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28 July 2023

Singapore students win eight gold medals at WorldSkills Asean 2023

Singapore was represented by 44 young people from institutes of higher learning in all 22 categories and picked up 26 medals in total. 

SINGAPORE – Despite a “new” kitchen to get used to and the pressure of being surrounded by a crowd as he whipped up a series of dishes and meals over three days, Mr Leonard Chia, 20, was all smiles.

“I’m really happy because this is the first time Singapore is in the top three in the cooking category for WorldSkills Asean,” said the Nanyang Polytechnic Diploma in Food and Beverage Business student.

Showcasing culinary flair across finger food, a casual dining meal and a fine dining meal that included a deconstructed black forest dessert, Mr Chia scooped up a gold medal.

It was one of eight Singapore won in the event that is often dubbed the Youth Olympics of vocational skills.

More than 170 young people from Asean competed across 22 skills areas in three days of gruelling competitions at the 13th edition of WorldSkills Asean, which concluded on Thursday.

The region’s biggest skills competition, hosted by Singapore for the first time, was held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Singapore, which was represented by 44 young people from institutes of higher learning in all 22 categories, picked up 26 medals – eight gold, four silver, eight bronze and six medallions for excellence.

This put the Republic second in the medal tally among the nine Asean member states that participated. Indonesia led with 27 medals, including 14 golds.

Singapore came out tops in beauty therapy, cooking, computer numerical control (CNC) maintenance, graphic design technology, mechatronics, industrial control, information network cabling and Internet of Things. Other categories include mobile robotics and fashion technology.

WorldSkills Asean aims to raise skills standards among the youth, and to showcase opportunities in vocational training and education in the region.

ITE College East student Christine Huang Yan Xin, 18, could not finish her tasks in the beauty therapy category in time on the first day of the competition, and did not expect winning to be on the cards.

But she persevered and “went all out” on the other days. “I managed to turn it around in the end,” said the gold medallist.

At the competition’s prize-giving and closing ceremony, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing urged Asean countries to invest in lifelong skills development to remain competitive on the global stage.

“Skills mastery is especially important in a future of work where the adoption of artificial intelligence and automation in the workplace is growing. Addressing the global challenge of climate change and facilitating the green transition for our industries will also require new green skills.”

Gold medalist for cooking, Leonard Chia, and his coaches at the WorldSkills Asean closing ceremony. ST PHOTO: EUGENE TAN

Participants were presented with various challenges that put their skills and mettle to the test.

For instance, competitors in the cooking category had to produce three-course meals over three days, using mystery ingredients presented on the day itself, such as sea bass and prawns, testing their adaptability and creativity.

In robotics, competitors had to troubleshoot and complete different tasks based on a given scenario, such as programming a robot to dispense and deliver supplies in a simulated hospital setting. On the final day, the tasks turned more complex, requiring them to scan for yellow cubes – which represented waste items – and dispose of them.

Singapore’s Nur Syakir Samsuddin takes part in the Automobile Technology competition. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

New to the competition was the Rapid Transit Systems category, where participants had to disassemble and then reassemble electric rail components, as well as identify and troubleshoot faults.

In conjunction with WorldSkills, MOE and the institutes of higher learning organised an education and career guidance fair with more than 70 industry partners. It was attended by about 10,000 secondary school students.

Singapore’s Jamaine Teo competes in the Fashion Technology category. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

In a simulation of a Thomson-East Coast Line train at a booth set up by Singapore Polytechnic, the Land Transport Authority and SMRT, students experienced scenarios such as faults in the rail system and had to manually drive the train back to a station.

Over at semiconductor manufacturer Micron’s booth, students donned virtual reality headsets to experience a day at a wafer fab through interactive games that saw them “wearing” safety suits and helmets, and moving equipment.

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