Of the 21 Team NWT participants at Skills Canada nationals in Halifax this week, many went up against the best in the country for the first time.
“This year we were a large number of new competitors. The expectation was a little bit different from last year when we had a lot of returning competitors,” said Allison Kincaid, executive director of Skills Canada NWT. “This year was about exposing them to the event, making sure they were comfortable with their projects and making sure they weren’t getting too overwhelmed with things.
“I see some of (the competitors) with the lights going (on), understanding what the competition is about, how difficult and challenging the projects are for them, how little time they have to get them done. It really helps to experience that once. If you’re able to come back and compete a second time, it’s invaluable that experience of going through it once prior.”
Even though no gold, silver or bronze will be coming home with Team NWT, there’s plenty to build on for the 2020 national championships in Vancouver, said Kincaid.
“It goes in kind of cycles. You’ll get them when they’re a bit younger and they’ll compete for a couple of years,” she said. “Then, usually, once they’re in their second or third, sometimes forth (year)… they get more experience and they have a good chance at a medal.”
It was also the initial visit to Canada’s East Coast for many among the NWT delegation.
“I think just bringing them down here… and seeing a city like Halifax, that’s probably what stands out the most to me was just being able to enjoy that experience with them, largely for the first time,” Kincaid said.
The NWT participants engaged in laser tag and drove go-karts to have some fun on Monday and to “bond as a team,” she noted.
“Everybody had a good time,” she said.
Kincaid encourages the trades, technology and jobs skills competitors to keep sharp and continue practising because even at the territorial level next year they may face stiff competition.
“They have to work hard,” she said.