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1 March 2024

South Africa selects Competitors for WorldSkills Lyon 2024

Intensive training has begun for the 25 Competitors chosen to represent South Africa in France later this year.

The oldest WorldSkills Member from the African continent, South Africa, celebrated its WorldSkills South Africa National Competition from 1 to 3 February 2024.

Taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, more than 200 Competitors from all provinces in South Africa stood a chance to become the best in their nation and be selected to compete on the global stage at WorldSkills Lyon 2024.

Hosted by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Competition is an important way to both promote skilled careers to young people and to open up potential partnerships with industry.

“We need to emphasize that WorldSkills Competitions are not possible without partnerships. And the partners are not only related to funds. Yes, money is important and partners do bring resources. But the partners bring expertise, especially those from private industry,” said Ms Thembisa Futshane, Deputy Director-General responsible for Community Education and Training.

She also highlighted the presence in the Competition of students from all nine Community Education and Training Colleges for the first time at the national competition. Under the commitment to increase youth and adult involvement in community education and training to one million participants by 2030, the Government of South Africa set up new types of institutions in each province catering mainly to those who do not qualify for admission to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges or universities. While their participation this year was in an observer capacity, the colleges are expected to participate fully in the next WorldSkills South Africa Competition.

The Competition also incorporated the National Conference and Artisan Career Festival initiative. Organized to strengthen the skills development agenda, the programme focuses on implementing and scaling up the National Apprenticeship and Artisan Development Strategy 2030 with a view to training a skilled workforce that can adapt to and support the future.

A highlight of the Conference took place on the second day, with two previous Competitors sharing their WorldSkills journey including the challenges and experiences along the way. They encouraged learners, especially in the public TVET colleges, “to grab the opportunities provided to them with both hands.”

Mihle Mvelakubi, a WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for Africa, and a facilitator at the College of Cape Town gives a speech during the WorldSkills Africa National Competition in 2024.

One of the past Competitors was Mihle Mvelakubi, a WorldSkills Champions Trust representative for Africa and a facilitator at the College of Cape Town. Mihle had several roles during the WorldSkills Africa National Competition, including carrying the WorldSkills flag during both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Having served as an Expert at the Western Cape province Competition, he had the opportunity to be a Judge at the nationals and help with the marking of the Test Projects.

“It was an amazing experience, I really enjoyed interacting with other Experts and learning from them. As a first-time Expert, I was able to gather experience in the field, which helped me improve my workshop training as well. The last time I was on the Competition floor was as a Competitor, I’ve realized it’s a completely different feeling,” says Mihle.

Mihle also saw for the first time a Competitor he had trained compete at the national level.

“Even though he didn’t have enough time for training, my Competitor was confident and excited, also nervous. So, I told him not to worry about anything but focus on the competition itself. To think that he was not competing against anyone, but against time and building standards, and that it was important that he learned and appreciated the opportunity that has been granted unto him. Whatever he would get out of it, he should implement it in his daily life and in future competitions,” he recalls

South Africa will send 25 gold Medallists from the nationals to the international championship in France, and will include 26 silver Medallists in the training exercises. The national Experts are now implementing a training plan that will guide and prepare the Competitors from now to the end of August, when they will depart for WorldSkills Lyon 2024.

The WorldSkills movement is expanding across Africa, with the recent launch of WorldSkills Africa. The new regional organization will provide African nations with a dedicated platform to improve skills development, build capacity, and reimagine TVET systems across the continent.