Saturday, June 22, 2024

James Pelley awarded Skills Canada NL Volunteer of the Year

By Ryanne McIsaac

James Pelley was recently awarded the John Oates Memorial Volunteer of the Year award from Skills
Canada Newfoundland and Labrador (SCNL).

Pelley, Computer Systems and Networking instructor at College of the North Atlantic (CNA), felt honoured
when he received the news.

“I was overwhelmed at first and then a sense of fulfillment,” he said. “It was a nice feeling to know that I
had so much support in winning this award and people believing in Skills Canada as much as I do.”

He has been a volunteer with Skills Canada since 2019, helping with competitions provincially and
nationally as a coach for the IT Network Systems Administration competitions as well as many other

“It means a sense of accomplishment and a demonstration of my passion for Skills Canada,” he said.
“I’m very passionate about Skills Canada, their vision, and values.”

Originally from Bishop’s Falls, Pelley enjoys meeting new people through his volunteer work.

“I get to work with people from across Canada that I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to work with,”
he added. “That to me is one of the best-selling points to get involved. It gives you the chance to work
with others and make contacts. You also get to work with other experts in the field from across Canada.
That’s neat!”

When he is not busy with Skills Canada, he also volunteers with Canada Games and speaks about IT in

“I have been visiting Grade 6 and 7 classes at the local schools to present on the IT trade and hopefully
they gain interest in it,” he noted.

Enthusiasm is contagious

Pelley reveals that his enthusiasm has come to dominate most of his conversations.

“I think people are tired of me talking about Skills Canada,” he joked. “When I chat with people, I always
find some way to bring up Skills Canada and I’ll try to relate the two subjects. So, for example if
someone says I went to Winnipeg last year for work, I’ll make sure to bring up that Skills Canada was
there in 2023 and how Skills Canada works.”

His most recent award is named in memory of John Oates, who passed away in 2021. He was a longtime CNA employee — nearly 40 years as educator and administrator.

Oates was a huge advocate of youth in skilled trades and a supporter of Skills Canada’s work. Oates
volunteered with the organization for many years, served as president both provincially and nationally,
and joined the World Skills International Board in 2020 to share his expertise.

Pelley whole heartedly endorses becoming involved with the organization.

“Skills Canada is a non-profit organization with the vision of promoting skilled careers in the trades and
technologies to youth,” he said. “It is a fantastic organization and I highly encourage anyone who has the
time to volunteer with Skills Canada to get involved.”

For more information about SCNL, visit Skills Canada Newfoundland & Labrador (

For more information about IT programs at CNA, visit College of the North Atlantic – School of Business
and Information Technology (

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Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.


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