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Northwest trades students ramp up for regional competition

Students from throughout northwest BC are preparing to battle it out in Skills Canada, an annual regional trades contest to be hosted this year at Northwest Community College Terrace Campus on Friday, March 28. The Skills Canada BC regional competition for the northwest school district will see approximately 30 participants compete in four separate categories: automotive service, carpentry, culinary arts and welding. Participants will include first-year College trades students and ACE-IT high school students from the area. ACE-IT students are Grade 11 and 12 students who have completed the first level of an industry-training program and used it for credit towards high school graduation. NWCC ACE-IT student Simone Colombo, an exchange student from Italy at Hazelton Secondary School, is participating in the Skills Canada regional contest to see if he can perform in a competitive environment. "I hope to do well and learn that I can cook under pressure," Colombo said. "I don't know what will be harder - preparing dishes I won't know ahead of time or finishing within the time limit." Stephen Chapman, an NWCC ACE-IT carpentry student at Caledonia Senior Secondary School in Terrace, is competing to see how he compares with others at his skill level. "I'm ready for a challenge. The competition could be really difficult but it's worth a shot," he said. "I'm also really excited about the chance to go to Vancouver to compete in the provincial rounds." First place winners from Skills Canada regional competition are eligible to advance to the provincial competition, BC Skills Canada, which will take place in Abbotsford, BC, on April 16, 2008. Winners from that contest will head to the national Skills Canada Competition in Calgary, AB, on May 26 and 27. "The Skills Canada contest is a chance for students to showcase their skills and be rewarded for their hard work," explained NWCC Dean of Trades and Technology Dave O'Leary. "As industry professionals will judge the competitions, it's a great opportunity for students to meet potential employers, network with experts and learn about the newest technologies in the field. "Another important goal of the event is to increase awareness of trades and related employment opportunities. With a shortage of skilled workers in the field, trades is a ripe career choice for graduates who want well-paid, challenging jobs. We want to get that message out." Two culinary arts contests will take place in the cafeteria - the first from 8 am to 11 am and the second from 11:45 am to 2:45 pm. The automotive service, carpentry and welding competitions will be in the trades building from 9 am to noon. An awards ceremony at 3 pm in Rooms 2001 and 2002 at the College will announce the results. Rio Tinto Alcan, which has been a strong supporter and sponsor of the northwest regional competition since 2001, is providing scholarships to winners to further their studies in trades.

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