Vocational Olympiads 2016

The Vocational Olympiads is a once-in-every-two year event where students from different vocational trades compete to win provincial medals and possibly head to the Canadian national event.

Every two years, we can send students to the “Regional” events, where they can compete against other candidates from their area.  Our region being the Montérégie, we thought it would be a good idea to suggest the Secretarial Studies department provide a candidate.  Lo and behold, Karen Clark volunteered… and was the only Secretarial Studies candidate in the Montérégie! So she went straight to the Provincials, held May 4th to 7th, in Quebec City.  Jean Bouchard, Centre Director of NOVA, Judy Murphy, teacher, Karen and friend Samantha Gentile (support group!) packed up on a fine Wednesday and went to Quebec City to attend the competition.

The event is quite grandiose.  Not all trades are featured, but there are quite a few!  It can go from bakery to… diesel engine maintenance…! Practically all the Centre de Foires de Québec is used for this.

Karen says : “The experience of attending the Olympiads in Québec City was a very unique and exceptional one.  When the opportunity was originally presented to me, I had no idea of how elaborate and intricate the event would be… Upon arrival at the venue on the first day of the competition, it was apparent how much work was put into each aspect of the process.”

So we set up on the Thursday… desks, computers and a lot of nervous candidates.  But Karen kept her cool. The actual tasks were on a two-day stretch, all intertwined with each other.  And… mostly in French!  Karen’s performance was stellar in these conditions.

“The first day, I saw how well my teachers in the Secretarial program at NOVA had equipped me to be able to tackle the scenarios presented head on.  Every module came into play in some way, and I was so grateful to have been extensively prepared by them.”

While candidates sweat it out, many students and visitors browse the different competitions on site.  Although Secretarial is quiet, others may make a lot of noise… Carpentry for one!

“Participating in the Olympiads is one that I will not soon forget.  To see so many passionate organizers, who had poured themselves into the planning for the past two years was admirable.  They made sure all competitors where taken care of each step of the way, not to mention the support I personally felt by Judy Murphy and Jean Bouchard.  They allowed us to experience a realistic work environment, while providing us with the necessary support where needed.  I am thankful for being given the chance to be a part of such an amazingly remarkable competition.”

We would like to thank Karen to have taken the chance, the time and the energy to experience the event. NOVA owes you a lot.


Jean Bouchard
Centre Director (NOVA Career Centre)

Karen Clark
(Administrative Assistant DEP Student – NOVA Career Centre)

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