Region hosts first sheet metal apprentice contest in a decade

After a decade away, Midwest states participated in the first Great Plains Apprentice Contest Feb. 21 and 22 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Twenty-eight sheet metal apprentices from six states and 10 locals participated in the competition, which tested students on their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) knowledge for second-year apprentices; industrial and welding for third-year apprentices and architectural for fourth-year apprentices. All participants completed a four-hour shop project, three-hour drafting project and a two-hour test developed by the International Training Institute (ITI) for each discipline.

“We tried to marry the concepts — testing by skill and year level,” said Jason Ferguson, training coordinator for Local 2 and host of the competition. “For the first time having a contest in 10 years, it went very well. We were pleased with how many locals showed up to compete and the whole process.”

Those who placed at the Great Plains Apprentice Contest include, in the HVAC/second-year category, Jordan Fewins, first place, Local 2 Kansas City; Joe Peterson, second place, Local 45; and Mark Paul, third place, Local 263. In the industrial/welding/third-year category, Chad Treml, Local 2 Kansas City, placed first with Matt Konecek, Local 268, in second place and Ronald Badua, Local 2 St. Joseph, in third place. In the architectural/fourth-year category, Sara Jakubowski, Local 2 Kansas City, placed first with Jake Gentry, Local 2 St. Joseph, in second place and Jacob Holland, Local 45, in third.

Badua is a first-year apprentice who stepped into the spot when the original participant journeyed out before the competition. Jakubowski, one of Ferguson’s apprentices, excels in HVAC and the Trimble station in her day-to-day job, but she earned her first-place seat in architectural, Ferguson said.

“We put a lot of value in the training we give our apprentices, and it’s nice to see it represented,” Ferguson said. “It was nice to see them do well.”

As with many contests, it’s not about the competition, even though that is what brings everyone together.

“It’s stressful competing, but it’s really about the people you meet at those events,” Ferguson said. “It’s a great way to get that bond and camaraderie between locals.”

More than 14,000 apprentices are registered at over 150 training facilities across the United States and Canada. The ITI is jointly sponsored by SMART, the International Association of Sheet Metal Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (formerly the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).

ITI supports apprenticeship and advanced career training for union workers in the sheet metal heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), welding and industrial, architectural and ornamental, and service and testing, adjusting and balancing industry throughout the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, the ITI develops and produces a standardized sheet metal curriculum supported by a wide variety of training materials free of charge to sheet metal apprentices and journeymen.

For more information about ITI and its available training curriculum for members covering sheet metal trade work, visit their website or call 703-739-7200.

Originally posted on Eye on Sheet Metal.