Humber students compete for spot in Skills Ontario
Humber students put their skills to the test Thursday at the Skills Mechatronics Qualifying Competition.
This same competition sent two Humber students all the way to the international competition in Dubai, last year
Avery Bird and Theo Willert earned themselves the bronze medal at the WorldSkills competition.
“It was the most incredible moment of my life by far, ” Willert said. “It was incredibly stressful, it was incredibly rewarding, it was incredibly frustrating at some points but we came out of it with the best in nation medal for Canada and a bronze medal for World Skills. We were hoping to get maybe top ten, so hearing Canada being called out at the medal ceremony was just about the coolest thing we’d ever heard.”
The event took place in the LRC concourse at Humber’s North campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A total of six teams participated in this year’s qualifier. Four of the six were first time competitors and two teams were giving the competition a second shot for a spot in the provincial competition.
“This qualifying competition is determining which two teams – so one senior team and one junior team – goes onto the skills Ontario,” said Willert.
All 24 of Ontario’s colleges have the opportunity to enter and qualify for the provincial competition, Skills Ontario.
Winners of the provincial competition will move on to the national competition, Skills Canada, and ultimately the international competition.
Darren Lawless, Humber’s Dean of Applied Research and Innovation, who was overlooking the event says he is confident in Humber’s ability to win big again this year and believes without a doubt that students can make it to the international competition.
“The teams coming up are incredibly strong. I think bronze was a start for us. We are an elite mechatronics team, I anticipate we will continue to be, because the knowledge is the best. We have a mechanism now that knowledge is being able to pass down from one generation […] down to the next and the excitement of why we’re doing it. So I’m excited. I think you’ll find that the winners here will do wonderful things,” Lawless said.
Lawless says this competition gives students a chance to show off their skills and get the attention of major companies where their abilities can be put to use.
“More importantly the solid commitment of our executive team,” Added Lawless “It’s not about winning medals, it’s not about bragging rights, it’s about demonstrating that our country is providing the best, the premier Polytechnique experience of learning opportunities.”
According to Willart, this year’s competitors are strong and judges are going to have to grade their work very carefully.
“From what I see today right now and through the training that we’ve done over the last six months this is a very equal playing field. It’s going to be very close. Any mistake can can you leave you by the road and any good job can can bring you to Ontario. So it’s going to be very very close,” Willert said.
Mateusz Cwalinski, a Humber student competing this year agrees that they have some solid competition.
“They’re a very good team. It’s too close to call, I mean we have to try really hard find all their mistakes otherwise we will lose,” Cwalinski said.
Cwalinski competed in the event last year and made it to nationals, where his team fell just short of first place and brought home silver. He and his teammate Bogdan Malynovskyy are hoping to go all the way this year.
“On the first day we did not do so well. And the second day, we did very well but it was not enough to get in the first place. So overall we finished second which we’re very proud of. This year we’re going […] again, trying to win first here, first in provincial and first at nationals,” said Cwalinski.
“They’ve been putting in a lot of work to get to the point they’re at and they’re very well-prepared. These guys work so, so hard to get where they are,” Willert said. “It’s been an incredible ride for them. It was incredible ride for me so I can only hope that they get the same experience and same joy out of it.”
The international event is held every other year, the next event will take place in Kazan Russia in 2019.