Students compete to represent Humber at Skills Ontario competition

Feb 23, 2023 | Culture, Life

Humber students who took part in last week’s Mechatronics Skills Qualifying competition are waiting to see if they qualified for the provincials.

The students competed on Friday, Feb. 17, in the Barrett Centre For Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI) and the winner will be announced on Feb. 28.

Students from the college’s electromechanical program competed in pairs for a chance to represent Humber College in the Skills Ontario Competition. Each pair was tasked with constructing a piece of equipment that’s used in a modern day factory.

During the competition, students weren’t allowed to talk to people outside of their partner as they worked against a timer to simulate the environment of the Skills Ontario Competition.

The director of the Barrett CTI, Neal Mohammed was a former judge of the qualifying competition but has since passed the torch down to other professors in the program.

Despite this, he spent the day popping in and out of the mechatronics lab to show his support to the students who worked to earn a spot in the competition.

“So these kids, these students are training beyond their class. So most of these students are putting in over one hundred hours of training, training on Saturdays, weekends, anytime they got free on their schedules,” Mohammed said.

“You’re looking at what we call mechatronics systems integration skills,” he said. “So these kids can actually leave and walk out tomorrow and start working. That’s all that they could’ve been trained to do at that level, employable skills sets.”

Throughout the day, numerous different faculty members from Humber North and the Barrett CTI came to see the students compete. Among those in attendance was Humber President Ann Marie Vaughan.

“It’s not my first time at a skills event because I’m a big supporter of skills right throughout the country and internationally. But it’s my first time at a Humber qualifier event in mechatronics so it’s really exciting,” she said.

“I’m a big fan of the skills competitions and Ontario Skills Canada. I just think they’re phenomenal opportunities for students,” Vaughan said.

The competition allows students to highlight the skills they’ve learned in and outside of the classroom.

Paxton Coghlin said it would mean a lot to win alongside his partner Dillon Kong. Coghlin has only been in the program for five months whereas Kong started last September.

“It took a lot of practice. For the past four months we’ve been going seven days a week and we learned the basis for all this stuff in the actual program,” Kong said. “Here we got to elaborate on a lot of what we learned in the program, especially our electrical mechanical program.”

The winners of Skills Ontario will then go on to represent Ontario at the Skills Canada National Competition and if they’re successful, will represent Team Canada in the WorldSkills Competition.