Skills Compétences Canada welcomes Cenovus Energy as Presenting Sponsor of the 2012 Skills Canada National Competition

OTTAWA, Jan. 17, 2012 /CNW/ – Skills/Compétences Canada, a not-for-profit organization that actively promotes careers in skilled trades and technologies, today announced that it has signed Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX: CVE) (NYSE: CVE) as Presenting Sponsor of the 2012 Skills Canada National Competition to be held in Edmonton in May. This sponsorship compliments Cenovus’s “Skills Champion” sponsorship with Skills Canada Alberta and recognizes the importance of developing Canada’s skilled trades workforce to meet evolving industry needs.

Industries that depend on skilled trade workers are key drivers of the Canadian economy and contribute more than 50% of Canada’s GDP – or about $550 billion. According to the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada, the oil and gas sector faces a skilled labour shortfall estimated at 130,300 positions by 2020. The Council forecasts that Canada’s unemployment rate is projected to drop to 6% by 2013 and to below 5% by 2020, creating significant competition – and opportunity – for skilled trade workers.

In creating a coordinated approach to filling the skilled trades gap in Canada, Skills Canada offers programs annually to bring the skilled trades into the spotlight and entice young people to consider these professions as first choice career options. This sponsorship will provide more resources and tools that will enhance the event experience for the thousands of young spectators that will visit the Skills Canada National Competition.

“The success of our programs is closely tied to support from industry partners like Cenovus, which understand that Canada is facing a critical shift in supply and demand for skilled trade workers,” says Shaun Thorson, CEO of Skills Canada. “We look forward to working with Cenovus in our efforts to educate and provide young people with valuable career skills that will help serve the needs of industry for generations to come.”

The 2012 Skills Canada National Competition takes place May 13-16, 2012 in Edmonton, Alberta. The event brings more than 500 competitors representing over 40 trades from all provinces and territories to compete in Canada’s only national, Olympic-style, multi-trade and technology event of its kind for young skilled trade and technology students and apprentices.

“We realize the important contribution skilled trade and technology workers make to our industry,” says John Brannan, Cenovus Executive Vice-President & Chief Operating Officer. “That is one of the reasons we are pleased to be the presenting sponsor of the National Skills Competition. This event will provide an excellent stage to promote trade and technology careers as a viable and rewarding career option for young people today.”

The Competition provides an opportunity for students to be tested not only against industry standards, but against their peers from across the nation in their chosen discipline. The event attracts school groups and young career-seekers who can take part in interactive Try-a-Trade® demonstrations, as well as employers and recruiters, industry associations, labour groups, training institutes and government partners. For more information, visit the Skills Canada National Competition Website at www.skillscanada.com.

About Cenovus Energy
Cenovus Energy Inc. is a Canadian integrated oil company. It is committed to applying fresh, progressive thinking to safely and responsibly unlock energy resources the world needs. Operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta, which use specialized methods to drill and pump the oil to the surface, and established natural gas and oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The company also has 50% ownership in two U.S. refineries. For more information, visit www.cenovus.com.

About Skills/Compétences Canada
Skills/Compétences Canada was founded in 1989 as a national, not-for-profit organization that works with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trades and technology careers among Canadian youth. Its unique position among private and public sector partners enables it to work toward securing Canada’s future skilled labour needs while helping young people discover rewarding careers. Skills/Compétences Canada offers experiential learning opportunities including skilled trades and technology competitions for hundreds of thousands of young Canadians through regional, provincial/territorial, national and international events, as well as skilled trades awareness programs. Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Skills/Compétences Canada is the Canadian Member organization of WorldSkills International. For more information about Skills/Compétences Canada visit www.skillscanada.com or call 877-754-5226.

1 Petroleum Labour Market Information – The Decade Ahead: Labour Market Projections & Analysis for Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry to 2020. Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada 2011.

SOURCE Skills/Competences Canada

For further information:

Media Contact:

Caroline McGrath
CMM Communications Group (for Skills/Competences Canada)
416-972-1642
caroline@cmm-communications.com

Reg Curren
Cenovus Energy
Advisor, Media Relations
403-766-2004
reg.curren@cenovus.com