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SAIT competes on international stage

Three SAIT alumni and one current student have each earned a spot on the international stage at WorldSkills 2017.

Three alumni and one current student from SAIT will be part of Team Canada's 31-member contingent at WorldSkills 2017 in Abu Dhabi Oct. 15-18. Pictured, from left, Scott Dombowsky-Oneski (Cabinetmaking), Victoria Hislop (Cooking), Alex Sidorchuk (Aircraft Maintenance) and Deanna Reynolds (Industrial Mechanics Millwright).

Years of competitions, innumerable hours of training and a driving passion for being the best in their field, three SAIT alumni and one current student have each earned a spot on the international stage at WorldSkills 2017.

Deanna Reynolds (Industrial Mechanics Millwright), Victoria Hislop (Cooking), Scott Dombowsky-Oneski (Cabinetmaking) and Alex Sidorchuk (Aircraft Maintenance) will be part of Team Canada's 31-member contingent at the four-day competition in Abu Dhabi, Oct. 15 - 18.

The event, involving 77 member countries and regions from around the globe, will cover a range of applied skills, from auto body repair and construction to web design and welding — 51 disciplines in all.

To get to this point has taken dedication and perseverance for the four — not to mention using almost all their free time to perfect their crafts.

"SAIT has been a huge part of my coaching," says Hislop. "All the chefs have helped me along the way and let me use the kitchen space."

Time for training

Aside from working as a millwright, Reynolds uses every spare moment to ready herself for WorldSkills.

"It's humbling that I get to travel the world showcasing my skills. All of my work over the last five years is coming down to four days," she says.

Dombowsky-Oneski took the last month off work to prepare every day at SAIT, while Hislop left her job to concentrate on training for the three weeks leading up to WorldSkills.

Dombowsky-Oneski is heading into the competition feeling confident, with the support of his employer, Allstar Corporation.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he says.

Sidorchuk, meanwhile, says he's getting more nervous as the trip approaches, but knows he won't have any time to be anxious once he gets there.

All will compete on each of the four days at WorldSkills.

Benefits beyond

While the trip is short, the benefits of being on Team Canada at WorldSkills will continue long after returning home from Abu Dhabi.

"It's definitely opening doors in my professional career and teaching me to what standard I should hold myself," says Sidorchuk. "At SAIT, I definitely got an appreciation for education and a drive to keep learning."

Hislop had no concrete plans to make a career of the culinary arts but decided to enrol at SAIT until she figured out what to do next. Six months in, she was hooked.

"I never thought I would be a cook," says Hislop.

Her time competing at Skills competitions has shown her there is even more to the discipline than she originally thought.

"It changed my perspective on cooking," she says. "It's a whole new world."

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