MerSETA supports SAIW and Young Welders’ competition

28 May 2012

WorldSkills is a biennial event that showcases the skills of young people, under the age of 23, in 46 skills categories including welding. The competition is open to agencies or bodies promoting vocational education and training in their respective countries or regions. In 2011, WorldSkills was held in London. The event attracted in excess of 200 000 visitors, with young people from 51 countries competing, bringing together people from across the globe, eight of those being South African delegates.

In order to choose the South African representatives, a Young Welder of the Year competition is organised by the South African Institute of Welding (SAIW) backed by industry involvement and MerSETA support. MerSETA sponsors the expert and competitor that will represent South Africa in Leipzig in 2013 and,in such, makes it possible for them to attend the week-long stay in Germany and participate in all the activities, skills and ambassadorial duties. This involvement benefits MerSETA by enlarging the learning portfolio and improving the SETA’s status with regard to global competitiveness.

MerSETA has been in full support of the competition from the beginning as, like SAIW, they are passionate about producing welders of the highest competence. “We enjoy the collaboration with SAIW on this mission”, says Carmen Adams, career development project manager for MerSETA. “MerSETA’s focus is on national skills development in the Manufacturing and Engineering sector in South Africa and WorldSkills is the perfect platform, presenting an opportunity to develop skills in this regard on a range of levels. It provides a unique means of exchange and comparison of world-class competency standards”.

Given the imperative of developing a skilled workforce that is employable and globally competitive, the MerSETA has also been providing funding for the Young Welder of the Year competition in order to scout the country for skilled competitors for the competition since 2003. “The Young Welder of the Year competition provides an opportunity to showcase South African talent and provide young welders international experience in global learning methodology and approaches, according to international standards. This project merges industry with education and training, all parties engaging on a practical level,” states Adams. “We will also assist in preparing the next group of WorldSkills competitors and hope to encourage more young people to pursue technical and vocational careers. It is an area in which there is a dire shortage of skills”.

This is exactly why SAIW, the MerSETA and other industry partners support the competition. It aims to open people’s eyes and capture imaginations, allowing thousands to discover their career aspirations and show that you can achieve your ambitions through skills development.

The next WorldSkills competition will be held from 2 to 7 July 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The South African committee met on Monday 20th February 2012 to plan the next national competition. The organising committee includes representatives from the MerSETA, SAIW and other industry members. Entries for the 2012 “Young Welder of the Year” competition will open shortly and potential contestants are asked to watch out for entry forms in Fusion.