29 June 2023
Meet Sonya Hill, the new WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for the Americas
Recently graduated in Industrial Systems Engineering from the Caribbean Maritime University in Kingston, Jamaica, Sonya Hill is a WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for the Americas.
Sonya competed in Mobile Robotics at WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition. Following the advice of a friend and a WorldSkills Champion, she competed at the national level and was then selected to take part in the international championship, in a skill that is “not popular in Jamaica,” but that she loved because of her “troubleshooting mindset” and her passion for programming.
WorldSkills was a “life-changing opportunity”, helping her grow personally and professionally. The experience, she says, made her realize the importance of time management, and how to work with confidence and determination even when “nothing seems to be working out.”
She currently works in the renewable energy sector as a Sales Engineer in a company specializing in solar power.
“I’ve been really liking it because of how the renewable energy system works to generate electricity, and it’s just amazing what we can do,” says Sonya, adding that there is a growing market in Jamaica despite the cost still being an obstacle for many people.
Anxious about the adverse weather conditions provoked by global warming, she thinks solar energy is extremely important for future generations. “I see it as a win-win, because you are making a safer future environment you can also save financially,” she says.
Sonya has renounced urban life and chosen to live in the countryside. Her town, called St Elizabeth, is known as the “Breadbasket” of Jamaica due to its rich soil, ideal climate, and ability to produce large quantities of crops such as ground provisions, fruits, vegetables, and sugar cane. Rearing of livestock, fish farming, and the production of rum, are some of the other economic activities of her region.
“In my experience, living in rural areas is a more invigorating and cost-effective option than living in cities. Due to lower population density, the climate is noticeably fresher, cooler, and cleaner. However, the lack of employment opportunities and the limited availability of remote work options may discourage young people from settling in rural areas,” explains Sonya.
She says remote work is a “blessing” which is becoming more popular due to the pandemic.
“Some businesses want their workers to go back to work in office. It is not the case for my company,” explains Sonya. “Before, you could only get a job if you were living in the area. Remote work gives so much flexibility.”
In her role as WorldSkills Champions Trust representative, Sonya wants to promote the cause of TVET to young people as an exciting and beneficial career pathway that would develop local and global economies.
“As the only woman participant in Mobile Robotics at WorldSkills Special Edition Competition 2022 in Bordeaux, I also aspire to make a significant impact within similar skill areas that are male-dominated by bridging the gender gap and encouraging women to pursue careers in these fields,” says Sonya.