Thursday, 16 July 2015 08:01

MHC student brings home a national Skills gold medal

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Justin Fisher has done his family, his employer and his post-secondary institution proud after winning the gold medal in plumbing at the the 21st Annual Skills Canada National Competition in Saskatoon in late May.


The fourth-year plumbing apprentice from the Medicine Hat College earned gold which built upon his silver-medal showing in the Alberta Skills competition last year.
The native of Picture Butte says while there is a bit of an adjustment to working around a group of people, he felt no pressure.
“It was just kind of like another day; you don’t change your approach to things,” explains Fisher during a coffee break while at work in Lethbridge.
He adds at the national level, competitors are given a booklet with some of the information they need to do to plan their projects.
“I do a lot of the same things at work or at school and everything is critical.”
He says the competition started at 7 a.m. and ended around 4:30 p.m. The May 27-30 event featured 500 students from across the country competing in 40 disciplines including carpentry, welding and fashion design.
Attending the provincial competition was a big plus.
“That was a huge learning experience for me,” Fisher says. “You become more efficient with your time and you don’t get caught up in everything that is going on around you (during the competition).”
Fisher doesn’t seem like the type of guy who is big into accolades. He just wants to get the job done and done well.
He has been working with the trades and plumbing specifically since he was 13 years old. One would think he has learned all he needs to know while working with Simpson Plumbing in Lethbridge. That’s not the case. That’s why he went to Medicine Hat College to enrol in the plumbing program — not only to gain more knowledge, but to earn his journeyman certificate and learn the latest in the industry.
During his post-secondary stint, he was approached to enter a competition he had never taken part in before.
The only reason he competed in Skills last year was because his college instructors convinced him it was a good idea. Fisher had never competed in a Skills Competition as a high-school student.
“I was hesitant because I was busy at work and just didn’t want to,” explains Fisher. “But, it has been worth it.”
Dennis Beaudoin, co-ordinator with trades and technology was proud of Fisher.
“We had confidence in him; he was selected because of his hand skills and his attention to detail,” says Beaudoin in a College press release. “Every year, all the trades instructors at MHC pick their candidates and help prepare them for competition through one-on-one tutoring. We’ve had some great champions come from the institution, which speaks to the caliber of students we have, the commitment of our trades department and the great pride our instructors take in fostering and developing the skills and knowledge of these students. We are a force to be reckoned with and a leader in trades education.”
Fisher understands the quality of education offered at Medicine Hat College having learned from those close to him.
“My entire family went to Medicine Hat College and frankly for trades, it’s the top institution in Alberta if you ask me,” explains Fisher. “Picking up a university degree never made any sense to me. I make good money in the trades and I enjoy it enough to work with it full-time.”
Plumbing isn’t an easy trade by any means, as Fisher explains plumbers have to understand and know two 200-page code books along with the extra instruction provided by the college’s instructors.
Fisher is grateful for the opportunity now he has done it, in regards to the Skills Competition and wants to compete again for a chance to participate on the world stage.
According to the college, Fisher will be eligible to compete again in 2016 which is a qualifying year for the WorldSkills Competition that is being held in Abu Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“I'll give it another try next year, but if I don’t get there, it’s okay, but I’ll definitely make the effort,” says Fisher.
Asked if he received a lot of accolades at work, he pauses and notes, “I get more harassment than anything.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor