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Apprentices hammer it out at Quebec City contest

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At the Canadian National Carpentry, Drywall and Millwright Apprenticeship Contest in Quebec City, participants had to complete written test and build a structure in 7.5 hours.

Apprentices from across Canada recently put their skills to the test at the 18th annual Canadian National Carpentry, Drywall and Millwright Apprenticeship Contest in Quebec City.

In order to garnish their résumé apprentices competed in what is considered by the competitors as a valuable recognition in the industry. Provincial local unions chose most participants, while others sent open invitations to their members. But most provinces, like Ontario, held provincial contests to determine who would compete in the 2011 National edition held inside the Saint-Louis gates of old Quebec on Aug. 27.

“I’m proud to be here and represent my province in interior systems’’ said Evan Connors of Newfoundland. And so is Dan Lever of Halifax. “It’s such a fun experience. I was chosen by my union, which makes it even more motivating for me.”

The national competition was divided in two parts: a written exam and the construction of a structure amid a time constraint of 7.5 hours. Whoever had the highest sum of correct answers and effectively respected the plans and specifications won in the respective category of drywall, carpentry and millwright.

Ontario previously held a competition to determine who would be heading on to this past weekend’s national contest. Quebec, on the other hand, sent out an open invitation to its members. Patrick Begin of Montreal responded to the invitation.

“It’s definitely a personal challenge for me,” he said with conviction and a wounded left hand. “And it’s also the best way to put my knowledge to the test”. Patrick came third in the drywall trade category.

Joshua Mynttinen, Carpenters Union Provincial Apprenticeship Contest winner from Toronto, representing Local 27, earned national honours in carpentry. His father Juha, along with fellow journeyman supporter Jason Taylor, cheered him on with more on their minds than pride.

“We have a long family history in Local 27. I’m proud to see my son represent what my father and I have both been a part of,” continues Juha Mynttinen. “And the world needs more tradespeople — they’ve got heart.”

Denis Fortin couldn’t agree more. “It’s all about the brotherhood; that’s what the core of the competition comes down to,” says Fortin, Quebec’s local 160 members’ representative. “Yes, it’s a competition, but the guys fraternize and share tips of the trade”, emphasizes Fortin. “You don’t see that very often in a competitive environment.”

Rejean Chalifoux, organizer of Quebec’s edition of national contest says it’s not just about the brotherhood, but geared towards the uniformity of the skills across the country.

“The work methods are standardized from province to province and there’s a national committee responsible for organizing the plans and exams that these participants take part in. It’s definitely one of the best ways to ensure the working methods are the same.”

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