Skills Ontario Welding Gold 2024

Bayside Secondary School student wins gold at Skills Ontario Competition for Welding
Posted on 05/15/2024
Ian Ketcheson gold medalist for welding

On May 7, Ian Ketcheson, a student at Bayside Secondary School, added another impressive achievement to his already stellar record by winning gold in welding at the Skills Ontario Competition held at the Toronto Congress Centre. This remarkable feat marks Ketcheson's third consecutive year securing the top prize for welding in the province. His success has also earned him a coveted spot to compete at the national level for the third time.

In 2022, Ketcheson participated in the virtual Skills Canada National Competition hosted from Vancouver, where he clinched another gold medal. The following year, he traveled to Winnipeg to face off against the nation's best welders. Now, in 2024, he is gearing up to showcase his skills once again at the national level, this time in Quebec City at the end of May. He will be accompanied by his teacher supervisor, Mike Burns.

Ketcheson's journey to excellence has been marked by dedication and hard work. He navigated through qualifiers in April at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, where his outstanding performance secured him the gold medal and propelled him to the provincial level. Additionally, he emerged victorious at the Loyalist College Skills Competition.

When asked about his preparations for the upcoming national competition, Ketchson humbly attributed his success to continuous practice, stating, "Same thing I’ve been doing, just weld all day and once we finish Nationals, take a break." His involvement in Bayside's Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) manufacturing program has played a crucial role in honing his skills, providing access to essential equipment and dedicated teacher support.

At the Skills Canada National Competition, Ketcheson will be tasked with two welding projects. One project has already been completed at the provincial level, while the other has been a focus of his practice sessions at school. He will be completing the provincial level project again next week, for additional practice.

During the competition he will be given a pile of parts, a drawing and a welder. The intense competition requires participants to demonstrate precise welding techniques, adherence to safety protocols, and the ability to interpret and replicate complex drawings accurately. Everyone in the competition will weld the same thing, and they are judged against each other.

Ketchson says, "There is a lot of pageantry.” Burns echoes the sentiment saying, "It’s kind of a beauty contest for welding.”

Burns expressed immense pride in Ketcheson's achievements, highlighting the rarity of earning the top spot in the province three years consecutively. Burns also underscored the career opportunities that Skills Ontario competitions open up for students, noting Ketcheson's job offer for welding research at the college he will be attending this fall, a testament to the connections and recognition gained through these competitions.

Burns recognized Ketcheson’s talent early on and says, “Ian is incredibly skilled. It’s pretty amazing that ever since grade 10, I could show him something, maybe it is a certain weld, and then very soon, like five minutes later, he is better than me.” With Ketcheson graduating this year, Burns says the only thing he is worried about now is who is going to fill Ketchson's shoes.

Good luck Ian at the Skills Canada National Competition, and congratulations to all students who represented HPEDSB well at the Skills Ontario Competition this month.