Melanie Valente-Leite, News Reporter

With only six hours on the clock, 16 Humber engineering students raced to complete and perfect their machines to move forward in the Skills Ontario competition.

“We have high expectations to be first, so there’s a little bit of pressure,” said Marco Gunja, an Electromechanical Engineering Technology student at Humber. “Mostly, I think I put the pressure on myself to do as good as possible, and I think we finished good.”

Teams of students built different automated factory and production systems from scratch to qualify to compete in Skills Ontario in the provincial tournament.

Two gold medalists, one junior and one senior on each team, emerged from the annual event, this year held at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation on Feb. 20.

Each won a grant of $1,250 along with the chance to compete in the Skills Ontario tournament in the Toronto Convention Centre in May.

Humber’s engineering students have won more than 40 medals at World Skills, Skills Ontario and Skills Canada competitions since 2004.

Maramawit Demisse builds an electrical system during the qualifying stage of a province-wide competition at the Barrett CTI on Feb. 20. (Melanie Valente-Leite)

The Electromechanical Engineering Technology program started in September with professors introducing students to the concept of these competitions and to teach them how to use the equipment properly.

“It would have been nice if we had more females in the program because we’re not as represented as we should be,” said Maramawit Demisse, an Electromechanical Engineering Technology student.

“I hate the misconception that women aren’t able to do things like this. As you can see, we are,” she said.

Mechatronics is a field of study and standard manufacturing technology that includes mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering and computer engineering.

After the students have completed the Skills Ontario tournament, the winners will compete in the Skills Canada tournament in Vancouver, B.C., then proceed to compete in WorldSkills, where hundreds of students participate for a grand prize of money and scholarships.

“There are different scholarships involved for people that compete in all the skills competitions, they get a medal, and there’s a sponsor as well,” said Anthony Nyman, a lab technologist at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation.

“At the top of the provincial competition, some companies will offer jobs to medal winners.”

The winners in this year’s mechatronics event were:

Gold in the senior category: Marko Gunja and Hartej Tapia
Gold in the junior category: Zack Kennedy and Nickolas de Boer
Silver in the senior category: Alex Mosor and Suhail Mohammed
Silver in the junior category: Silver: Jordan Regada and Jarod Lin
Bronze in the junior category: Diego Quintero and Theresa Martinez