‘India’s participation at WorldSkills International Competition must be seen as big as the Olympics’- Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

The 48-member Indian Team representing the country at WorldSkills Kazan 2019 was given a grand send-off at a ceremony in the capital today, organized by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under the aegis of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), to motivate the participants as they gear up to pit their skills against the best in the world. India is the sixth largest team that will take part in the competition.

Nearly 1,500 competitors from 60 countries will compete in 56 skill competitions at this mega event in Kazan, Russia on August 22-27. The 48-member Indian team will participate in 44 skills, including mobile robotics, prototype modelling, hairdressing, baking, confectionary & patisserie, welding, brick laying, car painting, floristry, etc. Forty-four experts and 14 interpreters are also accompanying the participants to Kazan. In 2017, a 28-strong contingent took part in the WorldSkills International at Abu Dhabi, winning one silver, one bronze and nine Medallions of Excellence.

Addressing the candidates Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said, “My heartiest congratulations to the 48 of you who have proven your mark at the national level. You all will now represent the country at the world’s biggest skill competition in Russia. My advice to you is to compete in the true spirit of participation and make India proud on the global platform and at the same time learn from your international peers competing with you. You are the brand ambassadors of India and your victory will be an inspiration for every Indian youth who aspires to make it big in their life. Participating at events of such scale adds to the larger cause of skill development which is integral to Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of a Skilled India.”

“I am happy to learn that we have six young girls also bearing the flag of the country at Kazan. I am positive you will inspire many more and we will see increased female participation in the years to come. I also hope with Team India’s participation at WorldSkills, the event will gain the same level of popularity in the country, as the Olympics and the Asian Games,” he added.

The desire to excel in the trades of their choice has played a crucial part in the candidates realising their dream of performing at a global stage. Mohammed Rabith from Malappuram, Kerala is one such example of grit and determination. The 22-year-old whose father works as a coolie and mother is a homemaker, aims to make his parents and his country proud by winning the gold medal in Wall & Floor Tiling Skill at the WorldSkills. Stories like Rabith are abound in the Indian team, where the spirit of youth is motivated by aspiration and the desire to excel.

Himanshu Vohra, a final-year civil engineering student from Chitkara University in Punjab, is representing India in Plumbing and Heating Trade. Himanshu’s passion and interest in plumbing has taken him to multiple competitions, including Global Skills Competition in Australia, before he found himself as a contender for the WorldSkills in Russia.

About 75% participants come from tier II and tier III cities, with 25% from rural areas. Most belong to humble backgrounds, parents work as farmers, coolie, daily wage laborers and security guards. Among states/UTs, Maharashtra tops the chart with seven contestants participating in the competition, followed by five from Karnataka and four from Uttar Pradesh. Over 50,000 youth had registered for the IndiaSkills Competitions that was organized across several legs last year.

Participants spoke about their experiences at the send-off. Present among the audience were proud parents who greeted them with loud cheers as the Minister felicitated all 48 contestants.

The 48 contestants have been shortlisted through a series of contests conducted at district, state, regional and national levels over the past year. These candidates were provided extensive training in skills ranging from Wall and Floor Tiling, Brick Laying, Cabinet Making, Car Painting, CNC Turning, Hair Dressing, Welding, Restaurant Service, Beauty Therapy, Auto-body Repair to Mobile Robotics, Mechatronics, Prototype Modelling, Visual Merchandising, etc, by leading corporate entities with NSDC acting as a facilitator and have been gained extensive support from Sector Skill Councils, Industry and Corporates.

Candidates have been exposed to international training with industry support from over 100 companies. More than 100 companies have Renowned experts such as Vinesh Johny – Chef/Trainer, winner of Forbes 30-under-30; Samantha Kochhar, renowned beauty expert and director of Aroma Magic; JP Shroff, Chairman of Kushal Credai; Seema Jhaveri, Director of IFD and Vaishali Shah, Principal of LTA Beauty School came together to prepare the contestants for the mega-event. Leading organisations such as Maruti, Mahindra, Toyota, Daikin, Saint Gobain, Tata Motors are among the 100+ partners which have extended support via infrastructure, equipment, expert trainers, facilities, training and more.

Aimed at promoting world-class standards in technical education and vocational training, NSDC, under the aegis for MSDE, is working to make skills aspirational and create a pathway for a career in vocational trades.