Joan Burke, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills. — Telegram file photo
Two people from Newfoundland and Labrador will be showcasing their skills in cabinet making next week in Brazil.
From Nov. 12 to 18, Justin Bennett, a College of the North Atlantic graduate, and his instructor, Kelly Tompkins, will be at the WorldSkills Americas Competition in São Paulo, Brazil.
The Department of Advanced Education and Skills said in a news release Bennett was offered the spot on Team Canada by Skills Canada, a non-profit organization which promotes skilled trades and technology careers as options for students. He will compete among 800 tradespeople from 31 regions and countries of North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
The WorldSkills Americas competition provides an exchange and comparison of world-class standards in the industrial trades and service sectors. The time for the completion of the test project is 20 hours, distributed over four working days, and the process is observed by visitors, teachers and technicians.
“Justin and Kelly are examples of how the hard work, exceptional skills, and competitive spirit of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are gaining recognition worldwide,” said Joan Burke, minister of advanced education and skills. “They are excellent ambassadors for this province and we wish them well as they showcase their impressive talents in Brazil.”
Bennett met Tompkins while studying at the College of the North Atlantic in Port aux Basques. Tompkins is well known within the trade and has been influential in raising the profile of cabinetmaking across Newfoundland and Labrador.
The two men trained together and travelled to Skills Canada national competitions in 2011 and 2012. They received a silver medal in 2011 and last April, Bennett won gold at the Annual Skills Canada Provincial Competition in St. John’s.
"The growth and success of individuals like Justin Bennett is directly connected to our overall prosperity as a province,” said Burke. “In a time when our post-secondary initiatives are leading the country, Newfoundland and Labrador continues to receive recognition for delivering an educated, skilled, and knowledgeable workforce that is ready to meet a growing labour demand.”
Since the release of the Newfoundland and Labrador Skills Task Force report in 2007, the provincial government has invested more than $95 million in the areas of apprenticeship, science and technology, programming, training and infrastructure. In the past year, more than $4 million in new funding has been allocated to support initiatives to advance apprenticeship opportunities in skilled trades in Newfoundland and Labrador, including those for women and other under-represented groups.