Monday, July 14, 2014

WorldSkills Singapore 2014 Day 2 & 3 Recap

Collage of NYP’s endeavours in WorldSkills Singapore.
With Day One’s mistakes forgotten, a fresh day began at 8.30am as papers made their way to the anxious competitors. Day 2 was noticeably different with a breath of confidence  in the air. The booths showcasing projects from the 5 polytechnics and ITE got much attention from the secondary school students who visited ITE College Central.

The competitors had also gotten used to their respective competition environments and this was clearly reflected in their actions. Shaky speeches, tremoring hands and indecisive moments were replaced by smooth presentations, swift moments and clear intentions. The day passed with little disturbance as the competitors carried on with their tasks.  

The crowd at the aircraft hangar, watching  Aircraft Maintenance
Day 3 was even more happening as it took place on Saturday, with members of the public joining in at ITE Central. The final competition day began on a more serious tone as visibly worn-out students proceeded for their last few  tasks. At nine in the morning, members of the public started to slowly pour into ITE College Central, and the place was abuzz not before long. 

A Crowded workshop titled, “Present to Impress!”
The public  made its way to the 29 workshops available at this year’s event. All of the workshops were quickly filled and many, who were unable to get a seat, chose to stand. The response was amazing, even the second sessions of the workshops were packed. One of the most popular workshops was “Classic Desserts with a Modern Twist”, which was conducted by staff from NYP. This workshop had an astonishing long queue of eager home cooks waiting to learn how to re-invent two classic desserts, the Frasier and Chocolate Ganache Cake.

Elsewhere, the competition was in full swing. Final tasks began early morning and many ended by 2pm. Skill Areas like Visual Merchandising and IT Software Solutions for Business required final presentations. Everything wrapped up at roughly 5pm with several competitors staying behind to clear up.

I am sure the competitors are eager to know  who will get to represent Singapore for their respective Skill Areas. But, they will have to wait till Wednesady, 16th July, for the results, when the Closing Ceremony,  officiated by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, at ITE College Central will be held. Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal winners will receive cash awards of $3000, $2000 and $1000 respectively.

Here’s a brief look at some of the categories I observed! 

Mobile Robotics (Most popular Skill Area)

An NYP representative getting measurements to program his robot
In this category, competitors are required to program and configure a robot to perform various tasks, like navigating around obstacles.

Comprising of three different scenarios and challenges over the course of three days, this Skill Area is incredibly taxing on the mind. The spectacle of the robots going about performing their tasks  attracted the biggest crowds. It was very interesting to see how robots work, since it is not every day that you see something like this.

Graphic Design Technology

Andrew Chen (top) and Kelly Boon (bottom) focusing on their tasks.
This category was cordoned off and harder for the public to access. Tasks included designing brand names, logos, symbols, leaflets, posters, banners and more. The end result was amazing and incredible, and it is insane to think that the beautiful pieces of work were done in such a short time. The yellow Post It notes showed their multitasking efforts and their thought process as they tried their best to perform well and finish on time.

Aircraft Maintenance (The Coolest Skill Area)

Our Sole NYP representative, Muhammad Khair Bin Salim, inspecting a gas turbine.
Aircraft maintenance comprises of seven tasks over the course of three days where competitors are required to rig a flight control, blend a compressor blade and more. While the other seven competitors were dressed in dark blue, Muhammad Khair of NYP was instead dressed in all white, which made him stand out. The aircrafts and technologies attracted a huge crowd on Saturday as people flooded in to take a look at the helicopters, planes and of course the students at work.

IT Network System Administration

Li KangZheng fulfilling his tasks with his immense setup.
IT Network Systems Administration required competitors to perform a variety of tasks on both Windows and Linux Systems. Over the course of the competition, they had to install software packages, optimise operating systems, configure client and server workstations, implement maintenance procedures and more. The competitors frequently stood up and moved around, rearranging wires and such. While not popular due to its  very technical nature, this category has bought Singapore seven consecutive gold medals since 2001, when the skill area was introduced to the competition.

Visual Merchandising (Most Eye Catching)

Na Li Ren, Andrew, presenting his completed work to the judges.
Visual Merchandising was undoubtedly the most impressive and fun category for the audience. People came by to view the progress of the window displays over the three days and many turned up to view the finished displays and presentations at the end of Day 3. From blank window displays to beautiful works of art, the six competitors worked hard researching the theme, designing and preparing their vision. All six displays were very different from one another and showed the competitors’  personal influence and direction clearly.

IT Software Solutions for Business

Chew Rong Kang programming away with ear plugs in his ear.
When we visited this category, we noticed that NYP competitor Chew Rong Kang was using ear plugs to help him focus on the confusing and complex charts and codes on the monitor. These competitors were tasked with scenarios and problems which required them to analyse  a business, its design, search and present a software solution. This category is unique as it is one of the few categories that awarded marks on a formal presentation at the end.

Mechatronics (Most Intense Skill Area)

Poh Yong Han and Poh Yong Han rushing to complete their machine.
The atmosphere was incredibly intense and a little scary at the Mechatronics category. The competitors were always rushing around to complete their machines. The anxiety of the competitors could be felt when they fumbled around their tables to fetch a piece of machinery. Working in two-person teams, they were required to assemble machines, design programs and solve logical problems in a period of time. It was very unnerving to watch this category due to the huge and quiet room and the frantic-paced competitors. I could personally feel the pressure as I watched them!

Written by: Sean Yap, Year 3, Diploma in Information Security
Photos by: Theophilus Kee Ern, Year 2, Diploma in Mass Media Management

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