SINGAPORE - As Singapore revs up its emphasis on skills development, the Government is paying closer attention to a biennial skills competition for youth that Singapore has taken part in since 1995.
From June this year, SkillsFuture Singapore, a statutory board under the Ministry of Education, has taken over from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) as the representative organisation for Singapore's participation in competitions recognised by WorldSkills International, a global non-profit body.
This includes the international WorldSkills competition, dubbed as the "Olympics of Skills", and the national WorldSkills Singapore competition.
Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary said on Friday (Sep 22) that the move reflects the Government's recognition of how "skills (are) an important part of lifelong learning".
"We see skills and skills development as something that doesn't just start and stop in school," he added.
He was speaking to reporters at a send-off ceremony for a contingent of 21 students from the polytechnics and the ITE at the ITE's Ang Mo Kio headquarters.
They will travel to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to compete at the international WorldSkills competition and pit their skills against more than 1,300 competitors from 66 countries and regions during the four-day competition from October 15 to 18.
They will compete in 19 skill categories, including old-school vocational skills such as cooking, where they will have to solve problems and demonstrate mastery of their skills areas in a real-world setting.
Two new skill categories in fields most likely to be in demand in the future economy - freight forwarding and 3D digital game art - have also been added to the competition's arena this year.
"Singapore is focusing on developing deep and relevant skills...The move will further enhance WorldSkills Singapore's standing as the national skills competition, and create the synergy between the competition and Singapore's strategic economic needs," said Mr Bruce Poh, executive deputy chairman of the WorldSkills Singapore Council.