Newfoundland and Labrador’s success at the national Skills Canada competition comes down to two things, said the team’s marketing and communications co-ordinator: passion and support.
“I think we certainly have a passion for this kind of work, and a lot of support for it as well,” she said. “A lot of the coaches accompanied their students to the nationals, and they were there just to guide them through, and they were able to speak to them,” said Melissa Halford. “There’s pretty strict rules about when the coaches can make contact with the competitors, but when they’re able to, they offer insight and just encouragement in any way they can.”
Fourteen of the team’s 41 competitors came home with medals in 13 contests, with the team scoring gold in prepared speech (Emily Butler of Frank Roberts Junior High), TV/video production (Cecil Johnson and Evan Moffatt of Holy Spirit High School), graphic design (Brandon Sullivan of the Prince Philip Drive College of the North Atlantic) and car painting (Michael Rowe, College of the North Atlantic, Prince Philip Drive).
Unfortunately for the competitors, this is one of the off-years for World Skills competitions, which are held every two years.
“This year they have bragging rights,” said Halford. “It’s certainly a credential that can go on a résumé, and employers are really starting to recognize Skills Canada and they notice that line on a CV when they see it come across their desk.”
More than 500 high school and post-secondary students competed in the four-day event in Quebec City.
Picking up silver were: Krista Barry, St. Kevin’s High School, workplace safety; Stephen Barry, Ridge Road College of the North Atlantic, electronics; and Justin Bennett, Port Aux Basques CNA, cabinet making.
The team’s bronze medal winners were: Bernie Fitzgerald, Prince Philip Drive CNA, autobody repair; Adam Parsons, Prince Philip Drive CNA, automotive service; Michael McCarthy, Seal Cove CNA, electrical installations; Jenna Kelly, Marystown Central High School, job interview; Joseph Molloy, Carpenters Millwrights College, industrial mechanic/millwright; and Marc Burton, Prince Philip Drive CNA, IT network systems administration.