Skilled trades gain focus through competition

March 10, 2017 by  

The 2017 Niagara Catholic Technological Skills Competition sparked some hot interest in the skilled trades this year.

Grade 11 and 12 high school students from St. Catharines and neighboring Port Colborne launched the 14th annual competition, with a fiery demonstration of their welding skills. After the sparks flew, experts in the field were invited to judge the students’ metal work. Of most importance was the student’s adherence to all safety standards, but design execution and appropriate size were also considered.

Each year, over 300 students participate in the competition, which showcases various skilled trades. As baby boomers exit the trade workforce during the next decade, there will be many opportunities for fulfilling careers in these fields.

All students from the eight high schools that form part of the Niagara Catholic District School Board are encouraged to attend the competition. Each trade will be represented by an information booth that will likely provide promotional products, brochures and presentation folders.

Participation in the competition boosts student’s self-esteem, and highlights the value of a hands-on career in a skilled trade.

In addition to welding, competitions will also be held for car repair, carpentry, landscaping and architecture. The school board has partnered with numerous local businesses, which provide venues and financial support.

In May 2017, the top three winners of this competition will go on to participate in the Ontario Technological Skills Competition. Provincial first place champions will advance to the Skills Canada National Competition, also held later this year.