SINGAPORE - Singapore has clinched three medals - a silver and two bronze ones - at a recent global competition of vocational skills, which ended in Brazil on Saturday.
The silver was won by Nanyang Polytechnic student Daniel Lee for IT network systems administration. Ms Josephine Quek from Temasek Polytechnic and Ms Lim Ling, also from Nanyang Polytechnic, took the bronze medals in the visual merchandising and health and social care categories respectively.
Singapore, which fielded 22 young people at the WorldSkills contest held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, also picked up 14 medallions of excellence.
These results mean that most of its competitors from the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) had attained high scores across most of the 20 trades that it took part in.
It also made improvements in four areas which had not done as well in previous years - electronics, visual merchandising, mechatronics and web design.
But this is also the first time since 1995 when Singapore started taking part in the international WorldSkills competition that it did not win a single gold medal in any category.
Its performance in areas it has been traditionally strong in, such as health and social care and beauty therapy, also slipped this year.
ITE chief executive Bruce Poh said that the contest this year was tough because of increased competition as more countries come onboard.
WorldSkills which aims to promote vocational training and education, drew a record 1,200 young people this year from about 60 countries who competed in 50 skill areas.
It is organised by non-profit group WorldSkills International and takes place in different countries every two years.
Mr Lee, who put up the best showing for Singapore, will also be receiving a cash prize of $10,000 from the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA). In previous years silver medallists would get $5,000.
"I didn't expect to win because I made some small mistakes on the first day of the competition," said Mr Lee. "I'm a little disappointed that I did not not win gold again for Singapore, but I did my best and I'm glad that I had this learning experience."
The WDA is sponsoring record prizes for the Singapore medallists this year to show its support for vocational education and training. Those who won bronze medals will be getting $5,000, up from $3,000 previously.