Avery Bell and Dustin Cathcart put Quesnel trades on the map last weekend (May 28-29) by earning a pair of gold medal victories at the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC) in Halifax.
Bell, who is a third year apprentice at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), took top prize in the Cabinetmaking category, while Cathcart, who studies at College of New Caledonia (CNC) won the gold in the Industrial Mechanic/ Millright skill area.
Growing up on a ranch in Houston, B.C., Bell says he was always outside and building stuff came to him easily. The young carpenter also likes getting the competitive juices flowing.
“I enjoy competing and the challenge to build something as fast and as well as you can,” he says. “You’re competing against the best people in Canada and everyone is trying their hardest to win, so there is a lot of pressure and your measurements need to be precise.”
Bell also received a second gold medal for the most points received in any competition for team British Columbia.
His current employer, Topnotch Woodworks must be delighted to have him helping out in-house.
Cathcart had to be at his very best to come out on top of his competition.
He was challenged by fabricating a jack shaft base within .0001” tolerance and taking apart, checking, and reassembling a gear box and a centrifugal pump.
“I felt confident with my work and was hoping for the best,” he said. “It was challenging but definitely a great experience. “
CNC Industrial Mechanic/Millwright instructor Sergio Jorquera attended SCNC to support his student. He said there were many challenges throughout the competition but Cathcart’s flexibility to manage change contributed to his win.
“The machinery and circumstances were different from what he was used to,” Jorquera said. “I’m very proud of him.”
Cathcart qualified for the SCNC back in April when he won the Skills Canada BC Industrial Mechanic/Millwright competition in Abbotsford.
More than 550 students and apprentices from across the country competed at SCNC for the title of national champion in 44 skill areas.
“All of us at CNC are incredibly proud of Dustin’s accomplishment,” said CNC Quesnel Regional Principal Tim Lofstrom. “He and his instructor, Sergio, are wonderful ambassadors for the College and the community of Quesnel.”