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Grade 2-12 students advance to championships in Skills Ontario’s Junk Drawer Races, explore skilled trade and tech careers

By Enterprise Canada   


Ontario (January 12, 2022) – Last October, Skills Ontario launched the Junk Drawer Races, a new series of contests where students competed in curriculum-based, skill-developing activities, and today, the organization announced the regional winners on YouTube. The winners announced today have advanced to the championship round.

Thousands of students participated in this new initiative. With a Gravity Powered Robot Walker Race (for grades 2-3), a Cardboard Car Race (grades 4-5), a Paper Glider Competition (grades 6-7), a Hydraulic Crane Challenge (grade 8), and a Cardboard Hovercraft Race (grades 9-12), youth were given the opportunity to try a hands-on approach in their exploration of skilled trades and technologies.

Contests focused on topics such as simple machines, forces causing movements, flight technology, design, systems in action, and more. Participants built and raced their structures, completed a skilled trades test, and followed a safety checklist. This program was entirely virtual and used recyclable household items in consideration of being accessible and inclusive for students across the province.

“There are amazing opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies, and through programs like these, we’re proving it to youth,” says Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario. “Thank you to our participants, advocates, and partners, and congratulations to the advancing teams. We’re looking forward to seeing the submissions for the Championship round.”


Skills Ontario’s Junk Drawer Races program is funded by the Government of Ontario, and the Paper Glider Competition is sponsored by Bombardier. The Weston Family Scholars from Algonquin College, Conestoga College, and Loyalist College volunteered to judge and mark the submissions.

“We’re very proud to continue our support of Skills Ontario,” says Graham Kelly, Vice President and General Manager of Operations for Business Aircraft. “We know how important it is that young people consider pursuing a career in skilled trades. I think the paper plane contest is a fantastic opportunity to talk about the aviation industry, plus it gives all the participants the opportunity to use their imagination and their skills to construct planes. On behalf of everyone at Bombardier, I’d like to congratulate all the regional winners.”  Students whose teams are advancing to the Championships are now challenged with a new, unique requirement for each contest to vie for the provincial title. The Junk Drawer Races Championship Ceremony will be hosted on YouTube on March 23, 2022. All information can be found at

About Skills Ontario    Skills Ontario has been delivering programs and events since 1989 with an aim to inspire youth to explore skilled trades and technologies, and the organization applauds the government’s continued emphasis on skilled trades. Skills Ontario has found great success through its initiatives, and continues to deliver programs for many audiences, including young women, Indigenous youth, new Canadians, persons with exceptionalities, and more, in order to connect education, experience, and employment. To see how you can partner with Skills Ontario and help make a difference in the lives of Ontario youth, visit


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