Meet SAIT’s dream team for WorldSkills 2013
Viel Glück! (Good luck!)
Four SAIT students will be part of Team Canada at the 2013 WorldSkills Competition in Leipzig, Germany after claiming three gold medals and a silver at the 18th Skills Canada National Competition held May 13-16 in Edmonton.
SAIT's dream team consists of gold medalists Marissa Halter (Offset Printing), Zack Hartle (Automation and Control), Jordy Bartman (Autobody Repair) and silver medalist Nic Kitt (Welding). They will compete at WorldSkills Leipzig July 2-7, 2013.
Marissa Halter: A stand-out student
In Edmonton, Halter had to manage a print job while cutting paper to size, mixing ink and cleaning up the printing press. On top of that, she had the additional challenge of being a first-year student.
"I was against a bunch of second-years, so I was a little bit nervous," says Halter. "And I made a mistake and it kind of threw me off, but I kept going. So it was quite surprising that I won."
Halter spent every Friday afternoon in winter semester practicing for the competition with SAIT instructor Peter Masch.
"He would help me run the machines, and we would just do that over and over again until I was comfortable with that," says Halter.
According to Masch, Halter had more than drive.
"We could see she had that special ability for the competition." says Masch, who explains Halter stood out with her knowledge, and interest in her trade.
Halter's win was exciting for Masch, and the Graphic Communications and Print Technology program.
"I was right there and I was very proud of her," says Masch. "We know we are doing the right thing when students come out winning these competitions, because they're extremely tough."
Halter says she'll prepare for Leipzig by continuing her training with Masch, and at Rhino Print Solutions. Halter plans to enter practice competitions, and will also compete at the 2013 Skills Canada National Competition in Vancouver next June.
Zack Hartle: Coming back for the win
When Electrician apprentice Zack Hartle placed fourth last year in the Skills Canada National Competition, he was determined to win in Edmonton this year. After the second and third place winners were announced, Hartle knew he'd struck gold.
"It was exciting; it was just one of those moments. It felt amazing," says Hartle.
He started the competition with two plywood walls, which he had to wire with limit switches and lights. His second task was programming a computer to lay out a series of operations.
All had to be completed within 12 hours.
"I learned what I'm capable of," says Hartle. "The quality of work has to be so high, and doing it in that amount of time is something you never expect to be able to do until the pressure is on."
Hartle is looking forward to the learning experience at Leipzig.
"I'm going to have to learn a whole new system [European electrical standards], and the project is so much bigger and so much more intense," says Hartle. "I'm going to have to try hard and do my best, and hopefully it's good enough."
Jordy Bartman: Journeying forth
Bartman, an Autobody Technician apprentice, faced stiff competition in Edmonton. He needed to show mastery of plastic repair, measuring and welding skills on vehicles.
"It was almost intimidating," says Bartman. "I had only done my first year of apprenticeship at SAIT."
Bartman's gold medal not only means joining Team Canada, but a ticket to adventure.
"I've never been outside of North America," he says.
Bartman is still letting the opportunity of a lifetime sink in.
"It's pretty amazing, and quite overwhelming," he says. "[I'm] Just astonished pretty much."
Nic Kitt: Competition-savvy
Kitt is no stranger to Skills competitions, having participated in Grades 11 and 12 when he attended Foothills Composite High School.
The competitions honed his welding skills: Kitt placed second in Alberta in Grade 11, and third in Canada in Grade 12.
Kitt says those experiences prepared him for Edmonton.
"They definitely got me used to how things worked, working under time limits and not getting stressed out about being in a competition."
Kitt trained for the Edmonton competition three to four times a week for several hours at a stretch with SAIT instructors Doug Sontag, Adam Medrek and Ken Clack. His experience and practice were tested when he was tasked to build a miniature fire hydrant and stainless steel box - each in six hours - at nationals.
"It's pretty crazy, I never thought I'd make it this far. It's a big thing to take in," says Kitt of his placement on Team Canada.
Watch the 2012 Skills Canada National Competition in action with Mike Holmes in this video (5:18 min.).
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