Edmonton, Alberta — The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) hosted two autobody Skills Canada competitions, allowing students to test their skills at the provincial and national level.
There were 22 apprentices that participated in the provincial competition in May, and nine of them took home top honours and will be moving on to nationals. Chris Browton, executive director at Skills Canada Alberta, says it’s important to have competitions like this so that any student looking into trade work can gain more experience and show off their skills.
“What it does for the competitor itself is it really takes them out of the classroom environment and traditional learning environment and puts them through their paces so they really start to see how well-evolved their skill-set actually is,” said Browton in a 2021 Provincial Skills Canada Alberta Competition video. “NAIT has thrown its doors open as a great stakeholder of Skills Canada Alberta.”
The competitors are performing at a high level, and Russ Balik, the academic chair for the automotive service technician apprenticeship, says that it’s no small feat to get to this stage in the competition.
“We’re really pushing them to the edges of their theory and their skills that they know. They definitely have to be very skilled in order to be here,” he said.
NAIT says it is focused on bringing the best of the best to their students and according to Brooke Peterson, a welding student at NAIT who also competed in the Skills Canada provincial competition, the high-quality teachers are to thank for the successes of the students.
“The teachers don’t just come here every day because they have to for a paycheque,” said Peterson. “They come because this is what they love to do and they help the future of their trade become the best version of them that they can be.”