Summer 2015 e-newsletter

In This Issue

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Message from the CEO

The 21st Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC), which took place from May 27-30, 2015, in Saskatoon, SK., proved to be another successful event based on the feedback we have received from our many stakeholders. This two-day competition sandwiched between an inspiring Opening Ceremony and an exciting and emotional Closing Ceremony had several thousands of visitors in attendance including students from the Saskatoon area and beyond, as well as hundreds of representatives from business, labour, education and government who are committed to promoting skilled trade and technology careers.


The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform presents the Safety Award to a member of the National Technical Committee for Cooking.

We are very grateful that the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Democratic Reform, was able to take time from his busy schedule to walk the event floor and see young Canadians in action during the competition. He also attended the Closing Ceremony and congratulated the hundreds of competitors for their hard work and dedication on the long and challenging path to get to the Skills Canada National Competition.


SCC continues to bring new and exciting elements to the competition and as such this year we hosted for the first time the Essential Skills Educators Forum. The Forum provided an opportunity for event participants to discuss the importance of the Essential Skills and how we transition students from the "Classroom to the Workplace".  SCC also profiled the launch of the Skills Canada Essential Skills Mobile App that was available at the event and is available for download through Google Play and ITunes®.


The 29 members of WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 also attended SCNC 2015. They participated in training and preparatory activities in the hopes that it will enhance their performance for the upcoming 43rd WorldSkills Competition, which will take place from August 11-16, 2015, in São Paulo, Brazil. On behalf of the National Board of Directors and our Member Organizations, I would like to wish them the very best of luck at this Competition! I look forward to seeing you there.


Thank you to our hundreds of sponsors and suppliers that made this event possible with special mention to UA Canada and TransCanada for their significant partnership at SCNC and across the country.


Lastly, I want to thank all of our volunteers with a special mention to our National Technical Committee Members and Workshop Supervisors. This group works with SCC throughout the year and they commit countless hours to the success of the event. They always go above and beyond to ensure the competitions are safe, transparent and relevant.  


Thank you to everyone who helped make SCNC 2015 a success. We look forward to seeing you all at SCNC 2016 in Moncton, N.B. from June 5-8, 2016!


Shaun Thorson
Chief Executive Officer

Skills/Compétences Canada In the News 

Here are some recent news clips featuring the 2015 Skills Canada National Competition:

Mike Holmes, SCC's official spokesperson, discusses the impact of careers in the skilled trades on our country's economy in this interesting article, which is featured in the National Post:
How Skills Canada can save our jobs and our economy.

Check out this Global News Interview with Al Gabert, Executive Director for Skills Canada Saskatchewan, Sean Audet, a cooking competitor and Emily Fell, a car painting competitor with a tour of the SCNC 2015 site.


Following their visit to SCNC Global News also published the following article Canada's Top Young Trades People battle it out at the Skills Canada National Competition. 


Radio-Canada also came to the Skills Canada National Competition in Saskatoon and interviewed Luc Morin, Executive Director of Skills Canada New Brunswick and a WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 Competitor Kassandra Bilodeau. Read this interesting article: Des champions des métiers s'affrontent à Saskatoon (in French only). 


Check out this CBC radio interview with Shania Stevens, a pastry competitor at SCNC 2015, who discusses how she got involved in the trades and plans to pursue a career as a pastry chef.


The Star Phoenix interviews Shaun Thorson, CEO of Skills Canada and Bo Chiasson, WorldSkills Team Canada 2013 competitor in robotics, about the competition. To read this article: National Skills Competition Comes to Saskatoon.


CBC News Saskatoon published the following story about SCNC 2015: Top Skills and Technology Minds meet in Saskatoon.


The Star Phoenix ran another article, which features an interview with robotics competitors. Check it out.


News Talk 650 also covered the robotics competition and also interviewed SCC's CEO, Shaun Thorson, on the importance of the nine essential skills to pursue a career in the skilled trades and technologies. Click here to read this article.  


The Toronto Sun also featured an article on the essential skills at SCNC in their article: Skills for the future.


Shaw TV filmed a mini-doc before and during SCNC 2015:

Part 1 features an interview with Al Gabert, Executive Director for Skills Canada Saskatchewan 

Part 2 features Bo Chiasson, a WorldSkills Team Canada 2013 competitor in mobile robotics

Part 3 features Shaun Thorson, CEO of Skills/Compétences Canada


The Federal Government distributed a news release over the wire following SCNC.


Skills Canada also issued a news release after the Closing Ceremony at SCNC.

Skills Canada News

Highlights of SCNC 2015


Relive some of the SCNC excitement!




