Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

Canada’s students and apprentices prepare for skilled trades competitions

Canadian Contractor

The road to the 2019 National Championship in Halifax starts around your corner

Nearly 100,000 young people across dozens of skilled trades are preparing for competitions that may shape their careers. In-school competitions and regional events, followed by provincial and territorial competitions could lead hundreds of these talented and dedicated young people to Halifax for the 25th Skills Canada National Competition in May 28 and 29.

Grass roots involvement from local businesses is encouraged!
Contractors and builders across the country should pay heed to the competitions across the country, many of them right in their own backyards. It‘s well-known that there is a high demand for skilled trades in construction, both now and even more so in the future. Most local events are, in fact, dependent on the support of not just school administrators and teacher, but also on local businesses and associations to help promote skilled trade careers. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of companies in the area to get involved by contacting local school boards and perhaps taking a booth to pitch both young students, and their parents too, about the bright future they can enjoy with a career in the trades.

Try-A-Trade demonstrations at regional and provincial events give students of all ages the opportunity for some hands-on discovery
(Skills Canada photo)

According to Skills Canada, approximately 100,000 youths will advance to their respective provincial/territorial completions across the country. Here, the scene gets really exciting. The competitive events are highly organised and supported by industry and trade organizations. Typically for those in the construction trades, the competitions involve being judged while completing a predetermined project within a set time period, using supplied tools and materials. The energy level is high, the school spirit palatable, and the reward compelling — a possible trip to the Skills Canada National Competition.

The enthusiasm and engagement created through regional and provincial/territorial competitions is sufficient inducement on its own to inspire a career in the trades. Progressing all the way to Nationals is the icing on the cake. What’s’ more, some 7500 middle, secondary and post-secondary student visitors from all over Nova Scotia will be there to watch and be inspired. Partnering with industry and various organizations, Skills Canada will present over 50 hands-on Try-A-Trade® and Technology activities, along with a “Career Zone” where industry and educational partners demonstrate their brand, trade or occupation through interactive activities.


The road to Halifax has already begun
Last week, Newfoundland Labrador got the ball rolling at the College of the North Atlantic, Prince Philip campus, in St. John’s. Skills Canada Newfoundland and Labrador partnered with the many organizations sharing an interest in promoting and celebrating the skilled trades, including government agencies, schools, industry, and labour groups. The result were Hands-on Try-A-Trade® displays, a young woman’s conference, career showcases, plus campus and competition tours were all open to the hundreds of students, educators, volunteers, partners, dignitaries and industry supporters who visited the event.

Most of the Gold Medal winners will represent Newfoundland and Labrador at the Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax this May (Skills Canada Newfoundland & Labrador photo)

Of course, the trade competitions were the main event, with over 350 regional finalists comprising intermediate, secondary and post-secondary students, and apprentices from across Newfoundland and Labrador. “Most schools and campuses hosted their own independent in-school competitions to determine the representatives from their school,” Jessica Baldwin of Skills Canada Newfoundland and Labrador told Canadian Contractor. “Generally, we allow one competitor, per competition area-per school to attend the provincial competitions.”

Unique versus other competitions across Canada, however, is the province’s Skills Canada Intermediate Challenge. “This competition allows intermediate students from grades 7-9 to compete in a variety of skilled trade, technology and employability areas,” Baldwin explained. Most gold-medalists of the Intermediate Challenge had the opportunity to compete against secondary school students!  Ultimately, Team Newfoundland and Labrador was selected from among the overall Gold Medal winners in many categories. They will now represent the province at the Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax in late May.

It will be an exciting two months leading up to the Nationals. We will update you on provincial and territorial events over the next few weeks.

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