The northern town of Ongwediva will be the hot spot on the national calendar as top Namibian artisans compete for honors over five days at Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair Centre.

A total of 160 participants will compete in 16 technical and vocational trades, such as electrical installations, joinery, welding, mechatronics, hairdressing, cooking, fashion technology, automobile technology, water technology, etc.

The competition brings together the best of the best young people in different technical and vocational trades across Namibia in order to select those who will represent Namibia at the WorldSkills International which will take place in Lyon, France, in September 2024.

“This platform brings together young people, industry, government, education and institutions to promote benefits of and need for skilled trade professionals,” said Mr Morne Louw, a member of the WorldSkillsNamibia organizing committee.

Louw was speaking today at Ongwediva where, with his colleagues Secilia Iita and Sonia Shitaleni, he is making sure that all systems are in place not only in terms of the setup of the competition venue but also in terms of information dissemination during the one week event.

He pointed out that the event is all about creating awareness about the importance of technical and vocational skills in society.

“In our society we discourage our kids from taking up technical and vocational skills. This needs to change.

“Another negative stereotype is that we tell our young women that technical and vocational skill is not for women. As a result young girls have been losing out on opportunities because someone tells them that technical and vocational skill is not for them.”

He further stated that vocational and technical skills have led to many young people becoming job creators. “Many of them don’t go looking for jobs.”

Apart from the skills competition, there will also be a conference where national and international experts will discuss issues around youth development in technical and vocational trades, the challenges as well as the solutions by benchmarking on best practices.

There will also be a career fair and exhibition where school children in the area will be welcome to attend.

The entrance to the Trade Fair Centre during the duration of the skills competition will be free of charge.

In the photo: Justina Ashiyana, one Namibian young lady going places as a result of WorldSkillsNamibia.