STEPHENVILLE, NL –
If you had asked Evan Rideout a year ago what cloud computing was, he wouldn’t have been able to give you a definitive answer.
Fast forward to August 2019 and the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) graduate will be making his way to Russia to represent Canada in that same division at WorldSkills Kazan.
“I was in my last semester (at CNA) … I was approached by one of my instructors and he asked if I wanted to get involved in this new division – cloud computing,” Rideout recalled. “We didn’t know anything about it at the time so we started learning.”
That learning involved in-house training with CNA Computer Systems and Networking instructor Richard Spencer, as well as trips to Ottawa to participate in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) GameDay competitions – an interactive team-based learning exercise designed to give players a chance to put their AWS skills to the test in a real-world, gamified, risk-free environment.
“We learned a lot from (AWS GameDay),” Rideout said. “We then took that knowledge to the Halifax Skills Canada National Competition, and that’s where we learned we were going to be part of Team Canada.”
Skills/Compétences Canada is a national not-for-profit organization that works to promote careers in skilled trades and technologies. Skills Canada organizations across the country deliver provincial and territorial competitions each spring. Gold medal winners from those competitions go on to compete at the Skills Canada National Competition and a strong performance nationally can sometimes send a competitor to international competition.
Since being named to Team Canada, Rideout and Spencer have been putting in a lot of work into getting ready for competition on the international stage.
“It’s been a journey,” said Rideout. “I have mostly been doing training through an online company called Exit Certified, so I’ve been doing online lectures, labs, and different classroom environments. It’s been going great. We’ve come a really long way. Even since nationals, we’ve learned a lot of new stuff so it’s going really well.”
However, Rideout doesn’t feel he would be as prepared if it weren’t for his coach’s dedication.
“Richard’s the best! He’s awesome. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Richard. He’s gone above and beyond for sure.”
Spencer, who is also the Canadian Expert in Cloud Computing for WorldSkills Kazan, echoes those sentiments when it comes to his student, and feels training Rideout has been the easiest part of the whole process.
“I couldn’t ask for a better competitor to take. Evan is positioned to do well. (This is the) first time for both of us and first time for the competition, but there is nothing he can’t do that others can; there’s nothing he hasn’t been training on that others have been trained on.”
While other countries have had the advantage of training in cloud computing for the past 18 months, Spencer isn’t worried heading into the competition.
“We’re a little late to the game where we only had about eight months to prepare, so we’re about a year behind, but I think we closed that gap,” said Spencer. “Weeding through the description of the competition, there’s nothing we haven’t touched on, or is outside of his skill level. I think anything is up for grabs.”
“It is really exciting to be going,” Rideout added.
For more information about CNA’s Computer Systems and Networking program, visit www.cna.nl.ca.
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic