The second National WorldSkills South Africa (WSSA) competition, held in Durban from 13 to 17 February, was a great success, with one hundred and twenty two participants from public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and the Universities of Technology taking part in the event. Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Department of Higher Education and Training Honourable Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said competitions like this went a long way towards building enthusiasm for the trades.
He explained that the WSSA project was one of the projects in the Department that targeted the continuous expansion of the TVET Colleges sector, particularly artisanal skills, and said that, in addition, the Basic Education Department continued to expand its curriculum to include more technical, vocational and occupational programmes and subjects.
The winner of the Electrical Installation Category was Mthokozisi Sanga (centre) from KwaZulu-Natal with Kyle Ritchie of Gauteng (left) and Faghrudeen Samuels of the Western Cape placed second and third respectively.
The Department of Higher Education and Training works with TVET Colleges in order to expand programme delivery to embrace increasing numbers of occupational trade qualifications as listed by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). South Africa is well on the way to achieving the National Development Plan (NDP) goals, which require that 30 000 artisans are produced per year by 2030. According to Minister Nzimande, South Africa is already producing over 16 000 qualified artisans a year.
South Africa is one of 72 countries affiliated to WorldSkills International (WSI) and the second National Competition was in preparation for participation in the International Competition to be hosted in Abu Dhabi in the UAE in October 2017.
The winner of the Electrical Installation Category was 21 year old Mthokozisi Sanga from Kwadabeka in KwaZulu-Natal. Mthokozisi, who is employed by Bulk Collections Coal Terminal Harbour was introduced to the WSSA Competition by Ray van Heerden of Shukela Training Centre where he is currently doing an apprenticeship. He says the training and experience he gained in preparation for the WWSA National Competition have improved his skills and the practical aspect of his work. It has also given him exposure. Winning the competition has “made my company proud and my peers are aware of this amazing feat I have achieved,” he says with a smile.
In preparation for the competition, Mthokozisi put aside his studies and spent most of his time at the Shukela Training Centre where concentrated on improving his skills set by focusing on the most efficient ways to wire panels and gear himself to become a champion. Asked about the reaction of his friends and family to being selected to participate in the WorldSkills International Competition, Mthokozisi said his mum was “shocked and happy in the sense that I have made her a proud mum”. It was the first time his company had participated at the National Competition and they were too very supportive.
What advice would Mthokozisi give young people who are interested in pursuing a career as an artisan? “I would give the advice my mum gives to me: If you have a dream you’ve got to let it go so it leads the way for you to follow”.
In the short term Mthokozisi aims to obtain his wireman’s licence but in the long term he plans to own his own company and help youth like himself get the opportunity to become successful. Mthokozisi is “more than excited and ready” to be working with Nick du Plessis of P and T Technology, the South African Electrical Installation National Expert who will be mentoring Mthokozisi in preparation for Abu Dhabi. He is looking forward to the challenge and to learning as much as possible – we wish Mthokozisi well and look forward to the outcome of the WorldSkills International Competition.