A talented young welder from Lambton County is headed to the Provincial Skills Competition next month in Toronto.
Chase Powers, a Grade 12 student at Alexander Mackenzie Secondary School (AMSS), earned his ticket to the event after winning gold at the Western Area Qualifying Competition at Fanshawe College earlier this month.
“I was a little surprised because, in my opinion, the welds weren’t all that great,” said the modest teen, who competed against students from multiple school boards.
Skills Ontario holds qualifying competitions in welding carpentry, culinary arts, and TV/video production — the provincial and national competitions showcase the best skilled trade and technology students in a series of competitions and challenges.
Powers will join the province’s best high school welders in Toronto May 1-2, to be tested on MIG and stick welding techniques. He’s being sponsored by Local 663 U.A., Ty Moore Welding and the Twin Creeks Shooting Preserve, which his family runs.
The top three will advance to the Skills Canada contest in Winnipeg in June.
“I’ve always just been fixing and patching machinery on the farm,” said Powers, who lives near Alvinston. “I just enjoy fixing, building and seeing what I’ve made and what it becomes.”
Powers was inspired by neighbour and fellow AMSS graduate and welder Cam Ostrander, a silver medalist at the Skills Canada National Competition in 2018.
Both were mentored by longtime welding teacher and Local 663 member John Dunseith.
“I think we’re going to to do quite well in Toronto,” he said, pointing to Powers’ talents, including the ability to read plans and interpret welding symbols.
“It’s very challenging… there would be very few welders in our organization who could compete with these high school kids.”