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Canada’s largest skilled trades competition kicks off in Waterloo

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skills ontario

The 27th Ontario Technological Skills Competition (OTSC) – Canada’s largest skilled trade competition, kicks off Monday, May 2.

The 3-day competition takes place at RIM Park in Waterloo, Ontario, and is put on by Skills Ontario, a not-for-profit organization that promotes skilled trades and technologies. The competition includes more than contests, attracting more than 2,000 secondary/post-secondary competitors and 20,000 spectators. Winners take home medals, monetary awards and the chance to compete at the Skills Canada National Competition this June.

Monday, May 2 is Elementary Technology Activity Day. Approximately 2,500 elementary students from across the province will participate in a range of workshops and challenges designed to introduce them to career opportunities and relevant skills in the skilled trades and technologies.

Some secondary and post-secondary contests also take place on Monday, with the majority of the contests in full-swing the next day.  Competitors are judged on their skills related to their field, as well as their job interview skills and related soft skills.

Winners are presented with gold, silver, and bronze medals, and may also receive monetary awards at the closing ceremony held at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex on May 4.

“Those who compete at the OTSC are the future of skilled trades and technologies in Ontario. We believe there’s no better way for a young person to jump start their career than by providing them the opportunity to tell future employers they are a gold medalist in their field,” says Skills Ontario executive director Gail Smyth.

Hy-Mark will be offering apprenticeships to the post-secondary gold medalists in the Plumbing and Sheet Metal contests. Many winners are eligible to move on to the Skills Canada National Competition in Moncton at the end of May.

“This opportunity speaks to the recognized quality of the young people who compete at the OTSC,” says Barry Harrison, director of competitions at Skills Ontario. “There is no better way to reward the most talented students in Ontario and we are pleased to see Magna recognize this incredible opportunity for both the students and the employer.” 

In addition to the contests and events happening at RIM Park, the Young Women’s Conferences will take place at Bingemans in Kitchener on May 2 and 3.

Fourteen-hundred girls from across Ontario will explore hands-on activities, challenges, and mentoring from the one-hundred tradeswomen that will be in attendance.

The conferences seek to demonstrate that skilled trades and technologies are accessible, interesting and fun for young women.

“Today, women are still underrepresented in the skilled trades and technologies but these are excellent careers for women to support themselves,” says Nicola MacDonald, lead liaison officer for Young Women’s Initiatives at Skills Ontario. “Young women need to know that the trades and technologies offer many opportunities that can lead to bright, stable and successful futures.”

This year, Skills Ontario is piloting a new mentoring and information session geared toward FNMI students and stakeholders at the OTSC. The FNMI Conference will provide Aboriginal students and other stakeholders an opportunity to celebrate the success and skill of FNMI students in Ontario.

Skills Ontario is encouraged to see the increased interest expressed by Aboriginal communities from across the province – including the participation of over 150 Aboriginal students at the new FNMI Conference this year.

Skilled trade and technology professionals will provide advice, guidance and inspiration to conference participants. 

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