Palliser apprentice places second in provincial skills competition

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He’s only just begun his heavy duty mechanic apprenticeship, but Jeremy Grigor appears to be on a roll toward a successful career in the trade.

Friday, Grigor earned second place in a provincial bus mechanics skills competition, held in conjunction with the Alberta Student Transportation Advisory Council (ASTAC) convention. This was the first such skills competition in Alberta, with the winner earning a spot in an international event in Kansas City, Mo.

“I wasn’t expecting anything,” Grigor says. “Everyone was there to learn and it was great to talk to other mechanics.”

Grigor, who joined Palliser in August and hasn’t even started the in-school portion of his apprenticeship training, was encouraged to attend by his more experienced colleagues in Palliser’s Transportation Services department.

“We thought it would be a good learning experience for him,” says Transportation Services Supervisor David Shaw. “He blew away our expectations. We said ‘have fun and learn everything you can’. . . He made us proud!”

While it might seem like Grigor is new to mechanics, he’s been informally training for this competition since he was a toddler. Before he started kindergarten, Grigor says he can remember riding in his dad’s service truck. He comes from a family of mechanics and has always loved taking things apart and putting them back together.

Now, working daily with experienced mechanics like Tim Klein, Nathan Stott and Wayne Kiemele, Grigor is “like a sponge,” says Shaw. “He’s taking it all in and he doesn’t forget it. He learns very quickly.”

Shaw also credits Grigor for his ability to work independently and ask questions. He says the strong finish in competition speaks to the quality of instruction being provided by Palliser’s mechanics.

He’s been a great addition to a team, working both in the Lethbridge and Vulcan transportation shops, Shaw says.

At Friday’s competition, about two dozen mechanics from around Alberta faced a one-hour written exam and then demonstrated their knowledge at three work stations. In one, mechanics were faced with a box of random fasteners and had to quickly identify and sort between metric and standard. Another was a test of knowledge of an Allison transmission function and sensors. The third involved a Deutsch Connector and pin crimp test, to demonstrate ability in wiring.

The work station tasks were timed, and Grigor says his heart was pounding at the end of the allotted 15 minutes.

Grigor says he’s enjoying his work in Palliser, knowing he’s part of a team that helps keep children safe.

“I’m learning a lot since I started here,” says the young dad, whose has a seven-year-old son and a daughter due in May. “The time’s just flown right by.”