Medalists at the Nova Scotia Car Painting competition. From left: Alyse Nauss (bronze), Nicole Hamilton (silver) and Steve Bellefontaine (gold).

By Barett Poley

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia -- April 18, 2017 -- Nova Scotia recently held its annual Skills Competition, drawing together students from across the province to go head-to-head. Steve Bellefontaine took the gold medal in the Car Painting competition, narrowly edging out competitors Nicole Hamilton (silver) and Alyse Nauss (bronze). This year’s competition took place at Nova Scotia Community College’s Waterfront Campus.

The Car Painting competition sets each student up with all of the tools required to buff out a scratch and subsequently refinish a body panel. The purpose of the competition, according to Skills Nova Scotia, was “To assess contestant’s skills in performing various refinishing tasks in a safe and professional manner to industry standards.” Professionalism is key for these competitions, as students are expected to demonstrate the same care and attention they would when working on a customer’s vehicle.

Competitors were judged based on attention to safety, featheredging procedures, accuracy of colour matching and blending procedures, clear coat application, denibbing and scratch removal and last but not least, the quality of their buffing and polishing.

Aaron Hebb sits on the Board of Directors for Skills Nova Scotia and was one of the judges for the Car Painting competition. There’s no question that Hebb is qualified for the role. He was a competitor himself at one point, and even represented Canada at a WorldSkills event. Hebb now gives back to the competition by volunteering.

Volunteers are critical to ensure these competitions succeed. This year, Nova Scotia was unable to hold an Autobody Repair competition due to a lack of competitors. Now would be a perfect time to speak at your local school about careers in the bodyshop industry, or even to volunteer to serve as a judge at the next Skills Competition.

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