Elmira District Secondary School technologies students have been busy this spring building, wiring, welding and plumbing at regional and provincial Skills Canada competitions.A national organization established to “to encourage and support a coordinated Canadian approach to promoting skilled trades and technologies to youth,” Skills Canada hosts contests across the country each year for elementary and secondary school students.
It’s a fun way for students to prove their mettle, EDSS tech teacher Randy Dyck said.
“We are really pleased to see our young people getting involved. For a lot of them, the direct entry (into various tech-based careers) through an apprenticeship is a big factor of them getting into it. And it’s important that they have the opportunity to learn about various trades and skills because that way they have some information to go on when they’re thinking about the careers they are going to pursue.”
Twenty-nine students participated at the regional events March 30 through April 2, winning 19 medals.
The top finishers also made it through to the provincial meet at RIM Park May 4-6: Nathan Hergott, Walker Schott, Adam Weber and Noah Zeller placed 14 of 31 in construction home build; Noah Schelter, Breanna Michael, William Shoemaker and Katie Morden finished seventh out of 30 in technical design build; Chad Martin and Taylor Knarr were 22 of 43 in carpentry; Carl Horst finished fifth out of 20 in electrical wiring; Kordic Weigel was fifth of 10 in plumbing; Joey Dynerowicz was fifth of seven in refrigeration; Eric Wright finished fifth of six in heating service technology.
Ryan French was the lone EDSS medalist at provincials, winning the gold in the industrial automation control competition.
“It involves wiring and programming, you need to have good electrical knowledge, patients and analytical skills to trouble shoot,” French explained. “We got a panel shipped, the same one that they use at the competition, and I just practiced as much as I could on it during class.”
He continued, “What they do is they give you electrical diagrams and information on the actual system you would be programming and wiring, and they give you the specs on it and you have to wire it to their specifications and program it to do the job that they tell you.”
A combination of electrical knowledge and programming proficiency, industrial automation control skills have a wide range of applications in the workforce, Dyck said.
“We’ll see a lot of these young people head out into industrial electrician positions, let’s say at Toyota or the Linamars of the world. And a lot of times, you’ll see people get into, for example, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, in terms of their traffic control, because all of those units would have the same controllers and that’s why we have all of these lights here,” Dyck said, pointing out the selection of traffic signal units around the tech shop at the school.
Eager to connect students with career paths that suit their interests, Skills Canada helps Dyck and the EDSS tech department encourage young people to work hard and build confidence.
“It’s a real nice experience for them, just to get that feedback from industry professionals and even to talk shop with their cohorts from around the region,” Dyck said. “It’s a great program for our group.”