Skills Canada National Competition

Well, we certainly have some catching up to do! Let’s start with the Skills Canada National Competitions. This national event brings together the best of the best with over 500 competitors from across the country to participate in over 40 skilled trades and technology competitions. Thousands of students attend each year to learn more about rewarding careers in the trades by watching the competitors and visiting exhibitor booths and engaging in interactive Try-A-Trade and Technology activities.

2023 – Winnipeg, MB (May 25 & 26)

The theme was Embracing Adaptability: Navigating Change in the Skilled Trades and Technologies.
There were three new features:

1) Skills Symposium bringing industry, government and education together to exchange and share knowledge;

2) Skills Showcase featuring First Nations, Inuit and Metis Skills; and

3) Empowering Women in Trades

2022 – Vancouver, BC (May 25 – 28)

This was the first event since 2019 due to the pandemic. This unique event blended a smaller scale in-person competition with a secondary virtual competition. Both were live streamed on the SCC’s YouTube channel.

Highlights from SCC 2022

The Sheet Metal Industry Training Board’s had visitors keen to participate in our two activities:

1) jelly bean counting contest and
2) selfie contest to win a gift basket

Special thanks to SMART Local Union 280 and the board for donating the contents of our gift basket. We also directed people to our popular Try-A-Trade interactive booth.


Sheet metal competitors were presented with the challenge of building this copper train engine. Congrats to the Team Canada winners from SK (Gold), MB (Silver) and ON (Bronze). This was a qualifying year to compete at WorldSkills Shanghai 2022. Sheet metal does not have a competition at the world level.


SMART Local Union 280 hosted one of the most popular interactive Try-A-Trade activities. Our sheet metal Try-A-Trade booth was constantly busy with hundreds of visitors hammering out personalized dog tags. There was rarely a spare hammer and die set throughout the day. Special thanks to our sheet metal workers volunteers for the day:

Kimmie Caunce, Spectrum Sheet Metal
Sheila Sadler, Viaduct Sheet Metal
Troy Martell, Termel Industries Ltd.


Kudos to the SMART Team for coordinating the Try-A-Trade:

Steve Davis, Local 280
Mark Curtis, International
Troy Clutchey, Local 280
Jeff Lind, Local 280

Great job everyone!

Canadian Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Competition

The Canadian Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Competition was held last summer in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Scott Wilcox represented our SMART Local Union 280 at this event.

Competitors worked on a copper lobster trap project and many spectators admired the skills and craftsmanship of the sheet metal apprentices. Here is what the contestants had to say about the competition:

Scott is our 2022 winner of the Alex Donaldson Award. He was presented the annual Top Apprentice Award at SMACNA-BC Christmas Party in November 2022.

Scott is also the inaugural recipient of the Franco Pederzini Memorial Award. Apollo Sheet Metal Ltd. has established a perpetual scholarship award in memory of Franco Pederzini, a SMITB Trustee/SMWTCS Director (2018-2019).

The First Phase of Construction Completed

We kicked off 2023 by officially expanding! We now offer training at two locations — our current “Main” location at 19077 95A Ave in Surrey, and our new aptly named “Valley” facility is strategically located further east in the Fraser Valley at 5514 275 Street in Langley.

Purchased in 2021, the Valley training facility is a two-story building sits on a half-acre lot in the growing Gloucester industrial park in north Aldergrove. The site offers approximately 12,000 square feet of instructional and office space.

The increased demand for additional seats was triggered by a number of factors including:

• The pandemic created a backlog of apprentices seeking training

• Increased interest in trades ­— SkilledTradesBC (previously the ITA) introduced Skilled Trades Certification with sheet metal being one of the first ten compulsory trades identified

• Increased demand for technical training — labour market shortages and attrition (retiring workforce)

We completed the first phase of renovations and hired additional instructional staff in time to launch classes starting in January 2023. The Main and Valley locations now offer two classes per facility, therefore eliminating the afternoon classes.

