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Skills Canada National Competition: Celebrating Our Best and Brightest

This year’s Skills Canada National Competition was held at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from May 31 to June 3.

For the collision repair industry, the two categories represented are Auto Body Repair and Car Painting. In the Auto Body Repair category, this year’s winners were (Post Secondary) Ontario’s Colin Bailey (Gold), New Brunswick’s Marc-Andre Benoit (Silver) and B.C’s Andreas Roth (Bronze). Secondary national winners were Qubec’s Gabriel Richer-Guinard (Gold), Manitoba’s Martin Krutsch (Silver) and B.C.’s Dan Danley (Bronze).

In the Car Painting category, the Post Secondary winners were New Brunswick’s Jaycobb Hooper (Gold), Alberta’s Jarred Upshaw (Silver) and Ontario’s Catherine Mathewson (Bronze). Secondary winners were Ontario’s Matthew Norris (Gold), Quebec’s Miriam Bisson (Silver) and Alberta’s Christopher Pittman (Bronze).

Collision Management attended this year’s National Skills competition and had a chance to interview some of the competitors. Here’s what they had to say:

Jaycobb Hooper, Post Secondary Gold Medalist, Car Painting and student apprentice, CARSTAR St. Steven, N.B.

“This is such a cool opportunity to have a chance to compete against the best competitors from across Canada. It’s also really nice to see what’s new in the trade and work with industry experts. This event was really well organized and as a competitor it was a great experience. I think participating in Skills Canada events has really helped me in my career and I am glad I had a chance to be here. I also appreciated my employer Ron Alberts from CARSTAR St. Steven, supporting my participation, and it was really nice that he travelled to Winnipeg with me and supported me onsite during the event.”

Nicole Hamilton, Post-Secondary Finalist, Car Painting, Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus, N.S.

“Being involved with Skills Canada competitions has helped me a lot. It has given me more confidence in my own abilities. I have met new people from across Canada who have provided a lot of insight into the trade. I really believe that this has helped me to further my career, and improved my skills. It’s because of Skills Canada competitions that I got my job at CSN – Keizers about a year ago. Dale [Keizer] heard about me from one of the event judges, and offered me a position. They also sponsored me to attend this event, which I really appreciated! “

“If I was giving advice to a future competitor, I would tell them to ask the judges for feedback on your projects. They are industry experts and always have a tip to share that helps you improve. Personally, I think you can always get better and improve your skills, if you are willing to put the work in and ask for feedback.”

Robert Hulan, Post-Secondary Finalist, Auto Body Repair, collision repair technician, Collision Clinic, St. John’s Nfld.

“I have been following Skills Canada for many years and I am very happy to have the chance to compete. One of the highlights was that I got to try out the new Lincoln welders. I have never had the chance to use them before.

I think this is a great competition and would like to see the younger apprentices have a chance to compete”

“I am really happy working for my employer, Collision Clinic. They treat me very well and the shop is very innovative, always getting new tools and equipment. They provide me with opportunities for training so I can stay up to date. I love cars and I love this trade”

 Caroline McKervey, Post-Secondary Finalist, Autobody Repair, SAIT, Calgary, Alta.

“Returning to the Skills Canada competitions has been really helpful to my career. It allows me to measure my skills against my peers, and even more importantly, I can measure my own progress and skills development based on my performance in the event.”

I remember my first competition. I was totally overwhelmed. But each year I improved. I am really grateful to my instructors at SAIT who supported me by providing extra time for training.

The biggest benefits I think that Skills Canada competitions provide young people, is to learn respect for others in the industry, to connect with peers and learn from them, and to develop time management and organizational skills which are essential to winning a competition.”

Matteo Medoro, Secondary Finalist, Autobody Repair, St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, Edmonton, Alta.

“I think the Skills Canada competitions are a great experience. I have had a chance to meet people from all across Canada. I have also had the chance to work on equipment I have never even seen before, which is pretty exciting. I am going back home with new skills and knowledge that I would not have gained without participating. Mr. Stephan Liessi is a great teacher and I really appreciate everything he has put into teaching me, and for all of the support to help get me to nationals. I have always loved muscle cars and trucks, and working in this trade is where I want to be.”

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