INSPIRE. DEVELOP. ELEVATE. These three words are what drive the intention at Skills Canada Alberta to create dynamic and original programming that has a powerful impact on Alberta’s youth. The Skills Alberta Virtual Competition: A Showcase for Secondary Students is no different. Like many of you, we rose to the challenge of Covid-19 and all the uncertainty that it brings. The decision to cancel our Regional and Provincial Skills Canada Competitions was necessary but heartbreaking. So many young people were ready to put their skills to the test and compete, and the disappointment loomed large for students, not to mention teachers who were looking at ways to engage CTS students through this unprecedented time. Some of our partners generously allowed us to keep the donations they made to the Provincial Skills Canada Competition so we could confidently move forward with our idea. We would like to say a special thank you to Pembina, Suncor, CWB Welding Foundation and Kiewit for their continuing support. In-kind partners made the Virtual Competition even more real. As Chris and Mike unpacked the masking paper and tape donated by 3M for the Car Painting competition, they could not help but marvel, “this is really happening”. With a huge desire to keep the Skills spirit alive in the hearts and homes of students who are passionate about skilled trades and technologies, the Skills Alberta Virtual Competition was in motion. We rallied the troops (our dedicated volunteer committee members), to see what they could do to create a competition that could be completed at home, virtually scored and judged, and challenge students in a scaled down version of the Provincial competition. 23 committees presented competitions in everything from Carpentry and Welding to Baking and Robotics. The response we received from our Provincial Technical Committee members was astounding. We would not be able to offer dynamic and creative programming without their passion and expertise. Social media support for our virtual endeavor was overwhelming: Fort McMurray Catholic School District on Twitter: Skills Canada has gone virtual! We can’t wait to cheer on our competitors as we salute @skillsalberta for their ability to be flexible and provide this wonderful opportunity for students! Tjerk Dusseldorp (former President of WorldSkills) on Twitter: Go Skills Canada Alberta! The Champion WorldSkills Province in a pandemonium pandemic world! Jim Szautner, SAIT on LinkedIn: Congratulations to Skills Canada Alberta for coming up with a 21st century solution to host a virtual skills competition! We were encouraged. The week of registration solidified our efforts and intentions. More than 300 high school students from 78 Alberta schools are participating in 23 Skills Alberta Virtual Competitions this week! For perspective, our Provincial Skills Canada Competition hosts 33 competitions for approximately 520 secondary students representing 119 schools. It may be a virtual competition, but there was a need to make it real for students. Paula gassed up the Skills Wheels to make material drop offs at students’ homes. Competitors and their parents were equally excited to receive competitor packages. “It has been so uplifting seeing the faces of competitors when I ask them if they are excited; their enthusiastic response has been energizing”. Not every kid shines on the basketball court or in social studies. They may have these talents too, but our Skills competitors are the doers and the makers of the world. They spend countless hours honing and perfecting their craft so that we can enjoy the fruits of their labour: running water, electricity, food, clothing, shelter! It is the trades people and technologists of the world who are building makeshift hospitals in parking lots during this pandemic, ensuring our food supply is secure by baking bread, and keeping our energy sources flowing so we can transport goods to keep us safe. What would we do without our IT people today? Our future is in good hands with these 300 competitors. On May 29th, in Skills Canada Alberta style, we will be hosting a virtual awards ceremony. Becky was tasked with finding a source for medals we could obtain quickly and locally. “I wanted to make sure that the chosen medal would still give the students a moment of victory, a memory of a lifetime, and a symbol to represent that they are the best of Alberta! I am so excited to see these medals being virtually worn by the champions.” We invite all of you to join us on Friday, May 29 at 6:30 pm to see students recognized at the Skills Alberta Virtual Competition Awards Ceremony. The link to the ceremony will be posted on the Skills Alberta Virtual Competition web page . For those of you who would like to learn more about how to support Skills Canada Alberta programs and events, please contact Karen Woitas at 587-991-5998 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Donate page here.