Brains and Brawn on Display at Recent Iron Worker Apprentices Competition

Nov 07, 2014

Over fifty competitors representing Iron Worker locals across Canada and the United States recently concluded their annual three-day competition in Toronto hosted by the Ontario District Council and held at Local 721's training facility.

"We are proud to have been able to host this competition," said Clinton Knowlton, apprentice coordinator at Toronto Local 721. "We knew we had a good training centre and it gave us the chance to showcase our facilities here at the local to ironworkers across North America. Everyone had a great time and we enjoyed giving other Apprentices the opportunity to showcase their skills and compete with one another."

"The annual competition allows apprentices and staff to come together and share best practices," added Kevin Bryenton, president of the Ontario Ironworkers District Council. "It is why we are able to maintain our high standards and deliver quality work. We continually look for better ways to train our members using the latest techniques and technology. The results are seen every day in buildings across the country."

The competitors displayed their knowledge, dexterity and skills in eight different areas.

Written test: 
The written test consists of 100 questions taken directly from the apprentice training manuals.

Welding, burning and instrument test: 
The welding competition requires apprentices to complete three passes in all four positions: flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead. The welds are graded based upon quality.

The burning competition requires apprentices to correctly lay out and burn a circle and square, make a bevel cut and make a straight cut. Contestants are judged on accuracy of layout and cut as well as quality of cuts.

The instrument test requires apprentices to set up an instrument, establish the height of the instrument and figure the elevation of benchmarks above and below the height of the instrument.

Knot tying, rod tying, ornamental installation and column climb: 
The knot tying competition requires that apprentices correctly tie six knots, which are chosen at random from the Iron Workers Rigging Manual the day of the test. They also must correctly reeve two sets of blocks (3x3, 3x2 or 2x2).

The rod tying competition is always exciting. Competitors have one minute to tie as many of each different type of tie as they can. The ties are: snap tie, snap and a wrap, saddle tie, saddle and a wrap and the figure 8 tie. The scores that an apprentice gets on each tie are tallied to give his or her overall score.

The ornamental competition is a time-based test and requires that apprentices race against the clock to see who can put together a 2' x 2' glazed window the fastest.

The column-climb challenges apprentices to race to the top of a 35-foot column. The fastest gets all the points.

Outstanding Ironworker Apprentice Challenge Winners

First Place: Andrew Hrenandez – New Jersey Local 31
Second Place: Keith Fergus – Toronto Local 721
Third Place: Tyler Haanpaa – St. Louis Local 27

Column Climb Challenge Winners 

First Place: Matt Hlywiak 5.73 seconds - Philadelphia Local 401
Second Place: Brian Knecht 7.31 seconds - Philadelphia Local 401
Third Place: Phillipe Charland 7.44 seconds - Calgary Local 725



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