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Andrew Lines earns silver medal at Skills Canada national championships

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Andrew LinesDAWSON CREEK – Andrew Lines can add the title of Canadian Silver Medalist to his expanding resume of Skill Canada accomplishments.

I’m pretty impressed with how I did,” Lines said. “To get second place, especially going in not really knowing what to expect at a national championship, was pretty good.”

Lines finished only eight points (out of a total of 1,000) out of first place amongst a field of competitors that in included several college graduates. The gold medalist was from Ontario.

Aircraft Maintenance competitors took part in a grueling 12-hour competition that included six sections designed to test various aspects of their skills and knowledge. The sections included: Sheet metal repair; Flight Control rigging, tensioning and safe-tying; Pitot Static Testing; Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARS) Exam; Gas Turbine Component Replacement; and Weight and Balance Report.

Entering the event, Lines knew that he would face challenges in a couple of sections. He currently is in the second semester of the three-semester AME program, and some of the sections of the national competition are not covered until the third semester.

That meant a lot of after-hours preparation prior to the event in conjunction with instructor Hal Hobenshield, who also travelled to Quebec City with Lines as his coach/mentor.

“We worked after school two or three days a week. I had a general outline of the competition, and there were a couple of areas where I was confident in my ability, so we concentrated on things that we hadn’t touched on in class,” Lines said.

Ironically, one of the toughest sections was sheet metal repair, a section in which Lines felt confident entering the competition. In fact, the project was so difficult that organizers extended the time limit for competitors when it became evident that only Lines and the eventual gold medalist were going to be able to finish the project.

Lines earned the right to represent British Columbia at the nationals by winning the provincial championship in Abbotsford in April, after qualifying at the Peace Region event held in Dawson Creek in March. This was the first year that NLC had participated in the AME event at any level of Skills Canada.

Being part of Team B.C. was something that stood out for both Hobenshield and Lines. Hobenshield was impressed when team representatives picked them up at the airport. And the team stayed together at a hostel, which meant sharing a room – and conversation and experiences – with team members they had not met prior to the event.

“This was an experience you wouldn’t get if you were staying in a hotel,” Lines said.

For Hobenshield, the accomplishments by Lines at a national event are important for recognition for the College overall.

“The silver medal says that this College has programs that are among the best in Canada,” Hobenshield said.

The College would like to acknowledge the following companies and individuals who provided support for Lines in his trips to the nationals and provincials: Bailey Helicopters, Encana Corporation, North Caribou Air, NLC Foundation, Skills Canada B.C. Regional Coordinator Jamie Maxwell, and NLC staff members Al Hills, John Morrison, Pam Eales and Hobenshield.