Alycia Picketts, Manager of Programming and Education

1) When did you begin working with Skills Canada Alberta?

I started almost 7 years ago (February 2011).

2) How did you first get involved with Skills Canada Alberta?

After completing my Education degree, I was not completely sure the classroom environment was the perfect fit for me. Despite a frightening amount of students loans, I thought I would continue to explore another passion of mine; construction project management. Thankfully this led me to a whole new world of opportunities and it was at that point that I recognized the importance of connecting with youth about their interests and passions. So naturally, when I saw the posting to work at SCA, I had to apply!

3) What is your role with Skills Canda Alberta, and what types of programs would some of our Skills followers be communicating with you about?

As the Manager of Programming and Education, I have the best mix of roles. I spend a generous portion of my day "connecting the dots" working collaboratively within all areas of my office, but most specifically with the communication and education teams to develop program strategies that meet our organizational goals. I also have the pleasure of working with 9 regional teams across Alberta to support the hosting of the Regional Skills Canada Competitions, teacher professional development and various research projects (such as the development of Skills Exploration Days with the University of British Columbia). Oh yeah, and every once in a while I get a "great" idea to start a fitness/wellness program in the office...I will just leave it at that. 

4) What has been one of your best memories while working with Skills Canada Alberta?

There have been a lot over the years! Like when the day before the cardboard boat race, the supplying vendor lost our cardboard order. Or when we decided to give away 500 freezies to students and then realized 30 minutes before handing them out that it takes DAYS to freeze that many freezies, and that they were all liquid still! But seriously, my first year of travelling to all the local Regional competitions are some of my best memories. For many students, Regionals are their first time competing with Skills (or sometimes competing even in their life) and the courage they have to put themselves out there is extremely humbling and admirable. There is nothing better than watching a person complete something that they thought they might not be capable of. 

5) What is your favourite thing about working with Skills Canada Alberta?

I have two! First, our network of amazing volunteers. We often refer to our group of volunteers as "The Skills Family". Their dedication and support to our programming is incredible and even when we run out of coffee or email them 100 times a month...they still keep coming back with a smile! We would be lost without them. Second, our Staff Team. I believe people are inspired when their values align with the "why". This is proven true in our team; each member brings their unique knowledge, experience and personality to the table and when these strenghts are combined we are a force not to be reckoned with. I often remind myself how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who motivate me to bring my best self to work every day, are always up to try my "innovative" new ideas, and who forgive me when I eat their lunch in the fridge. 

6) Tell us one fun fact about yourself. 

I love design! So, I spend most of my spare time keeping up with the latest home building and design scene, and always like to have a few (or 10) projects on the go. I am also just as crazy about animals! I have a dog (Lola) and a cat (George) who are two of my favourite things in life. 

7) If you could learn any trade or technology, which one would it be and why?

Architectural Technology. I think to be able to turn a vision or a concept into a working set of drawings would be so neat!