Skilled Competitor Makes Her Mark
January 04 2010
WorldSkills is a not-for-profit association that began in Spain in 1946 because of a need for skilled workers. The founders decided to motivate youth to get involved in the skilled trades by promoting a competition. In Canada, the member organization is Skills Canada. WorldSkills Calgary 2009 represented Canada's tenth participation in the international competition, which takes place every two years and brings together the world's brightest to compete in 40 skilled trades and technology categories. This year's competition saw more than 900 young people from 50 member country/regions competing. The event was Calgary's largest international competitive event since the 1988 Olympic Winter Games.
One of Team Canada's 38 competitors was Stacy Dubois. Her competition was in Microsoft Office and she placed ninth, earning a medallion of excellence for achieving a score of over 500 out of 600. She works part-time at the Skills Canada national secretariat and has been an AU student in the BPA (communication studies) program since 2008.
Dubois became involved with Skills Canada in 2007 when she was in her first year of the office administration program at Algonquin College in Ottawa. A teacher mentioned that there was an opportunity for a student to take part in a provincial competition for Microsoft Office. She thought she would give it a try. That event saw 30,000 spectators cheering on 1,500 competitors in all different skill categories.
"I'd never been in any sort of competition before, so you can imagine how intense this was. At the time, I didn't think I would stand a chance. Little did I know how far this all would take me!"
She won first place in her category and a few weeks later competed in the Canadian Skills Competition, where she took another first place. The next year she again won gold in provincials and nationals and earned her spot on Team Canada for WorldSkills Calgary 2009.
She says it was an amazing experience. "The four days of competition were intense, but well worth it. My goal going into this was to at least leave with a medallion, so I have to say that I am thrilled with my results.
"You are allowed to compete only once at a WorldSkills competition, and everyone who leaves is considered to be a ‘WorldSkills champion.' You can certainly expect to come out of this with a lot more confidence as you step into the workforce. Employers can look at us and know that we have been through extensive training to get where we are."
She got involved because "it sounded like an exciting opportunity. I have stayed involved because of the amazing experiences I have had, top-notch training I have received, amazing people I have met, and the chance to hopefully help to inspire other people and influence their lives in the same positive way that Skills Canada has changed my own."
She chose AU's BPA program because of an agreement that allowed her to transfer her credits toward a bachelor's degree. "Being able to complete a degree on my own schedule really appealed to me, and AU has a great reputation, so it was an easy choice to make."
As for her future, she has become interested in project management and communications. "I hope to work in a position that gives me the ability to really make the most of my technology skills and to continue to meet and work with lots of different people."