Crystal Pottinger of Smithers won the regional welding competition hosted by the NWCC in Terrace.

Crystal Pottinger of Smithers won the regional welding competition hosted by the NWCC in Terrace.

Smithers student wins northwest welding title

Crystal Pottinger of Smithers recently took first place in a welding competitionl at the Canada Skills regional competition.

Crystal Pottinger of Smithers recently took first place in a welding competitionl at the Canada Skills regional competition.

“It felt really good,” Pottinger said of her win last March 9.

The win was especially nice, Pottinger said, because one of her competitors was getting a little competitive.

“Now I have bragging rights,” she said.

A first year student at Northwest Community College student in the Ace-It program, Pottinger, 17,took up welding because she hopes the skill will provide her with job security.

Pottinger admits the she found the Ace-It program enticing because she could replace her last year of high school with her first year of college and her tuition fees were paid for by the school district.

Only partway through training for her C-ticket in welding, Pottinger has already looked into the future.

Her perfect job, she said, would be as an underwater welder, which would require her to obtain her A-ticket in welding.

“I would also have to learn how to scuba dive,” Pettinger said with a laugh.

Unsure if underwater welding will be a part of her future, Pottinger admitted she would be happy fabricating.

“I just like making things with metal,” she said.

“I like the fabricating end of welding.”

At the Canada Skills competition, Pottinger and her competitors had to cut a hole in a sheet of steel using an oxyfuel torch and then fit a pipe through the hole, weld the pipe in place and then cap the pipe at both ends.

Judges, Pottinger said, were looking for a tight seal between the sheet of steel and the pipe as well as clean edges in the welding.

The win in Terrace, earned Pottinger a berth in the provincial competition scheduled for April on the Lower Mainland.

Pottinger hopes to take her spot at the competition, but is waiting to hear about travel arrangements.

In the meantime, Pottinger is glad she entered the welding program.

“It’s something I have fun with,” she said.

“There’s always something to learn and you can always get better at it.”