20 July 2023
He may be done with his polytechnic studies and waiting to enlist for National Service, but 20-year-old Mohamed Aathif is not taking a break.
In fact, the runner-up in the IT Network Systems Administration category at WorldSkills Singapore (WSS) 2023 is spending his break practising for his next milestone: going up against the best of the best at the WorldSkills ASEAN 2023 competition.
Held once every two years, WSS is a national skills competition to discover and recognise the best skilled youths in Singapore.
The competition aims to raise the standards of excellence in technical skills and generate greater public awareness and interest in technical education.
For the first time ever, the WorldSkills ASEAN 2023 will be hosted by Singapore, and Aathif is among one of the top youth talents from 10 ASEAN nations who will be competing.
We caught up with Aathif in the midst of his intense preparation to find out more about the competition, and how his family and loved ones have been supporting him through it.
During his time in Singapore Polytechnic as a computer engineering student, Aathif explored different aspects of computing and found that he had a particular interest in IT Network systems.
While Aathif had not heard about WSS at first, he learnt of the competition after a friend was selected to compete.
At the encouragement of his lecturers, Aathif decided to participate as well.
He came in second in his category, and was able to advance to WorldSkills ASEAN 2023.
Currently, Aathif spends his time practising for the competition with a junior from his alma mater, who also helps him with research for the competition.
Like Aathif, this junior will also be participating in Phase 2 of WSS 2023, which is slated to take place in September 2023.
Aathif credits his parents for their “unwavering encouragement and belief”, saying that their support has given him “an immense sense of confidence and motivation”.
“From the moment I expressed my interest in participating, they fully supported my decision,” Aathif says.
Aathif’s parents, Ajmal Hussain and Safana Banu, believe that the competition will be a “crucial stepping stone towards his personal and professional growth".
“I hope that he will continue to refine and enhance his skills and develop a deep passion for this skill area. I want my son to enjoy the entire journey of participation, bring back great memories with him and make the most out of it,” says Hussain.
Preparing for a competition is intense and nerve-wracking, but Aathif has learnt to enjoy the process.
He is happy to be given the opportunity to participate as he enjoys research in the field and figuring out new topics, such as network automation, from scratch.
Aathif also believes that the competition will equip him with valuable skills for the future, even if they are not directly related to his field of study.
“The skills [I pick up] may not be related to the field itself. For example, I learned how to research and be more independent through this competition. And I think that this will actually help me [in] the future or in my studies,” he says.
Aathif also added that the process of research has helped him to improve his breadth of knowledge.
WorldSkills ASEAN 2023 will run from Jul. 23 to 25, 9am to 5pm at Suntec City Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Apart from the skills competition, this event will also feature interactive activities to promote skills and promising skills-related careers.
Members of the public can pick up a new skill or learn more about different industries through the interactive activities and workshops at the event.
Free workshops are available on Jul. 23.
Members of the public can register their interest here.
They can also learn more about the skills areas in the competition at the Try-a-Skill booths.
Find out more about WorldSkills ASEAN 2023 here.
This sponsored article by WorldSkills ASEAN 2023 made the author want to learn a new skill.
Images courtesy of Mohamed Aathif and WorldSkills ASEAN.