The Valley facility is functional for technical training but not at full capacity for all levels of technical training as the shop area still requires additional training equipment and a fully operational welding department. Currently, sheet metal students must swap schools within the schedule for certain components of technical training so the welding department can be utilized by the Level 1 & 2 Valley students. It is a juggling act and we appreciate the staff and students being flexible to accommodate.

Jud Martell, Training Coordinator says the Valley still needs a half to three quarters of a million in work. Jud was quoted in the Spring 2023 volume of the Sheet Metal Journal: “It needs these important finishing components before it will be ready to handle full sheet metal classes at all levels. Right now, it is kitted for sheet metal level 1 and 2 and all levels of architectural.”

The reality is that figure is closer to $750,000 with the cost overruns experienced within the first phase of renovations and the projected increased costs of equipment and building materials. Phase two will include industrial equipment and stainless-steel work to prepare the shop for level 3 and 4 technical training, and the third phase will include the fully operational welding area.

The Sheet Metal Industry Training Board has tapped into federal funding previously with the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) that provided $425,000 towards training equipment that is currently being utilized at both facilities. The Board is seeking options to diversify funding for the second and third phases of renovations.

Comings & Goings



It is time to catch up on our new staff who have joined us in the last year or so. There have been lots of staffing changes in the last year as our Training Centre entered its 30 years of operation and expanded into a second facility.

April Smith has been our Accounting and Financial Admin since November 2021. She brings over 20 years of diverse experience in many aspects of Office Management, Payroll & Benefits and Finance Administration in both union and non-union environments.

Donna Wallin, our Associate Registrar retired in June 2022 after seven years with the board. Thank you for your devoted work with apprentices over the years. Congrats on your retirement!

Matt Cleary joined the instructional team in December 2021. Matt previously worked at Austin Metal Fabricators for 6 years.

Jake LeBlanc, our long-term instructor of 20 years, transitioned to Head Instructor in January 2022. He replaced Bob Pascuzzi, our Chief Instructor for many years. We thank Bob for his years of service, dedication to student success and wish him all the best in his new ventures.

Jake has played a pivotal role in the vision and design for the new Valley school. He brings new energy leading the expanded instructional team while juggling the management of two facilities. Come to either training centre and you will see Jake running around – literally!

Scott Wilcox joined the instructional team in June 2022 within a contract position, then became full time in January 2023 with the opening of the new training facility. Scott previously worked at Spectrum Sheet Metal for 6 years. Scott and Matt were level 4 classmates and journeyed together in 2019.

We also welcomed Jake Watters and Troy Martell in 2022 as part-time instructors for math upgrading.

Spring 2023 Grads

2023 is off to a great start with two classes graduated so far this year, one at each facility!

2325V-A3 (Feb – Mar 2023) – Valley Our architectural sheet metal graduates were the first to graduate from our newly opened Valley location. Most of the architectural sheet metal graduates participated in back-to-back training and were our first students to train at the new Valley facility as well.


2324M-H4 (Mar – Apr 2023) – Main Our most recent graduating class had 18 students, an additional two students, so it was a busy class for Adam, the instructor.

Overall, our graduating classes are consistently passing the IP Exams and CofQ exams, demonstrating how well-prepared students are with their exceptional theoretical and practical training in class. Congratulations everyone for your hard work!

2022 Grads

2022 was quite a year for our training centre turning out 65 graduates! Well done everyone!

The sheet metal worker program finalized the Industry Training Authority (ITA)’s transition to the Harmonized Program in spring 2022. This meant that apprentices in the Current Level (CL) who had completed Level 1 training before April 2019 had to transition to the Harmonized level (HL), the program stream with re-aligned content beginning in April 2019.

This meant that the Training Centre had to complete training for apprentices in the Current Level program by the end of 2022 to ensure they graduated within that program prior to the Harmonized Level program taking effect. We strategically prioritized offering additional level 4 sheet metal classes in 2022, to wrap up the Current Level program.

