Highland Secondary School graduate represents Canada at electronics competition in Middle East

A Highland Secondary School graduate has just returned from an 11-day stint in the the Middle East, where he represented Canada in an international electronics competition.

2017 Highland graduate Judd Foster was competing in the electronics category at the WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi, which took place Oct. 15–19. (WorldSkills promotes careers to young people in skilled trades and technologies).

Foster took part in the international event after winning gold in the electronics category at the Skills Canada competition in June 2016. Because the gold medal winner for the post-secondary age group exceeded the age limit for WorldSkills, Foster was invited to Abu Dhabi in his place.

He said that due to the age difference, the caliber of competition in the Middle East was a notch above the national event.

“In nationals, I was competing at the secondary level.” he said. “I basically had to train and learn all of that material. It was a lot more challenging than at nationals.”

Competitors were tested in a variety of skills related to electronics in Abu Dhabi, completing four test projects over four days. For the first task, Foster had to design, model and build a circuit board from scratch.

In another task, he had to program a robot arm to perform specific motions. He also had to create a traffic light simulator.

“There were lights that represented cars, and they were all running. We had to simulate a bunch of traffic lights and see the traffic flow,” he said.

Foster said he became interested in electronics at a very young age.

“I was into science, basically, and I started reading books,” he said. “I did a bunch of work with lights when I was a little kid and it later progressed into electronics.”

While he is done competing at WorldSkills competitions, Foster said he’d like to continue with the organization in some capacity in the future. He will be in Ottawa next month for the National Skilled Trades and Technology Week from Nov. 7–9.

“After that, I want to stay in touch with my trainer,” he said. “We’re going to talk about designing new projects for future competitors. Hopefully, I can make my way and one day become a trainer and an expert.”

The 17-year old — who is taking a gap year because of the trip to Abu Dhabi — said his goal for the future is to pursue an electronic engineering degree at Simon Fraser University or the University of Victoria.

He said his long-term goal is to work in the electronic engineering field, creating the circuit boards that go inside of electronics products, such as drones.

The World Skills 2017 competition saw more than 1,000 competitors from 59 member countries compete in 51 separate skill competitions.

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