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Georgian students win gold, silver at Skills Ontario Competition

'They have very promising futures ahead,' instructor says of students

Six Georgian College students recently won medals at the Skills Ontario Competition held May 1 to 3 in Toronto.

The competition offers a unique opportunity for students to showcase their competencies in skilled trades and technologies against the best of the best in their fields.

Gold medals were awarded to Ben Bader for additive manufacturing, Allison Partello for hairstyling, Ethan McCallum for computer numerical control (CNC) machining, and Xander Powell for outdoor power equipment. Viraj Gaurang Shah also won silver for web design and development, while Ryle Reynolds scored a bronze medal in CNC machining.

McCallum, a first-year mechanical technician—precision skills student, said, “The feeling of taking first place in this event is amazing. I’m grateful to have been able to perform so well alongside some of the top students in the province.

“I spent countless hours working in the shop and computer lab to prepare for the competition, and I made lots of mistakes throughout the training process,” McCallum added. “Ultimately, I learned from those mistakes, and I was able to continuously improve my skills with a lot of support from faculty.”

Brett Austin, an instructor at Georgian, mentored McCallum and helped prepare him for his category. Austin said the best part of this process is seeing students develop so quickly and watching their confidence grow.

“Our role as faculty and advisers is to give promising students this incredible opportunity to broaden their industry knowledge and network with employers who are hoping to hire a Georgian graduate. Everyone wants to be the very best in their field, but that comes with extensive dedication to their training.

“I am thrilled to see so many Georgian students take home gold, especially given that many of them are only in their first year of studies,” Austin said. “They have very promising futures ahead, and they have demonstrated a high level of commitment to practising their skills and excelling in their skilled trade.”

McCallum, joined by Partello and Powell, are preparing to represent Team Ontario at the upcoming Skills Canada National Competition in Winnipeg, Man., from May 24 to 27.

Learn more about Georgian’s skilled trades and technologies programming at



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