WorldSkills competition shows growing importance of skills in society

This article is more than 12 months old

Asked to design a digital shark during the WorldSkills Competition (WSC) in Abu Dhabi last month, Mr Ng Jun Xuan went with a "chubby, pink, friendly" one.

It stood out from his competitors' fierce-looking sharks and won him a gold medal in the new category of 3D digital game art.

Mr Ng, 21, was one of two gold medal winners from the Singapore contingent of 21 competitors. Singapore also took home three bronze medals and eight medallions for excellence.

The competition, in its 44th edition, tests a variety of skills from health and social care to restaurant service.

Mr Ng, who credited Nanyang Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education for his success, was surprised he beat competitors from Korea and China.

The Nanyang Poly student put his win down to a year's training with two coaches and an expert. He also had a three-month industry attachment at Japanese game house Koei Tecmo.

Mr Andrew Tan, 21, from Singapore Polytechnic, won bronze in information network cabling.

He joked: "It's hard to explain to people what I do because it's too technical so I tell my friends I cut cables. Now, they think I got third in the world for cutting cables."

He hopes to work in telecommunication or programming in the future.

The Singaporean winners received cash prizes from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) ranging from $1,000 for a medallion for excellence to $20,000 for a gold medal.

An SSG spokesman said: "Through this competition, we not only celebrate the achievements and efforts of highly-skilled young Singaporeans but are also able to elevate the standing of skills mastery in society, which is closely aligned with the national SkillsFuture movement."

Miss Olivia Low, 20, won Singapore's other gold, also in a new category - freight forwarding - where she showcased documentation and claims handling skills. She credited industry attachments at logistics firms like C.H. Robinson and Dimerco Express Singapore and visits to DHL Express and Kerry Logistics for giving her experience.

The Temasek Polytechnic graduate said: "Logistics is still an exciting industry with a lot of prospects, it's a growing sector with lots of opportunities and potential chances to travel."