Yukon has shown itself to have some of the most skilled trade and technology workers in the land.
Over the past few years, the teams Skills Canada Yukon sent to the national competition returned with a disproportionate amount of medals for their size compared to provincial ones.
The next batch of tradespeople heading to the Skills Canada National Competition were on display for all to see at the 15th Annual Territorial Skills Competition last Friday at the Canada Games Centre.
An estimated 1,000-plus spectators came to see the competition for secondary, post-secondary and apprenticeship students throughout the day.
“I’d say in the morning alone we had over 700,” said Megan Freese, executive director of Skills Canada Yukon. “We were swamped this morning.
“We had a ton of high school students come through from all three high schools in Whitehorse. It was amazing to see.”
It was the first time the competition was held at the Canada Games Centre. The concrete floor of the ATCO rink provided more space than its previous location at the Yukon College gymnasium, which allowed for more events to be held in the one location.
Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis, who was executive director for Skills Canada Yukon from 2005 to last year when he won office, was impressed by how spectator-friendly the event had become.
“I think it was fantastic,” said Curtis. “I talked to lots of the competitors and people who put on the event and when we had it at the college – we had it there several times – the automotive for heavy duty was quite a trek downstairs and it lost a lot of flow.
“But here you can have heavy duty equipment besides aesthetics, besides baking, culinary and carpentry and cabinetmaking.
“So it’s a much better flow of people coming in and being able to see a little bit of everything.”
The 15th annual competition saw 43 up-and-coming trades and service people compete. Sixteen events were held last Friday, while two others involving welding, were held at more suitable locations beforehand.
“There are some contests we can’t possibly host in the Canada Games Centre just for safety reasons or for health reasons,” said Freese. “So we held some competitions prior to and had them filmed and were playing them on big screen TVs around the venue so they were still part of the competition.”
In addition to medals and plaques, 18 competitors were selected to compete at nationals for the Yukon team next month in Vancouver.
Whitehorse’s Tim Kleedehn placed first for the second year in a row in plumbing in the post-secondary category. He liked the new setup of the territorial competition.
“I think they did an extremely good job this year,” said Kleedehn. “Compared to last year they really upped their game and I was very impressed. I had a good time.”
Kleedehn, who had to construct a statue from various kinds of pipe in his competition, placed fifth at last year’s nationals.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Kleedehn of this year’s nationals. “I’m setting my standards pretty high for myself. I’m going to try for a medal, for sure.”
This year’s skills competition had a pair of celebrity guests. Igor Shamraychuk and Olga Ivanova, hosts of the television show Restaurant Takeover on the Food Network Canada, came from Toronto for the event and held workshops on restaurant chalkboard menus through the day.
“We haven’t done Skills Canada before and it’s very exciting – more than I expected,” said Shamraychuk. “There were a lot of interesting things going. This event is huge and I’m very impressed the way it’s organized, how many people were participating.”
Skills Canada Yukon, which was established in 1998, won just two medals over the first decade at the nationals.
However, over the last five appearances, the Yukon has won 26.
Yukoners won five medals, including three gold, at last year’s national championship in Edmonton.
“When you work at something so hard, at something for so long, you hope it will continues and I’m just so proud it exceeded anything I could have done,” added Curtis. “I’m excited to see it getting better and better.”
1st Paul Savage
1st Michael Kishchuk (secondary)
1st David Lister (post secondary)
1st Lilli Paterson
1st Alissa Budzinski
1st Deanna Klubi (secondary)
2nd Chantelle Torerson (secondary)
1st Erin Rich (post secondary)
2nd Stacey Menichoche (post secondary)
3rd Tanis VanBibber (post secondary)
1st Justin Ostlund (secondary)
2nd Andrew Seal (secondary)
1st Brendan Reese (post secondary)
2nd Dustin Neufeld (post secondary)
1st Alidas Jamnicky (secondary)
1st Josiah Wainwright (post secondary)
2nd Zac Melvin-McNutt (post secondary)
1st Luc Johnstone (post secondary)
2nd Riley Hilderbrand (post secondary)
1st Steve Richards (post secondary)
2nd Darren Delaney (post secondary)
1st Tim Kleedehn (post secondary)
2nd Simon Angerer (post secondary)
3rd Jason Gainsforth (post secondary)
1st Kayla Dewdney (post secondary)
2nd Krista Freeman (post secondary)
1st Remy Kennedy Kuiper (secondary)
2nd Kyren Allen (secondary)
3rd Manuel Kennedy Kuiper (secondary)
1st Michael Taylor (post secondary)
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com