Toronto, Ontario -- June 12, 2019 -- Keegan Watkins - McIntyre, Crocus Plains Secondary School Student and AutoBody Repair whiz, struck gold at SkillsCanada competition this year in Halifax, winning first place in auto body repair and representing the province of Manitoba.
Growing up around stock cars at home, Watkins - McIntyre knew he was interested in collision repair, but it wasn’t until he entered high school that he knew he wanted to pursue it as more than just a hobby.
“When I was in Grade 9, Crocus [Secondary School] had an open house to showcase what all the different trades were and I tried auto tech, autobody, and welding and I really enjoyed all of them,” Watkins-McIntyre told Bodyworx.
Watkins-McIntyre took his passion to practice when he competed in the ManitobaSkills competition earlier this year. After an impressive win, placing first in AutoBody Repair, his talent took him to SkillsCanada Halifax where he competed against other students across the country for the gold.
But he couldn’t have done it with pure luck alone. Watkins - McIntyre trained for weeks in advance to prepare himself for the big competition.
“After I won SkillsManitoba I knew that I had to practice for SkillsCanada. I did as much practice as I could and I would stay late with my teacher and come in after hours.” said Watkins- MacIntyre. “[My teachers] both spoke with some people to get me prepared for the competition and obviously it helped as I got the gold medal”.
Watkins-McIntyre also accredits a lot of his big win to the resources given to him to help practice.
“My teachers Carl DeCosse and Greg Oliver have taught me everything about autobody as they have been my teachers for the last four years and they have helped me get to where I am today.” said Watkins - McIntryre.
“They helped me get the proper tools and practice pieces for SkillsCanada. They also took me to the local auto wrecker Westman Salvage and donated a car so I could practice my quarter panel for SkillsCanada.”
When Watkins-McIntyre isn’t practicing for his next competition, he works on project cars at home as a hobby.
“I enjoy working on cars and I have a lot of projects on the go that I have been working on. I took one to school and finished it before I went off to SkillsCanada”.
When it comes to future competition plans, Watkins-McIntyre hopes to one day represent Canada at the bi-annual WorldSkills competition.
“This year is not a qualifying year for WorldSkills but next year is,” Watkins-McIntyre told Bodyworx. “So if I do get to compete in SkillsManitoba and then win, and move onto SkillsCanada again, I would really enjoy representing Canada at WorldSkills in the future.”
For more information on SkillsCanada, please visit skillscompetencescanada.com