Three local automotive artisans will be taking South Africa to the international stage at the annual World Skills Competition in Leipzig’, Germany, in July 2013.Scott Alison (20), David Hlope (21) and Domnic Laranjeira (20) were selected as the three finalists during the World Skills South Africa leg of the global competition. Thanks to the collaboration of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services (merSETA), the finalists will represent South Africa in the auto-body repair, automobile technology and car painting categories respectively. ULTIMATE TESTCEO of merSETA, Dr Raymond Patel, said the World Skills Competition provides the ultimate challenge for young skilled individuals to test themselves against demanding international standards. “Alison, Hlope and Laranjeira were selected as the best of the best from their respective automotive trades by the RMI and merSETA, but a lot of work still lies ahead to ensure that they can withstand the rigours of competing on the global stage.” RMI CEO Jeff Osborne said: “It is essential that South Africa keeps pace with international automotive development – and investing in our youth will ensure sustainability of these efforts”.Imperial Group head of human resources, Dr Johan de Beer has the tough task of preparing the candidates for the 2013 competition.“Their performance in Leipzig is significant in the sense that it determines our position on the ‘world class rating scale’ for our ability and proficiency in the automotive trade.TOUGH CHALLENGE AHEAD“But technical proficiency isn’t enough and competing at this level can place a huge emotional strain on candidates, so I will particularly focus on the areas identified as most challenging by previous years’s candidates to ensure that our three finalists are holistically prepared for the challenges ahead.”Scott Alison, winner of the Automobile Technology category said: “I am so proud and excited to be able to represent my country and my selection is proof of my dedication and pride in my job.” David Hlope, winner of the Autobody Repair category said: “It’s an amazing opportunity for me to represent my country in an international competition and I would like to acknowledge not only my family, but also my colleagues and the expert support team for never once doubting that I could reach this goal.” Dominic Laranjeira won the Car Painting category and he said: “I am excited to see what is done elsewhere in the world and am looking forward to this amazing learning experience – and I have to thank the organisers and my parents for their continued support. David, Scott and I will make you proud!”The World Skills Competition will take place in Leipzig on July 2, 2013 where the young men will compete against 1 000 global candidates under the age of 23.