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8 December 2023

Skills Canada alumni and volunteers share their skills journey

In recognition of International Volunteer's Day, we're honouring the crucial contributions of volunteers, highlighting a new podcast from Skills/Compétences Canada and CWB Association Welding Podcast.

A collaboration between Skills/Compétences Canada and the CWB Association Welding Podcast resulted in a series of inspiring interviews offering insight into the endless opportunities in skilled careers.

The show was hosted by Max Ceron, director for the CWB Association – a not-for-profit division of the Canadian Welding Bureau Group mandated to promote and support the welding and joining industry in Canada.

A tradesperson himself, Ceron interviewed members of the National Alumni Committee (NAC) as well as staff and volunteers of Skills Canada, covering a wide range of skills and welcoming people from all over the country who shared their experiences and advice to future Skills Canada National Competition Competitors.

“It has been wonderful to hear stories from all the different trades, all the different dreams, and all the different works that have been done across this beautiful nation towards Skills Canada,” he said.

Every year, hundreds of Canadian youth take part in the Skills Canada National Competition and volunteer as representatives for the National Alumni Committee to create, support, and provide guidance to the Skills Canada provincial and territorial Alumni Associations across the country. By telling their story, they help young people and their families discover exciting pathways in the trades, raising the profile of skilled careers through their stories of success.

“Our Alumni, when I hear them talk, it send shivers down my spine. Because they’ve lived it, the’ve gone through it,” said Sue Lefort, Vice-President of Skills/Compétences Canada, who was featured on the last episode of the series. “What drives all of us to continue to show up is the life-changing stories we hear from alumni. They speak from their heart.”

A proud tradesperson who trained as a welder and a machinist, Sue has 35 years of experience working from the shop floor to senior management, moving from the private sector to government, where she now works closely with industry. Sue has volunteered for Skills/Compétences Canada for over twenty years, in a variety of roles including on the Board of Directors and as a member of the National Technical Committee and WorldSkills Expert

One young person on the podcast is Laurie Breton, a young aircraft maintenance technician from Quebec, who talked about why she decided to join the National Alumni Committee and continue collaborating: “WorldSkills stays with you throughout your life. There’s a lot of people out there who are advocates for that. There’s a thrill about the Competition that you can’t feel anywhere else.”

Laurie chose a career in a skilled trade because she has always enjoyed working with her hands and has a passion for aerospace. She became involved with skills competitions when her college teacher encouraged her to participate. At WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition, she represented Canada in Aircraft Maintenance at Cardiff, United Kingdom.

Now representative for Quebec on the National Alumni Committee, she has helped to put together a team to promote the WorldSkills movement, as well as being a judge at this year’s national competition.

The special CWB Association Welding Podcast series featured many other young people who dedicate their time and knowledge to raise the status of tradespeople, training others, and helping achieve the highest standards at national competitions.

Across our Member countries and regions, thousands of people like Laurie or Sue volunteer to help us change the world through the power of skills. In observance with International Volunteer’s Day, we at WorldSkills want to recognize and honour their crucial contributions.

Listen to the all the interviews in the CWB Association Welding Podcast special series for Skills/Compétences Canada.