This award is dedicated to the memory of Alex Donaldson, a Local 280 member committed to apprenticeships and training who passed away in 1980. It has been given to the apprentice who earns The Top Apprentice each year. Going as far back as the 1960‘s the Top apprentice has been awarded to the apprentice that represents the Local 280 and SMACNA-BC at the Canadian Council’s Sheet Metal Apprentice Competition held annually around the country. The pathway to get to be the Top Apprentice has changed many times over the decades. Currently the individual winning the Level 4 competition at the SMWTC Annual Apprentice Contest has priority to go to the Canadian Contest. In 2018 Kyle Wellman of Ames Metal Fabricators 82 Ltd. and the Level 4 winner of 2017 SMWTC Annual Apprentice Contest competed at the Canadian Contest in Victoria, BC in June 2018. This two-day contest tested trades workers in layout, theory, and fabrication skills. A binnacle, the housing for a ship’s compass, made from copper and brass was the shop project fabricated in a public space near the shoreline at Ship Point. Congratulations to Kyle Wellman for representing SMART Local 280 and SMACNA-BC at the Canadian Contest. Wellman was awarded the Alex Donaldson Award — the annual top apprentice award — at the SMACNA Christmas Party in November 2018.
On November 24, 2018, the Training Centre hosted its Annual Apprentice Contest for the 8th year at its facility in Surrey BC. The contest brought out over 20 contestants from over a dozen contractors competing in four levels aligned with their last year of technical training. Thanks to the generosity of 20 plus sponsors, the contest gave away over $7,000 worth of prizes to the participants. As in previous years, the shop portion drew the most spectators — participants assembled different projects for each level. These ranged from an aluminum hinged ammo-style box to on-centre and off-centre square to round fittings and a copper bucket, showcasing contestant’s precision and skill. Mark Curtis from the International union was on-hand to assist in the proctoring of the theory categories and was our guest of honour at the prize awards ceremony at the end of the day. It was a fantastic day on which there were many moments of which to be proud. The day had a videographer on site so please check out that video here.