Watch the highlight video 


View and download the 1000+ amazing competition pictures 


Take a look at the competition results 


SCNC 2015 Awards


Several awards were presented at the Closing Ceremony including the Contest Safety Award, the SCC Achievement Award and the SCNC Team Spirit Award.


The Contest Safety Award is presented to the contest area that is evaluated by our National Safety Committee as being the best at administrating all aspects of safety including prevention and emergency preparedness.


Winner: Cooking


The SCC Achievement Award is given to the National Technical Committee or other volunteers who go above and beyond to ensure that the Skills Canada National Competition 2015 is a success.



Randy Callaghan - Carpentry Chair

Thomas Rush, Cooking and Baking Workshop Supervisor

Kyla McKechnie, Landscape Gardening Workshop Supervisor


The SCNC Team Spirit Award is awarded to the provincial/territorial team that not only demonstrates the highest level of enthusiasm, devotion and pride throughout the Competition but also to the team that is most active on Skills/Compétences Canada's social media channels.





At this year's Skills Canada National Competition, there were over 575 competitors and there was a great turnout from participating schools with a total of 2,500 students who attended this four day event. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were held outside for the first time and this along with the entertainment allowed us to truly capture the Saskatchewan spirit.


We had several guest speakers at the ceremonies including Sherry Holmes who spoke at the Opening Ceremony and represented the Holmes Foundation. The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, spoke at the Closing Ceremony. He congratulated all of the competitors at SCNC 2015 and wished good luck to the members of WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 as they embark on their journey to the 43rd WorldSkills Competition.



There were also several activities highlighting the Essential Skills, with a focus on numeracy, over the duration of the competition, including:


-The Essential Skills Zone where students and guests engaged in hands-on challenges, presentations and interactive activities intended to increase their awareness of the Essential Skills.

-The Essential Skills Stage, which showcased a number of presentations highlighting nine Essential Skills in the trades and technology occupations.

-The ES Passport, which was given to visiting students for them to indicate when they had completed Try-A-Trade® and Technology activities and then identify which Essential Skills where used in each activity for a chance to win a prize.

-The ES Educators Forum which brought together industry, educators, government, apprentices and students to share their views on the importance of preparing young Canadians for occupations/careers and the prominence of Essential Skills in the trade and technology sectors.

-SCC had a Mobile App Station, the first of its kind ES App, which was unveiled during SCNC and allowed visiting students to see which occupations would best suit their current Essential Skills. 

-SCC held a live webcast on the competition floor hosted by ABC Life Literacy where we heard from industry leaders, employers, educational experts, and competition alumni about the importance of the nine Essential Skills. Click on this link to view all of the recorded webcasts online.


SCC would like to thank all of our partners, including our presenting sponsors UA and TransCanada, our official sponsors, our supporting sponsors and all of our suppliers for their contributions in helping ensure that this event is a great success! A special thank you to our volunteers for their dedication and hard work, we couldn't do this without you! Also, thank you to Skills Canada Saskatchewan, as they were a great partner in preparation in the lead up to and during this event!

2015 Essential Skills Youth Forum


As part of the 2015 Skills Canada National Competition the Essential Skills Youth Forum (ESYF), comprised of eight Skills/Compétences Canada (SCC) alumni from across Canada, came together to share experiences and ideas in order to improve future events by speaking on behalf of Canadian youth.  Throughout the forum, the EYSF focused their attention on how the Essential Skills (ES) were incorporated into the following ES areas:  ES Centre stage, Try-A-Trade® and Technology activities, ABC Life Literacy live Webcast, Educators Forum, and the Skills Canada mobile app. With their experience in hand, the ESYF will generate a report on their findings and will present to the SCC Board in the near future hoping to make a difference at future events.


The Essential Skills Youth Forum participants
Upcoming Events

The 43rd WorldSkills Competition



The 43rd WorldSkills Competition will be held from August 11-16, 2015, in São Paulo, Brazil where the 29 members of WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 will be competing for the prestigious title of World Champion! This four day Competition will take place at Anhembi Park and the Opening and Closing ceremonies will be held at Ibirapuera Gymnasium.


There will be 1,230 competitors in attendance from over 50 Member countries/regions participating in more than 50 skills in 6 sectors. The experts and competitors will be arriving on August 8th in preparation for this important Competition.  


The "One School One Country" programme  is part of WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 and is intended to foster interaction between the Competitors and students from local schools in order to promote education and vocational training. In the programme, about 55 secondary schools in São Paulo and its surroundings will receive Competitors from different countries. Such experience seeks to provide local students the opportunity to simultaneously learn about the different countries and options for professional skilled careers in the commercial and industrial sectors.


