Jacob Walter captured a gold medal for electronics at the Skills Canada BC competition in Abbotsford, April 17. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools

Comox Valley youth rank high in Skills Canada BC competition

Comox Valley students brought home some new hardware last week after achieving high results for their skills in the trades and technology.

The Skills Canada Provincial competition was held at the Tradex centre in Abbotsford on April 17, bringing together over 600 students from across B.C. Competitors showcased their prowess in the 58 trades and technology categories such as welding, baking, graphic design, electronics and robotics.

“It’s all about kids who are using their hands and doing technical things being exposed to a whole bunch of different competitions that basically take them further in life,” said Steve Claassen, a teacher at Mark R. Isfeld who has been involved in the skills competition for 20 years. “A lot of the time we’re focused on academics and sports but technical skills are also important.”

A total of 25 Comox Valley students competed in 10 different categories with many making it onto the podium.

G.P Vanier students, Jacob Walter and Tyler Wenmann both claimed first place finishes in their separate categories – Walter for electronics and Wenmann for graphic design. Arlo Richardson, Reele Morrison and Hamilton Embree, also from G.P. Vanier Secondary, captured gold, silver and bronze respectively for Jr. Sumo Robotics. Evan Barker from Vanier took home silver in the welding competition.

In Robotics VEXIQ, two Highland teams rose to first and second place with Branwen Ackroyd and Liam Rendell taking home gold and Vivianne Lemay and Thai Murray claiming silver. A team from Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, made up by Noah Doeschner-fretts and Zeke Gregory snagged the bronze medal.

Competition in Skills Canada is a way for students to showcase their skills and even jumpstart their careers. Many of the students Claassen has seen compete in the competitions have gone on to get jobs in their field.

“Last year, the kid who won nationals for graphic design, he’s out working in graphic design now. It’s opened up doors for him,” said Claassen.

All gold medal winning students will be advancing to the national level competition in Halifax From May 28-29.

For those interested in helping these students get to Nationals, please contact Troy Dakiniewich at G.P. Vanier at 250-338-9262 or by email at Troy.Dakiniewich@sd71.bc.ca


Tyler Wenmann won gold at the Skills Canada BC competition for graphic design in Abbotsford on April 17. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools

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