Skills in the Family

Sep 19 2017


Meet the Bennetts.

Two generations of Skills Ontario competitors who know skills from the trades are skills for life.

In 1990, Anderson CVI high school student Scott Bennett was selected by his shop teacher to compete in the 1990 Skills Ontario Competition, after displaying advanced techniques in a woodworking class. Scott placed gold at the provincial level two years in a row, advancing to win silver at nationals in 1990, and gold in 1991.

“Skills Ontario made me realise how special my skills were. Once I competed at the regional level, I started to understand my skills level was high for someone my age,” Scott said.

Woodworking quickly became one of Scott’s passions. After nearly a decade of honing his craft, Scott opened Wooden It Be Nice Custom Woodworking in Brooklin, ON. Scott carried his knowledge and skills from high school and Skills Ontario’s competitions to inspire a student close to his heart: his daughter, Mary Bennett.

“My dad has influenced me from a young age to have skills in the trades by teaching me woodworking. I believe working with him has developed advanced tactile skills in me as a child and has now allowed me to succeed in other hobbies,” Mary said. “Skilled trades can be used in every-day tasks and I try to use the skills I have learned from my dad in my every-day life.”

With close mentorship from her dad, it’s no surprise that this Brooklin High School student was selected by her teacher to compete in Restaurant Service at the 2017 Skills Ontario Competition, after excelling in her hospitality and tourism class. (Sound familiar?)

Mary said the Skills Ontario Competition at the Toronto Congress Centre in May allowed her to refine her current skills, learn new ones, and meet like-minded individuals during the competition. For Scott, the most important part of this journey is to see his daughter do what she loves.

“I supported her by encouraging her to have confidence in what she knows, by not pressuring her to win, but to do her best,” Scott said. “Competing all day is a nerve racking process, and I think she’s really grown from that experience. #prouddad.”

For the Bennetts, it all comes down to passion and a love of the craft – whether it’s woodworking, restaurant service, or any other skilled trade.

“[My dad taught me] you can love what you do and use it to help others who don’t have the experience to do it themselves,” Mary said. “There are so many great things about my dad, but one thing I admire about him is how much he enjoys what he does. Woodworking makes him happy and he puts everything he has into his work. He uses his skills to help others, and that is one of the best ways to use his talent.”

In the maker community, Scott continues to encourage people to create and build through social media and DIY content. “Woodworking is an important part of my life, and something that brings me great satisfaction,” he said. “I hope I can help other people find their happy place in the woodshop, too.”

To find your own happy place, visit Wooden It Be Nice or explore Scott’s Woodshop Therapy videos.

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