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Apprentice from Lethbridge County named Canada’s Top Heavy Vehicle Tech

Posted on July 13, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

Haling from Lethbridge County, local heavy vehicle apprentice, Walter Loedeman has been named the best heavy vehicle tech in Canada.

Loedeman, who is about to be a fourth-year apprentice in the Heavy Equipment Technology program at Lethbridge College has already taken home gold medals in the provincial Skills Alberta.

Loedeman is currently employed full-time as he works toward graduating from the apprentice program at Lethbridge College, is keen on working with heavy vehicles.

“Basically, within the the heavy vehicle tech category contains several couple main categories such as electrical fault diagnosis and repair, engine diagnosis and rebuilding, hydraulic testing and repair, and added, “basically fixing anything that breaks.”

In May of 2023, Loedeman competed in the Skills Canada competition, placing first in the Heavy Vehicle Tech category, and move on to the world stage to showcase his skills in 2024.

After expressing some nervousness during the first day of Skills Canada, Loedeman said in a press release issued by Lethbridge College that the pressure of the competition was a useful tool as a competitor. “I like the pressure, it makes you really try for it,” he said, adding the experience was, “a lot of fun,” despite the challenges and competitive tension.

With plenty of experience, even prior to his formal schooling, Loedeman said, “I’ve always been interested in this sort of thing.”

After earning gold medals at both Skills Alberta and Skills Canada, he is now looking forward to  competing in the Heavy Vehicle Technician category in the WorldSkills Competition in Lyon, France, which is scheduled for 2024 and will showcase trades and technology skills from 1,500 competitors. the event is expected to bring in 250,000 visitors to the witness the event. In the meantime, Loedeman said he is gearing up for one more national competition in 2023.

“I’m hoping on traveling to France this coming September to compete as a guest in the French National Skills Competition as part of my preparation for the world skills next year.”

Participating in the Skills competitions gives applicants a serious edge in future job-seeking, and although Loedeman has already showcased his immense technical skill on provincial, national, and soon-to-be international stages, Diamond City’s own national champion said he plans to stay close to home once he has graduated from the program at the College.

“When I was younger I was always in the shop at home, helping my dad on his truck and tractors. I plan on staying here once my schooling is done,” said Loedeman.

Lethbridge College has a reputation for churning out highly skilled trades and technology graduates in recent years, including Ethan Wagenaar, who won silver at Skills Alberta and bronze at Skills Canada for his work in the Automotive Systems program. In 2022, Joshua Mandin won the provincial gold medal for Plumbing, and later won gold at Skills Canada, progressing to the international competition in Germany.

Lethbridge College’s Dean for the Centre for Trades said in a recent press release, “It’s a great achievement to be named best in the country. It goes to show that through hard work and a willingness to learn you can be very successful. It’s also a great compliment to the faculty that influenced Walter’s journey to success. All those who dedicate time to helping with Skills are doing it because of the passion they have for their trade and the desire to see their students succeed.”

Established in 1992, Skills Canada’s objective is to provide a space for young tradespeople to gain and refine trades skills in a rapidly shifting global market. the 2023 event, held in Winnipeg saw over 12,000 students come together in Winnipeg at the end of May. The international WorldSkills competition, is even grander in size and scope, and will see young people under the age of 23 from over 80 nations come together to showcase their professional abilities in technology and trades in nearly 60 categories.

The 47th WorldSkills International Competition will take place from Sept. 10-15 in 2024 in Lyon, France.

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