Amie Peters practices her culinary skills in Chilliwack ahead of the Skills Canada competition.

Amie Peters practices her culinary skills in Chilliwack ahead of the Skills Canada competition.

Students test their skills on the national stage

Four Chilliwack students are competing in Skills Canada nationals this week.

For the past few weeks, Sardis Secondary senior Russell Rosenburg has been perfecting his construction of a hardwood coffee table emblazoned with an orca design ahead of this week’s national Skills Canada competition.

Since receiving the scope documents, including technical drawings and a strict list of materials, in May, Rosenburg has built one table for practice, and has started on a second.

“It’s the thing I like to do,” he said. “The time really goes by quick.”

Rosenburg enjoys woodworking, but will enter the University of Victoria’s civil engineering department in September. Carpentry will be a good hobby for the future, he said. Nevertheless, the skills of precise construction, spatial intelligence, and mathematics are sure to come in useful to a budding engineer.

Rosenburg, competing in cabinetmaking, will head to Skills Canada nationals alongside three other Chilliwack students, all from Sardis Secondary: Joseph Ryan competing in mechanical computer-aided design; Johnathon Hergott in welding; and Justin Emery in IT, network systems administration.

All four won gold at regionals and provincials in their categories, and will now compete against over 500 trades and technology students from across every province and territory at the nationals on June 5–8 at Vancouver’s BC Place.

Over at a restaurant in Chilliwack, recent Abbotsford Secondary graduate Amie Peters develops her culinary methods as a line cook. She’s competing in the culinary arts portion of the nationals, and will have to prepare a breakfast plate consisting of an omelette florentine, salsa, and fruit garnish on the first day. On day two, Peters will be judged on her preparation of a cream of mushroom soup, French chicken breast, potato gnocchi, and vegetables.

She landed her current job at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar in Chilliwack after impressing a restaurant manager at the regional competition. Peters will go into kitchen management or culinary arts in the future.

The Liberal government anticipates a serious lack of skilled workers within the next decade, as baby boomers retire and one million new jobs open up. The government is urging employers to take on apprentices. Meanwhile, apprenticeship students in Chilliwack can receive course credits for their paid apprenticeship, allowing them a debt-free start for their post-secondary education or employment.