From Regionals to Internationals: Jenica Branscombe Explains How Skills Canada Competitions Shaped Her Career

Skills/Compétences Canada spoke with Jenica Branscombe, WorldSkills Team Canada 2011 competitor in Beauty Therapy, about her professional journey.

Jenica Branscombe’s journey into the skilled trades began in high school when one of her teachers asked if she would be interested in participating in a Skills Competition. The question surprised Jenica as she considered herself to be one of the worst in her class. However, after giving it some thought, she competed in Beauty Therapy at regionals, which led to provincials, followed by the Skills Canada National Competition. After having earned a spot on WorldSkills Team Canada 2011, Jenica competed internationally at WorldSkills London, 2011.

Reflecting on her Skills Canada experience, Jenica credits WorldSkills Team Canada 2009 Beauty Therapy competitor Isabelle Collin for her success. Isabelle gave a presentation at Jenica’s school about her experience competing at WorldSkills Calgary 2009. Although competing was outside Jenica’s comfort zone, Isabelle’s story motivated and inspired her enough to participate in a Skills Canada Competition. Isabelle took Jenica under her wing and worked with her to help her fully realize her potential. Jenica has acknowledged that she could not have gone as far as she did without Isabelle’s support. All of Jenica’s training and hard work resulted in a silver medal win in Beauty Therapy on the international stage at WorldSkills London 2011.

Participating in Skills Canada and WorldSkills Competitions has allowed Jenica to develop her personal goals and passions, and it’s lead to several professional opportunities, including representing Canada at a WorldSkills Youth Forum in Jeju, South Korea. She has spoken about her incredible experiences at Skills events, and she recently judged the Beauty Therapy contest at a provincial Skills Competition. The opportunity Jenica cherishes most was representing the Americas for the WorldSkills Champions Trust. This program was developed by WorldSkills staff to create ongoing opportunities for medal Champions to remain engaged beyond the Competition. Being a part of the Champions Trust made Jenica feel like she was a part of something bigger than herself while allowing her to stay involved with WorldSkills programs and alumnus.

Jenica is currently employed as a lash and nail technician, is a product distributor for nail enhancements and is following her passion. Although she is proud of her career and many professional accomplishments, she says her biggest job is “being a mom to two precious little rascals”. Her advice to youth when choosing a career path is to take the time to reflect about what makes you happy and what you are passionate about. Jenica believes that progress has been made in reducing the stigma associated with pursuing a vocational education, however there is still work to be done. Jenica encourages others to explore their options before they make important career decisions, and to always follow their heart. “When you love what you do, it is no longer a job,” said Jenica.