The  WorldSkills Conference Programme, which will be held in conjunction with the Competition, will focus on the future of vocational education for the future of our youth, as well as global policies and innovation. This will be a great opportunity to exchange best practices and to network with specialists from all over the world.


The WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 reception, which is hosted by SCC and sponsored by Vale , will be held on August 15th at the Pestana São Paulo .

SCC will also be have a display booth in the WorldSkills Village where the
  Essential Skills Mobile App will be showcased and information on SCC programs available. SCC is working with the Canadian Consulate General in Brazil to discuss the opportunities in business and education between Canada and Brazil.

For more information on the 43rd WorldSkills Competition, go to:


Follow WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 on Twitter and Facebook #WorldSkillsTC2015.


Check out the WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 Booklet!

The WorldSkills Digital Challenge 2015


The WorldSkills Digital Challenge (WSDC) is a groundbreaking event that will demonstrate how information technology related competitions can be fun and engaging. The WSDC will bring together talented problem solvers from different parts of the world to help Brazilian NGOs with their social projects, leaving a sustainable legacy in the local communities. The event will be hosted at the Anhembi Park, the venue of WorldSkills São Paulo 2015.


Stacey Dubois, a WorldSkills Team Canada 2009 competitor in IT Software Applications, will be one of the 20 participants who was chosen to be a part of this exciting four day challenge.


For more information on this event, visit

National Skilled Trades and Technology Week (NSTTW) 

November 2-8, 2015


Mark your calendar! Skills/Compétences Canada (SCC) and its Member Organizations will be hosting events to raise awareness of skilled trades and technology careers to parents, youth and educators.  


This is an opportunity for all types of organizations across Canada, from businesses to educational institutions, to get involved in promoting skilled trades and technology opportunities to youth in a "hands-on" way.


SCC will be hosting an official launch for NSTTW. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting event!




To obtain more information about activities happening in your region, please contact your SCC provincial/territorial office.


If you are interested in partnering with SCC for NSTTW 2015 or other events, please contact Gail Vent at   


For more information, visit:
In dustry News and Stories

Essential Skills Day 


The sixth annual Essential Skills Day will take place on Friday, September 25, 2015 to raise awareness about the importance of workplace literacy and essential skills training. The Government of Canada has identified nine essential skills needed for workplace success. These skills are used in every job to varying degrees and at different levels of complexity. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.  


Visit to learn more about Essential Skills Day and how you can get involved!



Survey: Hands-on training, mentorship best way to transfer knowledge


Troubleshooting identified as critical skill

Many forecasters see trouble ahead for replacing what's called the "graying workforce" in skilled technical jobs. One survey by Plant Engineering magazine found more people over the age of 60 working than under the age of 40. According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, the share of the civilian workforce age 55 and over is expected to increase to 25.6 % by 2022, more than doubling from 1992. As these wise veterans choose retirement, who will rise up to replace them? And how will younger workers receive the training they need to continue the gains in productivity of the last decade?

Fluke News surveyed people in industry about their training, and asked questions about past education and how workers deal with upgrading skills while on the job. We heard from 61 respondents, mostly in the U.S. and Canada, but also in six other countries. The biggest cohort of answers came from people in maintenance or electrical jobs (61 %) who work in either an industrial or government facility (49%). The most valuable training is "hands on" or directly from on-the-job mentors, such as coworkers or vendors who are demonstrating new machinery, respondents wrote. "On the job training is invaluable. Seeing and troubleshooting in real world environments," is the best classroom, one worker wrote. "The best training for me is from coworkers who have been doing the work for 30+ years," wrote another.

When giving advice to younger workers, many repeated the most important skill is "troubleshooting." Another wise person suggested "learning how to learn." "Learn to troubleshoot," one worker wrote. "Finding what causes the problem is equal to fixing the problem.  Learn to respect electricity. Keep learning." There were specific recommendations, including these:  read the schematics, think analytically, understand test equipment, read as much as possible. Several respondents highlighted the importance of safety and that knowledge is one of the best ways to make manufacturing plants safer in the long term. One man wrote: "Learn how to understand a process/equipment/technique so thoroughly that you can describe three different ways to accomplish the same task depending on the situation."

