When Bruno Karaerua was in his house in rural Namibia doing his homework by candlelight he used to dream of bringing electric light to his village.
Now he’s a fully trained Electrical engineer bringing power to his village and the rest of Namibia.
I was lucky enough to hear Bruno’s success story when I attended the General Assembly of WorldSkills International in Amsterdam this month. WorldSkills is an organisation committed to training young people around the world in a range of skills from electrical engineering and panelbeating to hairdressing, landscape gardening and many other skills.
Bruno represents Africa in WorldSkills Champions Trust. And he says he wants to use his position to inspire a whole generation of Africans to learn new skills and find employment:
”My ambition is to enlighten and educate people about the importance of skills so future generations of African children won’t have to rely on candlelight to do their homework”.
“I want to tackle the shortage of electricity in Africa. My work as an electrical installation engineer allow me make the change I want to see on my continent. We share a common goal of sparking the world though the power of skills.
Bruno is at the forefront of WorldSkills’ efforts to develop its work in Africa. There are currently six Africa members of WorldSkills International – Zambia, Morocco, Egypt, Namibia, South Africa and Tunisia- with discussions underway with a further twelve countries.
Already Namibia and Zambian have been supported by WorldSkills Korea which has provided training and toolkits to help both countries compete in national and international competitions. Jerry Beukes of the Namibia Training Authority commented:
“We have benefitted from our partnership with Korea and it’s Global Institute for Skills transfer GIFTS. It’s giving us a better education for Africa’s rise”.
He revealed that three Namibian competitors had gone to Korea for intensive training in Clothing Production, Carpentry and Hairdressing, while Korea had even based a Technical Director in Namibia on secondment to train thirty local Experts”.
Francis Mwape of Zambia said his young people had also been helped by Korea who had trained young Zambians in Korea and allowed them to take part in Korean national competitions.
“Our Ministry of Labour has recognised the role of national skills competitions to promote employability, productivity and skills excellence”, he said.
WorldSkills France is also engaging with Africa and has opened discussions with potential partners in Senegal and Mali. . In the words of one WorldSkills France delegate:
“We will help our African partners to help themselves so we will see Africa rising”
By 2050 Africa will have the largest working age population in the world – larger than both China and India – and is going to need all the skilled people it can muster.
Photo: Bruno Karaerua at the WorldSkills International General Assembly in Amsterdam