April 18, 2007
She's dreaming of becoming a welder
Competition encourages youth to choose trades as a career
Jessica Marginson’s dream of becoming a welder received a big boost on Saturday when she won the regional welding qualifying round for the provincial Ontario Technological Skills Competition.
The 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Napanee District Secondary School beat six other high school-level competitors from Eastern Ontario and will now advance to the provincials, which take place in Kitchener-Waterloo from April 30 to May 2.
Marginson doesn’t know how she’ll fare at the provincials, but said the process of competing has gone a long way towards helping her follow her welding career plans.
“It reassures me that I’m doing the right thing,” Marginson said in an interview after receiving her medal at St. Lawrence College in Kingston.
The welding category was one of six categories at Saturday’s qualifying rounds. The others were carpentry, culinary arts, Internet webpage design, small powered equipment, and TV and video production.
Run by Skills Canada - Ontario, a not-for-profit organization, the qualifying competition in Kingston was one of six that took place across the province that allowed high school students to demonstrate their trade and technological skills.
Doug James, one of the Kingston event’s organizers, said the qualifying round for the six categories was implemented in 2005 due to the increased popularity of the competition.
“These are the ones that are the most popular so they can’t accommodate all the school boards sending one competitor so they have set up these regional competitions to pare things down,” James said.
The first round in Kingston was coordinated by St. Lawrence College and the Limestone District School Board. Called the Limestone Skilled Trades Competition, it took place March 28 and involved 231 competitors in about 30 different categories.
According to Skills Canada, these competitions support youth and the prosperity of industry in Ontario by promoting the skilled trades and technologies as viable and exciting career options for young people.
Marginson said the competition definitely helped her with her welding aspirations.
While competing, she has learned more about her welding by tackling the challenging assignments in the competitions. She’s also learned how not to work by watching her competitors and by not emulating their mistakes.
She believes she won Saturday because she took a slow, measured approach to her welding assignment while many of her competitors rushed into it.
“I sat and read the blueprints over 20 times and made everything square and precise before I did any welding,” she said.
She said she has also learned valuable interviewing skills. A portion of the competition involves a five-minute interview in which she learned about the types of questions future potential employers may ask her.
If Marginson wins at the provincials, she’ll continue on to the nationals in Saskatoon, Sask., which take place June 6-7 and will feature 1,000 competitors in over 45 categories.
Skills Canada - Ontario is principally funded by Union Gas, but has a number of other large sponsors, including CTV, the federal government, the provincial government, and several community colleges.
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