Congratulations to all our architectural sheet metal
and sheet metal graduates in 2022:

2213-C4 (Jan – Feb 2022) — Current Level & Bob Pascuzzi’s final graduating class
2233-A3 (Apr – May 2022) — Architectural sheet metal
2234-C4 (May – June 2022) — Current Level
2242-H4 (July – Aug 2022) — Harmonized Level
2253-C4 (Sept – Oct 2022) — Current Level

UTIP Updates

Our Technology and an Inclusive Workforce Project, a federally funded Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) is now in its 5th and final year. We continue to work with apprentices, journeys, contractors and industry partners to gain perspective of technological innovations, and shifting recruitment strategies to address labour market needs. We do so through ongoing stakeholder engagement, surveys, focus groups, etc.

Some recent highlights related to UTIP include:

• UTIP funded augmented reality welders have been transferred to the Valley facility for level 1 & 2 students, providing valuable practice welding time until the Phase 3 renovations of the welding department are completed.

• Hosted the Women in Sheet Metal UTIP Advisory Committee (June 2023) with discussions focused on leadership development within the theme of “Nothing about us, without us.”

• Congratulations to Nicole Hour (Boston Sheet Metal Ltd.) for winning the silver medal at the Skills Canada BC Provincial competition held at TradeX Convention Centre (April 2023). Nicole is a member of our UTIP Women in Sheet Metal Advisory Committee.

• In collaboration with the Construction Foundation of BC, our Training Centre hosted five women to learn more about the sheet metal trade while making “Carry Some” metal toolboxes (May 2023). Two participants were hired at Viaduct Sheet Metal following their experience. Congrats!

We are hosting the Annual UTIP Focus Groups in the upcoming weeks and have invited sheet metal workers and contractors to share what their first-hand experiences related to technology and an inclusive workforce. Watch for emails from Stephanie Pritchard, UTIP Project Evaluator to RSVP:

• Sheet metal workers (June 21)
• Contractors (June 28)

We will also be launching the Indigenous People UTIP Advisory Committee and Newcomers to Canada UTIP Advisory Committee in the fall.

All SMWTC students are sent post-training surveys in the final week of training to provide valuable feedback that supports the UTIP project evaluation. Your input really makes a difference so please submit your responses!

Tradeswomen Build Nations



The Tradeswomen Build Nations conference was held in Las Vegas, NV in Nov 2022, and included workshops and panel discussions focusing on diversity and policy investments for women in the construction industry. The event also featured research and programs developed to enhance recruitment, retention, education, training, and career opportunities for unionized tradeswomen.

We would like to extend our thanks to SMART Local Union 280 team, Owin Baxter, Steve Davis, and Richard Mangelsdorf, as well as our members, Tara McDonald, Nicole Hour, Nicole Pasqualini, and Sheila Sadler, for representing our union at the largest gathering of tradeswomen in North America.

30 Years of SMWTCS

SMWTC grand opening, 1992

Our first Training Centre opened on October 19, 1992 within a leased building located at 4415 Dawson Street in Burnaby. This was the first industry funded private trades training centre in BC, opened in response to changing skillsets required by contractors to respond to the training needs of industry. Those early years started with a single intake of 16 students, many of whom are company owners and lead supervisors 30 years later.

In 2010, we purchased our current “Main” building located at 19077 95A Ave in Surrey and have offered two classes per intake at 250 students per year for the last 12 years. Over the years, we offered more intakes, added an afternoon shift and expanded our specialty training courses. We outgrew the space through increased demand for technical training in response to labour market changes, Skilled Trades Certification and the backlog of students brought on by the Covid pandemic.

The “Valley” building located at 5514 275 Street in Langley created opportunity to double our capacity, and we now offer four classes, two per facility each intake. Our increased capacity and expanded instructional staff have contributed to us continuing to provide exceptional technical training. We are the largest sheet metal training in BC, training over 350 students per year.

Our lucky number is three – 30 years of history with 3 Training Coordinators, 3 Chief Instructors and now in 2023, we opened our 3rd facility and now have 300+ students accessing technical training. 2023 is going to be a great year!