"It's all about the kids. It's all about the next generation."
That from Mike Holmes, of the TV show Holmes on Homes, at the first day of competition in WorldSkills 2009.
In all, 900 young people from 51 countries are now competing to be the best in the world in their respective trades. For the first group of a predicted 150,000 Alberta school kids who'll take in the show, the experience was eye-opening.
"It's pretty amazing," said Kayla Atkinson, from Coronation, Alberta. "I like it. Lots of jobs here to pick from.
"All the different techniques used to put a car together. How to work with transmissions and turbos, and all that kind of stuff," said the Grade 10 student.
WorldSkills 2009 is designed primarily to change traditional North American attitudes that a career in the trades is simply not comparable to a university education.
"It's about showcasing the best skills in the world. It's about
bringing the world of opportunity to young people, and it's about
letting them know skills are important," said Federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.
That message resonates with Ian Webber, from Vulcan. He's in Grade 11, and says he's, "Not too high up academically, but hopefully I'll be able to find a job in trades, and get paid."
WorldSkills 2009 will conclude on Sunday evening, with an awards ceremony for the gold, silver, and bronze medal winners in 45 skills competitions.