Media Coverage

More than 500 elementary and high school students gathered at Okanagan College Friday for the Skills Canada Trades and Technologies regional competition.

Students from Revelstoke to Oliver competed in 11 different skills contests.

“Okanagan College is the perfect host for this exhibition of student talents,” said Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “With work underway on a new $33-million trades training complex, local students will be able to keep sharpening those skills and exploring the career paths open to them.”

The competition, one of 13 taking place across British Columbia, provided a platform for students from Grades 6 to 12 to showcase their talents.

Students had the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and got hands-on experience.

“These events are great because they directly involve representatives of industry,” said Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson. “This helps keep training relevant to employers’ needs, and also gives students very constructive feedback directly from experts in the field.”


Global TV

Skills Canada

March 6, 2015
9:38 pm

More than 500 students compete in Skills Canada B.C. competition in Kelowna

KELOWNA – The nineteenth annual Skills B.C. Central Okanagan regional competition attracted more than 500 students from Revelstoke to the South Okanagan-Similkameen. The long running event is held at Okanagan College. The top prize in the competition is a gold medal and the bragging rights that come along with it, but organizers say it’s also about the experience.

 “I want them to get tools in their hands. I want them to be able to see what it’s like to handle a tool of all the different trades that are out there so they know there’s options,” says Dianne Holm, Skills Canada B.C. regional coordinator.

Students from grade six to grade 12 can enter to show off their skills in a variety of trades from culinary arts to auto mechanics to carpentry. The students are seeking recognition to help them get jobs.

“It’s definitely a good asset because I can’t have a shop like this at school so I definitely learned a lot more than I do there,” says Levi Harris, a grade 11 student from South Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver.

Holm says the idea is to encourage those with an interest in trades and technologies at an early age.

“Quite often they think that there is one avenue to take but there’s so many and trades right now is booming and if we can spark the imagination of some of these students, I’d be thrilled,” says Holm.

Those who win will move on to the provincial competition where the Okanagan’s most talented kids will show of their abilities to all of B.C. The competition is one of 13 taking place around the province.


The Daily Courier

Skills Canada, a showcase of talent

GARY NYLANDER | Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015 5:11 pm


Clayton Fawcett a grade 12 student at Keremeos Secondary School works on a cabinet project, a bench with a hinged lid at Okanagan College on Friday as part of the Skills Canada British Columbia regional skills competition for the Central Okanagan. The competition was one of 13 taking place throughout B.C. which provides a platform for students from grade 6 to 12 to showcase their talents in the skilled trades and technologies.

Skilled mechanical work


Joe Wolfe, automotive service tech instructor watches as Nic Cameron a grade 12 Penticton Secondary School works on car differential at Okanagan College on Friday as part of the Skills Canada British Columbia regional skills competition for the Central Okanagan. The competition was one of 13 taking place throughout B.C. which provides a platform for students from grade 6 to 12 to showcase their talents in the skilled trades and technologies.

Event gives students chance to try a trade

J.P. Squire
| Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015 9:40 pm | Updated: 9:47 pm, Fri Mar 6, 2015.

More than 550 students from Grades 5-12 had a chance to try their hand at a skilled trade Friday in Kelowna, skills that will be desperately needed in the coming decades.

Their opportunity came at the 19th annual BC Trades and Technology regional competition organized by Skills Canada. Students from public and private schools came from throughout the Southern Interior, from Revelstoke to the Okanagan-Similkameen, said Dianne Holm, event co-ordinator with the college's trades and apprenticeship department.

It started out as just as a variety of competitions and we had spectators coming in to actually see the different competitions. Then we started thinking we have all these kids coming in; we should be giving them some hands-on activities to do."

For the past five to six years, students have circulated among try-a-trade stations in sheet metal, plumbing, electrical, welding, heavy-duty mechanics, automotive and aircraft maintenance, plus watch robotics demonstrations.

In some cases, students used simulators rather than the actual tools of the trade for safety reasons.

"In collision repair, we have a paint simulator, but today we're letting them use airbrushes so they're going to get a taste of what it's like to paint cars and learn some techniques at the same time," said Holm.

"I used to work with the Ministry of Apprenticeship a very long time ago," she said. "So when I got into this department, I knew that a lot of youth didn’t quite have the advantages that I did when I was younger. I had a father who was a carpenter and also did automotive. The Trades & Apprenticeship department is very supportive of getting out to visit the younger grades to help get them interested in the trades."

The focus is not just on the Central Okanagan, but on outlying communities as well, she said, with campus tours showing what Okanagan College has to offer.

Skills Canada BC provided a facilitator for a presentation to students and then a hands-on toolbox challenge at the heavy-duty shop. Students had a chance to assemble something, with the fastest student declared the winner.

"It gives them a taste of what trades and technology is all about," said Holm. "We really try to include all of the grades. We even reached out to Grade 5’s this year and some of them will be taking part in the presentations”..

"We're looking at this as a great youth day, a great opportunity for them to come in. We even have home-school parents that are bringing their kids in."

Not every college steps up to hold Skills Canada competitions, she added, noting Okanagan College was one of the first. Some are organized by school districts, but the college has all of the shops and instructors with the ability to attract future students.