EDSS carpentry students put their Skills to work
Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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EDSS carpentry students put their Skills to work

The EDSS Skills Canada carpentry team with their planter boxes, to be sold at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale to benefit the MCC. Front row: Jesse Smith, Braiden Martin, Bryce Bauman, Grayson McGirr, Callum Kennedy. Back row: Richard Thompson, EDSS; Randy Dyck, EDSS; Ryan Shantz; Nate Snyder; Matthew Frey; Art Janzen, Menno S Martin Contractor Ltd.; Scott Veitch, Menno S Martin, Contractor Ltd.; Jamie Kuepfer, Wellesley Home Hardware. Missing: Dan Driedger, Menno Homes Inc., plus students Brett Weber, Cody Short. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

Not only did EDSS students get the chance to develop their carpentry skills in the regional Skills Canada competition, but their projects are giving back to a good community cause.

Local students on the carpentry team worked in pairs to make planter boxes that will be donated to the Mennonite Central Committee for their relief work.

Technical director and EDSS teacher Randy Dyck said it’s an excellent way for students to get introduced to the trade.

“It’s quite amazing. There’s an enormous talent in these young people,” said Dyck. “Sometimes if they find that particular area of the trades and technologies, it really leads to them wanting to venture into it and get to know more and explore more about it. It’s a great segue to some post-secondary pathways.”

Local business sponsors assist with the funding and donation of materials. Menno S. Martin Ltd., a construction company in St. Jacobs, provides a licensed carpenter to act as a judge for the competition.

“So he looks at the details and looks at whether or not they follow the instructions,” said Art Janzen, owner of Menno S. Martin. “In fact, he said one of the sets was flawless how it was put together, but they didn’t follow the instructions. So there were shelves four inches higher than they should have been – just different little details. Things like that when you’re out in the field doing this for real, you have to follow those instructions. It’s good to see these kids learning these skills like this.”

Those who meet these criteria and score the top points go on to the provincial Skills Ontario competition that takes place May 6-8 at the Toronto Congress Centre. Dyck noted that the competition at this event would be considerably tougher – it is the largest skilled trades and technology competition in Canada. More than 2,000 students compete in diverse contest areas, including carpentry, culinary arts, hairstyling, photography, plumbing, and robotics.

This year’s winners were Nate Snyder and Callum Kennedy. Both students have plans to pursue carpentry in the future and cited the winning strategy as following the directions to the letter.

“I think we managed our time well and made sure we cleaned up the corners,” said Snyder.

“And we made sure our measurements were the best that we could get them,” added Kennedy.

EDSS has participated in Skills Canada for nearly three decades in a variety of competitions that allow young people to get the opportunity to develop their skills in the trades. Recent regional competitions that EDSS participated in included a landscape construction competition at Premier Equipment Ltd. in Elmira in late March, and an electrical competition that took place at Conestoga College in Kitchener, and a mechanical competition in Galt, Cambridge.

“They really perk up when it comes to getting involved in the community,” said Dyck. “They’re mindful themselves of who MCC is, or maybe just really intrigued and happy to be involved; knowing their skill sets and proficiencies can be used towards some common good.”

The planter boxes will be sold at the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale May 24-25.

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