Alumni Profiles

Terence Brouwer

GOLD: Pattern Making, Skills Canada National Competition, 2000

Experience: "Competing was a once in a lifetime experience for me. It gave me an edge in my career with the opportunity to compete at a world level. In 2000, our team Canada was invited to a practice competition in France prior to spending 2 weeks in the 2001 Seoul Korea competition. During this time, I was able to spend time with some of Canada's most talented people. This experience opened up my eyes that there was something bigger out there that I never thought I could achieve and I attribute my later successes in life to being pushed to my limits during this time. "

Advice for Students: "Placing 6th at the 2001 Korea Nationals changed my life. It was an incredible feeling to understand that when I continually challenge my skills, set goals, and apply myself, I have the ability to achieve high levels of success. I would like to challenge everyone who is passionate about their career to learn from everyone's mistakes, ask questions, search out all opportunities and never stop trying to be the best you can be."



Seaton Crawford

GOLD: Automotive Service Technician, Skills Ontario Competition, 2016

GOLD: Automotive Service Technician, Skills Canada National Competition, 2016

Experience: "Skills Ontario has helped me excel in my career in the skilled trades as an Automotive Service Technician by giving me a jumpstart into the real world workplace, where you are constantly faced with new challenges, and are always learning new things. Skills Ontario has given me a feeling of great pride in the skill I have only begun to hone into a passion I will stick with for the rest of my life."

Advice for Students: "Get involved with Skills Ontario! Compete as soon as the opportunity arises and you will never, ever regret it. No matter how well you do, the amount of fun and satisfaction you have when overcoming such a challenging competition will bring a smile to your face for years to come. My advice for competitors in the Skills Ontario Competition is to study and prepare as much as possible to give it their all because no matter how well you place, as long as you gave it 100%, you will feel a great sense of satisfaction."



Joel McLeod

GOLD: Welding, Skills Ontario Competition, 2013

GOLD: Welding, Skills Canada National Competition, 2013

BRONZE: Welding, Skills Ontario Competition, 2011

Experience: "I was first involved in Skills Ontario in 2011 where I competed in the welding competition and achieved a bronze medal. I competed once again in 2013, placing gold at both the provincial and national level. Now, as a Skills Ontario Alumni, I continue to volunteer at the event held yearly. I help with participating in set-up, facilitating the welding competition, and judging the welding competition at the provincial and national level."

Advice for Students: "Get involved! The skilled trades offer exciting and rewarding career paths."




Adam Melnik

Experience: "My first experience with Skills Ontario was actually in a chance meeting with Gail Smyth. In that first encounter, her enthusiasm and loving spirit ignited my desire to help share and educate students, teachers, and parents about the vast world of opportunity the skilled trades offer. I had the pleasure of being a speaker at the Skills Ontario Competition Breakfast in 2013. I will never forget witnessing the wonder and advanced level of skill on display. That day, Skills Ontario solidified itself to me as the premiere organization to connect and develop the pathways for students of today to become tomorrow’s apprentices and journeypersons. I have volunteered in a wide range of events, and I will always give my time to advocate the Skills Ontario message and contribute to their efforts."

Advice to Students: "Take it all in. Remember all the work and preparation you have done. There is nothing in the last few days of the competition that is going to make you have an advantage more than being confident in yourself and proud of the place you are in. No matter the outcome, be aware of how proud those around you are. Never forget that every opportunity to try is an opportunity to learn. Cherish the time and know that you will come away with an experience that will serve as a cornerstone of your growth and development."



Khizar Muhammad

BRONZE: Aircraft Maintenance, Skills Ontario Competition, 2017

Experience: "The Skills Competition played a crucial role in boosting my confidence and for me to have trust in my abilities. It provided me with the first taste of real-world working conditions in aviation - a field where everything is done to an extremely high standard, sometimes with time restrictions. I became much more confident in my ability to perform under those high stress conditions. It prepared me to be career-ready."

Advice for Students: "My advice to students and apprentices would be that you never limit yourself. This field of aviation offers many great opportunities to grow, grab whatever makes you happy, and continue climbing."





