Skills Yukon gears up for another ‘revolution’

Team Yukon has developed a nickname at the Skills Canada National Competition over the past few years. It's The Revolution. That being the case, the Yukon has a new crop of revolutionaries ready for the national competition.

Team Yukon has developed a nickname at the Skills Canada National Competition over the past few years. It’s The Revolution.

That being the case, the Yukon has a new crop of revolutionaries ready for the national competition. They were on display at the 13th annual Yukon Territorial Skills Competition at Yukon College last Friday.

“We’re proving that we have some of the best (tradespeople) in Canada,” said Dan Curtis, president of Skills Yukon.

“The thing that frustrates me the most is we have the ability and the invitation to send a much bigger team than we actually send to the national competition. We have a tiny team because we don’t have the engagement, we can’t get people involved.

“And the people that we do send end up at the top of the heap.”

If the Yukon has produced a disproportionate amount of medals at the national level in recent years, last week’s competition should indicate there are more to come.

The Yukon Skills Competition was the largest ever, with over 1,000 students attending the event from throughout the territory, up by about 40 per cent from last year.

Ranging from welding to hairdressing to animation, secondary and post-secondary students put their handiwork to the test, vying for spots on The Revolution.

Winning medals is a challenge, getting Yukoners interested in trades is another.

“These trades are under represented in the Yukon,” said Curtis. “We have a tremendous amount resource and opportunity here, but I feel we’re failing our youth a great deal by not offering the tools they need – primarily in the communities that are dying for these opportunities. Skills clubs are very few and far between. I feel the Yukon has a long way to go. We have to do a lot more in Yukon College, a lot more in schools, a lot more in society to get these people engaged.”

After being established in 1998, Skills Yukon won just two medals over the first decade at the nationals. However, over the last three years, the Yukon has won 17.

“Seventeen medals – and it took us a decade to get two!” said Curtis. “It was the belief that we should win one medal a decade.”

One such success story comes from Whitehorse’s Carl Loos, who won a gold medal in computer numerical control milling at the nationals in 2008 and went on to compete at the world championships the next year.

“I think it’s very important because a lot of young people don’t know what they want to do,” said Loos, who machined the medals given out. “So they can come here and see what’s out there -‘I can do this. This interests me.’ I think it’s great in that aspect.

“You’ll learn different things, you’ll learn new things, and things you won’t learn in the trade, but will help you in the trade. I got to develop different skills that I probably won’t have at all. Going to the worlds and having different opportunities was a great experience.”

To provide some perspective, BC, with its 4.5 million residents, has 26 regional competitions before a provincial one like the Yukon’s last week. At last year’s nationals, with over 40 competitors, compared to the Yukon’s 23, BC won eight medals in categories “important to the Canadian economy,” said Curtis. “The Yukon won six, and we don’t have a full slate. Our teams are dwarfed by the size of the larger provinces.”

RESULTS

Plumbing PS

Gold – Geordo Matechuk

Silver – April Williams

Bronze – Patrick Sands

Electrical PS

Gold – Mike Trainor

Silver – Daniel Harms

Bronze – Adam Tremblay

Cabinet Making S

Gold – Brad Koprowsky

Silver – Jaxson Pierce

Bronze – Kai Knorr

Sheet Metal PS

Gold – Leah Battersby

Silver – Paul Savage

Bronze – Michelle Gregory

Carpentry PS

Gold – Daniel St. Pierre

Silver – Shawn Burgess

Bronze – Fletcher deGraff

Heavy Duty Mechanics

Gold – Nathan Peterson

Silver – Daniel Greff

Bronze – Ryan Gleason

Welding PS

Gold – Mike Usher

Silver – Skyler Soukoroff

Bronze – Shanti Morrison

Welding S

Gold – Tory Stavely

Silver – Jamie Tetlichi

Bronze – Reid Seal

Hairstyling PS

Gold – Joy Worthington

Silver – Katelyn Smolne

Bronze – Chantelle Tarapaski

Hairstyling S

Gold – Tamara Lynn Hiltz

Silver – Kristine Carlick-Shorty

Esthetics

Gold – Sylvia Savage

TV/Video

Gold – Casey Parker

Gold – Emile Bouffard

Mechanical CADD S

Gold – David Lister

2D Animation

Gold – Logan Fuller

Gold – Kordel Parkkar

Culinary PS

Gold – Shea Hierlihy

Culinary S

Gold – Carolyn Stanhope

Silver – Michael Roszell

Bronze – Thomas Gammel

Aircraft Maintenance

Gold – James Connor

Silver – Florian Gehmair

Bronze – Corey Kirkpatrick

Automotive Repair PS

Gold – Nathan Mole

Automotive Repair S

Gold – Savannah Fuller

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com