by Ethan Paquet
Skills Canada PEI is the provincial branch of Skills Canada, a non-profit organization that works with government, industry, and educational institutions to encourage youth to consider careers in technology and the skilled trades.
Each year, their provincial skills competitions allow talented Island high school and post-secondary students and apprentices to demonstrate their skills in front of companies, industry leaders, and other professionals.
“These competitions are unique,” says Tawna MacLeod, Executive Director. “Not only do they help students discover career paths they may never have otherwise considered, but the students also make valuable connections with employers and industry leaders in that field.”
In 2024, Skills Canada PEI will hold 32 competitions in 25 categories, including:
- Automotive Technology
- Workplace Safety
- Electrical Wiring
- Architectural Technology
- Industrial Control
- CNC Machining
- Precision Machining
- Outdoor Power Equipment
- Job Search
- Job Skill Demonstration
- Prepared Speech
- Graphics Design
- 2D Animation
- 3D Game Art
- Video Production
Promotion begins with radio and social media advertisements, and the schedule is shared with schools across the Island, Tawna says. “Teachers work hard to make sure their school is well represented. They approach students who have skills and talents in these areas and ask them to compete.”
The application fee is $25 per competitor, and spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one registrant per competition is allowed from each school. If there are openings, a second person from the same school may be selected.
Each competition is created by a Provincial Technical Chair, a volunteer who is an expert in their field. This may be someone working in the industry or an educator in the applicable industry, Tawna says.
“They are responsible for developing a project that will test a selection of skills and knowledge. They also provide competitors with a contest description and a list of any personal protective gear or other equipment they may need to participate.”
Competing comes with many benefits for students
Competitors are judged by a panel of industry representatives related to each category. The gold medal winners earn a spot on Team PEI, which represents the province at the national competitions in Quebec in June.
In preparation, they are paired with a mentor who helps them develop their skills for the next round of competitions. But whether or not a competitor makes the cut, there are benefits for having participated, Tawna says.
“It is so valuable to say in your resumé that you competed in a provincial or national competition. Our events also draw in many employers, and we often hear that teachers get calls from employers who ask about the students who competed.”
Continuing career conversations
Skills Canada PEI also promotes careers in technology and the skilled trades through interactive presentations to Island schools and organizations such as the Girl Guides and the Boys and Girls Club.
“We tell students that all they have to do is look at job boards to see why they should consider a career in technology and the skilled trades. These careers are so important on PEI and across Canada. There are jobs in areas they may not have even been aware of, which can lead to endless opportunities and offer long-term meaningful employment.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
about Skills Canada PEI and the provincial competitions, visit www.skillscanada.pe.ca
Teachers and youth organizations wanting to schedule a presentation about careers in technology and the skilled trades can contact Tawna MacLeod, Executive Director at 902-626-9307 or email@example.com.