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No national medals for Nunavut, but Skills Canada lessons will last a lifetime, competitor says

No gold, silver or bronze will be flying back with 16 Nunavut competitors who competed at Skills Canada nationals in Halifax this week.

Iqaluit's Abigail Atienza with job search judge Ryan Desjarlais at Skills Canada nationals in Halifax on Wednesday. Atienza was one of 16 Nunavut competitors and one of 563 participants from across the country involved in the overall event.
NNSL photo

But the knowledge they have gained through the program can serve them well for the remainder of their lives. Just ask Abigail Atienza, who's about to graduate from Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit.

Atienza competed in the job search category this week, and she's been progressively building on her proficiency in that field since Grade 10.

"I thought if I'm going to get a job I'll need to have the skills to be a good interview or write a cover letter or a resume," said Atienza.

Her diligence on that front recently helped her land a summer position with Travel Nunavut.

"Everything I'd learned from job search really helped," she said. "I was so ready."

Atienza still picked up additional know-how this week at the national championships. She learned about preparing a portfolio, which highlights a job candidate's transcripts from school, scholarships, diplomas and other accomplishments.

She was so determined to create her own portfolio to impress the judges, she stayed up until 2 a.m. Wednesday using the hotel lobby printer to produce 18 pages showcasing her abilities and achievements.

"I was making that portfolio (thinking) I have to stay up, I have to do this for (Team) Nunavut," said a smiling Atienza.

After her summer work with Travel Nunavut, she'll be heading off to university, although she hasn't yet decided which one. She has been accepted into the bachelor of science and psychology program at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and a Queen's University campus in the United Kingdom.

No matter her choice, she's confident she will again and again call upon her research into performing optimally while striving to get hired.

"The employability skills are very important," said Atienza. "It's in my back pocket and I can pull it out whenever I need to.

"I'm so glad Janis (Devereaux, executive director of Skills Canada Nunavut) recruited me. It's an experience I will have for the rest of my life. I went to nationals for the first time in Winnipeg and then I came back here in Nova Scotia and I love it."