The construction/industrial electrician student at College of the North Atlantic’s Corner Brook Campus put his skills up against classmate Stephen Gardiner in an in-house Skills Canada Competition.
The electrical installation competition was one of five categories in which students at the college could test their skills and knowledge. The other competition areas included IT software solutions for business, welding, electronics and IT network systems administration. Between 25 and 30 students participated in the event, a qualifier for the Skills Canada provincial competition.
Click HERE to view a slideshow from the Corner Brook competition
For the electrical installation competition Connolly and Gardiner had to hook up an ordinary light control from four separate locations, with about a half hour to complete the project.
Connolly said the competition is a great opportunity for hands on experience that would be similar to expectations on a job.
“Even though you’re in school, you’re still getting experience,” he said.
He said it also helps to reinforce what students are learning at the college.
“It’s still staying fresh in your mind what you have to do,” he said. “You’re not in school and forgetting about how everything is supposed to work. You still got to think about what has to be done and what step comes next.”
While Friday’s competition was a first for him as a participant, Connolly has attended a provincial competition as a spectator. He went with a friend to the 2010 provincials in St. John’s.
The experience of watching the competition and meeting people from all over Newfoundland played a role in his decision to compete this year, as did the chance to show up his classmate.
“Just a little friendly class in-house competition,” he said with a smile. “To have some bragging rights between the two of us.”
Looking for a win
Mitchell Peach was also looking for a win in the IT network systems administration competition.
“I feel like I’ve got the skills that are required for it,” said the second-year computer systems and networking student.
“If I can get to at least the provincial, if not the national level, then it’s going to open up job opportunities for me.”
He said he knows of companies that send scouts to the competitions to watch for people who excel.
Peach said the in-house competition is a condensed version of the provincial one with multiple choice questions. If he makes it to the provincial level he’ll have to finish a six-hour test to set up a complete network.
“I have to set up computers. I have to set up network infrastructure. I have to set up servers. I have to make sure everything can communicate with each other.”
As an instructor in the college’s welding program, Brad Jenniex has taken students to provincial and national competitions 13 times.
“It builds confidence,” he said. “It’s a great thing for students to be able to put on a resume that they competed at Skills Canada and that, basically, to me is the ultimate goal — that the student gets something out of it.
“Whether they win or lose is not important. It’s a bonus if you win, but it’s the competing and the experience. It’s invaluable really.”
Winners of the in-house competition will be announced on Monday. They’ll then go on to compete at the provincial level in St. John’s on April 12. The winners from St. John’s will make up Team Newfoundland and travel to Vancouver in June.