Niagara College shines at Skills Ontario

Six Niagara College students are now provincial medal winners after success at the 26th annual Ontario Technological Skills Competition.

Known as the largest skilled trades competition in Canada the Ontario Technological Skills Competition took place May 4-6 at RIM Park in Waterloo.

Students from the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute dominated the Postsecondary Baking and Culinary Arts categories capturing two medals in each – including gold.

Baking and Pastry Arts student Sophie Maille (Niagara-on-the-Lake) and Culinary Management student Ramel Fortes (Toronto/Thorold) had the ultimate recipes for success winning gold medals in the Postsecondary Baking and Culinary Arts categories respectively. Baker-Patisserie Apprentice student Anita Armenti Nadon (Port Colborne) captured silver in Baking and Culinary Management student Jesse Wallace (Fergus) won bronze in Culinary Arts.

“Proud does not begin to describe my feelings on this historic success at Ontario Skills for CFWI” said CFWI dean Craig Youdale noting that his students won four out of six medals in the Baking and Culinary Arts categories combined. “This is not only a testament to the professors that support the specific training but speaks to the level of skill development and commitment from all our staff at the College.”

After capturing the top spot in the province Maille and Fortes will advance to the Skills Canada National Competition to be held in Saskatoon May 27-30.

Two additional Niagara College students returned from the competition with medals. Hairstyling Techniques student Minseo Kim (Seoul Korea/Niagara Falls) earned silver in Hairstyling; and Esthetician student Christina Ventresca (Niagara Falls) was honoured with bronze in Aesthetics.

Vice-president Academic Steve Hudson applauded the students’ efforts as well as the faculty members who helped them succeed. “As the skilled tradespeople of tomorrow these students will drive our key industries and help meet the growing demand for skilled labour in Niagara and beyond” he said.

More than 1900 elementary secondary and postsecondary students from across Ontario participated in this year’s Ontario Technological Skilled Trades Competition. For information visit

Niagara College offers more than 111 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

Student quotes

“I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am today. Continuing to nationals is a dream come true. My skill level has definitely blossomed this year. I feel so much more confident in my ability to work with chocolate and sugar. The teachers here at Niagara care so much for their students and would do anything to see us succeed. I have learned so many new techniques and skills for the program that will stay with me forever.”

-Sophie Maille 21 Baking and Pastry Arts gold medalist

“I feel grateful and honored to be representing Ontario and especially Niagara College at nationals. I worked hard to get to this point and I plan on working even harder to get gold at nationals as well.  No matter what the outcome is I am thankful for everyone who has supported me.”

-Ramel J. Fortes 19 Culinary Arts gold medalist

“Skills enhanced my educational experience at NC by opening up many doors and teaching me a new product line that will definitely be of benefit for my career in esthetics. As well Skills has given me the confidence in myself that I was lacking. I can’t thank my teachers enough for training me countless hours and weeks; this is a medal that should be shared with them … they really deserve it! “

-Christina Ventresca 23 Aesthetics bronze medalist