.worldskillsSA.org.za :
1. Auto Body Repair
2. Auto Mobile Technology
3. Beauty Therapy
4. Car Painting
5. CNC Turning
7. Electrical Installations
8. Graphic Design
10. IT Network Cabling
13. Mobile Robotics
14. Plumbing and Heating
15. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
16. Restaurant Service
Supported jointly by the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHT) and MERSeta, World Skills South Africa also represents an opportunity to emphasise the key role that artisans play in the economy.
“We have a considerable talent pool of young artistisans in South Africa, and the World Skills South Africa competition is both about celebrating that talent, as well as communicating how key the artisanal sector is to South Africa’s economy” WSSA chair, Raymond Patel. “The fact is, as a nation, we simply do not have enough artisans. There are more jobs in the artisanal sector than there are candidates – and in a nation that is challenged by unemployment, it’s clear that we need to address this disconnect.”
South Africa requires that training institutions produce 30,000 artisans per year, but to date, only 12,000 are graduating every year. Placed against the daunting figure of 50.5% youth unemployment, this gap becomes especially urgent.
“We have a youth unemployment rate of 50.5%” comments deputy minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana “Ironically, 60% of these youth actually have qualifications – just not the right ones to secure them work! The role of the artisanal sector is vital in this regard – we MUST get young South Africans trained and skilled in sectors where the work is. There is a massive diversity of career options in the artisanal sector, ranging from transportation & logistics, to information& communication technology, right through to the creative arts and fashion. This past February, we declared 2014 – 2024 the Decade of the Artisan. We have made it our business to ensure that there is a dramatic turnaround in youth involvement in this sector, and initiatives like World Skills SA are key in meeting that objective.”
Following the registration period, which closes on 31 October 2014, the entrants will compete against their peers at a provincial level. The victors of the provincial competition will then graduate to the national competition, which is being held in Cape Town from the 28th January – 1 February 2015. The winners of the nationals stand a chance to compete against 74 other nations at the World Skills International Competition in Brazil in August 2015.
“South Africans have always distinguished themselves internationally across a variety of sectors, and we have no doubt that the World Skills SA competition is the first step to greatness for the participants of the inaugural event.” concludes Deputy Minister Manana. “From industry leaders such as PayPal inventor Elon Musk, who started out as a computer programmer, to Oprah’s own event planner Colin Cowie, to the masterchef himself Benny Masekwameng, artisans are achieving incredible feats on the world stage! Let the games begin!”