STELLARTON – Mannequin heads were washed, their hair cut and died in a flurry of scissors combs and foil at the Pictou campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Stellarton Tuesday.
Dozens of community college students and apprentices from across the province were at the school to test their talent against the best in their field.
Every spring, Skills Canada – Nova Scotia presents this Olympic-style competition which brings together students and apprentices from across the province to compete in their chosen skilled trades and technologies. Bronze, silver and gold are awarded to the top competitors, with most gold medalists advancing to the Skills Canada National Competition, which will be taking place in Vancouver.
At the event, organizers also present a career showcase, an interactive exhibition featuring hands-on displays that highlight careers in skilled trades and technologies. Students from numerous local schools were scheduled to visit the event today.
John MacLellan is a teacher at the school and was watching as precision machining students worked away. He said it is an honour for students to be able to compete in this and shows them how well they are doing in their particular trade.
“It’s a good experience to go through and there could be reward at the end too,” he said.
Mayor Joe Gennoe spoke during the opening of the event and cut the ribbon to officially start it.
“Skilled trades and technologies are our past, but also our future,” he said. “Our ability to learn new techniques, challenge our abilities and strive for excellence like competitors are today will help us grow for the future.”
Shannon Campbell, marketing and communications manager for Skills Competition Canada – Nova Scotia, said this is the third year the competition has been held at the Stellarton location. She said it was chosen because of the size of the facilities as well as the strong support they receive from faculty and staff there.
“They’re so helpful with getting the competition organized on an individual level,” she said. “We organize the competition as a whole, but without the faculty here it wouldn’t happen. They’re the ones doing the leg-work of the competition.”
During a tour of the competition, students were intently focused on what they were doing.
“Everyone’s trying to win the gold medal today so they can go to Vancouver,” she said.
Local competitors have fared well in the past with gold and silver medalists from the Pictou County campus in hairstyling and cabinet making in recent years.
“All the competitors meet a national standard,” said Campbell. “It really does promote excellence in these career paths.”
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