Hands-on learning and practical skills were the name of the game at the northwest regional Skills Canada competition today in Meadow Lake.
More than 30 students from the nine Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) schools participated in 10 different skills contests, including hair, beauty therapy, photography, public speaking, carpentry, video, cooking, and baking. There were also two cultural components: Beading and Indigenous art. The event was hosted at the North West College by MLTC and sponsored by a number of organizations.
Al Gabert, Executive Director of Skills Canada Saskatchewan, said the regionals are a unique opportunity for youth in the northern segment of the province.
“We’re preparing the northern First Nations youth in the MLTC schools to get some prior experience before getting the opportunity to go to the provincials,” he said. “We really want these students involved. This could potentially help them in their futures. Skilled trades are needed in all kinds of jobs, and this preps them for it.”
Billie Hanson, a Grade 12 student from Buffalo Narrows was in the baking segment. She said it was the first year she participated, and said she was thankful for the chance.
“I was nervous when I first got here, but when I started it was all flowing out. I just went for it,” she said.
She said the event allows students to build confidence at a real-life task.
“I think it really shows students how to be a well-rounded person,” Hanson said. “I’m really proud of myself and everyone here.”
Brien Morgan, a teacher and supervisor of the carpentry event. He said his students seem to be really invested in learning skilled trades.
“It’s a natural thing for them to go to,” he said. “We’ve had kids see success at regionals and provincials. And even if they don’t place, I was super clear from the get-go, win or lose, they’re putting themselves out there in a situation when they’re in a competition in a new building, in a new place with new faces, it’s a character builder.”
The participants are marked with a standard rubric, and those who place will qualify for the provincials, which will take place in Regina in April.
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