On the Skills Stage: Inside the Skills Ontario provincial competition

Toronto, Ontario — Skills Ontario hosted its annual provincial competition on Monday and Tuesday, where secondary and post-secondary students competed for a chance to be deemed Ontario’s most talented up-and-coming auto body repair or automotive painter. 

The winners will be announced Wednesday morning at the Closing Ceremonies—but Collision Repair mag was there Tuesday to witness all the exciting competition action. 

During the event, car painting contestants could be asked to perform a range of skills from cleaning and prepping panels; mixing and applying coatings; refinishing various substrates; performing minor damage repairs; preparing and refinishing full panels; colouring tint to blendable matches and more. 

Autobody competitors could face tasks like removing damaged panels; measurements; marking cutlines and producing cuts; damage analysis; welding techniques; hammering techniques; installing replacement panels or adjusting equipment settings.  

Several industry representatives were at the competition showing their support. CARSTAR and Fix Network Canada were each there to inform the thousands of attendees what careers in the industry look like. At CARSTAR’s booth, attendees were challenged to find one of five “golden tickets” in complimentary chocolate bars. Recipients would win tickets to a Toronto Raptors game. At Fix Network’s booth, visitors would spin a wheel; the corresponding number would lead them to a visual chart of car parts. They would have to name the car part for the chance to be added to a draw. The prize: Uber Eats gift cards for their class.

“The traffic here has been incredible. I’ve been here both days,” said Jaime Neuman-Rodrigues, marking special projects manager for Fix Network Canada. “Once they hear the words ‘Uber Eats,’ they’re even more interested.”

CARSTAR’s Collin Welsh, senior director of operations/development for CARSTAR Canada, told Collision Repair that, of the company’s 6,000 basketball-themed stress balls (and an equal amount of chocolate bars) were all gone by the day’s end on Tuesday.

OEConnection and Cognisco Technologies were also in attendance, showcasing the latter’s VR training headset. Welsh even tried his hand at the VR painting and welding programs.

Allison Rogers, editor of Collision Repair mag, and Collin Welsh, senior director of operations/development for CARSTAR Canada, try their hands at VR painting and welding.


Bill Speed, retired auto body teacher, licensed technician and auto body competition chair for Skills Ontario, told Collision Repair this year’s auto body portion featured 11 promising young technicians.

“It’s the most we’ve seen for a long time,” said Speed, who has served as competition chair for 29 years running.

He, along with CWB Collision Instructor and competition judge Jean-Marc Julien, were impressed with the talent.

“Wow is all I can say,” wrote Speed on LinkedIn Tuesday afternoon.

The event also featured an app companion that included a skills quiz to match attendees to a career in the trades, and information like average hourly wages for certain careers. 

For autobody and collision damage repairer, the app estimates an hourly wage between $14 an hour and $33 an hour; the same estimate was reported for automotive painter.

For comparison, brick and stone mason hourly wages are estimated between $21 and $41 per hour; power line technician, between $20 and $46, hourly. 

Stay tuned to Collision Repair mag for more news, including pics as well as the winners of the auto body and automotive refinishing categories–and check out our photos below.

The post On the Skills Stage: Inside the Skills Ontario provincial competition appeared first on Collision Repair Magazine.


Related Posts