CNA students return with trifecta of medals

National, provincial Skills Canada competitions are great hands-on experiences

6/2/2022 2:56:06 PM

VANCOUVER, BC – A total of eight medals – three gold, three silver and two bronze – became recent sparkling additions to College of the North Atlantic (CNA) students’ luggage when they returned from the Skills Canada National Competition in British Columbia this week.

This represents the highest tally from the nationals for CNA to date.
Team NL recently participated in the annual Skills Canada Competition in Vancouver, BC. CNA students were among these competitors and they brought home a total of eight medals.

Finishing with gold were: Joshua Hartery (Automobile Technology) of Prince Philip Drive (PPD) campus; Devin Owens (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning) of Ridge Road campus; and, Mason Gulliver (Architectural Technology and Design) of Ridge Road campus.

Taking silver were: Greg Abbott (Plumbing) of Bonavista campus; Jeffrey Smyth (Graphic Design Technology) of PPD; and, Shelby Dawe (3D Digital Game Art) also of PPD.

Rounding out the winners with bronze were: Julia Rose (Electrical Installations) of Seal Cove campus, and Blake Kenny & Cody Finlay (Mechatronics) of Ridge Road campus.

Brent Howell, Dean of Natural Resources and Industrial Trades, says he is impressed with how well CNA students performed on the national stage.

“This was an incredible learning opportunity for everyone who was fortunate enough to attend,” said Howell. “The CNA Skills NL Team and the team as a whole performed exceptionally well.  It was my privilege to observe and admire the hard work, dedication, and discipline that all team members displayed during the competition. The success achieved by all members is evidence of their skill, hard work and support provided by coaches. All team members were excellent ambassadors for this province and I was honoured to spend time with them. While we did bring home medals, everyone on the team should take a great deal of pride in their incredible performances.”

Carole Ann Ryan, Executive Director of Skills Canada NL, says these competitions present students with an opportunity of a lifetime. 

“These competitions have challenged competitors in ways they’ve never experienced and will certainly become a journey they’ll never forget,” she said.

This year the Skills Canada National Competition followed a hybrid model due to the ongoing pandemic.

“After two years of virtual competitions, we feel our competitors were well prepared to take on the challenges provided by the virtual landscape,” she said. “Skills Canada NL staff were there to support them every step of the way.”

Ryan says competing against their peers from across the country is a great learning experience.

“Competing in Skills Canada competitions not only gives students the chance to hone their skills in their chosen trade or technology, but it allows them to test these skills against the best in their field across the country. Students have the chance to network with other competitors and experts in their area as well they get to meet with other students opening them to trades and technologies, they may have otherwise been unaware of.”

Gulliver, a CNA Architectural Engineering Technology student, says he was excited to take home the gold in both the provincial and national competitions.

“It was an incredibly electric and at the same time humbling feeling knowing I won,” he said. “When the eyes in the room shift to you, you feel this sense of completion, but also a pressure of responsibility to work hard to do well in the next stage of the competition.”

Originally from Mount Pearl, NL, Gulliver says he has found success since finishing the program. He is working full time in the architecture field and continued preparing and training for the national competition with the help of CNA mentors and former national medallists.

Abbott, a fourth-year apprentice in the Plumber program, says overall it was a memorable experience, and it plays an important role in highlighting skilled trades and technology to youth.

“I fortunately had the opportunity to compete three times with Skills Canada,” said the Goulds, NL native. “To have won silver last year and this year is an honour, and I'd hold these experiences with me long into the future as I continue my career. The success we have at nationals isn't possible without the work and support from the Skills Canada Newfoundland and Labrador staff. They make this opportunity and experience the best it could ever be.”

Paving the way to the nationals was the Skills Canada Newfoundland and Labrador provincial competition, where 29 CNA students won gold, silver and bronze medals.

The gold-medal winners were not only named to Team NL’s entry to the Skills Canada National Competition; they were also awarded a $500 tuition voucher at CNA.

Ryan says benefits like these allow students to focus on their studies while not having to worry about how to financially support themselves, and she highly recommends students get involved in these levels of competition.

“These are competitions unlike you’ll find anywhere else, and they provide so many benefits to students from networking opportunities, practice in their fields, the chance to win awards, and financial support for their education. Competitions are open to all students across the province, and we highly encourage anyone who is at all interested to give it a try and compete.”

Craig Chislett is an instructor with the Graphic Design program at CNA’s Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John’s. He says Skills Canada does a good job of promoting skilled trades.

“Skills Canada is a very important organization to raise awareness of the importance of skilled trades in Canada and the need for highly trained employees who can both work in high-demand work/skill areas. It also raises an awareness of the importance of not only academics, but physical trades that are often overlooked as a viable solution for students.”

Chislett has been involved with Skills Canada for more than 20 years and has been designated a world expert for four years.

“When I started with Skills Canada in 2001, I would have never believed this organization would allow me to travel to every province in Canada and many parts of the world while spreading the importance of trades and technology as a very viable career path for millions of people,” he recalled. “I use the knowledge and experience gained through this organization in the classroom to help my students keep on top of current trends and industry demands.”

A complete list of winners from CNA for the 2022 Skill Canada NL Provincial competition can be found HERE.

For more information about CNA programs, visit

For more information about Skills Canada NL, visit:

Media contact:

Ryanne McIsaac
Content Specialist
College of the North Atlantic