For three of the last four years, the gold medal winner in brick masonry at the Skills Canada National Competition has come from NBCC Woodstock Campus.
The other year, the Woodstock bricklayer in the national competition won silver.
You could say the Bricklaying program at the Woodstock Campus is on a winning streak. You could also say that instructor Dwayne Giberson is adept at motivating learners to excellence with his passion for the trade.
“Dwayne has been the most impactful mentor for my entire skilled trades journey,” said Ashley Ritchie, a Red Seal carpenter and bricklayer who harvested Skills Canada gold in 2017 and silver in 2018. “Ten years ago, I never thought I would ever say that a bricklayer would be one of my greatest mentors, but today I’m proud to say that he is.
“He exposed me to Skills Canada New Brunswick, trained me for Skills Canada and has certainly contributed to my continued success as an NBCC alumni,” she added.
Ritchie, who works for New Boots: Progressing Women In Trades, is one of the three competitors that Giberson has coached to a podium finish at the national level. In 2016, Pascal Marquis took gold at Skills Canada, and Trent Cristopherson claimed the first place finish in 2019.
Giberson loves the trade and he enjoys sharing his love of it with his students. He encourages them to participate in Skills competitions and to put forward their best work.
“I push our students to achieve,” said Giberson. “Not everyone wants to compete, but most do once they get training. It gives them confidence and it helps them when they’re entering the work world, because most contractors are trying to hire Skills winners.”
Bricklaying is an in-demand trade, he noted, and there are sustainable employment opportunities across the country for those who aren’t afraid of hard work.
“It’s a very hard trade, physically, but physical labour is good for you,” he said. “You feel good when you’ve done a day’s physical work. And the financial reward is also there; three years ago, bricklaying was the third highest paid job in Saskatchewan.”
The next Bricklaying offering at the Woodstock Campus will be in January 2020. For more information, visit nbcc.ca/programs .