Photo Contributed Kurt Breton, a fourth-year apprentice at Okanagan College, earned gold during the regional Skills Canada competition on April 5.

Okanagan College apprentice heads to national skills competition

Kurt Breton will be competing in Skills Canada National at the end of May

After earning gold in a regional competition last week, a Kelowna resident says he is excited to represent B.C. when he competes in the Skills Canada Nationals next month.

Kurt Breton, a level 4 apprentice at Okanagan College, earned first in the Automotive Service category during the Skills Canada regional championships, held April 5 at the Tradex Centre in Abbotsford.

The 24-year-old said he’s been tinkering with toys for as long as he can remember.

“(I remember being) five-years-old playing with Hot Wheels in the driveway (and growing up) taking apart my first bike and tinkering with that and ripping apart the frame and figuring out how it goes back together,” he recalled. “As I got older I moved up to ATVs and snowmobiles and the smaller engine stuff and then I got my car and kind of got addicted to racing. “It’s pretty much what I do 24/7.”

The regional competition had six different stations ranging from building a break-line to diagnosing a check engine light.

“It was pretty in depth,” said Breton.

Performing a wheel alignment was challenging to Breton because the tool the competition provided was old school, “kind of like a leveler, and I’ve never seen that before. So I went into that one completely blind,” he said.

But he felt confident when it came to diagnosing a check engine light.

“I was excited when I knew there was a check engine light there. That’s the most exciting part for me in this trade.”

The vehicle was leaking gas fumes and Breton was able to find two leaks.

“I think everyone else only found one so that put me ahead,” he said.

One day, Breton plans to own his own shop but for now he’s finishing his apprenticeship, working at RPM to complete his hours.

He hopes to continue working at RPM “as long as they keep me,” he said.