The Gert Sibande TVET College, Skills Academy and Artisan Development Centre apprentice in Bricklaying, Mncedisi Mkhaliphi (22), won the National leg of the 3rd National World Skills Competition that was held in Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) in February this year.
He will be representing South Africa in the international leg of the Competition in Kazan, Russia on 22 – 27 August 2019.
World Skills South Africa (WSSA) is an initiative that is championed by the Department of Higher Education and Training and was formally established in April 2013 by the Deputy Minister of the Department of Higher Education and Training.
Mncedisi was born and bred in Fernie where he completed his primary and secondary school. He was raised by a single parent after his mother passed away while he was young. He is the 6th child out of 10 siblings. “My father was very strict and he was a firm believer in education,” alluded Mncedisi.
Becoming a civil engineer has always been his dream. “I always wanted to do something related to civil engineering because I am an artistic person, I enjoy drawing. In civil engineering there are drawings of house plans and other structures. Studying civil engineering provides me with an opportunity to express myself artistically,” stated Mncedisi. He matriculated in 2014 and took a gap year due to the fact that he wanted to assist his father by providing for his family. “I later realised that I was making a mistake because I will not be able to provide for them without proper education,” he continued.
In 2016, he enrolled for civil engineering at Ermelo Campus through the assistance of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). “I decided to join a TVET College because of the fact that it provides a lot of opportunities in terms of financial assistance as compared to a University,” alluded Mncedisi. He made the choice to join a TVET College even though people kept saying that TVET Colleges are for people who are not bright.
He completed his qualification in 2017 and he was faced with the realities of unemployment. “I got a job at a local retail shop. I went to my lectures at the campus to inform them because I wanted to know the application process for a diploma. I was told that working at a retail shop will not help me get my Diploma because it is not related to the qualification and that is when I was advised to apply for apprenticeship at Skills Academy and Artisan Development,” stated Mncedisi. He applied and he was successful and began at the centre in April 2018.
His facilitator at the centre, Sello Paille, pushed him to enter the competition because he was the only person who qualified to enter the competition in his class. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands. “I took the opportunity because of the prospects of learning new things and see other countries,” continued Mncedisi. Participation in the World Skills competition holds a huge potential to influence the development and employability of the South African Youth. In addition to this, it acts as an effective vehicle to increasing awareness of apprenticeships and artisanal skills, raising the standard of vocational education and training and artisanal skills.
Mncedisi is proud of the fact that he will be representing the country in the International leg of the competition. “I feel that I have a responsibility in my shoulders to represent my country well and make everyone proud. I want to give it my best and bring the trophy home,” he said. His future plans are to open his own company that will specialise in civil engineering and building construction and to continue studying. His advice to young people who are not doing anything at the moment is “young people need to grab all the opportunities that are presented to them with both hands and work hard.”
According to Paille, his facilitator, he is a well behaved boy who carries out instructions correctly. “I would like to say to him, he should continue working as hard and listen to his trainer by doing what he is told,” advised Paille. The college management is proud of his achievements. “We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in this competition and we are proud of Mncedisi Mkhaliphi, we know he will make us proud again in Russia,” concluded the college Acting Principal, Portia Mange.