Durban - A CHATSWORTH student competed at the WorldSkills Competition in Kazan, Russia, and scooped a gold medal in the team challenge recently.
Adrian Jared Moonsamy, 20, a Computer Numerical Controlled Turning (CNC) WorldSkills competitor, said the challenge was a step above the rest and the hurdles kept coming.
Participants from 28 countries pitted their strengths against each other in the CNC part of the competition and were afterwards divided into two teams of 14.
The teams had to digitally design and program components to be physically machined, which would then be used to create a replica of the international Russian Space Station.
“We were told to complete nearly impossible tasks. We had to code, cut, and create components in a matter of hours, which our mentors said would take them at least a couple of days to finish.”
With teammates from different countries, Moonsamy said there was a language barrier, which they overcame by communicating through their work.
As each of the four days progressed, the difficulty and intricacies intensified.
“On the first day, we made 10 components, which were fairly straightforward, but on the fourth day there were two pieces to make. But the ridges, cuts, and dimensional requirements made it a difficult round.”
In the world of CNC, he said work was done in micrometres -which is one-millionth of a metre - leaving barely any margin for error.
“As engineers, we are perfectionists and if we were not given such a small room for error, we would have given it to ourselves. I’m the kind of person where, if I set my sights on a particular thing, then that is exactly what I need to reproduce.”
The CNC skills student at the Coastal KwaZulu-Natal TVET College was 18 points shy of the 700 needed for an individual medal of excellence - which moves recipients into a tier of its own.
It is rewarded to all competitors who reached the threshold and makes them more attractive to prospective employers.
“I really wanted that medal because I set my sights on it, but I am proud of what I achieved, especially since I went up against some of the best in the world.”
The competition attracted 1354 young professionals from 63 countries and regions, who participated in 56 different skill-testing challenges promoting vocational, technological, and service-oriented education and training.
The other categories ranged from cooking and hairdressing to aircraft maintenance and architectural stone masonry.
For the next competition, in two years’ time, South Africa’s representative should be better equipped, he said.
“I’m already scouting for our next competitor. I have been asked to train and prepare him or her. I hope this competitor will get the medal of excellence.”
While in Russia, his family, including his grandmother Gracie, 77, who he lived with, called him every day.
He said he also drew strength from his mentor Pierre Palm, who was also in Russia for the competition.