No horsing around
Whale Cove man off to national skills competition

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

WHALE COVE (May 19/99) - Whale Cove's Peter Igviksaq may be travelling south to test his carpentry skills against some of the best trade apprentices in the country next month, but the 11-year employee of the Tasiurqtit Housing Association says he still has his priorities straight.

Secretary-manager Lisom Tam-Eveleigh said the Housing Association participates in an apprenticeship program in which Igviksaq's position of household maintainer is a three-year program in the territories.

She said Igviksaq went to Arctic College's Thebacha campus in Fort Smith in March for six weeks of training and the first Territorial Skills Canada Competition which he won in his class.

"To be successful in the skills competition you really have to know your carpenter skills," said Tam-Eveleigh. "In Peter's case, for the competition itself, he had to build a sawhorse."

Winning the competition in Fort Smith earned Igviksaq the right to be part of Team Nunavik and he will now move on to the Canadian Skills Competition in Kitchener, Ontario, from June 2-6.

Igviksaq said he is very happy to have won his competition and enjoyed the experience at the Thebacha campus.

"There were apprentices in Fort Smith from many different trades, including carpentry, heavy equipment operators, mechanics, all kinds of training going on," said Igviksaq. "I was very, very happy when I got my certificate for winning the competition and was selected to go to Kitchener for the national skills competition."

The Canadian Skills Competition is sponsored by Skills Canada -- a provincial, territorial and national non-profit organization which brings together educators, students, employees, labour groups and government to help develop the skilled and technical workforce Canada needs to meet the challenge of rapid technological change and expanding global markets.

Skills Canada is picking up the entire tab for Igviksaq's trip to the national competition, which is the result of more than 1,600 students from high schools, colleges and apprenticeship programs across the country competing in a wide range of areas for the right to represent their province or territory nationally.

Calling himself a huge Toronto Maple Leaf and hockey fan, Igviksaq said as much as he's looking forward to competing in Ontario, there are other reasons he's excited about the trip. He said if his stopover time in Toronto permits, he'll be fulfilling some longtime ambitions.

"If I have time, I'll be heading straight out to the Hockey Hall Fame, Maple Leaf Gardens and the new Air Canada Centre," said Igviksaq. "I'd really like a chance to see and maybe even meet the Toronto Maple Leaf players, but, if nothing else, I want to see the new arena and the Hockey Hall of Fame. That's probably the biggest thing about the trip to me," he said laughing.

"I am looking forward to competing with other tradesmen from across Canada. I don't really know how the competition is set up. We're probably going to build something different than we did in Fort Smith, but it's still building skills, so I should do alright."