Singapore to field 32, its largest contingent

Singapore will field a team of 32 young people - the largest contingent yet - from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), the five polytechnics and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) at the WorldSkills Competition (WSC).

It is also the first time Singapore will be represented in this competition by a student from an autonomous university. NTU's Ms Ng Zi Xuan will compete in chemical laboratory technology.

A 22-strong contingent took part in the 2011, 2013 and 2015 editions of the WSC.

The biennial competition, to be held in Kazan, Russia, from Aug 22 to 27, is dubbed the "Olympics of Skills". It is the world's largest vocational and technical skills competition for youth.

At the send-off ceremony at ITE Headquarters in Ang Mo Kio on Aug 6, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung drew parallels between the WSC and sports competitions, citing the football World Cup held in Russia last year as an example.

"Competing in WorldSkills versus competing in the Olympics, World Cup, the SEA (South-east Asian) Games and Asian Games - there are many similarities," he said.

All these competitions are pressurising, but "pressure makes it fun", he added.

 

They also require practice and discipline.

Said Mr Ong: "I think all our contestants today, across different institutes of higher learning, have put in blood, sweat and tears in preparing for this competition."

Just as athletes need their coaches, the WSC competitors also need their teachers, mentors and coaches, and support from the people around them, he added.

And just like the nation's athletes, the youth at WSC are also role models. "Competing with the best in the world - it is an inspiration to many people watching you," said Mr Ong.

"When you step forth and compete, whether it's the Olympics, sports events or this competition, you're flying Singapore's flag high."

This year, Singapore will be competing in 29 skill areas, including six new ones: cyber security, chemical laboratory technology, cloud computing, fashion technology, water technology and hotel reception.

The traditional skill areas include cooking, beauty therapy, hairdressing, and health and social care.

A Future Skills Competition, held in conjunction with the WSC, will test skills such as building information modelling technology and drone operating. Three Singaporean competitors will compete in these two areas.

Team captain Shauna Tan, 19, from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, who is competing in information network cabling, said: "Regardless of how many medals we win, I'm very proud of the team and I hope most of us will come back not only stronger in our skills areas, but with personal growth as well."


Correction note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct date of the send-off ceremony at ITE Headquarters. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore to field 32, its largest contingent'. Print Edition | Subscribe