News and Events

On Campus: Time for trades to shine

April 24, 2014

Written by Mark Keller, director of college advancement
Featured in"On Campus" in the Medicine Hat News

A large number of high school students will be visiting Medicine Hat College next week and I’m pretty sure that each and every one of them has skills and knowledge that I lack.

One group of students, for example, will be challenging the intricate world of cabinet making in a five hour plus completion to build a small hanging wall cabinet from maple and maple veneer. I like working with wood, but the specifications call for a variety of complicated joints including dowels, mortise and tenons, and dovetails, all just a bit more complicated than I pull off in my home workshop.

And while the cabinetmakers showcase their talents, another group of students will be hard at work in the college’s automotive shops.

With the clocking ticking, they’ll be taking on challenges like taking apart and reassembling a cylinder head while evaluating its condition and possible faults. They’ll also be taking pistons out of engines, calculating gear ratios in transmissions, adjusting wheel bearing and much more.

These are just samples of the nine events to be held during the South East Regionals Skills Canada Competition, the first step to provincial and national skills competitions featuring trades and technologies. The local slate includes Auto Service, Carpentry, Hairstyling at junior and intermediate levels, Baking, Culinary Arts, TV & Video Production, Cabinet Making, and Welding.

The range of competitions available in Alberta is vast – I count almost 50 – covering disciplines including 2D computer animation to public speaking and robotics. It is an excellent showcase for the abilities of today’s students and the range of opportunities available in high schools.

The skills competitions also provide students with recognition for the abilities, and helps provide insights into future job opportunities. For some, skilled trades and technologies open doors to lasting and rewarding careers. Recognizing that, the team putting together the event at Medicine Hat College has added a trades expo to help connect students with industry leaders.

The college’s trades and technology departments will be on hand too, showcasing our programs and industries with information booths and hands-on activities.

Given the strong employment projections aligned to many of these fields, the skills competitions and trades expo are a too good an opportunity to miss. The public is welcome, so feel free to visit your college between 9 am and 3:30 pm on April 29.

Visit to learn more about your college, contact Mark Keller with your questions at or follow him on Twitter @mark_mhc.

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