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Albertan All-stars: Winners announced for Skills Alberta provincial competition

Edmonton, Alberta — “Another successful Skills Alberta event in the books!” Cecile Bukmeier, chair of the autobody program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), declared over LinkedIn, following the closing of the provincial skills competition in Edmonton on Thursday.

Alberta’s aspiring young tradespeople, including a number of students representing the autobody repair and car painting fields, converged on the Edmonton Expo Centre on Wednesday and Thursday last week in a crucible for skills supremacy in the province.

Breena Massey and Karson Stewart, both of Central Memorial High School in Calgary, finished in first and second place respectively in the secondary school category of the autobody repair competition.

Logan Gratten and Tristan Hodinsky, both of NAIT, represented the sole pair of post-secondary autobody students who competed at this year’s provincial competition, and therefore came away with first and second place respectively.

Looking toward the aftermarket industry’s future painters, Harleigh Russell of Central Memorial High School and Addy MacDonald of the Career and Technology Centre in Calgary were the top two refinishers among secondary students in Alberta.

Alexander Dickason-leung and Madison Bozarth did NAIT proud in the post-secondary category of car painting, finishing the competition in first and second place respectively.

Collision Repair got a hold of Bukmeier over the phone on Monday, where she spoke to the progress Alberta, and the industry at large, is making in creating space for women in the automotive trades.

“I’ve been involved with Skills Alberta for the past ten years, and as I have been looking through photos, you can see each year there are more and more women competing in the trades, which is fantastic,” she said.

“The competitors are seeing it being normalized more and more. And the women coming in, they think it’s awesome. They’re like, ‘Oh wow, there is actually quite a few women here.'”

This year, more than half of the competitors in the collision repair trades were women.

Stefano Liessi of Canadian Collision Specialist, and frequent Collision Repair contributor, also offered his thoughts on how this year’s provincial competition unfolded.

“There were a couple youngsters that were in Grade 11—and one in Grade 10, actually—who performed quite well. I was impressed with what they could do at that age,” he said.

“Their quick adaptation to aluminum welding was quite remarkable, and that is something even seasoned technicians struggle with…if [collision managers] pick up these youngsters and bring them into the trade and nurture them, we are going to get some pretty exceptional repair technicians out there.”

Results from this year’s Skills Alberta provincial competition, broken down by category and age group, can be found here.

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