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High school trades workers compete at Westview Secondary

Students from Maple Ridge and Port Moody took part in auto service and cabinet making contests

A selection of the handiest local students took part in the Skills Canada BC regional competition at Westview Secondary Friday.

Contestants competed in one of two disciplines: auto service or cabinet making.

Greg Erho, instructor for BCIT School of Transportation at Westview was overseeing the six students taking part in the auto competition.

“It’s a ton of work but it’s nice to see the students enjoy it,” he said.

“It challenges them, and all the stuff they’ve been learning since September they’re putting into practice.”

Stations for electrical tests, brake inspection, compressing testing, and valve adjustment were set up in the school’s auto department. The competitors – who were being timed – had inspectors on hand to ensure they were following correct protocol.

‘They’re forced to read the information, interpret it and then put [their knowledge] into action,” said Erho.

Two rooms over, Andy Strothotte, a wood working teacher at Westview, kept an eye on the six competitors in the cabinet making contest.

Tasked with assembling a tool caddy with a sliding drawer in the base, the students – who were from Westview, Samuel Robertson Technical and Port Moody Secondary – had to follow the schematics carefully.

“Judging will be on the project overall,” Strothotte said.

“How complete it is, the level of quality to their finish, if it matches what the drawing says.

“Anyone who made a mistake and needs another piece of material will be deducted marks and same goes for any safety infractions we see around.”

Emily Hamilton, a student from Samuel Robertson Technical, took a quick break from her project to chat.

“This tool box that we’re making is definitely more pieces than the project we had last year but it’s quite straightforward,” she said of the project, adding the competition is quite fun and challenging.

“It actually makes you think about what you’re doing more. You have to think for yourself instead of double guessing and asking your teacher.

You definitely find out what you’re capable of.”

READ MORE: Maple Ridge students show off woodworking, automotive skills

Those who fared the best will get a chance to face-off against the top high school trades-workers from across the province, and a strong performance there could see them competing in the nationals close to home.

“The nice thing is the nationals are in Vancouver this year,” Strothotte said.

“About once every ten to fifteen years they happen to be in Vancouver and they are taking place at the end of May at the BTC downtown.”

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