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Making things run smoothly A Q&A with Melinda Vandenberg, the chair of the Provincial Hairstyling Technical Committee

Every year, students in the skilled trades and technology sectors compete for their chance to win gold at the Skills Manitoba Competition, a competition where students participate in challenges designed to test skills required in their respective trades and technology careers.

Clippings managing editor Shayna Wiwierski spoke with Melinda Vandenberg, who is the chair of the Provincial Hairstyling Technical Committee, about Skills Canada, the committee itself, and why students should compete.

Shayna Wiwierski: Tell me about the Provincial Hairstyling Technical Committee, what do you do and when do you meet?

Melinda Vandenberg: Every year we get together and we meet four to five times a year and develop the scopes for the contests (such as the rules, regulations, and demerits).  There are three contests in the Skills Manitoba Competition – Beginners, Secondary, and Post-Secondary.

We have a group of people that consists of anyone who is involved in hairstyling; so teachers, salon owners, hairstylists, etc.  We also organize a training session once a year for the secondary and post-secondary level, so we get the venue, trainers, and handle the registration for that.

For the day of the competition, we set up the area, mirrors, and tables, handle registration, and make sure everyone who is registered for the competition is there.  We also get the judges together and make sure they are aware of where they are going, what they are doing, and what competition they are judging.

SW: Why is the Skills Canada Competition important?

MV: It gives students an opportunity to see what competition is.  It’s very sought after because it’s a national competition.  Even if a student doesn’t place, it’s good to put on a resume to say that they have the ambition and drive.

They also meet people in the industry.  The competition is held at Red River College and there is quite an audience that attends.  You see other people and they see you and it’s a good way to network in our community.  If you do win a medal it’s an excellent way to feel good about yourself and that you accomplished something.  If you win the gold it opens more doors for you and more opportunities.

SW: How many people are on the Provincial Hairstyling Technical Committee and how does one get involved?

MV: There are seven of us in total and we all have hairstyling backgrounds.  Most of us are teachers but anyone who has a background in hairstyling can be a member of the technical committee.  It’s mostly word of mouth; in September I’ll shoot an email out to all the teachers asking to be a member and who would like to stay on.  I’ll also email anyone that I can think of who would want to be part of the committee, and I have asked people who aren’t teachers before.

SW: What do you do at your meetings?

MV: We talk about whether or not we want to change the contest at all; little things have been changed from certain years, usually it’s things that haven’t worked too well, so we say let’s change it.  If there are changes, we make sure it gets done properly.  We have to submit scopes to the Province and it gets put on the [Skills Manitoba] website.  We also make sure everything is still relevant on how we want to do things.

We also start looking at our training session and make sure that the place can hold a lot of people, we make sure our contacts are correct, and lately we have been asking for donations for a Bud, Spud, and Steak that Skills Manitoba puts on every year for the gold medal winners to fundraise their trip to the national competition.

SW: Why should one join the committee?

MV:  It’s very organized and it’s a lot of fun.  The people on the committee are there for the students and it’s a fun committee to be on because we talk about the competition and we get involved in it.  It’s very rewarding watching the students during the competition.

For more information about the committee and how you can join, please contact Melinda Vandenberg at melvan@wtc.mb.ca.

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