CALGARY -- Some high school carpentry students in Alberta began building what's described as a jewelry box on Tuesday as part of a regional Skills Canada competition, which is being held virtually this year.

The finished pieces will be judged by instructors and industry professionals.

"So to them it's just a huge validation of their skills," said Victoria Anderson, communications coordinator with Skills Alberta. "It just pushes them to pursue their passion even more than they already were so it's a huge deal for them."

The Skills Alberta Regional Competition runs from March 2-18. The program started in 1992 and has run every year, except in 2020 when it managed to get underway but was halted by the pandemic.

Skills Alberta is a not-for-profit provincial association that partners with the Government of Alberta, Government of Canada, industry, labour and education groups to inspire, develop and elevate Alberta’s skilled youth.

Each year the event brings together approximately 700 young people from across the province to compete in 45 trade and technology areas.

The competition provides an opportunity for young Albertans studying a skilled trade or technology to be tested against exacting standards and against their peers.

Students vie to win the honour of being crowned best in province in their chosen discipline and for the opportunity to join Team Alberta for the Skills Canada National Competition.

"If they make it onto team Alberta they're being told they're the best cabinet maker, chef, automobile technologist of their age group in the province," said Anderson.

"Then if they win a gold metal at nationals they're being told they are the top cabinet making student in the entire country."

This is the first year Notre Dame High School student Devon Zuchotzki is taking part. The 18-year-old is one of three competing at his school.

"I'm very excited, I trained a few weeks for this and I feel I'm ready and excited for the competition," said Zuchotzki. "It feels nice to build something with my hands and see the finished product after I've worked hours to finish it."

Zuchotzki thinks he might pursue a career in cabinetry making and that's just what Ivan Mazuryk likes to hear. He's Zuchotzki's carpentry teacher.

Mazuryk says it was a challenge figuring out how to host the Skills event this year virtually but he's glad it's going ahead because it's important to the students.

"One of the main focuses is the hand cut dovetail which takes an immense amount of skill and patients and they have to work at it," said Mazuryk.

"We're here available here for questions, they're all supervised, but we don't walk around filming them the whole time."

Learn more about the event online.