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Locals recognized as top apprentices

A Legal millwright and a Sturgeon County auto body refinisher win awards

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014 06:00 am

TOP MAN – Brandon Craig was recently as named a top apprentice by the province in the category of auto body refinisher. He's currently an employee at Chameleon Top Coatings Limited, located in Sturgeon County.
TOP MAN – Brandon Craig was recently as named a top apprentice by the province in the category of auto body refinisher. He's currently an employee at Chameleon Top Coatings Limited, located in Sturgeon County.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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Some local trades people were recently honoured as the tops in their fields as part of the Top Apprentice Award program.

Brandon Craig of Sturgeon County and Christopher McNeil of Legal were both designated as the top apprentices in their respective trades, the former as an auto body refinisher and the latter as a millwright.

They were among a group of 60 former apprentices who were recognized in different trades.

“A couple months ago I found out I was nominated and I was kind of like, ‘Oh, I’m sure everyone gets nominated’ and I didn’t really think too much of it,” said Craig, who has spent his whole career at Chameleon Top Coatings in Sturgeon County.

However, Craig arrived at work one day to find out he had indeed won the top spot.

The awards honour apprentices in each trade who have the highest overall marks in the final period of their apprenticeship and receive strong recommendations from their employers.

The Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board contacts the employers for recommendations after considering the apprentices’ combined marks.

Craig has finished his apprenticeship and is now a journeyman. He continues to work at Chameleon, where he has been since 2009.

“Initially I wanted to be a mechanic and in high school I was offered this job,” he said. “As I was working it just kind of grew on me.”

The 21-year-old Craig went to NAIT for his training, which combined class work with on-the-job training. He’s been under the same journeyman’s wing since he started.

His favourite part of the job is seeing the end result of his work.

“Taking that masking paper off and seeing it is the best part,” Craig said.

The top apprentice designations, along with other awards for top employer, top employer of aboriginal apprentices and a special recognition award were handed out in Edmonton on April 11.

“The premier was there, I got to shake his hand and stuff like that, so it was pretty memorable,” said Craig, who added he received a plaque in recognition of his achievement.

Craig said he was awe-struck by how many people he beat out to snag the bragging rights – or at least he was once the fact that he’d won had sunk in.

“When everyone starts congratulating you, it feels really good that all your hard work, someone recognized it,” he said.


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