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Sardis student wins provincial welding title

Connor Crevier is the best in B.C. and now sets his sights on a national championship
This boat is a mock up of the project Connor Crevier will be attempting at nationals, though up to 20 per cent of the blueprint he’s given may be changed in various ways. (Chelsey Fulford photo)

A Chilliwack teenager is a provincial champion in an unusual discipline.

Not football or hockey, basketball or volleyball. Connor Crevier captured his title for welding.

“I was happy I won,” he said. “I worked hard and put my all into the project.”

Before provincials, the soon-to-be Sardis Secondary grad had to win a regional event. Regional, provincial and national competitions are usually six hours long. Students are given a blueprint and a pre-cut metal parts. They are expected to read and interpret blueprints, and correctly lay out and fabricate the project. After that, they need to interpret the welding symbols off their blueprint, and make the properly sized welds in the correct locations on the projects.

Points are given for a variety of things such as correct weld placement and weld size, and proper welding process. Points are deducted for any defects and projects are also judged on things such as accurate layout and correct fabrication, as well as safe work practices.

“The experience was good,” Crevier said. “I’ve learned a lot and have gotten a lot of extra experience. I have gotten lots of extra time to perfect my welding and my ability to read and understand blueprints.”

Crevier is now hunting an even bigger prize.

Nationals are on May 19 (after Progress press deadlines) and represent a step up in competition for Crevier. The event is being held virtually due to COVID. Students compete on the same day and time as each other, but they do so at their home schools. They are videoed and livestreamed as they weld, with pictures of their progress taken and uploaded throughout the day.

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Crevier will be doing his welding at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).

“This year’s project is extremely complex and will require an exponential amount of skill to successfully interpret, fabricate and weld,” said Chelsey Fulford, a welding instructor at UFV. “It is a small version of the B.C. Ferries’ Salish Raven. Connor is being coached by UFV welding instructor Matt Olafson and myself.”

Crevier has learned his skills through the ‘Train in Trades: Welding’ program at Sardis.

It’s a partnership between UFV, Chilliwack School District 33, the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

The program allows Crevier to leave high school with half of his ‘Welding Foundation’ already done, under the supervision of Sardis instructor Darren Purych. After graduating he moves over to UFV full time to do the other half.

“The Welding Foundation program tuition is paid for by the Chilliwack school district, so other than paying for the cost of their textbooks and a few UFV student fees, Train in Trades: Welding students finish the course basically debt-free, and also usually receive some trades related grants,” said Fulford, who is a graduate of the program.

Fulford said the employment rate for students completing Welding Foundation programs is high, estimating 95 per cent of students find full time employment within a week or two of finishing their courses.

The competitions are a fun sidebar to the program, and there’s actually another level Crevier can aspire to reach.

“I’m hoping I do well so I get to move onto the worlds competition,” he said.

If not, he’ll still be leaving Sardis with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

“I feel the Train in Trades: Welding program has taught me a lot and I will take the knowledge I have gained into my future workplace,” he said. “I want to thank all my teachers for all the extra time they have put into helping me get this far in the competition, and I want to thank Sardis Secondary and UFV for having this welding program.”

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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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