India registered several firsts at the WorldSkills International Competitions that was held in Kazan, Russia this year. Shweta Ratanpura, a graphic designer from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, became the first-ever woman participant from India to bag a bronze medal for graphic designing.
“An Experience Like No Other”
An alumnus of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, 22-year-old Ratanpura were selected from scores of participants. “At the end, it was just me and another aspirant. Just one of us was to represent India at the World Skills International competition. We both trained under Mr Sathish Narayanan at his studio in Pune. It was a 6-days-a-week training schedule where we would practice for 10 hours a day.”
Post the training, she got an opportunity to participate in international friendly competitions in countries like Italy and Russia, which gave her international exposure before the actual competition.
“Apart from the skills training, I also exercised daily. Even though my skill doesn’t really require physical exertion, but the fact that the competition is so intense, it was required,” said Ratanpura.
Speaking of the competition, she said that she would be competing with such big-wigs was extremely unnerving. “Some of my competitors had been dedicatedly practising for this competition from the last three-four years.”
Her skill, that is, graphic designing, was conducted over a span of four days. “It was a 22-hour competition, meaning every day we were working for six hours at a stretch, with just a lunch break. Every day was a new challenge. We did everything, from brand designing, logo designing to business letterheads. The output was required to be of industry standards. Normally, such projects would take weeks, but here we were, completing the tasks in just hours. In fact, the competition was so intense that I reduced my water intake so as to cut down on restroom visits.”
Awards and adulation apart, Ratanpura says that her win has helped bring attention to ‘unconventional’ career options like graphic designing. “Four years back when I said that I want to pursue this career, a lot of doubts were raised. But my parents were very supportive. It is great that now more people know about it.”
World Skills Competition
The World Skills competition sees young people from all corners of the world to compete for the prestigious medal in their chosen field.
There were competitions in 56 skills across a wide range of industries — from joinery to floristry; hairdressing to electronics; and auto-body repair to the bakery.
This year the event saw more than 1350 participants from 63 countries wherein India managed to secure 13th position.
In India, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, National Skill Development Corporation take care of the selection and training of competitors. The whole process takes about one year.
Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), after the event said India is taking neccessary steps to utilise the potential of its unique demographic dividend. “India is a young nation with a median age of 27.6 years. We will have the largest working population during 2022-2034. We have adopted global standards of skilling to strengthen the young workforce with competent skills,” he said. “We have undertaken several initiatives to provide opportunities for the workforce, including prominent international recruitments, to enhance their skill level.”