High school students from Halifax Regional School Board put their carpentry skills to the test during the 2015 HRSB Regional Skills Competition in Lower Sackville last month.
“We’re really excited to have seven schools represented from all over HRM,” says Bev Young, director of Carpenter Millwright Trades College (CMTC). Up from four schools in 2014, the 11 students arrived at CMTC for 7:30 a.m. and were given a blueprint, tasked with building a garden shed using materials donated by Atlantic Canada Regional Council.
“The roof rafters are a little bit tricky, but I have them under control now,” says Zack Harnish, a Grade 11 student from Cole Harbour High School.
It’s Harnish’s first year in the competition and he says he expects to have the roof on by end of day. “I built a lot of stuff like this with my dad and my grandfather,” says Harnish.
“3:30 p.m. is tools down,” says Young. She says while some will be close to completion, they don’t expect the students to finish.
The structure is similar to last year’s dog house, but four feet taller. The scaled-up challenge was chosen to give finalists an advantage at provincials and nationals.
“For those who move onto provincials, they’ll likely do a dog house … they’ll have an advantage because they will have already encountered something bigger,” explains Young. “If they go to nationals, he or she has to build a shed or playhouse, bigger than this, so we said lets give them the scope of what they’re to expect at a national level … and see how they rise to the challenge.”
Returning competitor, Donovan Linfield from Eastern Shore District High School says he prefers the garden shed project. “It’s more up to your height, so you’re not bent over.”
Key competition factors include accuracy, measurements, neatness and safety. “All big factors, but end of the day, the main objective is to give an experience of competition and showing off their skills; learning where they can improve; and the carrot of course, is moving onto the provincial competition,” says Young.
“A skills competition is really not a test, even though it feels like one,” says instructor and judge, Elliott Boudreau. “You’re leaving with a lot more knowledge and skills than you came here with.”
Read the full story in the Community Herald.