Kingston-area skills competition aimed at generating student interest in trades


All this week students in the Limestone District School Board in Kingston, Ont., will be participating in the Limestone Skills Competition. While much of the competition will take place at St. Lawrence College, the week-long event started at Napanee District Secondary School.Autobody painting is the lone trade on Monday but autobody teacher Craig Sindall says the list of trades in the competition this week is almost endless.“Construction, cabinet making, electrical, welding,” said Sindall rhyming off just a few of the offerings.NDSS Grade 11 student Alisha Haaksman says autobody painting requires a multitude of steps to get the job right. The focus of the competition is painting bumpers.“We sanded them, painted them down, we have three coats; we had to go through data sheets to make sure we did the paint properly and then soon we will be doing clear coats,” said Haaksman. Story continues below advertisement Grading the students on their work is Logan Williams,  an NDSS Graduate and auto body technician at Condie Collision in Kingston.“I’m looking at their skills and their techniques that they’re using and mostly their ability to take critiques and use them,” said Williams.The larger goal of skills competitions organized by Skills Ontario is to interest the current generation in a career in the trades.The federal government estimated 700,000 skilled trades workers would be retiring between 2019 and 2028. 2:13 Canada’s skilled trades workers dwindling: census Sindall says many skilled professions offer decent compensation. Trending Now “You work for four or five years get your license and you’re up to $80,000, $100,000 at 21, 22 years old,” said Sindall. Story continues below advertisement Wages are one of the draws for Jacob Simpson who is in the autobody painting competition.“I like I might be able to make a lot of money in it, it might be a good career option for me,” said Simpson.Grade 11 student and auto body painter Joe Yeomans is also considering working in the trades.“I like working hands-on and so if I can be either doing something outside or in a shop not just sitting at a desk, it’s really fun,” said Yeomans.Williams says she loves her career and liked the quick transition from high school to entering the workforce.“Being an apprentice and going into a trade is really great because one you don’t have college debt or anything and you’re learning as your earning,” she said.The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development estimates the province will need 100,000 more construction workers this decade alone to meet the government’s pledge to build 1.5 million homes by 2031. 1:36 Peterborough construction industry faces skilled labour gap &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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