Thursday, September 29, 2016

From Mechatronics Amateurs to Medallists

Eljer (left) and Clarence (right)
Worldskills Singapore, is a nation-wide skills competition for Singaporean youths who excel in a wide range of skills such as CNC milling, mobile robotics and web design. This year, the finals was held from 7 to 9 July 2016 at ITE Central and ITE College West. We saw students from the five polytechnics and ITE participating in the finals. I decided to interview two outstanding students from NYP who won the gold medal in the Mechatronics skill area.

The duo, Clarence Lim and Eljer Chua are final year students from the Diploma in Mechatronics Engineering. Their exceptional talent in Mechatronics have not only won them gold medals in Singapore, they were also selected to represent Singapore in the international-level WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi next year!

The Mechatronics skill area requires competitors to solve logic problems, assemble a machine according to documentation, programme a machine, interpret technical documentation, and design electrical and pneumatic circuits by hand or with available software. Sounds really complicated doesn’t it?

But for Clarence and Eljer, they took it well in their stride and are grateful for the opportunity to improve their skills. Here is what they have to say about competing in WorldSkills:

Tell us a little about yourself 

Eljer: Hello, I’m Eljer and I’m 19 this year. I joined WorldSkills because I wanted to learn more about industrial skills like electrical and pneumatics programming which I believe will benefit me in the future.

Clarence: Hi, I’m Clarence and I’m 21 this year. Like Eljer, I joined WorldSkills to find out more about Mechatronics and its application in the industry because it will benefit me in the future. I also thought it would be fun to participate in competitions while being able to gain new knowledge and experience.

What are the sacrifices you had to make for the competition?

Clarence: I had very little sleep time and also sacrificed my holidays to train for the competition.

Eljer: I sacrificed my family bonding time and I did not have time to rest properly as we trained till late. Initially, I was jealous of the students who were enjoying their holidays whereas we had to train for WorldSkills. However, it was all worth it.

How did you train for Worldskills?

Eljer: We train with the other NYP Mechatronics teams and try to improve our accuracy and speed.

Clarence: We train like we are in the competition, doing question papers and honing our skillsprogressively. We also try to improve the speed of assembling different components.

How are you training for the international round in Abu Dhabi next year?

Eljer: We have not started training for that since we had to focus on our exams first. However, we will continue training until we get exposed to the new components and excel in all areas in the international round.

How does participating in WorldSkills benefit you?

Eljer: It will help me in the future when I start working since my skills will give me more confidence. Studies-wise, I can understand my modules better. 

Clarence: I agree with Eljer, the experience I gained in Worldskills does help to prepare me for working life. 

What advice would you give people wanting to compete in Worldskills?

Eljer: Listen to lecturers and practice mental toughness. You need to learn how to handle stress well.

Clarence: Stay calm, composed, and focussed throughout the competition. Take your training very seriously.  

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We wish Eljer and Clarence all the best for their international round in Abu Dhabi in October next year!

By Mu'adzah Binte Mohd Shapie, Diploma in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technology

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