Local teens got a taste of real-world career pressures during the District School Board of Niagara’s annual Technological Skills Challenge at Niagara College on Wednesday and both Joshua Dau and Katherine Kononyuk said they were eager to test their skills.
Sixteen-year-old Dau participated in the same challenge last year and he said he resolved to try again at the suggestion of his automotive teacher at Eden Secondary School.
He said he’s planning a career as an automotive mechanic because he’s always enjoyed fixing things.
“I like cars and I like fixing things,” Dau said while taking a quick break from one of the challenges in the automotive class at Niagara College’s Welland campus.
Dau is following close behind the footprints of his mechanic father, he said.
“He didn’t work on cars, he worked on generators and what not,” he added.
“It’s been challenging but I've been able to complete all the challenges so far,” Dau said, admitting that although some were a bit confusing, he managed to complete them all.
Also following paternal inspiration, 17-year-old Kononyuk is leaning toward a career in computer science.
She said she’s no stranger to technological skills competitions, but this was her first time competing in this particular challenge.
“It’s all brand new to me so I’m just looking forward to everything,” she said.
Her interest in this challenge stems from future career aspirations.
“I'm going into computer science as a career, and I wanted to get more experience with working under pressure, and working in a professional environment – kind of the type of things that will be required of me in the future,” she said.
She said she has taken Grade 11 and 12 level computer science courses.
“I also do some practice problems on my free time to prepare for competitions like these,” she said.
A school board representative said that although neither placed this year, they both put out some good work.
This year’s competition saw students from 17 local schools testing their skills in 27 technological skills challenges at both the Daniel J. Patterson and Welland campuses.
Challenges allowed students to demonstrate skills in automotive technology, computer coding, advanced manufacturing, hairstyling, baking and the culinary arts.
The top three finalists from each challenge will be recognized at a Celebration of Excellence held by the school board on June 2 at the Scotiabank Convention Centre.
Gold medal champions will represent the District School Board of Niagara at the Skills Ontario Provincial Finals on May 5.