People skills and talking to colleagues also got an emphasis from many respondents.  A staggering 88 percent said they consult with more experienced coworkers daily or weekly on the job.It may not be a surprise that email is the most common form for "talking" to each other (51%) but face-to-face (39%) is a healthy form of communication. Besides just talking, many workers are keeping detailed data or notes about their plants, and using it to try to plan ahead to fend off trouble. One worker takes infrared images of substation equipment and industrial plant equipment like motors and switch gear. He uses that to do energy audits and building diagnostics, and stores the information on flash drives and CDs.  All that crucial information helps save money, escape trouble, find trouble that could hit in the future, as well as keep units on schedule for maintenance and budget ahead for replacement parts, respondents told Fluke News. "We collect failure data on new products through thorough testing, and use established ISO procedures. We have a central database of test reports and summarize our conclusions and store this in secure IT storage," wrote one worker.

The majority of respondents (89%) have a vocational or technical degree, or an associate of arts degree. But as many wrote, they've learned a lot of what they need outside of classrooms and on the job. Some community colleges are adding "industrial maintenance" programs to try to train the army that industry will need in the next decades. What some call the "wave" of retiring industrial workers will require creativity from manufacturers as they struggle to adjust to losing skills and experience. That effort will likely include new workflows and tools to help transfer knowledge from one generation to the next.

Contributed by: Fluke

Why UA Canada Supports Skills/Compétences Canada


Anyone that has attended Skills Canada events in the past have seen a large collection of youth from across Canada performing trades and technical related tasks in a competitive atmosphere for the public to see in a very large venue completely devoted to the purpose of hosting a competition venue. With no previous experience with this organization, they sometimes have questions. What is the purpose of these events? What are these people doing? Why have they all come here to this event?


All of these questions are the result of not being familiar or having absolutely no knowledge of trades and technical skills. Many people are not aware of the skills that our young people in Canada possess and what they can do in just a few short days of competition. Skills Canada events in each province and then finally the national event show what they can do.


We believe it is a national showcase of skills for youth with participation from every province in Canada which includes very well-developed practical contests for competitors based on what they do in their daily work as an Apprentice or in their technical field of expertise. It is also a way for young people to prove their skills in a contest against other provincial representatives with the winner getting a medal for their achievement at the grand ceremony at the end of the event. It is also a way for provincial and federal government agencies to cooperate in skills development by being part of the process and seeing firsthand what skilled workers do in their daily lives.


It is also a great opportunity for educators to bring their students, who may have never seen this type of work before, to an eye opening showcase which could lead them to a future in a technical occupation or trade. It is an opportunity to inform the public about careers in the trades and technical fields available for youth including parents, teachers and students. It allows the general public to see what the trades and technology skills are about as well for those who have never seen what a sprinklerfitter or instrumentation/control technician does. It is also an opportunity for educators from across Canada to participate in education forums held at this event, with experts in the field of education as well as their peers, towards learning new ways of delivering training and bringing the message to everyone that trades and technical skills provide a great career path that includes a very bright future.


Competitors get the most from this event just by participating. They meet new people as part of the 4-day long event, including their peers, judges and volunteers and sponsors and the general public. They travel to new cities to complete. They learn quickly how to handle new situations from the opening ceremonies to the pressure of performing and being judged on their practical tests, to the final ceremonies and everything in between. This is always a positive experience for the participants and they leave with many memories and experiences that affect the way they work and live in the future. Some of them who win the national can qualify to go to the WorldSkills Competition, which just adds to their experience if they make it to this level.


These are just some of the things that come from Skills Canada both provincial and national and support for these events is something that we believe is the right thing to do. We committed in the past three years as a Premier sponsor which just ended with this year's event in Saskatoon, but we have just signed for another three years of sponsorship at the same level so we plan to be around for a while to help with our commitment of funding, participants, judges, and volunteers. We want to help to bring this event to the people of Canada so they can be part of the best program that the Government of Canada offers for young people. We believe it is a great event for the youth of Canada and should be expanded in the future to promote Apprenticeship and skills development for the future. Look forward to seeing you next year at the Skills Canada National Competition.

Contributed by: 

SouthWire Canada is a Proud Sponsor of SCNC 


"Southwire Canada's SIMpull Solutions® products in action at a wire installation in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Our value-added products & services are designed to help electrical contractors increase safety and efficiency on the jobsite, while reducing the overall costs associated with using traditional installation techniques."


Contributed by: 
SCNC 2016 Presenting Partners

SCNC 2016 Education and Association Partners

SCNC 2016 Long-term Suppliers

Sponsors and Suppliers


Skills/Compétences Canada would like to thank all of its SCNC 2015 and WorldSkills Team Canada 2015 sponsors and suppliers!

Views or opinions of contributors presented in this e-newsletter do not necessarily represent the position of Skills/Compétences Canada.