An Okanagan College-trained carpenter has been recognized as one of the best in the country, at Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC).
Lukas Pfob, a Level 4 Carpenter apprentice, brought home the Silver medal in the Carpentry competition at SCNC, in Edmonton on June 4 and 5.
SCNC is the only national, multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in the country. More than 500 competitors from across Canada put their nerve and know-how to the test in more than 40 skilled trade and technology categories.
“The whole experience from start to finish is mind-blowing,” Pfob said. “It’s very much like the Olympics but for trades. Until you’ve seen it, you really can’t appreciate how hard the competitors work. It challenges you in so many ways.”
Last year, Pfob notched a strong showing but fell short of the podium in Winnipeg. He punched his ticket to Edmonton, and another shot at Nationals, with a gold medal-winning performance at the Provincial competition in Abbotsford in April.
Pfob and his competitors had 12 hours over the course of two-days to construct an intricate play house from scratch.The time constraint was nerve-racking, Pfob also had to overcome the challenge of working almost elbow-to-elbow with the competition.
“Looking up and seeing the best apprentices from the other provinces and territories working a few feet away is tough,” Pfob said. “I knew from my experience last year, and from all the work I’ve put in with my instructors that I had to ignore them and stay as focused as I could on the task at hand.”
That focus and the years of preparation at the College and on the jobsite paid off.
“When I found out I came in second, I was ecstatic,” Pfob said. “These truly are some of the best carpenters in Canada, so I take a lot of pride in this showing. I’m very grateful to all my instructors and everyone who has helped me along the way.”
The medal was Pfob’s first at nationals and fifth overall at Skills Canada competitions, including consecutive gold medals at Provincials the past two years.
“We’re immensely proud of Lukas for his achievements at Skills Canada competitions this year and over the years and equally so for the fine example he’s setting for his fellow students and apprentices at the College,” Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s dean of trades and apprenticeship said.
Pfob recently completed his Level 4 apprenticeship at the College. Prior to jetting off to Edmonton, he delivered the student address at the Trades Commencement ceremony at the Kelowna campus last month.
“Every instructor I have had, from high school to 4th year at the College, has pushed me to greater levels of success,” Pfob said. “I hope one day to be able to do the same. I’d love eventually to have the opportunity to teach, to inspire others to push themselves to always keep learning, to take pride in their field and generally just strive to be the best they can be.”
Pfob was joined by two other Okanagan College students at Nationals. Vernon’s Bradley Vanlerberg competed in the Aerospace Technology category and Kelowna’s Conner McLaren competed in the Automotive Service category. All three students won gold at the provincial Skills Canada competition on April 18.
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