Jon Guthrie at his work bench. Guthrie placed second in the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Canadian Convention and Apprentice Competition.

Local man tests his metal

While it can often be a struggle to choose one’s career, for Brentwood Bay resident, Jon Guthrie, his mind was made up after one tour of Victoria’s shipyards with a family friend.

While it can often be a struggle to choose one’s career, for Brentwood Bay resident, Jon Guthrie, his mind was made up after one tour of Victoria’s shipyards with a family friend.

“During the tour, I was able to see multiple trades working together in one place,” explained Guthrie. “I saw what the sheet metal workers were doing and I thought ‘I’d like to do that’.”

Guthrie’s interest in metal work began after the tour of the shipyards, but when he was younger, his father also did a stint as a sheet metal worker. Later in life, Guthrie’s father began working for DHL delivery and has driven the Keating route for a while. Associated Sheet Metal co-owner, Fred Farmer has known Guthrie’s father for a number of years and has always chatted with him during his almost daily deliveries. One day in conversation it came up that his son, Jon, was taking the Sheet Metal Apprenticeship course at Camosun, and when Guthrie applied to work his apprenticeship with Associated Sheet Metal, Farmer already had a good impression of him.

“We hired Jon straight out of the program,” said Farmer. “He’s just been a great guy, and great employee, and a great tradesperson. He’s definitely an asset to our company.”

In early July the Stelly’s secondary graduate travelled to Charlottetown, PEI to participate in the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Canadian Convention and Apprentice Competition. Guthrie was selected to represent the local chapter (276) of the union based on his performance in Camosun’s Sheet Metal program — and when he travelled to the other coast to represent them, he didn’t disappoint. Guthrie placed second in Canada in the apprentice competition and made his local proud.

Farmer wasn’t surprised Guthrie did so well in the competition. “I know Camosun has a great program and I know that Jon had the highest mark in his class so it’s no surprise he finished well,” he said.

Although obviously proud of Guthrie’s success in Charlottetown, Farmer and Associated Sheet Metal are no strangers to seeing their Camosun College apprentices succeed in the skill-based competition. In 2007, the company turned out Casey Wilson who was crowned champion in the same competition.

Guthrie, a husband and father to a two-year-old daughter, is now in his fourth and final year of apprenticeship. He began the Sheet Metal Worker program at Camosun College just over four years ago and since then, he’s completed the 30-week classroom course and is nearing the end of his hours required as an apprentice. When completed, he will hold his Red Seal Journeyman certification. Guthrie hopes to one day take his skills in a more artistic direction and has already begun fabricating some art pieces in his spare time.

“I love working with metal,” he said. “So my dream would be able to take it in my own direction somehow and fabricate both art pieces and functional pieces.”

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