Jeff Heuchert email@example.com
Stratford Northwestern Grade 12 student Kris Meyer has a medal in his pocket and an abundance of employment expertise under his belt after participating in the recent Skills Canada National Competition.
Skills Canada is a not-for-profit organization that promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies to Canadian youth. The annual competition is the only of its kind in the country, highlighting the best of students and apprentices in over 40 skilled trades and technology contests.
The 18-year-old, representing Ontario with other students who qualified by coming in first in their respective fields at a provincial competition held at RIM Park in Waterloo this past March, competed in the job search competition, which focused on employment skills like resume and cover letter writing. He also had to "apply" for two different jobs – one for a catering assistant, the other for a customer service rep at a recreation complex – and answer questions in a mock interview.
"It was all skills that are applicable to the real world," says Meyer, who finished third in all of the country in the contest. "Even if I lost I was still getting the practice. You're always going to need interview skills if you're going to land a good job."
Meyer is the first Northwestern student to medal in the job search contest at the Skills Canada Competition.
Teacher Gail Fricker notes the contest is rarely entered by students across the Avon Maitland board – likely because it is not trade-specific like most other categories – but suggests it shouldn't be overlooked.
"I think it's a really great experience for anyone," she says, noting most students will apply for more than one different type of job in their life, and that it's important they know how to tailor their applications for that specific opportunity. Everyone can also benefit from knowing how to present themselves in a professional and personal manner, she adds.
Meyer says the competition, held June 4-7 at the International Centre in Mississauga, wasn't all work, and that he had quite a bit of fun participating. He gives a lot of credit to the school's co-op teachers for helping prepare him for the competition.
Meyer is currently completing a co-op placement at Kelly's Electric in Stratford and hasn't decided his next move after graduating. He says he might pursue an apprenticeship or take the year off. He's also been accepted into an electric engineering program at Conestoga College.