Akeil to put skills to test in Abu Dhabi

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Caribbean Link -

AT THE TEN­DER AGE of seven, when lit­tle boys usu­ally play with toy cars, Akeil Craig-browne was sharp­en­ing his me­chan­i­cal skills on the real ones.

Lit­tle did he know that he was des­tined to use his abil­i­ties to rep­re­sent Bar­ba­dos in the Au­to­mo­tive Technology Com­pe­ti­tion at World­skills –a global “skills Olympics”, tak­ing place in Abu Dhabi this Oc­to­ber.

The 22-year-old re­calls watch­ing his grand­fa­thers fix ve­hi­cles; see­ing his fa­ther race at ral­lies and be­ing around his dad’s buy-and-sell car lot.

“I was al­ways in the car field; when I was small we had a Nis­san Sunny, so when­ever I saw it jacked up I would run out­side to as­sist. Around age seven, I started chang­ing tyres, check­ing oils and chang­ing flu­ids.

“By 14, I started work­ing with my grand­fa­ther. Af­ter sec­ondary school, I de­cided to do the pro­gramme at the Polytech­nic,” the past stu­dent of The Al­leyne School and Comber­mere said.

Akeil first heard about World­skills Bar­ba­dos, the lo­cal leg of the global com­pe­ti­tion, while at the Sa­muel Jack­man Prescod Polytech­nic (SJPP). In­struc­tors there en­cour­aged in­ter­ested stu­dents to en­ter the con­test, which was open to per­sons aged 16 to 21, who were en­rolled in tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing (TVET) in­sti­tu­tions.

“I de­cided to give it a try; what was the worst that could hap­pen? So, I gave it my best, and made it through the pre­lim­i­nar­ies and the fi­nals,” he said.

It paid off. Akeil won gold and earned the high­est over­all score in all cat­e­gories of the com­pe­ti­tion be­com­ing the first male to achieve this. He au­to­mat­i­cally qual­i­fied to rep­re­sent Bar­ba­dos at World­skills Abu Dhabi.

“It is my best ac­com­plish­ment to date,” Akeil said.

Equally as proud is his in­struc­tor and skills ex­pert, Wayne May­cock.

“It was very im­pres­sive to see Akeil’s skills, time man­age­ment and crit­i­cal think­ing im­prove tremen­dously. . . . World­skills has shown me that when stu­dents are tak­ing part in a com­pe­ti­tion, they are will­ing to go above and be­yond.

“For in­stance, Akeil asked the other in­struc­tor, Mr Haynes, to help him get his me­chan­i­cal side up to stan­dard for World­skills Bar­ba­dos, be­cause Akeil is stronger elec­tron­i­cally.”

As May­cock and Akeil pre­pare for World­skills Abu Dhabi, the train­ing has in­ten­si­fied. They ad­mit that they were ner­vous but as­sured Bar­ba­di­ans that Akeil was work­ing very hard to com­pete against the best youth auto-tech­ni­cians in the world.

“Abu Dhabi is more chal­leng­ing be­cause I know all the ar­eas in which we are lack­ing at the in­sti­tu­tion (SJPP) and we are de­pend­ing on the

(GP)

garages like Simp­son Mo­tors, Mce­near­ney Qual­ity Inc. (MQI) and smaller garages to help us pre­pare. Un­for­tu­nately, we can­not find all the equip­ment and skill sets in one garage in Bar­ba­dos, so we have to spread the train­ing around to make sure he is as pre­pared as pos­si­ble,” the skills ex­pert ex­plained.

But there is a need for more train­ing. May­cock ex­plained he had reached out to lo­cal garages to as­sist Akeil with spe­cialised ar­eas such as prac­tise on hybrid ve­hi­cles.

“Who­ever we asked have not said no; they are will­ing to help. Some would like to have him full time. Some of them want him to come on evenings af­ter work so they could carry him through the skillsets and equip­ment,” he out­lined.

Akeil, who is also a trainee ve­hi­cle in­spec­tor with the Trans­port Board, is sharp­en­ing his skills through on-the-job ex­pe­ri­ence. His em­ploy­ers have lauded his work and the World­skills pro­gramme.

“He re­cently joined us and the skills he gained through SJPP and the World­skills pro­gramme are an as­set to our qual­ity as­sur­ance depart­ment. We have put him to work in our most crit­i­cal shift, our night shift, to make sure the buses are avail­able for the next morn­ing,” mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager of the Trans­port Board, Lynda Holder said.

Akeil is grate­ful to the garage own­ers who af­forded him the ad­di­tional train­ing. “The guys that I have been in­tro­duced to are pretty good and they have a lot of faith in me. I am go­ing to World­skills Abu Dhabi to do my best to make Bar­ba­dos, my fam­ily, friends, in­struc­tors and the TVET Coun­cil proud,” he con­fi­dently said.

Ap­prox­i­mately 1 300 par­tic­i­pants from 77 coun­tries are ex­pected to com­pete in 51 skill ar­eas at World­skills Abu Dhabi. Bar­ba­dos will com­pete in au­to­mo­tive technology, culi­nary arts, gar­ment mak­ing and hair­dress­ing.

Given the mag­ni­tude of tal­ent, skill and ex­per­tise that Akeil Craig-browne will face at this ‘skills Olympics’, Bar­ba­di­ans are be­ing en­cour­aged to show their sup­port by fol­low­ing his jour­ney to World­skills Abu Dhabi on the World­skills­bar­ba­dos Face­book and In­sta­gram pages.

(PR/TVET Coun­cil Bar­ba­dos)

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