Friday, July 10, 2015

Going for Gold: NYP Competitors Gearing Up for WorldSkills

Behind you all the way!  NYP staff and senior management showing their support for our competitors at the tea session.
Recently, Singapore concluded the 28th SEA Games with an impressive 259-medal haul, surpassing the nation’s past record of 164 medals. However, we’re not quite done winning yet.
Come 11th to 16th August 2015, 22 competitors coming from the institutions of higher learning, will represent Singapore at the biennial 43rd WorldSkills Competition to be held in held in São Paulo, Brazil.

Of those 22, 10 are NYP students or graduates.  They will be competing in 8 skill areas ranging from Health & Social Care to Mobile Robotics. The competitors were all gathered at the NYP Lounge for a tea session on 12 June.  Attendees included former NYP Principal & Chief Executive Officer Mr Chan Lee Mun, Deputy Principal Mr Edward Ho and NYP staff who play an important role in coaching or training the competitors.

In his speech, Mr Chan encouraged the competitors to do their best.  He also noted that a haul of gold medals would make an excellent welcoming gift to Ms Jeanne Liew, who would be succeeding him as the new Principal & CEO of NYP come 1st July 2015. Mr Chan retired on 30 June 2015.

Let’s meet some NYP competitors and learn about their journey to WordSkills.

Health & Social Care: Lim Ling

The heat is on for Lim Ling, a current Year 2 Diploma in Nursing student, and the only female representative from Team NYP.

This is the fifth time Singapore would be taking part in the Health & Social Care skills area. Lim Ling admits to feeling anxious about her chances and the intense pressure she faces since all her seniors had successfully obtained gold medals.
Lim Ling interacting with our former PCEO Mr Chan
Lim Ling was first talent-spotted by her ITE lecturers for her immaculate skills.  She did not disappoint and won the gold medal in WorldSkills Singapore in 2014.  In the meantime, she graduated from ITE and is now furthering her studies in NYP.

In preparation for the upcoming competition, Lim Ling trains herself with timed scenarios related to nursing patients.  In these scenarios, she needs to demonstrate key nursing and good communication skills.

A positive Lim Ling said “Of course I hope I can get the gold so I can continue the gold-winning
streak for NYP nursing school. I feel that the competition gets harder with each round but I will do my very best. I’m still undergoing training now so I hope by August I will be fully prepared.”

Mechanical Engineering Design – CAD: Muhammad Miqdad Bin Mazlan

Miqdad only had one word when asked how he felt about representing Singapore: “Wow”.
Elaborating on that, he said “You can feel the pressure; the burden is on your shoulders. I mean when people tell you to bring back the gold, you can really feel the weight.”

Having just graduated in May with a Diploma in Aeronautical & Aerospace Technology, Miqdad has yet to venture into the industry.  Hence, in preparation for the impending competition, he studiously goes through all the past scenarios given during previous WorldSkills competitions.

As though he is studying for an upcoming exam, he also attempts to figure out the possible competition scenarios and prepares himself for them, with the assistance of his coaches whom he is thankful to. “Throughout the competition, a different situation will be given daily.  Thus, I need to know different strategies and solutions. My coaches are helping me to know how to determine the best solution.”

Miqdad did not expect that he would have made it this far, and represent Singapore.  When he was first approached to take part in WorldSkills Singapore, the local leg of the competition, he said yes because he was interested in it. Little did he expect that he would eventually emerge as the gold medallist and get the chance to now take part at the international-level.  And now that he has this valuable opportunity, Miqdad certainly cherishes it!

Mobile Robotics: Lin Yong Qiang & Dinesh Mangalanathadurai 

It is not easy to communicate when in a partnership with someone, much less under intense conditions like the WorldSkills Competition. Yet Dinesh and Yong Qiang, newly graduated from the Diploma in Electronic, Computer and Communication Engineering course, have it under control.
The Mobile Robotics skill area, a two-member team competition, requires competitors to carry out stipulated tasks using their robots.  Competitors need to be competent in both the mechanical aspects and programming of the robots.

The boys make it a point to delegate tasks during the short briefing time they have before the competition. Since both are equally trained in the both the mechanical and programming skills, they stress the importance to divide their responsibilities well, to ensure they are able to perform their required tasks.
Dinesh interacting with our former PCEO Mr Chan
During the competition, the competition arena is likely to be bustling with noisy and excited spectators which may prove a challenge for communications. How do they intend to combat this?
Yong Qiang, a technology enthusiast, says, “We will use hand gestures to help us.  For example, we work together using a laser pointer to identify the location of the robot and where the robot is going to move next.”

The duo did not know each other well when they first started.  They were paired up by their coaches, who felt that that Dinesh and Yong Qiang would work well together.  And it looks like their coaches are correct!

Currently, the robot Dinesh and Yong Qing built is on its way to São Paulo. It takes close to one month to ship it. To continue training back in Singapore, they built an identical substitute robot.
“As of now, we are still getting used to the new robot. Soon we will be programming the robot to run faster and perform better,” said Dinesh

So what’s the worst case scenario for the boys?

“The robot breaking into pieces,” the boys replied jokingly.  On a more serious note, they are both training very hard with the aim of getting gold.

Good luck to all representatives of Singapore for the 43rd WorldSkills Competition. No matter the outcome, I’m sure all Singaporeans would be equally proud of you!

By Felicia Kwan, Diploma in Food Science & Nutrition student

Felicia is an aspiring writer who loves to eat & travel around the world. She is also an avid reader, and hopes to inspire the world with her writing one day.

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