NEW DELHI: The son of a security guard who became a mechatronics technician, a young woman who battled patriarchal pressures to build a career in health and social care... These are among the 48 who left for Russia on Sunday to represent India in the WorldSkills Competition in Kazan from August 22-27.
The competition, held every two years, is the world's biggest vocational education and skills excellence event.
The team includes Nidhin Prem, 22, from Kochi in Kerala who discovered his passion for gaming at a young age and followed it up with a professional course in animation to become an expert in 3D Game Art.
The son of a security guard, Sumanth S.C., also 22, fought against major odds to land up a job of mechatronics technician in a leading engineering company.
Also in the team is 20-year-old Thasleem Mohideen from Tamil Nadu who fought against patriarchal pressures of getting married after high school to build herself a career in health and social care.
The competitors will take part in events as diverse as concrete construction work, cooking, cybersecurity, hairdressing and aircraft maintenance.
More than 1,600 young professionals representing more than 60 countries will compete in over 56 skills.
The Indian team comprises youth in the age group of 18 to 25 years, six of them women. More than 70 per cent of participants are from Tier II and Tier III cities.
The team was given a grand send-off from New Delhi by a team of officials and dignitaries led by Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Mahendra Nath Pandey.
Addressing the competitors, Pandey praised them for taking a place in the Indian team.
"The substantial chunk of India's population comprises young men and women. It is the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see this young population as a well-skilled work force and to make the country the skill development capital of the world," he said.
"It is the responsibility of this team to showcase India's potential to the world at the international competition."
The competitors from India will take part in 44 skills. There were only 28 participants from India in the last WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi.
"We would expect the competitors to contribute to the nation's economy in the future by developing the spirit of entrepreneurship. All participants should take to entrepreneurship in the future through start-ups," said Pandey.