Passing skills onto the next generation
Euphrasia Mulenga dreamed of being an aircraft engineer. She had the ambition and now has the skills. “When I first mentioned that this was my dream job, some people tried to talk me out of it, saying I was too small to lift an aircraft engine,” she shares. “Happily, I knew how to correct them and explain that they have machines to do that!”
Having always identified as something of a dreamer, it was getting involved in the WorldSkills Zambia training and competitions that gave Euphrasia a sense of direction to guide her dreams. Her interests were set early, watching her dad fix things around the house. Gradually, she began trying her hand at repairing objects when he wasn’t at home. But it was during a school trip to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka that this tenacious spirit developed into clear aspirations to become an aircraft engineer. “I didn’t have a second option in my head - this was the only thing I wanted to do.”
- 52 skills are offered by WorldSkills Zambia, from Automobile Technology to Health and Social Care and, to date, 22 Zambians have represented their country on a global stage at WorldSkills Competitions
In Zambia, the number of children passing the Grade 9 and Grade 12 examinations remains low, at 55.3% and 64.8%, respectively, limiting their chances to continue their education further. Fortunately, Euphrasia was able to pursue further studies at Zambia Air Services Training Institute (ZASTI) in Lusaka. Working in industry as part of her course, the pieces of her professional puzzle started to slot together. Then in 2017, WorldSkills Zambia added Aircraft Maintenance to its list of skills and Euphrasia’s company put her forward to represent her country at the international competition.
During this journey, Euphrasia faced significant and life-changing challenges. Just a month before competing at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, Euphrasia’s dad, the person who had been her greatest supporter, passed away. Paired with this devastating loss was the news from WorldSkills Zambia that they didn’t have the budget to send Euphrasia to the international finals. Euphrasia’s determination kicked into gear, and she was successful in finding sponsors to fund her competition participation, from plane tickets to visas. The young Zambian was able to attend the finals and compete in tribute to her much-loved dad.
Now, Euphrasia is a vociferous voice for skills in Zambia, across the African continent and globally. She spoke to young people at WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund 2022 as a representative of the WorldSkills Champions Trust, telling them, “Today’s youth is tomorrow’s leaders. Champions, and every youth out there, let us be the change we want to see!” She has become a beacon of light for others, encouraging them to think bigger in their dreams. “WorldSkills has challenged me to see myself as a mountain climber,” she comments. “If you get to the peak, you don’t then go and climb a lower mountain. You’d want to go and climb a much higher mountain.”