Okanagan College student competes in provincial skills competition – Kelowna News
Joey Bruno at work Central Abbotsford Artisan.
Okanagan College student Joey Bruno is preparing to compete in the BC Provincial Skills Competition this month.
Bruno is in his third year as an auto body and body technician in training at Okanagan College, initially inspired by his father to pursue a career in auto body repair after growing up in the automotive world.
“My dad was in the industry for 30 years and I’ve always been around vehicles. The older I got, the more I liked cars,” explains Bruno.
The Kelowna resident calls his decision to attend Okanagan College and train in a state-of-the-art environment “the best decision of his life.”
It didn’t take long for his skills to catch the eye of OC’s auto body repair department, who asked him to represent the school at provincial proficiency later in April.
“He has all the skills and qualities to be successful in competition,” said Andreas Roth, OC Collision Repair Instructor.
“The teachers and instructors are top notch and the OC stores were more up to date with the latest technology than other schools I have visited.”
Bruno will have to perform different types of welds, structural dimension measurements and dent repairs on plastic and aluminum materials. The final component is a structural repair to a specific automotive component such as a fender.
“The competition itself is really tough,” recalls Roth. “You work in a fenced area and people watch you work. It’s almost a spectator sport.
Roth was one of three OC students who competed at the provincial level in 2017, where they took the podium winning gold, silver and bronze. Because Roth had won gold, he qualified for the Skills Canada National Championships where he won a bronze medal.
“The fact that you’re here means you’re already a winner,” Roth says. “But it’s a boost for your career. Employers look at you a little differently, instructors look at you differently, and you look at yourself a little differently too. It’s a feat and it boosts your confidence.
Roth is now training Bruno to prepare for provincial competition.
“We don’t put pressure on competitors because it’s hard enough. We are proud of all of our students. I hope we will have fun and enjoy the experience.
Competition begins April 22 in Vancouver.