Community Support

Skills Canada

​​Hands-on. It’s the best way to test if the career path you’re considering is the one you really want to follow.​

The Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) has been giving students and apprentices the opportunity to compete in over 40 trades and technology – from painting cars to IT office software applications to baking and more – for 23 years. The goal of the competition?

To spark an early interest in trades and technology in Canada’s youth. Bringing students, apprentices and mentors together at the Skills Canada National Competition gives kids a vivid sense of the skills that are in high demand in this country, at companies like ours.

Cory McPhee, Vice-president of our Corporate Affairs office in Toronto

More than 10,000 student visitors gathered for this year’s competition – held in Winnipeg, MB, May 31 to June 3 – including students and chaperones from Nelson House in northern Manitoba.

About 550 top students and apprentices from across Canada took part in 40 competitions representing six skilled trade and technology sectors: manufacturing and engineering, information technology, construction, employment, transportation and service.

The event was a huge success, it broke all attendance records! Everything came together beautifully.

Maria Pacella, Executive Director for Skills Canada Manitoba

This year, Vale sponsored a new initiative, inviting 31 high school students and seven chaperones from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation in Nelson House, MB, to attend the event.

The group travelled eight hours to Winnipeg, but the trip was well worth it, said principal Natalie Tays, who travelled with them. “The students were excited to go, but even more so when they arrived because of the diverse range of Try-A-Trade® and Technology activities they could participate in.”

Favourite activities for the students where they tested their skills included building toolboxes, stools and more. “They got to try their hand at virtual car painting, welding, cooking, baking – everything!” said Natalie.

Another highlight was the opening ceremonies, which were “just like the Olympics,” said Maria.

The venue was packed with 2,000 people and each provincial and territorial team marched in with their own banners, flags and music. When the Nelson House students were introduced, a cheer went up, Maria recalled, making the students feel very special. “It was very memorable,” she said. “The energy in the room was just incredible.”

When they arrived, the students were given the “red carpet” treatment and a special welcome from Winnipeg’s own MasterChef Jeremy Senaris, the runner-up in Season 3 of television reality show MasterChef Canada. Jeremy was the guest speaker at the students’ welcome dinner. Canadian Armed Forces 17 Wing Base kindly hosted this group by providing accommodations and meals, and during their last evening the group was able to participate in tours and activities.

To highlight Canada’s 150th anniversary, 40 Skills Canada alumni volunteered to share their stories and answer questions from the students. “Some of the Canada 150 volunteers/mentors spoke to the group about their trades and how the competition helped them,” said Maria.

According to Natalie Tays, the event also helped the kids find out which courses they need to focus on for the trades they’re interested in. “They had a chance to talk to people working in each trade,” said Natalie. “It opened their eyes to all the possibilities.”

MP Pierre Poilievre speaks in front of a crowd of Skills volunteers
MP Pierre Poilievre speaks in front of a crowd of Skills volunteers

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