Ten Georgian students win big at ‘Olympics of the trades’ Skills Ontario competition

Each year, the Skills Ontario competition welcomes the best skilled trades and technologies students from Ontario colleges, offering a unique opportunity for competitors to showcase their expertise in their fields. This year, 10 Georgian students won a variety of gold, silver and bronze medals, continuing Georgian’s trend of success at this competition.

Gold medals were awarded to Ben Bader for Additive Manufacturing, Ryle Reynolds for Computer Numerical Control Machining, Kyla Cosier for Aesthetics, Joshua Merritt for Outdoor Powered Equipment, and a team of two; Nhu (Liam) Nguyen and Evan Crabb for Geographic Information Systems. Emily Shaver-Miller won silver for Hairstyling and Aidan Crandall scored a silver medal for Outdoor Powered Equipment. Another team duo, Scott Middlebrook and Kevin Armstrong, won bronze for Mechatronics.

Wins for the history books

Georgian made history, as this was the first year that the Geographic Information Systems competition was included in Skills Ontario, with Nhu and Evan, students in the Environmental Technology program, winning the first ever gold medal. Kyla, a student in the Esthetician program, won Georgian’s first gold medal in Aesthetics, and it was also the college’s first appearance in that category.

Two familiar faces from last year’s competition returned to the winner’s podium once again – Ryle Reynolds and Ben Bader. Ryle won bronze in the same category last year and proved that practice truly does make perfect as he took home the gold. Ben doubled his gold medal collection with his second first-place finish in the Additive Manufacturing category.

Marjorie Cook, Business Manager, Engineering and Environmental Technologies and Skilled Trades at Georgian College, was ecstatic to see the achievements of each student. “Over the past two years, we’ve had students on the podium in several competitions, highlighting that Georgian provides superior education within these trades,” she said. “This year’s competition saw a total of 26 student competing in 15 competitions. This is an honour that very few students have an opportunity to experience, and the level of self-confidence they gain from this is paramount.”

Two men and one woman wearing navy blue sweaters and gold medals pose for a photo in front of a white background.
Ryle Reynolds, Kyla Cosier, and Joshua Merritt will compete at the Skills Canada National Competition at the end of May.

Joshua, Ryle and Kyla will quickly change gears and prepare to represent Team Ontario at the Skills Canada national competition in Québec City, Québec from May 29 to June 1.

An unforgettable experience for students

The competition this year was a very fun and rewarding time. Thank you to everyone at the college for allowing me and the rest of the student competitors to experience another great year at Skills Ontario. Another big thank you to my mentor, Tanveer, as well for putting together a great event. The sponsors he was able to pull for the competition provided all the participants with a great appreciation for the discipline, as well as great merch and supplies (including a few 3D printers, courtesy of 3D Printing Canada) that made the occasion even more memorable. Thank you again to everyone who made these past few days possible! The effort is very much appreciated by all students who participated.

Ben Bader, student in the Electromechanical Engineering Technology – Mechatronics program
Emily Shaver-Miller, silver medal winner at Skills Ontario 2024.
Emily Shaver-Miller, student in Georgian’s Hairstyling program.

“Skills Ontario was an amazing opportunity for growing my skills and challenging myself in news ways. Through hard work, practice and continued education under my mentor, I got the chance to take my skills to the next level. It was a game changer for me and helped give me a new perspective on working in my trade.”

Ryle Reynolds, gold medal winner at Skills Ontario 2024.
Ryle Reynolds (left), student in Georgian’s Mechanical Technician – Precision Skills program with his mentor.

“Competing in the Skills Ontario Competition for CNC machining has been an incredible journey. I owe much of my success to the unwavering support of my faculty members at Georgian College. Their guidance and expertise have been invaluable every step of the way. Heading to Quebec City for nationals is a dream come true, and I’m determined to make the most of every moment. In the weeks leading up to the competition, I’ll be honing my skills with my trainer, Brett, because as they say, ‘prior planning prevents poor performance.’ Thank you for this opportunity, and I look forward to representing Georgian College with pride on the national stage!”

Evan Crabb and Nhu Nguyen, gold medal winners at Skills Ontario 2024.
Evan Crabb (left), student in the Environmental Technology program.

“I really enjoyed the Skills Ontario event. Although our competition was a smaller one due to it being the first year of postsecondary GIS, it was a great experience. The panel of judges were industry professionals from both municipal and conservation backgrounds who graciously gave their time to attend the competition. Overall, I would wholeheartedly recommend Skills Ontario to anybody who’s given the opportunity to attend. It was a great experience and a lot of fun! It felt great to represent Georgian while competing to demonstrate our skills that we learned in our programs.”

Aidan Crandall and Joshua Merritt, medal winners at Skills Ontario 2024.
Aidan Crandall (right), student in the Mechanical Techniques – Small Engine Mechanic program.

“It was an honour to represent my trade at Skills Ontario and to compete amongst such a high calibre of competitors.”

Scott Middlebrook and Kevin Armstrong win bronze at Skills Ontario 2024.
Scott Middlebrook (left) and Kevin Armstrong (right) with their bronze medals in the Mechatronics category.

Georgian also had a strong presence at the event at their booth, with a retrofitted Volkswagen Westfalia, blue and green trees and Muskoka chairs. The college won the Best Booth Award in the Large Booth category.

A trophy on a desk with stickers and a blue van in the background.

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