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Monday, 20 February 2017 08:00

Southern Albertans prepare for WorldSkills with Trials

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Tanner Tendler of Medicine Hat works on a piece of heavy machinery as part of the trials for the WorldSkills competition. He will represent Canada at the event in October in Abu Dhabi. Tanner Tendler of Medicine Hat works on a piece of heavy machinery as part of the trials for the WorldSkills competition. He will represent Canada at the event in October in Abu Dhabi. Photo by Rose Sanchez

It was yet another step forward for two southern Alberta journeyman competing in WorldSkills competition later this year, as they each completed a four-day WorldSkills Canadian Trial Feb. 11-14 at Medicine Hat College.


Justin Fisher, from Picture Butte, and Tanner Tendler, who lives in Medicine Hat, but is originally from southeast Saskatchewan, will represent Canada at the WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi this fall. They each earned a place on Team Canada when they medalled at the national SkillsCanada competition last summer.
Since that time, each has been doing extra work to prepare for their respective competitions.
Fisher will compete in plumbing and Tendler in heavy equipment service.
Tendler, who works at Kel-Can Mechanical in Medicine Hat, is now a journeyman heavy equipment technician. When he competed in the national competition he was an apprentice.
He has been preparing for the intense international competition — dubbed the Olympics for those involved in the trades — since qualifying last summer.
“It’s been nerve wracking preparing for the trials,” says Tendler, who was at the Medicine Hat College every day for two weeks prior to the trials.
His trainer is Keon Clift, a heavy equipment instructor at MHC. Clift has been guiding Tendler through the process of preparing for international competition.
Last fall in November, the pair travelled to Sweden to take part in the EuroSkills competition.
Tendler says it was a way for him to push himself out of his comfort zone and see how competing on the world stage is going to feel. Competing at the national SkillsCanada event was a first for Tendler so the more exposure with competition he can get, the better.
Heavy duty mechanics have to complete seven tasks as part of the WorldSkills competition. The trials are set up as close to what the actual competition may look like as possible, so officials with SkillsCanada know competitors are prepared.
Just some of the areas Tendler had to work on included modules covering electrical, hydraulics, steering and brakes, engine management and a precision measuring project.
For Tendler, one of his favourite areas of his chosen career path is the fact he is learning something new every day.
“You never get the same scenario over and over again,” he adds. “You get different equipment to work on and faults.”
Fisher also had to undertake numerous modules over the four-day trials event. His first day was spent planning on paper his plumbing project based on a drawing showing the various points that have to be included. He had to create the list of materials and he better be close in his estimates, or else he’ll have to adjust the project to complete it and possibly lose points.
Each day of competition was long with almost eight hours of work involved as Fisher worked on the drainage and then added the copper water lines.
Fisher also will get more training when he travels to Hong Kong in June to compete in an international competition.
Not new to the SkillsCanada competition, Fisher took part in Nationals once before, but has only qualified for Worlds this time around.
“Everyday work is pretty much training,” he says, about his job as a journeyman plumber. “Some of the skills you don’t really use that much at work, so I have come up to (Medicine) Hat to get some training.”
He worked hard to achieve his goal of medalling nationally so he could have a shot at Worlds. While some of his training with his instructor, MHC’s Scott Stickel, has been in person, a lot has been done over the phone or using other technology.
Employed in the family business, Simpson Plumbing based in Lethbridge, Fisher went into the trade for that reason.
“Mostly just to continue the family tradition,” he says about pursing a career in plumbing. “Everyone in the family is a plumber on one side, and I really just enjoy it.”
He attended his schooling at Medicine Hat College, just like the rest of the family.
Fisher likes the variation he gets in his work and that he can do a little bit of everything including commercial and industrial.
WorldSkills is the largest international trade and technology competition. It takes place Oct. 14-19 in Abu Dhabi this year. More information about SkillsCanada is available on the website at: https://skillscompetencescanada.com/en/ or SkillsCanada Alberta is: http://www.skills alberta.com/.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor