Young people will have the opportunity to show off their work potential in the Hong Kong Youth Skill Competition. The competition is being organised by the Vocational Training Council (VTC) in conjunction with the Construction Industry Training Authority, Clothing Industry Training Authority and Industrial Centre of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. VTC executive director Professor Lee Ngok said the event would raise public awareness of the importance of both work skills and vocational training. 'The local youth skill competition is organised with the aim of enhancing the social status of skilled workers and encouraging young people to embark on a career in industry and commerce and excel in their trades and occupations,' he said. 'Another motive is to select competitors for the world skills contest.' The champion and two runners-up in each trade will receive medals, prizes and certificates. They also may be eligible to represent the SAR at the International Skills Competition in Montreal, Canada in November next year. Executive director of the Construction Industry Training Authority, Albert Tong Yat-chu, said the local version could help propel the status of the workers. 'Many people still have the traditional idea that workers cannot be a successful group in society. We hope that discrimination will be reduced via the competition,' Mr Tong said. Twenty trades took part in the first competition two years ago. This year, 19 will battle it out for top honours: Engineering drafting CAD; fitting; gold jewellery; graphic design; house wiring; industrial electronics; information technology; ladies' dressmaking; light vehicle mechanic; mechatronics; milling/CNC; painting and decoration; PC & network; plumbing; refrigeration technique; turning/CNC; wall & floor tiling; welding and Western cookery. Permanent SAR residents who are aged 21 or below - except the contestants in mechatronics where the age limit is 24 - are welcome to compete in the initial form of practical tests over the next two months. Any trade which attracts less than eight competitors will be cancelled. The cost of the competition is $500,000, with half the money coming from VTC and half from sponsors. In the 1996 world event, a 15-member team representing the SAR pitted their skills against competitors from 32 countries and gained three bronze medals and four diplomas of excellence.