Shoshawna Blair: Skills Canada BC Gold Medalist to Red Seal Baker

Former gold medalist smiling and standing in front of baking area of the Skills Canada BC competition
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As a Red Seal Baker and Skills Canada BC Gold Medalist, Shoshawna Blair not only whisks up delicious treats, but also advocates passionately for aspiring students in the skilled trades.  

Shoshawna’s trades journey began in high school during an English assignment, where she was tasked with creating a physical representation of “Lord of the Flies.” Opting to bake a cake symbolizing the island, her career teacher noticed her creative potential and introduced her to the ACE-IT program, now known as the SkilledTradesBC Youth Train in Trades Program. In grade 12, she enrolled into the program at Vancouver Community College (VCC) and found herself immediately captivated, realizing that baking was the right fit for her.

In 2017, encouraged by her instructors and friends, Shoshawna decided to participate in the Skills Canada BC (SCBC) Competition, where skilled students and apprentices from across the province compete in over 40 skilled trade and technology competitions. Provincial winners proceed to the Nationals, and then the World competitions.  

Leading up to the event, she practiced every single day with her best friend, who was also a competitor. “I was extremely nervous and made many mistakes during practice,” she admits, “but on the day of competition, everything just clicked.”  For Shoshawna, it’s like the world around her went silent and she was fully focused on the task at hand. “I was ahead of schedule; nothing went wrong, and I actually finished early.” When it came time for the award ceremony, Shoshawna was in shock when they announced her as the first-place winner. “I was just amazed! I did not think that would happen... To this day it still shocks me! I know I worked hard, but sometimes you can be your own worst critic,” expressed Shoshawna.  


Apprenticeship Advisor handing a certified tradesperson a Red Seal pin to recognize their achievement.
SkilledTradesBC Apprenticeship Advisor David presents Shoshawna with her Red Seal pin.

Winning the gold medal not only elevated her confidence, but it also opened many doors for her. With this new accolade on her resume, she found herself in high demand among employers, and it empowered her to continue in her education. This past fall, she achieved her Red Seal certification. “Not only does it recognize my credentials, but it’s kind of the proof in the pudding that I’m doing it and I’m doing it well!”  

Today, Shoshawna thrives in her dual roles, balancing her days as a Social Media and Program Coordinator with SCBC, and her evenings spent baking for her clients in her rented kitchen. After the competition in 2017, she began volunteering for SCBC as an alumna, which paved the way to her current role, primarily on the coordination side working with competitors. As she looks to the future, Shoshawna hopes to one day open her own bakery, continue her work with the organization, and perhaps teach the next generations of aspiring bakers. 
She encourages students and apprentices to participate in these competitions.  “It’s such an amazing experience and a great opportunity to meet other apprentices, tradespeople, and industry professionals. It’s not just about winning; you don’t need to leave with a medal because you’ll leave with the knowledge and connections.”  

Each year, SCBC helps thousands of students explore rewarding careers in the skilled trades and technology sectors through skills competitions, hands-on programs for students and resources for educators.
To learn more, visit the Skills Canada BC website. 

The winners from this year’s provincial competition will be competing in Quebec City at the Skills Canada National Competition from May 30 and 31. Join us in wishing Team B.C. good luck! 


It's never too early to get started in the skilled trades.