Friday, June 7, 2013

WorldSkills 2013 - Putting NYP on the global map

The 42nd WorldSkills Competition (WSC) is right around the corner and NYP will be sending seven students to take part in this global competition to be held in Leipzig, Germany. Our students will be presented with the opportunity to showcase their dexterity and knowledge in seven categories: Aircraft Maintenance, CNC Turning, Graphic Design Technology, Health and Social Care, IT Network Systems Administration Mechanical Engineering Design -CADand Visual Merchandising

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview four of the seven NYP participants of the 42nd WSC to be held this July.

Chow Wei Li, Aircraft Maintenance 

1. How are you preparing yourself for the upcoming 42nd WSC?
I'm currently doing my Year 3 internship in ST Aerospace, which started in March this year. During this period, I was attached to ST Aerospace Technical Training Centre and my instructors there have been training me to perfect the technical skills I need to perform the tasks for the upcoming WSC.

2. What were some of the challenges you faced while preparing for the competition?
I am required to perform at an even higher standard compared to the preliminary round. Hence, the pressure is significantly higher.

3. You're a student from Diploma in Aeronautical & Aerospace Technology, what are some of the modules you found most useful in preparing for this competition?
During practical sessions for Aircraft Propulsion System, my lecturers would teach the entire class some of the fundamental technical skills. The theory behind those skills allows us to have a better understanding of what we are doing.

4. Are you excited to go to Leipzig, Germany?
Yes, of course! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, to be able to represent Singapore. It would also give me great exposure.

5. This is the first time Singapore is taking part in Aircraft Maintenace. How does that make you feel?
I feel really happy to be the first Singapore competitor to take part in this category. I will do my very best to make  Singapore proud.

Eunice Chia Siew Peng, CNC Turning

1. Engineering requires a lot of creativity. How do you hone that skill?
I try to sharpen those skills during my training for WSC. I started training back in 2011. I have gained more knowledge and experience, and greater insights. I also sought help whenever I was in doubt, and having someone to explain where I went wrong certainly gives me a better understanding of things. I gained much practical knowledge as well, which gave me confidence in the classroom. I learnt through two ways - being in class and training for WSC.

2. Who was your biggest motivator throughout this competition?
My biggest motivators are my parents and sister. When I qualified to participate in WSC, I told them about it. I also told them that I would have to sacrifice my holidays and other free time for the training sessions. They encouraged me and told me that it is the learning process that mattered.

In addition, I also have two wonderful coaches and a mentor who are experts in the field. Mr Lim Siok Khing, Mr James Liang and my mentor Mr Nah Yeong Teck encouraged and supported me all the way. They even asked me to go to the gym every week to stay healthy and relieve stress.

3. What do you hope to learn from the competition in Germany?
It would be the many ways to work under pressure, and to focus under stress. I believe it will help me in my work in the future. I would also like to take note of the different competing styles. There are so many things to learn from the other competitors such as their cutting methods, the way they program and more! I would also like to learn how to be independent and solve problems on my own.

4. I heard you are the only female competitor among the 22 competitors taking part in this category? How does that make you feel?
I’m a bit nervous about it, but at the same time, it feels quite special. Even during WorldSkills Singapore, I was the only girl in the finals. I will just do my very best.

Goh Kim Swee Francis, Mechanical Engineering Design -CAD

1. This competition area requires a lot of consistency and perseverance, how do you maintain that focus?
While competing, I will have to completely focus on the task at hand and not worry about what’s going to happen the next day. To maintain this level of mental concentration, I must first have enough rest. Sleep is important because it helps keep me alert. I know that as long as I have adequate rest, I will not get easily agitated and will be able to focus better.

I also learnt some relaxation techniques, which will be important for the upcoming WSC. My two wonderful coaches – especially my chief coach, Mr Teo Cheng Yong - have spent a lot of time with me, generously sharing their technical knowledge. Within a short period, Mr Teo has helped me see the many wonderful things that not many of us would be freely given the chance to.  He will always remind me of the importance of working towards the competition and how great this opportunity is. Mr Lui Woei Wen, my other coach, has many years of experience dealing with this competition so he also shared a great deal of useful knowledge and experiences.

My family and friends have also given me the motivation and encouragement to continue doing what I do. Because the training period is really long and time consuming, I had to make sacrifices. I talk to myself a lot in order to focus on the training. Guess that is my secret.

2. How have the modules learnt in Diploma in Digital Precision and Engineering helped you in this global competition?
The three modules, which have benefited me greatly are Mechanical and Fixture Design, Materials Technology and Metrology.  Mechanical and Fixture Design has introduced me to how mechanical systems function.

I am also required to know how and why certain materials are used in specific applications. That's where Materials Technology comes in. It has showed me how a part can be processed differently depending on its end purpose.

Through Metrology, I learned standards, practices, and steps to be followed when taking measurements. Through my studying of Metrology, I have seen the various obstacles and difficulties designers and manufacturers might face, and how to overcome them.

Studying Digital & Precision Engineering was good for me because I took up an engineering-related course. The course and various industrial attachments allowed me to see how mechanical designers in the industry produce their work.

3. What are some of the skills you wish to acquire before this competition?
On the technical side, I would like to improve my engineering drawings. I believe I still lack the flair for gauging an engineering drawing at first glance, which industry experts do with great ease. There are some things experts can just spot in the blink of an eye.

If you ask me, I wish I had more time. To improve, I must get more exposure and a lot more practice. Also, this skill is software-based. Hence, I have to train and be incredibly familiar with the Autodesk Inventor Professional software. Also, I have to be prepared for the mental pressure that would come during  the competition. I want to be ready to overcome all challenges I might face, be it technical or otherwise.

4. From a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you to head for Leipzig, Germany this coming July? (10 being most excited)
I will give it a 10! I am extremely excited for many reasons. I will get to travel to a foreign country, take part in a well-known competition, and also immerse myself in another country’s language and culture. Besides the competition, an itinerary has already been planned for us on this trip. We will be introduced to local food, visit places of interest, and also see what it is like to study there.

I am just weeks away from departure! That further adds to the excitement. In another few weeks, all my training and effort for the past 2 years will show. I want to prove to myself that I have what it takes so long as I put my heart and mind into it.  I really treasure this opportunity. But to be honest, I am anxious and am feeling some fear. Either way, I am extremely grateful to NYP for opening this door to me.

Soh Jason, IT Network Systems Administration

1. How do you feel about representing NYP in this global competition?
This is actually the first time I’m representing the polytechnic and the nation in an international competition. I do feel proud and honoured to be able to be one of the lucky few.

2. What are some of qualities do you think you need to inculcate in order to win this competition? 
Personally, I think that perseverance is needed to overcome the intense training.

3. What are some of the positive and negative experiences you have encountered on this road to WSC? 
I anticipate the chance to get to know students from other schools, locally and internationally.

Negative experiences? Perhaps knowing that some of my opponents may be working adults who are more knowledgeable than me.

4. Who is your pillar of strength and motivation throughout this WSC journey and why?
I would say my friends who have always been there for me. They would give me moral support, and help me to relieve stress. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to continue.

Watch out for our next article, as we introduce to you the remaining three NYP competitors! They will be taking part in Graphic Design Technology, Health and Social Care, and Visual Merchandising.

By Farihin Joehari, Year 2, Diploma in Mass Media Management

Farihin Joehari, has a penchant for cooking and wishes Nigella Lawson was his wife. He has a love-hate relationship with food and is a massive movie junkie! He loves going on escapades with his pals and also enjoys going to concerts to be left in awe.

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