Students collect medals at 2023 Skills Ontario Competition

Students from across the province put their abilities to the test at the 2023 Skills Ontario Competition this week, which was held over the course of three days at the Toronto Congress Centre.

Thousands of elementary, secondary and post-secondary students took part in the event, including 29 Durham College (DC) students who competed in 14 categories at the competition. A wide range of disciplines were represented, from aesthetics and culinary arts to auto service and carpentry. In each category, they brought all of their skills and experience to bear on the different challenges set before them.

On Wednesday, the attendees and their supporters filled the convention hall to capacity for the awards ceremony. The atmosphere was electric as the medals for each category were handed out, with five of our DC students earning spots on the podium.

DC’s winning students were:

  • Abigayle Hamilton and Emma Pace – Gold, Horticulture and Landscape (Team of 2)
  • John Orecchio – Bronze, Industrial Mechanic
  • Brandon Webster – Gold, Metal Fabricator Fitter
  • Nicole Crossley – Bronze, Photography

“Everybody did a superb job, whether they medaled or not,” said Martin Jones, associate dean of the Faculty of Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship. “It’s always good to see people competing in the trades. We need more tradespeople.”

Competing at the event gave all of the students a preview of the potential future they could have in their respective trades, while proving they have the skills necessary to succeed at the highest level.

“It was a positive experience,” said John Orecchio, who was proud to take home his bronze medal. “There were a lot of good competitors there. I felt like I could have done better on a few things, but I’m happy to have made out the way I did.”

In some of the categories, including Horticulture and Landscape, the opportunity to compete at the Skills Canada National Competition was also on the line. By winning gold, the team of Abigayle Hamilton and Emma Pace punched their tickets to the competition in Winnipeg later this month.

“It’s unbelievable. We’re so happy,” said Hamilton.

“There’s nothing better than this,” added Pace. “We’re looking forward to the next step in this competition. Hopefully we can take gold in Manitoba. We’ll see what we can do there.”