Lewis Sheet Metal fourth-year apprentice Ryan Elder of Sooke works on a binnacle, a housing for a ship’s compass, during the practical portion of the Canadian Sheet Metal and Roofing Competition last week at Ship Point. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

WATCH: Trades workers brought into spotlight at Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Sheet metal, roofing apprentices compete for national bragging rights

Curious tourists and other passersby caught a glimpse of some of Canada’s veteran tradespeople of tomorrow in action this week at Ship Point in Victoria.

As part of the two-day 43rd annual Canadian Sheet Metal and Roofing Apprentice Competition, host Local 276 of the Vancouver Island Sheet Metal Workers’ and Roofers’ union created a pop-up shop under a tent at the busy Inner Harbour site.

Fourth-year apprentice tradespeople from across the country, including Sooke-based Ryan Elder with Lewis Sheet Metal and Courtenay’s Bruce Sheltgen of Nelson Roofing, put their practical skills to the test in this public venue Thursday (sheet metal) and Friday (roofing). The 19 competitors were engaged in theory tests off site on the alternate day, with the winners in both categories announced Saturday night at the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa.

Rick Carter, apprentice training co-ordinator with Local 276, said the idea of bringing the competition to the Inner Harbour was to give more public exposure to the craft and add an element of fun to the proceedings.

The metal workers were given eight hours to complete a binnacle – a housing for a compass that is installed on a ship’s bridge – while the roofers were creating a scaled-down version of a roof, complete with various metal elements.

“Most of them have already completed their fourth year, so some of them may still need some technical training – hours put in the workforce,” Carter said.

“They’re basically all going to be Red Seal journeymen probably within the year, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Sheltgen won the roofing division title, followed in order by Ontario competitors Justin MacKinnon and James Dean.

Edmonton’s Sam Townshend captured the sheet metal top prize, followed by Ontarians Derek Sabbe of Windsor, Matt heyman of Kingston and Chris Muha of Hamilton.

The competition was held in conjunction with the annual convention of the Canadian Council of Sheet Metal Workers’ and Roofers’ at the Delta Ocean Pointe. Discussions between union representatives included the labour market, ideas for improvements in the industry and challenges in the various markets across Canada.

Premier John Horgan addressed the delegates and competitors Friday afternoon and was presented with a finished binnacle.

editor@vicnews.com

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A completed binnacle, a housing for a ship’s compass, sits on display as apprentices from across Canada work on their own versions nearby, during the practical portion of the Canadian Sheet Metal and Roofing Competition at Ship Point. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

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