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June 8, 2009

Canadian trades students face off in Olympic-style event

Winners meet at world level in Calgary

The 15th Canadian Skills Competition wrapped up recently in Charlottetown, P.E.I., with 173 medals awarded to the country’s top competitors in over 40 events in trades and skilled technologies.

It is Canada’s only Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology event for apprentices and students at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

Competitions were held in construction, employment and leadership, information and technology, manufacturing, service, and transportation sectors.

In the construction sector, Maxime Côté (Hearst, Ont.), and Evan Butchart (Salmon Arm, B.C.) took first place in the secondary and post-secondary welding competitions, respectively.

Carpentry winners were Stephen Wein (Okotoks, Alta.-S) and Brian James Davis (Nanaimo, B.C.-PS), and Alex Vocal (Sainte-Justine, Que.-S) and Cormac Eby (Port Alberni, B.C.-PS) took gold medals in cabinetmaking.

Dallas Ellsworth (Tignish, P.E.I.-S) and Keegan Balcomb (Grandville Ferry, N.S.-PS) placed first in electrical wiring, as did Marilyne Boutin (Westbury, Que.-S) and Samuel Bunting (Turkey Point, Ont.-PS) in architectural CADD.

Post-secondary-only competitions and winners included sheet metal work, Christian Seaman (Salmon Creek, N.B.); plumbing, Marc Beauchesne (Drummondville, Que.); automation and control, Brendan Button (Calgary, Alta.); brick masonry, Shaun Sawatzky (Winnipeg, Man.); and refrigeration, Jean-François Lamond (Boisbriand Que.).

SKILLS CANADA

One of the students at the Canadian Skills Competition in Charlottetown demonstrates his sheet metal skills.

Teams of two took on the landscape gardening competition, with Thomas Zinn (Springstein, Man.) and Konrad Zinn (Starbuck, Man.) taking first.

“Industries that depend on skilled trade workers are key drivers of our economy and contribute over 50 per cent of Canada’s GDP,” said Shaun Thorson, executive director, Skills/Compétences Canada.

“The Canadian Skills Competition is a unique event that helps showcase and raise awareness for the broad range of opportunities to be found in the trades, while demonstrating the depth of talent within the skills movement in Canada.”

Special guests included P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz, Deputy Mayor of Charlottetown Stu MacFadyen, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning Alan Campbell, and Mike Holmes, host and creator of TV show Holmes on Homes.

“An event like the Canadian Skills Competition gives me great encouragement about the future of skilled trades and technology careers in Canada,” said Holmes in a news release from Skills Canada.

“I am so proud of the caliber of projects showcased at this event.”

Nineteen members of Team Canada, including winners from last year’s Skills Canada competition, took part in training projects alongside the competitors to sharpen their skills and competitive spirit in preparation for WorldSkills Calgary 2009 Sept. 1-7 at Stampede Park.

WorldSkills hosts over 900 participants from trade, service, and technology programs from 51 regions/countries, and is the world’s largest competition of its kind.

Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national, not-for-profit organization that promotes skilled trades and technology careers among young people in Canada through skilled trades awareness programs and competitions, in co-operation with employers, educators, labour groups, and governments.

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