Barry Harrison, director of competitions for Skills Ontario and Dan Ferko of Sirco Machinery/Haas Factory OutletClick image to enlargeHaas Automation Inc., through the Gene Haas Foundation, has donated $55,000 US ($65,000 CDN) to Skills Ontario.

Dan Ferko, president of Sirco Machinery Co. Ltd., a Haas Factory Outlet in Ontario, presented the cheque on behalf of Haas during the Ontario Technological Skills Competition, held May 2-4 at RIM Park in Waterloo, ON.

Students checking out a machining process on a Haas machineClick image to enlarge

The Skills Competition is celebrating its 27th year and the event grows larger each year, says Barry Harrison, director of competitions for Skills Ontario.

"Skills Ontario is Canada's largest skilled trades competition. We have 67 different contests and more than 2,000 competitors from across the province competing in these events. In the CNC Machining competition we have 10 colleges competing."

Ontario Technological Skills Competition has many sponsors, including Sandvik Coromant, Mitutoyo, In-House Solutions and Rockwell AutomationClick image to enlarge

The event also includes 44 elementary challenges and workshops, a career exploration showcase, and over 20,000 spectators.

In addition to CNC Machining, other competitions include welding and precision machining.

The event has grown so big, organizers have decided to move next year's competition, which takes place May 1-3, to the Toronto Congress Centre.

Louis Dropka, who was overseeing the CNC Machining competition, one of the experts of WorldSkills Team Canada and a teacher at Conestoga college, says the quality of students gets better each year and part of the reason is that they're using better software.

"The students use MasterCAM which allows them to make more complex parts, quicker. It allows us to better test the talent and skills of students."

Dan Ferko adds that the donation--Haas is also a platinum level sponsor of the competition--supports the skilled trades in Canada.

"I had a customer from Brantford who came out to see this competition because he's having trouble finding good skilled machinists. We introduced him to Louis and this customer plans to send two of his guys to Louis for training. A lot of the schools have Haas machines in their facilities so when they graduate and find work, they're comfortable running machines."

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