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Two P.E.I. youth to vie for spot on WorldSkills Team Canada 2019

WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 prospects are Robbie McMahon, left, and Justin Buchanan.
WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 prospects are Robbie McMahon, left, and Justin Buchanan. - Contributed

Skills Canada P.E.I. has announced that two Islanders will be contending for a spot on the WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 for the 45th WorldSkills Competition, to be held in Kazan, Russia, in August of 2019.

This biannual event attracts more than 1,300 competitors from 60 member countries and regions. Competitions in more than 50 skill areas are held over four days.

Robbie McMahon and Justin Buchanan will compete in the WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 selection event, to be held in conjunction with the 2019 Skills Canada national competition in Halifax in May 2019.

McMahon, an apprentice with Olympia Electric, will compete against British Columbia’s contender to earn a spot in industrial control. He represented P.E.I. in 2017 in the mechatronics and automation and control competitions at the 2017 Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) in Winnipeg. He returned this year, representing the Island in industrial control, where he was awarded a bronze medal.

Buchanan, a recent graduate of the Video Game Art and Animation program at Holland College, will compete against Newfoundland’s contender in 3D Game Art. He represented P.E.I. at SCNC 2016 in Moncton while he was still in high school and went on to compete as a Holland College student this year, earning a provincial gold medal and moving on to the Skills Canada National Competition.

“We’re incredibly proud of the success of our youth in trades and technologies.” said Tawna MacLeod, executive director of Skills Canada P.E.I. “It’s very exciting to have not one, but two WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 prospects from Prince Edward Island.“

MacLeod said McMahon and Buchanan will spend the next nine months preparing to earn that spot on WorldSkills Team Canada 2019. If successful, they will both will work with a team of experts from education and industry and train intensively to prepare to represent Canada.

Along with potentially having two competitors, two WorldSkills experts, Susan LeFort in CNC machining and Chris Sharpley in 3D game art, are also from P.E.I.

LeFort is a long-time provincial volunteer and national technical committee member with the CNC machining competition. She has also served as the WorldSkills expert in seven previous WorldSkills Competitions. She is a graduate of Holland College’s welding fabrication and precision machinist programs.

Sharpley, instructor for Holland College’s video game art and animation program, has been a long-time provincial and national volunteer with Skills Canada and was an integral part of the design, development and implementation of the provincial and national 3D game art competition.

Holland College president Brian McMillan said the college is proud of the participation of all four individuals.

“For P.E.I. to have two Holland College contenders vying for a spot on WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 and have a current faculty member and an alumna selected as WorldSkills Experts is an extremely impressive accomplishment. This world-class performance attests to the quality of the students and faculty at Holland College,” he said.

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