Meet some of the local competitors of this year's Skills Canada National Competition, and learn of some of the new exciting aspects being introduced this year.
The last time Winnipeg hosted the National Skills Competition was in 2017 the 23rd event of its kind.
Every year, more than 500 young people from all regions of Canada come to the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) to participate in over 40 skilled trade and technology competitions.
This year, students from post-secondary institutions and secondary institutions will showcase their skills in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The city that is rumoured to possess the largest attendance for visitors during the competition.
There are some new aspects to SCNC this year.
First, Skills/Compétence Canada is hosting a new Skills Symposium where industry, government and education will have the opportunity to meet, exchange and share knowledge. This year’s theme is: Embracing Adaptability: Navigating Change in the Skilled Trades and Technologies. Some of the topics that will be presented include engaging diverse communities, recruiting and retention, sustainability and so much more.
Second, the new Skills Showcase featuring First Nations, Inuit and Métis Skills. This showcase will allow thousands of visitors to explore First Nations, Inuit, and Métis skills by taking part in activities such as flat stitch beading, soapstone carving, building mini tipis, and constructing Inuit yo-yos! Visitors can see how these skills align with different competition areas seen at the SCNC, such as fashion technology and carpentry.
And lastly, the new Empowering Women in Trades initiative will bring together industry partners to show young women the incredible careers that are available in the skilled trades.
Meet some of the competitors
Margaux Jonson and Sydney Foy from Sisler High School are competing in the 2D animation skill-partnered event.
Both high school girls—Jonson in grade 11 and Foy in grade 12—were asked by the CREATE Department Head Jamie Leduc if they wanted to compete in the provincial skills competition they both said yes.
Jonson has done a similar competition before while this was something new for Foy.
Together, they worked together to create a winning animation. Jonson was the one to draw out the different slides and find audio while Foy worked on colouring them. The girls agreed that they had a smooth rhythm during the competition.
"I'm just hoping that [nationals] will feel similar to house skills Manitoba was. I mean, I guess it was a little bit more comfortable because we were at Sisler, in the same room that we usually worked all year," says Foy. "But I think if we just keep doing what we were doing for skills Manitoba, like our workflow and how we organize things I think we'll be able to do pretty well."
Matthew Kitchur from Technical Vocational High will be competing in the precision machining skill event.
Kitchur first got into precision machining back in grade 10 when he had to choose electives for the school year, thinking it sounded interesting he tried it out.
As he started to learn what it was all about, Kitchur began to get more into it and enjoy it more.
"I like that you could kind of make anything that you really see, and there are lots of different ways to do things like that," says Kitchur.
After practicing every day with his instructor, Kitchur feels pretty confident going into Nationals.
"I've been trying really hard. I've been working on stuff I don't really know and just getting more competent with the machines."
Eli Belinski from Red River Polytechnic will be competing in the cooking skill event.
"I just really like cooking," says Belinski. "After I graduated high school I had to decide what to do for my career and I like cooking so I was like, I'll try culinary school and we'll see how it goes."
From a young age, he remembers cooking Christmas dinner with his day and baking with his grandma. Although neither of those gave him the dream of pursuing the culinary arts, Belinski simply enjoys being in the kitchen.
For the provincial competition, Belinski wasn't as nervous as others might have been due to his having experienced competing twice before in other competitions. He does note the guidelines for SCNC are quite strict, but he's happy he was able to participate and have the opportunity to learn more.
"I'm proud of my dessert, it went how I planned and all the judges really liked it. So, that kind of made me happy."
Belinski is nervous but excited and is working on rewriting his appetizer because he thinks he can do better and the ingredients are similar to the ones used for the provincial competition.
Dorrian Selley from Red River Polytechnic will be competing in the car painting skill event.
Selley says he's always been a car guy. Growing up on a farm near Oak Bluff, he and his brother would tinker with vehicles. Even throughout high school, he worked at an auto shop.
Selley competed in last year's Skill Competition as well, however, it was in auto body repair, which he signed up for accidentally thinking it was the car painting category.
Despite that, Selley still won first at provincials and nationals.
"Personally, I'm actually quite more comfortable doing car painting. I've been painting for over a year and a half now, so I'm just not really good with technology and I signed up for the wrong one. So, this year I was pretty comfortable in what I was doing," says Selley.
This year, Selley was also the recipient of the RBC Best of Region Award in the post-secondary division, which is awarded to the competitor with the highest score throughout all the skills at the provincial competition.
"I have a training day coming up, so that'll kind of just reaffirm some of the stuff. I mean, painting is painting in the end, but there are certain little things that you kind of become accustomed to that we'll have to work through. But, overall, I'm feeling pretty comfortable."
For more information about the Skills Canada National Competition, visit the Skills/Compétence Canada website.