This is the last in a four-part series of articles on previous Skills Canada medal winners in recognition of National Skilled Trades and Technology Week Nov. 6-12, 2017.
ST. JOHN’S, NL –
Some people excel in a competitive setting, and Mount Pearl native Brandon Drover is one such individual. Out of the six times he competed at Skills Canada at the provincial and national levels, he proudly walked away five times with a gold medal hanging around his neck.
Drover, who graduated from College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Motor Vehicle Body Repairer (Metal and Paint) program in 2014, received gold medals from the provincial Skills Canada competition at Prince Philip Drive campus three times. This achievement meant he automatically moved on to the national competitions, where he was able to claim the top spot on the podium twice in consecutive years.
“The first time I didn’t place at all, and looking back at the chart I think I placed sixth. The first year I went up, I had very little on-the-job experience. I was fresh out of the nine-month program without much work experience, and that’s where you get most of your skills. I also wasn’t familiar with all of the areas that were being tested.”
However, Drover was intent on reaching the podium the following year. Armed with a better idea of what the judges were looking for, he began to research and improve on his skills to gain a competitive edge. The hard work paid off, and Drover says winning each of his national gold medals will always stay with him.
“The first time I won, it was surreal. The second time at nationals, I honestly didn’t think I would win for multiple reasons. There was a lot of competition that year. There were four or five of us that I would consider very much on par with each other, and I thought the judges would take into account the fact I won the previous year and give it to someone else. I almost didn’t believe it (when I won).”
While Drover doesn’t compete anymore, he is still involved with Skills Canada as a member of the National Technical Committee (NTC).
“This past summer I went up as a member of the NTC for the first time. I got gold twice in a row, so I wasn’t going to try for a third time, but I was interested in staying involved. The easiest possible way to stay involved was to help out as an NTC member,” he said.
“The NTC is responsible for judging and there are 13 of us on the committee (for Autobody Repair). Sometimes there are a couple per province, but for the most part it is one member per province. They set up at the national event, deal with any questions that need to be answered, and judge.”
Drover feels Skills Canada competitions are very important, not only for testing an individual’s skills against others in a particular field, but to stay on top of the latest technology and trends.
“Skills Canada opened up my eyes to newer methods, technology, tools, and equipment I had never seen before. I came back to the shop and spoke about that, and now some of tools are being used here now,” Drover said, referring to his present employer Avalon Ford in St. John’s.
Drover is about to receive his journeyman status, which means he will no longer be able to compete at Skills Canada - only students and apprentices are permitted. However, he still plans to remain active with Skills Canada and hopes to volunteer at the provincial competition, which will be held at CNA’s Prince Philip Drive campus next year.
For more information about CNA’s Motor Vehicle Body Repairer (Metal and Paint) program, visit www.cna.nl.ca.
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic