EDSS students found themselves up for challenge, putting their skilled-trades abilities to work at Skills Canada competitions at the regional and provincial levels.
Twenty-three local students walked away with some hardware when it was all said and done.
Skills Canada events present participants with real-world problems directly related to their field of study. For example, in the carpentry category, competitors may be asked to interpret detailed drawings as they safely and accurately measure, layout, and assemble framing systems such as floors, walls and roofs. Those experienced in the trades evaluate their work.
EDSS tech department head Randy Dyck says the Skills Canada experience is a valuable asset to those looking for a future career in the trades.
“I’m immensely proud of how everybody did,” said Dyck. “It’s pretty remarkable what they’re able to do in a minimal amount of time – they still have to work off the design, put everything together and still run through the various complexities of design-build.
“They all meet some various code and building requirements that would normally be in the industry. For many, it’s definitely a great segue, and supplements their work experience.”
Collectively the team obtained nine medals at the regional contest and two at provincials. At the regional level, gold medals were awarded to Nate Snyder and Callum Kennedy in the Team Carpentry category, Matthew Ratthe in Horticulture and Landscape, Dylan Hehn for Electrical, and Caden Sellars in Heating Service Tech.
Silver went to Natalie Clemmer in the Floristry division, Kyle Deyell for Electrical, Matthew Kordasiewzec in the Mechanical CADD category, and Gabe Versteveld in Heating Service Tech. Bronze medals were awarded to two separate pairs for Team Carpentry: Bryce Bauman and Jesse Smith, plus Matt Frey and Grayson McGirr.
Ratthe who won gold in Horticulture and Landscape out of some 14 teams in the provincial category. The contest required him to build a garden based on a standard set of criteria and drawing. Some component examples include creating a wall from precast paving units, laying paving stones, plant selection, and placement of landscape rocks. He attributed his success in the competition to effective teamwork.
“We both worked really well together,” said Ratthe. “We were very in sync … we both knew, one partner got the table for that, next partner goes there, next one goes there, … we both understood the design and the steps of completing it.”
Five EDSS students went on to participate in the provincial skills competition at the Toronto Congress Centre, offering a unique opportunity for students to demonstrate that they are the best in their field against other students in Ontario.
Nate Snyder and Callum Kennedy competed in Team Carpentry, Caden Sellars for Heating Technician, Ratthe for Horticulture and Landscape, and Dylan Hehn for Electrical. In addition to Ratthe taking gold, Hehn won silver in the electrical installations category.
Dyck noted that the atmosphere at provincials can be extremely competitive.
“When they do go to a provincial competition, they’re up against quite a lot of young people across the province who may have been there in previous years competing,” said Dyck. “They were able to successfully complete the task at hand and put together all these different aspects of the competition itself; it worked out really well.”
EDSS has participated in Skills Canada for nearly three decades. The organization holds contests in a variety of categories, including but not limited to 3-D character animation, brick masonry, coding, graphic design, and plumbing.
“As each year goes by, the board adds more competition areas for the students to participate in. Based on that, we also get the young people here interested as well,” said Dyck. “For a lot of them, they have to spend a fair amount of hours after school, that type of thing, plus in-class practices as well, to be able to prepare for it.
“They really rise to the occasion, and really do a great job.”