It was an Olympics-style skills competition for students and apprentices in Ontario – and 14 career college students participated and placed in the event. The Ontario Technological Skills Competition drew 1,800 competitors and more than 30,000 spectators to RIM Park in Waterloo from May 17-19.
Victoria Gibbons, coached by Chef Hérve Chebert and a team of pastry chef instructors at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute in Ottawa, won first place in the Pastry and Baking Competition. Gibbons edged out 18 other post secondary students from across the province to take home the gold medal and advanced to the Canadian Skills Competition May 21-22 in Waterloo. Gibbons received fourth place in the national competition.
“I am very happy with what Victoria was able to accomplish,” said instructor Chef Chebert, winner of the World Cup of Pastry in 2009.
Gibbons’ class mate Chantelle Lavigne placed third in the Baking Competition at Ontario Skills.
Seven students from North American Trade Schools in London took part in the competition. It’s the third year that NATS students have competed in the event. “We are really proud of our students and their accomplishments, especially since many of them were up against fourth or fifth year apprentices,” said Ted Grys, Career Services Manager at North American Trade Schools.
NATS graduate Mike Nadalin finished in fourth place in the individual carpentry competition. The group was given just 7.5 hours to build a three sided gazebo.
“I was excited to compete – it was a great learning experience,” said Nadalin. “It was pretty hard but I was well prepared.”
Funded through the Second Career program, Nadalin took the opportunity to go back to school last year. He recently graduated and found a job with Oxford Builders in Woodstock. “I had always wanted to go into construction – and I’m happy I did,” he said.
Five students from Liaison College competed in Ontario Skills. Laurie Tester and Carolyn Jones of Liaison College Barrie placed 11 and 13 respectively in the Baking Competition. In the Culinary Arts competition, John Michael Creaser of Liaison College Kitchener snagged 10th place. Chrissy Bennington and James Hunt of Liaison’s Barrie campus took home 16th and 21st place respectively in the Culinary Arts competition.
“It was a big competition—we brought all of our students on a field trip to watch,” said Chef Michael Cortese of Liaison College Barrie.