WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017
Originally from a small town called Flagstaff in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, Mihle Mvelakubi moved to Cape Town with his parents when he was in grade seven. Unfamiliar with the local language, Mihle struggled at school and was advised to join the School of Skills where he was introduced to bricklaying.
Eager for more, he was determined to join a VET college and pursue levels 2, 3, and 4 in building and civil engineering. However, he was met with disdain and discouraged to enrol by the administration on the basis that previous students coming from the School of Skills had been unsuccessful. He was finally admitted and, though he recalls having a hard time keeping up at first, he was determined to succeed. He studied hard, making it to the top three in his class by the second term.
At the VET college, one of Mihle’s teachers proposed he compete at WorldSkills. As soon as he looked into WorldSkills, he knew he wanted to be part of it. As Mihle continued to train, he progressed from the provincials to the regionals to the nationals and finally to representing South Africa at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017.
Despite being looked down upon, he says the School of Skills led him to WorldSkills and made him the person he is today. He wishes the school “was not taken for granted.” He hopes for systemic changes that can ease the transfer of students from the School of Skills into VET colleges, and to incorporate mechanisms or education pathways for students to better cope with the gaps between levels.
Currently, Mihle is a trainer at a VET college and has his own bricklaying business.
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