Avery Bell, a former Houston resident, won first place at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) Regional Skills Competition in the secondary level of the national championships for cabinetmaking in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Before moving to Quesnel in 2012, Bell lived on a farm in Houston where he built tree houses and created small projects.
“As a young kind growing up on a farm there was always something to be made or fixed,” said Bell. “I would always try to get in on the project and help.
When asked what was the first thing Bell remembered making living in Houston, he said, “The first thing I can think of making was my shelf in a tree house and small boats to send down the creek.”
Bell says his favourite part about building is the end project.
“When you can look at the finished project and see how amazing it looks and all the hard work it took, that’s my favourite,” said Bell.
The national championship was held May 31 to June 3. This was Bell’s second year competing. Last year he competed all the way into nationals and placed third.
When asked if Bell thought he’d make it as far as he did this year in the competition after placing third last year, he said, “Getting third last year in Moncton, New Brunswick made me determined to do better this year. Getting the gold medal definitely proved I did.”
Currently, 17 year old Bell will graduate from Correlieu Secondary School in Quesnel this year, and is completing an apprenticeship program at a cabinet shop in Quesnel as well as completing his first year in cabinet making at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Vancouver.
“This year I only did half a year at highschool. I’m in an apprenticeship program at a cabinet shop in Quesnel, but right now I’m in Vancouver at BCIT finishing up my first year in cabinet making. I also do custom woodworking out of my own shop in Quesnel,” said Bell.
Bell says getting recognized by the CNC Regional Skills National Competition is awesome and rewarding to have all his hard work pay off.
“Being recognized as a skilled tradesman is awesome. I put so many hours into learning and building items that it’s nice to show off what I have accomplished,” he said.
Bell says when making a project even the little makes drive him insane.
“When I make any project, big or small, I do top quality work. So any little mistakes drive me insane. Looking back on the projects I have done gives me pride in the work I put into that item and to know that it is going to be around for a long time.”
When asked how Bell hopes this recognition through CNC Regional Skills will affect his future, he said, “In the future I will start my own company, and it’s nice to get your name out there for the business aspect.”
In one week Bell will be finished his BCIT course, and will be returning to Houston this summer for his annual visit with friends and family. He plans to compete again next year at the college level.