The 2017 WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi was an incredibly experience for Saskatchewan graphic designer Kyla Henry.
Last month, the 21-year-old went up against 28 other competitors in graphic design technology, testing their abilities in the areas of branding, editorial, packaging and group work.
In the end, she tied for sixth with a score of 719.
“I was incredibly shocked to even get sixth in all honesty,” Henry said.
“I went in with hopes of getting a Medallion of Excellence, so that basically just means that you placed in the top half of your trade. I got sixth, so I did actually reach my goal and I actually surpassed my goal.”
Chinese Taipei took gold with a score of 756.
Henry graduated from Saskatchewan Polytechnic this past June. She is the second consecutive graphic communications student to qualify for the competition, which is held every two years. Roxanne Kanak also competed at WorldSkills 2015 in Brazil.
Henry described being a part of Team Canada as a blessing.
“I didn’t ever think that I would even get past provincials here and so getting to go to Abu Dhabi of all places half way across the world and represent Canada was so cool,” Henry said.
“I literally would do anything to do it all over again. I can’t even put into words how exciting it was to just be there with everyone else on Team Canada and everyone else from around the world, it was an incredible experience.”
It wasn’t her first time overseas, but Abu Dhabi was a fresh experience for Henry.
“It was incredibly cool … everything is so extravagant essentially and it’s absolutely beautiful. The desert is so cool, I’ve never been in a climate anything like that. It’s incredibly humid … I absolutely loved it,” Henry said.
“It felt like Canada but in a desert almost, it was super multi-cultural and everyone was just the same I guess as us too. People think that there’s going to be a huge culture shock, but I didn’t find that at all.”
Henry is thankful for her trainers, including Cody Peterson, and instructors at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
“I got this opportunity because of … Skills Canada they allowed us to train and they gave us everything that we needed at the drop of a hat … Skills Canada or Skills Saskatchewan aren’t super well-known and I think that they should (get credit) because I got this incredibly experience that most people haven’t even heard of,” Henry said.
She currently works as a graphic designer at a small marketing firm, Ayden Creative, in Regina.
Daniel Nelson, also from Regina, tied for 22nd in electrical installation at WordSkills.
Overall, Team Canada won a bronze medal, in mechatronics, as well as 13 Medallions of Excellence. The 31-person team competed in events ranging from web design and development to heavy vehicle maintenance.