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Young competitors shine as NWCC hosts trades fair

TERRACE Several up and coming skilled trades students booked their ticket to the provincial-level BC Skills Competition at Northwest Community College (NWCC) today, one of the highlights of a full day centred on the opportunities of a career in the trades. As part of a Trades Career Fair on the NWCC Terrace Campus, a total of 50 students from across the Northwest region put their skills on the line in the Skills Canada NWBC Regional Skills Competition. The competition featured three streams, one for post-secondary, one for students in high school and one open to elementary and junior high school students. The post-secondary and high school students competed in five individual competition categories and the deserving winners were: Automotive Service - Marcus Wilman (Caledonia Senior Secondary), first place; Mat Demelo (Caledonia Senior Secondary), second place; and Keifer Larson (Hazelton Secondary), third place. Carpentry - Katie Julseth (Skeena Junior) was the winner; Steven Morrison (Kitwanga) in second place; and Brandon Stella (Caledonia Senior Secondary) in third. Culinary Arts/Professional Cook - Stephen Bolton (NWCC), first place; John Hollaar (NWCC), second place; and Marvin Samuel (NWCC), third place. Electrical Wiring - Tommy Prauteau (Charles Hayes Secondary), first place; Avery Green (Caledonia Secondary) in second; and Justin Watson (Charles Hayes Secondary) taking third place. Welding, post-secondary category - Crystal Pottinger (Smithers Secondary) in first; Kyle Clement (Mount Elizabeth Secondary), second; and Walker Sturko (Caledonia Senior Secondary) placing third. At the high school level, ACE IT student Shanna Shirey won first place in the Culinary competition. Also at the high school level, the top three finishers in the Welding competition were: Daniel Dahler (Mt. Elizabeth Secondary), first place; Nathaniel Velho (Mt. Elizabeth Secondary), second place; and Andrew Brais (Skeena Junior Secondary), third place. These winning students earned prizes donated by event sponsors and first place winners qualify for a spot at the provincial-level competition. Winners at the BC level could go on to compete at Nationals or even the World Skills event held bi-annually! In the Junior Skills category with teams of students in grades 6-9, the Grade 5 boys team from Thornhill Elementary prevailed in the exciting Spaghetti Bridge Building competition, edging out two other teams, the Grade 6 girls (2nd place) and the Grade 7 boys, all from Thornhill Elementary. The Skills Canada NWBC Regional Skills Competition was just one part of NWCC's day-long Trades Career Fair. At least 500 people attended throughout the day, bringing industry representatives and potential employers together with job-seekers and NWCC Trades department with all the information about training options offered at the College. There were hands-on skills demonstrations, Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) simulators to try, bus tours to the live site of HEO training, trades shops and campus tours, plus a free barbecue lunch prepared by NWCC Culinary Arts students. The Northwest is on the verge of an economic boom expected to bring up to $30 billion in investment. Of the jobs associated with the major projects, roughly two-thirds of them are in the Trades, Transport and Equipment Operator-related fields. In short, it's a great time to get Trades training at NWCC, where students can choose from Trades Foundation and Apprenticeship training in a number of fields, plus industry-ready certifications that employers are looking for. After all, BC Stats show that 78 percent of projected job openings in the province will require training at the post-secondary level. Skills Canada British Columbia is a provincial, not-for-profit organization that works with employers, educators, associations, labour groups and government to promote skilled trade and technology careers to youth. Seabridge Gold was the Platinum sponsor for both events, and other sponsors were BC Hydro, Progressive Ventures, Ridley Terminals, Maher Terminals, Imperial Metals, Kitimat LNG/ Apache, Bechtel Canada/Rio Tinto Alcan, and Enbridge Northern Gateway. Industry sponsorship is vital to the success of both these events and other collaborations with NWCC.

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