Skills Ontario hosts the 27th annual Ontario Technological Skills Competition

Apr 29 2016

Female Electrical CompetitorWaterloo, Ontario – The Ontario Technological Skills Competition (OTSC) features 67 skilled trades and technologies contests and 2,100 competitors from high schools and colleges across Ontario, making it the largest skilled trades and technologies competition in Canada. An estimated 20,000 spectators are expected to visit the competition over two days, with the Closing Ceremony on Wednesday, May 4th at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Monday, May 2nd is Elementary Technology Activity Day at the OTSC. 2,500 Elementary Students from across the province will participate in a range of workshops and challenges designed to introduce them to career opportunities and relevant skills in the skilled trades and technologies.

Some Secondary and Post-Secondary contests also take place on Monday, May 2nd, with the majority of the contests in full-swing on Tuesday, May 3rd. In a range of contests, from plumbing, culinary arts, aesthetics, and automotive service - to name only a few - competitors are judged on their skills related to their field, as well as their job interview skills and related soft skills.

Winners are presented with gold, silver, and bronze medals, and may also receive monetary awards at the closing ceremony held at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex on Wednesday, May 4th.

“Those who compete at the OTSC are the future of skilled trades and technologies in Ontario. We believe there’s no better way for a young person to jump start their career than by providing them the opportunity to tell future employers they are a gold medalist in their field,” says Gail Smyth, Executive Director for Skills Ontario.

New for 2016

New for 2016, job offers from Magna International will be awarded to medalists in the Automation Control, Industrial Mechanic, and Mechatronics contests, and Hy-Mark will be offering apprenticeships to the post-secondary gold medalists in the Plumbing and Sheet Metal contests. Many winners are eligible to move on to the Skills Canada National Competition in Moncton at the end of May.

“This opportunity speaks to the recognized quality of the young people who compete at the OTSC,” says Barry Harrison, Director of Competitions at Skills Ontario. “There is no better way to reward the most talented students in Ontario and we are pleased to see Magna recognize this incredible opportunity for both the students and the employer.” 

Celebrating 19 years in Kitchener-Waterloo

2016 marks the last year that the OTSC will be held at RIM Park in Waterloo, as Skills Ontario looks ahead to the OTSC at the Toronto Congress Centre in 2017 (May 1-3, 2017). The OTSC moved to the Kitchener Auditorium in 1997, after several years in Hamilton. In 2002, the OTSC moved to RIM Park, where it sees growth in the number of contests, participants, and spectators each and every year! With 67 contest sites, 44 elementary challenges and workshops, and over 20,000 spectators, the OTSC has simply run out of space at RIM Park!

Conestoga College has been the host college of the OTSC since 1997, when the competition moved to Kitchener. The support of the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo have been instrumental to the success and growth of the OTSC over the last 19 years.

Young Women’s Conferences

In addition to the contests and events happening at RIM Park, the Young Women’s Conferences will take place at Bingemans in Kitchener on Monday, May 2nd and Tuesday, May 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. in conjunction with the OTSC.

Fourteen-hundred girls from across Ontario will make their way to Bingemans, and over these two days, the girls in grades 7-8 (Monday) and 9-12 (Tuesday) will explore hands-on activities, challenges, and mentoring from the one-hundred tradeswomen that will be in attendance.

Kate Campbell of HGTV Canada will deliver the keynote address on Monday, May 2nd, and Jamie McMillian, founder of Journeyman, will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday, May 3rd.

The conferences seek to demonstrate that skilled trades and technologies are accessible, interesting and fun for young women.

“Today, women are still underrepresented in the skilled trades and technologies but these are excellent careers for women to support themselves,” says Nicola MacDonald, Lead Liaison Officer for Young

Women’s Initiatives at Skills Ontario. “Young women need to know that the trades and technologies offer many opportunities that can lead to bright, stable and successful futures.”

First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Conference

This year, Skills Ontario is piloting a new mentoring and information session geared toward FNMI students and stakeholders at the OTSC. The FNMI Conference will provide Aboriginal students and other stakeholders an opportunity to celebrate the success and skill of FNMI students in Ontario.

Skills Ontario is encouraged to see the increased interest expressed by Aboriginal communities from across the province – including the participation of over 150 Aboriginal students at the new FNMI Conference this year.

Skilled trade and technology professionals will provide advice, guidance and inspiration to conference participants. 

“Skills Ontario's Aboriginal Initiatives aims to continue increasing the involvement of First Nation, Metis and Inuit youth in programming to spark an interest in skilled trades and technology professions,” says Ashley Pszeniczny, Lead Liaison Officer for Aboriginal Initiatives at Skills Ontario. “As more FNMI youth consider viable career options for themselves, they are also able to contribute to economic and social well-being not only within their communities, but also for the broader province of Ontario.”

OTSC Quick Facts

  • Over 9.2 million dollars of in-kind donations are required to make the OTSC a success
  • The Team Carpentry Contest has the largest representation of competitors, with 52 school boards from across Ontario represented
  • An international competitor from the Waterford Institute of Technology in Ireland will be competing in the Architectural Technology and Design Contest
  • New for 2016, job offers from Magna International will be awarded to medalists in the Automation Control, Industrial Mechanic, and Mechatronics contests.
  • Hy-Mark will be offering apprenticeships to the post-secondary gold medalists in the Plumbing and Sheet Metal contests.


About Skills Ontario

Skills Ontario is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the skilled trades and technologies as viable first-choice career options for Ontario youth. Throughout the year, we promote the skilled trades and technologies through our in-school presentations, the Ontario Technological Skills Competition (OTSC), Cardboard Boat Race Competitions, Women’s Career Exploration Events and Conferences and our Aboriginal Initiatives.

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