South Africa’s team of 21 competitors at the recently-held WorldSkills International Competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, improved the country’s standing from previous competitions.
With 59 countries in attendance at the event, South Africa placed 27th amongst competing nations, beating out many developed nations in the international standings.

The team’s average score amongst all nations reflected the depth of skill within the team. With one Award of Excellence, and most competitors scoring in the top half of the field, the South African team was able to outrank countries including Ireland, Portugal and even the US.

South Africa has participated in previous WorldSkills International events but this was the first year in which the country sent a full team and competed across a spectrum of trades. The team’s ranking is more impressive when compared to countries that spend years training competitors specifically for this bi-annual event.

WorldSkills South Africa CEO Raymond Patel has this message for Team SA after the competition: “You competitors gave your best under stressful circumstances. You made us proud South Africans. All experiences are lessons learnt that influence our future. You have touched and changed the lives of many here in Brazil so when you get back home continue with the making a change in somebody’s life.”

WorldSkills International is the largest vocational skills excellence event in the world, with the participants competing in 50 different skills related to trades, technologies and service-oriented careers. Throughout the four days of the event over 213 000 visitors attended the event. With delegations totalling over 7 000 people including experts, mentors, and government representatives, tons of state-of-the-art took over the largest convention centre in South America with over 210 000 square meters devoted to this, the “Olympics” of vocational and technical skills”.

The competitors must complete real-world tasks that are based on industry standards. For example, young professionals competing in Mechatronics need to develop an automated system for an industrial process, such as placing tops on drink bottles.

Team South Africa competed in 19 skills including Mobile Robotics, Mechatronics, Beauty Therapy, Restaurant Services, Web Design, Dry Walling & Plastering, Automobile Repair, IT Software Solutions for Business and Cooking to amongst others.