Yukoner captures gold at national trade skills competition

·2 min read
Connor Kaszycki proudly displays the Yukon flag while wearing the gold medal he earned at the recent Skills Canada national competition in Vancouver.  (Submitted by Connor Kaszycki - image credit)
Connor Kaszycki proudly displays the Yukon flag while wearing the gold medal he earned at the recent Skills Canada national competition in Vancouver. (Submitted by Connor Kaszycki - image credit)

It was the last thing Connor Kaszycki expected.

The Whitehorse electrician competed at the recent Skills Canada national competition in Vancouver and came home with the gold.

"I honestly never expected to even get this far in my life, so I'm still pretty shell shocked about it," said Kaszycki on CBC Radio's Airplay.

"It feels pretty good."

Kaszycki competed at the post-secondary level in electrical installations, one of 14 skill areas in the construction category. Overall, 350 students and apprentices from across Canada competed in six skilled trades and technology sectors during the competition that took place in Vancouver from May 25 to 28.

He was one of 10 competitors from the Yukon.

Submitted by Connor Kaszycki
Submitted by Connor Kaszycki

The competitors in Kaszycki's skill area were judged on their ability to do a variety of electric installations in residential, commercial and industrial electrical wiring.

"Basically what it is, is you have 12 hours to complete a set project. They give you a bunch of specs and how they want it to work, and then you have to hook it up and make it work," explained Kaszycki.

He said he had to hook up house wiring and some motor controls, and then program a mini computer to run an automatic program.

He said he had already done some house wiring but not the other two skills.

"I learned about [them] in school, though," he said.

Connor Kaszycki
Connor Kaszycki

He said the biggest challenge during the competition was managing his time.

"I honestly thought that I wasn't going to get it done completely at a couple of points there, and there's just so much that you have going at the same time that it's pretty hard not to, you know, just think about all that at once and then get cluttered," he said.

Somehow he managed not to get bogged down and once he had a good handle on how he was spending his time, it went smoothly.

But he wasn't expecting to win. In fact, he didn't find out until the closing ceremonies.

"I learned it right when everyone else did," he said. "It was awesome."

His parents, who also weren't expecting their son to win, were watching on a livestream, hoping to catch a glimpse of him on stage.

"And then they found out I won gold at my event and they were ecstatic," said Kaszycki.

He also won a second medal, for having the highest overall score of all Yukon competitors.

Submitted by Connor Kaszycki
Submitted by Connor Kaszycki

The win "validates" his choice to become an electrician, he said, adding he's been getting "gold medal jokes" since he's returned to work at Evergreen, a Whitehorse construction company.

"You're a gold medallist, you should be doing better," he says with a laugh.

He did receive an award from RBC for his win but other than that, "a pat on the back, good job and back to work," he said.

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