The Spa Olympics

Skills Canada showcases up-and-coming talent

If you’re looking to hire a young, ambitious, and talented beauty and aesthetics professional, there is one sure-fire way to find the best of the best. Simply look to the Skills Canada National Competition to meet the best students in their fields, from right across the country.

“The Skills Canada competitions provide an amazing pool of candidates for jobs,” says Debbie Banfield of national, not-for-profit Skills/Compétences Canada. “The highest calibre of students goes through these competitions. The fact that these students are willing to work this hard to get to a national or world level says everything to me about their self-motivation, self-discipline, and the skills they have.”

Banfield is the Skills/Compétences Canada and WorldSkills Canadian expert in aesthetics and the director of aesthetics at the Woodford Training Centre in Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. She has been involved with Skills Canada for almost 15 years. The organization offers experiential learning opportunities including skilled trades and technology competitions for young Canadians through regional, provincial/ territorial, national, and international events, as well as skilled trades awareness programs.

The Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) is the only national, Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country. Every year, the event brings together approximately 500 young people from all regions of Canada to compete in over 40 trade and technology areas, including Beauty Therapy/Aesthetics. Students vie to win the honour of being crowned the best in their chosen discipline. Every two years, Canada also competes against the best in the world at the WorldSkills Competition, the largest international vocational skills competition.

“It’s a tiered program. Students are chosen to represent their school in a regional competition—winners earn the right to enter provincials, and then nationals, then worlds,” says Banfield. “The most important aspects of the competition are the inspiration and motivation it provides, but also the education. It’s wonderful to see these students drive to improve their own skills and recognize their passion.”

After winning the top spot at the 15th Canadian Skills Competition, in May 2009 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Medes College student Isabelle Collin of Dieppe, New Brunswick, represented Canada at the 40th WorldSkills Competition in Calgary in September that year. Canada hosted more than 900 competitors from 51 countries. Collin earned Silver (in the Beauty Therapy category), and took home the Best in Nation award (for the highest mark of all the Canadian competitors).

“It was an amazing experience. It helped me grow as a person but also into my career, it built my self-confidence, it means a lot now to my clients, and it’s great for future job prospects,” she says, adding it was also a lot of work.

Massage, waxing, facials, themed or fantasy make up (like the signature Twiggy flower over one eye, which Collin had to complete at the world competition), and nail art are among the categories within the aesthetics portions of the competitions. And the judging is strict says Collin: “The tiniest thing can cost you a lot of points. Your posture has to be perfect. You have to smile the whole time. You have to maintain the modesty of the client since you’re waxing and doing massages in front of a lot of people. You have to clean your tools and station before and after. The list goes on.”

Collin says at the outset of her journey, she had not realized there was a national, much less world, aesthetics competition. But the experience has stuck and is driving her further, she says. “These competitions helped me achieve so many goals. I don’t want to stop there. I don’t want to be just a regular aesthetician; I want to be more than that.”

This year’s SCNC will take place in Quebec City June 1 to 4, 2011. The 41st WorldSkills Competition will be held in London, United Kingdom, in October 2011. Riverview, NB’s Jenica Bubar will compete for Canada in the Beauty Therapy category at this year’s WorldSkills competition.

www.skillscanada.com
www.worldskills.org
www.woodfordtraining.com
www.medes.ca


by Jason Hagerman | Spring 2011