Melina Panara

SILVER: Desktop Publishing, Skills Ontario Competition, 2011

Experience: "This experience shaped my career, as it was my first taste of what being a graphic designer would be like. At the competition, I was introduced to client briefs and tasked with the job of designing pieces (a business card, brochure, and menu) to suit the client's needs. I loved every moment of the competition. Skills Ontario does a wonderful job at displaying the young talent that is out there, and the fact that it is open to the public is amazing."

Advice for Students: "Don't be afraid to push the limits of your field. Let yourself show through in the pieces you create. Also, enjoy yourself! Be sure to check out all the talent around you. The competition brings together a community of extraordinarily motivated individuals."




Shawn Roy

GOLD: Architectural Technology & Design, Skills Ontario Competition, 2015

SILVER: Architectural Technology & Design, Skills Ontario Competition, 2014

Experience: "Competing in the Skills Ontario Competition helped me increase my productivity greatly, while still paying close attention to detail. The contest forced me to also hone my skills in using 3D modelling software, all of which has played a huge role in landing my dream job, where I’ve also successfully ensured 3D software became part of our continued work platform."

Advice: "Push your limits to new heights!"






Lina Shamoun

GOLD: Hairstyling, Skills Canada National Competition, 2003

Experience: "My hair apprenticeship started in 2002, and this sparked my passion for hair and all that comes with it. I took this passion and founded Artline Salon at age 23 in 2007. I represented Team Canada at the OMC Hair Olympics, earning 3 World Championships in Progressive Woman's Cut/Colour/Style category. I was also named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce in February 2016 and Rogers Octoberfest Entrepreneur Woman of the Year October 2016. "

Advice: "Love your craft. Share your skills and creative passion with everyone around you. I believe in young talent and anyone who wants to explore the beautiful world of hairdressing."





Darryl Spector

SILVER: Precision Machining, Skills Ontario Competition, 1993

Experience: "My involvement with Skills Ontario was the foundation of a beginning of experiences that established a deep and personal appreciation of the real and tangible benefits of engaging in the skilled trades at an early stage, and the substantial benefits it generates for an individual's career prospects and horizons. I can 100% attribute not only my career success, but also my academic success in university, to my skilled trades experiences that began with my involvement in Skills Ontario."

Advice for Students"Be open to the overall 'bigness' and experience of the competition itself, and don't just leave when your own competition is over - it is a concentrated window into the broader world of skilled trades and career opportunities around you that you will soon discover, so be sure to take time to explore it all. The memories and impressions you make here will influence your path for decades to come. Believe me. So make the most of it!"



Taylor Jo Spence

SILVER: Workplace Safety, Skills Ontario Competition, 2012

Experience: "Participating in the Skills Ontario Competition allowed me to discover more of my strengths, develop tools, and become more comfortable as I grew older and applied for jobs. Any interview I went to after competing, I felt better and was more prepared."

Advice for Students: "The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to not give up. Throughout my two years of competing, I experience moments where I wanted to give up. I would cry, I would tell my mentor I couldn't do it, but at the end of the day I could, and I did it well. Do not doubt yourself, because you'll come out stronger than you thought you were. Lastly, as my mentor always said to me: stay hungry but humble."




Evan Veryerd

SILVER: Cabinetmaking, Skills Ontario Competition, 2012

Experience: "I found the Skills Ontario Competition a very rewarding experience. It made me realize that my skills weren’t just that of an average high school student, but that my work had potential to be something more. It gave me more confidence overall – woodworking was certainly a big part of who I was, and winning (silver) was something I was quite proud of."

Advice for Students: "Don’t be afraid to follow the path you are drawn to – even if you think it may not be the easiest, or pay you the most. It’s more important to find something you enjoy, when you enjoy what you are doing you’ll find you do a better job and can take it a lot further."




Timothy Wilkinson

BRONZE: Plumbing, Skills Ontario Competition, 2014

Experience: "I first started with the Skills Ontario Competition in 2013, and although I did not place for a medal, the experience gave me the encouragement and confidence to excel in my trade, which resulted in a bronze metal in Plumbing in 2014. Since then, I have continued my education in the trades, and have completed two Red Seal trades in plumbing and welding. In addition, I have acquired various Fuels and Safety Tickets."

Advice to Students: "Always look to develop your skills!"