2018 mechatronics Skills Competition

Humber is no stranger to Skills Competitions. Whether students have been practicing their trade for a year or have recently started a new program, there is no lack of student volunteers wanting to test their skills at Canada’s largest skilled trades and technologies competition.

Michael Auchincloss, who is the associate dean for the School of Applied Technology says, “we try to build success for students coming into these programs and give them an opportunity to be mentored by students who have competed in the past.” 

This year, more than 40 Humber students entered 24 skills competitions. The three-day event demonstrates to prospective students what colleges offer, while competing students enhance their skills and knowledge in their practiced trade.

“Students going into post-secondary education are not as exposed to this as they should be,” he says. 

Humber helped welcome more than 30,000 visitors to Humber’s booth at the Toronto Congress Centre. Secondary students, their parents and teachers were able to learn firsthand about the work Humber students create in their programs alongside industry leaders, faculty and trades professionals.  

Throughout the Centre, Humber students showcased their skills in electrical plumbing, welding, industrial cabinet making, home renovations and more. Twelve students won medals for their skills demonstrations and quality performance and five of those students won a gold medal and will compete in the National Skills Competition next month.

Anthony Nyman, a laboratory technologist in the School of Applied Technology says, “students participating in the Skills Competition are using abilities they learn at Humber and that will be directly applicable to their chosen careers. In order to be competitive on the provincial, national and even world stages, they must operate at a higher level than their classmates.”

Competitions in skills like mechatronics required students to build a miniature factory process that includes conveyor belts, a robot arm, air-powered (pneumatic) devices, many electronic sensors, and an industrial computer called a PLC.  They start by completely dismantling the existing system, then they have to build, wire, program and calibrate the system to perform the required task.

For Catherine Guarini, who won gold in photography, the competition provided a fun but nervous environment. Guarini was challenged to take 20 photos of the Skills event and present a resumé and portfolio to a team of judges. “It was my first time competing in something like this. I have never had to be shooting in the same building as other photographers that I was competing against and on a time limit.”

Before entering the competition, Guarini knew this would be a great learning opportunity and networking opportunity with professionals in the industry. “People want you to succeed, even in a competition environment,” she says.

Stefanie Francavilla also took home a gold medal after successfully making molded chocolate bonbons, two different types of miniature pastries, an entremet (mousse cake) and a sugar showpiece in the baking competition. 

This is the third competition for Francavilla and she says opportunities like this allow her to become better at her trade. “It gives me an opportunity to be creative and create exactly what I want to do. I am looking forward to competing against some of the best in the country and pushing my skills a little bit further,” says Francavilla.

Gold medal winning students like Guarini and Francavilla are going to be spending as much time as they can preparing for the national competition.  

Nyman, who has been working with the mechatronics students, says, “they will be competing with the best in Canada, so it won't be easy, but they will be as well prepared as we can make them.”

For a full list of the gold medalists who will compete in Edmonton next month, please visit: https://humber.ca/today/news/humber-takes-home-gold-silver-and-bronze.