Eighteen-year-old Cameron Krause didn’t know what to expect when he signed up to compete in the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) in Vancouver but he ended up surprising himself.
Krause, who completed his Level 1 brick and stone apprenticeship at Conestoga College, won a gold medal in the bricklaying competition.
“I had an original plan in my head and stuck to it and it ended up paying off and working out really well,” said Krause.
The competition consisted of two builds in two days for six -and-a-half hours each day.
Competitors were judged and marked on whatever they got done each day. On the second day, competitors were tasked with building an arch. Krause hardly had any experience building arches since that is something you learn in Level 2 of the program, he explained.
“I didn’t come into the competition thinking I was going to do well,” Krause said.
“I thought ‘these guys probably have way more experience than me because I’m young and I’ve just got my Level 1.’”
He did have a piece of advice for other students thinking about entering the competition.
“You will most definitely surprise yourself,” Krause said. “You can absolutely do whatever you want and definitely don’t count yourself out too soon.”
Krause began working for a stonework company a few years ago, cleaning up around the shop before he started to become interested in the work itself. He decided to sign up as an apprentice through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program last June. He learned bricklaying skills at the program at Conestoga College.
“At school we only mainly do brick and block…That’s where I gained some of the skills to help me in the competition,” said Krause, adding the experience he gained from his co-workers on the job also helped him win the contest.
The SCNC was recently held partly in-person in Vancouver for the first time since 2019 and competitors and their teams agreed it was a great learning experience.
More than 300 students from all regions across Canada were at the Vancouver Convention Centre on May 26 and 27 to compete in the post-secondary and the Team Canada Selection Category Competitions, including over 35 skilled trade and technology competitions.
Secondary school students competed virtually this year.
The competition drew more than 200 competitors in 45 skilled trade and technology competitions.
“It was a smaller event but the excitement was still palpable,” Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario, told the Daily Commercial News. “It was nice to see the actual contest in person, the actual projects being created, the work being done.”
Team Ontario won 51 medals in total: 22 gold, 19 silver and 10 bronze. Seven gold medalists will be on Team Canada for the WorldSkills competition.
Howcroft said it was a good “opportunity for young people to explore their career paths and it was exciting and vibrant. It made us look even more forward to what we are going to be able to do next year.”
Cameron Little, an Ontario sprinkler fitter apprentice with UA Local 853 and a sprinkler fitter at Troy Life and Fire Safety, said he felt he did well in the competition but didn’t know for sure until the results came in. He won a gold medal in the competition.
“We had to build a steel pipe frame and we had to do all the math to prove our measurements beforehand and calculate all of our angles,” said Little. “The judges wanted to see us do everything exactly the proper way to manufacturers specifications and be as safe as possible.”
The contest was a good learning experience, he said.
“Everybody has their way of doing something,” said Little. “I got to see how other people do things compared to how I’m used to doing it.”
“I would highly recommend the skills competition to any apprentice looking to put their skills to the test in a safe and fun environment as well as meet new people in other trades and their own from both Ontario and around Canada,” said Little. “An apprenticeship in any trade is a great way to start a successful career.”
Although students did qualify for the WorldSkills competition at the event, on May 31 WorldSkills International, in agreement with WorldSkills Members, WorldSkills Shanghai 2022 Executive Bureau, and WorldSkills China announced the WorldSkills Competition 2022 scheduled for Shanghai in October has been cancelled.
Howcroft said Team Canada and others are expected to discuss alternative competition options for the teams.
Following the Skills Canada National Competition, the winners were announced at the closing ceremony on May 28. Some of the medalists in the construction trades categories include:
- Spencer Chandu-Lall, Mechanical Engineering CAD (Team Canada Qualifying (TC)) — Loyalist College
- Daniel Kiss, CNC Milling (TC) — Conestoga College
Cameron Krause, Bricklaying (TC) — Conestoga College
- Malcolm Matwijec, Heavy Vehicle Technology (TC) — Centennial College
- Mark Macario, Precision Machining (PS) — Seneca College
Cameron Little, Sprinkler Fitter — UA Local 853
- Ben Henning, Precision Machining (S) — Upper Grand District School Board
- Tommy Friesen, Mechanical Engineering CAD (S) District School Board of Niagara
- Ian Ketcheson, Welding (S) — Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
- Camila Feijoo, Architectural Technology @Design (S) — Halton Catholic District School Board
- Rachel Driedger, Workplace Safety (S) — Upper Grand District School Board
- Kian Hasson-Tehrani and Matin Zalpour, Mechatronics — Seneca College
- Elijah Sommers, Plumbing (TC) — UA Local 527
- Ethan Kroetsch, Cabinetmaking (TC) — Conestoga College
- Abigayle Hamilton and Emma Pace, Landscape Gardening (TC) — Durham College
- Andrian Movtchan, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (TC) — Humber College
- Stephanie Savoie, Architectural Technology & Design (PS) — Fanshawe College
- Maxim Gontcharenko, Electronics (PS) — Seneca College
- William Innes, Outdoor Power and Recreation Equipment (PS) — Centennial College
- Ryder Lytle, Cabinetmaking (S) — Trillium Lakelands District School Board
- Jake Boekestyn, Welding (TC) — Niagara College
- Ryan Jolley, Electrical Installations (TC) — IBEW Local 120
- Mathieu Dupuis, Industrial Control (TC) — Cambrian College
- Jerome Bosman, Sheet Metal Work (PS) — Fanshawe College
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