Skills Canada competitions help promote the trades

Eric McCarthy & Amber Nicholson
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ELMSDALE - Josh Silver was looking forward to the opportunity to encourage Westisle Composite High School to consider a career in the skilled trades.
The executive director of Skills Canada P.E.I. could have just as easily recommended they sit in on the prepared speech competition in the library.

Jenna Arthur gives her mannequin a classic bombage cut during the Skills Canada hair styling competition Tuesday at Westisle Composite High. Competitors get to keep their mannequins as a souvenir at the end of the competition. Eric McCarthy/Journal Pionee

ELMSDALE - Josh Silver was looking forward to the opportunity to encourage Westisle Composite High School to consider a career in the skilled trades.
The executive director of Skills Canada P.E.I. could have just as easily recommended they sit in on the prepared speech competition in the library.
The message Skills Canada speech competitors delivered was consistent with what Silver was telling students: there's a rewarding future in the trades.
"Ten to 12 years from now 40 per cent of today's skilled trades people will have retired," said Silver.
The industry, he added, isn't even coming close to filling the vacuum that will be created by these retirements.
"For so long trades were a bad name," Silver said. There was even the attitude that smarter students go to university and those who can't handle university take up a trade.
"But, really, that's not the case," he stressed. "There's an extraordinary amount of knowledge you need to succeed (in the trades)."
In addition to high-school level prepared speech, there were job interview and job demonstration competitions, secondary electronics and secondary and post-secondary hair styling competitions held at Westisle earlier in the week.
On Wednesday, Holland College's Aerospace Centre in Slemon Park hosted the post-secondary auto service competition.
"It was a very close competition," said automotive instructor Jeff Dingwell.
"All competitors did really well and came within a couple points of each other."
Students were given 45 minutes at five different stations to assess what was wrong with the vehicle and fix it. Challenges included brake jobs and basic electrical work.
Dingwell marked competitors on their testing, checking and adjusting of vehicles. Second-year automotive student Matt Getson participated in the competition.
"There were some things I found easy and other parts were very tough," he said.
This year's Skills Canada P.E.I. competition ends today in Georgetown.
Gold, silver and bronze winners from all competitions held across the province will be announced on March 11 at Holland College's Tourism and Culinary Centre.
Gold medal winners advance to the national competition in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., in late May.
Winners from the national event will have the opportunity to compete in London, England, at the World Skills Competition.

Organizations: Holland College, Skills Canada P.E.I., Westisle Composite High School Aerospace Centre Culinary Centre

Geographic location: Canada, ELMSDALE, Slemon Park Georgetown Kitchener-Waterloo London England

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