One of Swift Current's own proved he has the smarts to stand at the top of his field.

Rayce Schultz, a graduate of the Comp, recently placed third in the CNC Machining at the 2024 Skills Canada Saskatchewan Provincial Competition.

Currently a student at Regina-based Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Schultz was granted the chance to compete after his instructor, Cody Smith, saw the potential in his work. This opportunity has pushed Schultz's capabilities to new heights and allowed him to flourish under the pressure of competition.

"He really helped me in the final couple of weeks just trying to perfect my skills," said Schultz. "I'd like to thank everybody at Fabro Limited for all their help with all their experience that they have over there, just giving me pointers and getting my time management under control."

Schultz highlighted how the competition was able to instill the importance of time management in him. During each phase, he only had a limited amount of time to work with each machine. The importance of utilizing them to the fullest without running out of allotted time was paramount among all competitors.

The way the competition played out was each participant was assigned a specific piece to manufacture. They then had to then program the machines to assemble this product, and then guide them along the way. CNC is shorthand for Computer Numerical Coding. So not only do they need an eye for detail, but they need to have the ability to program these machines without error under pressure.

"I created a spindle out of some steel," said Schultz. "We started off with some just regular hot rolled steel that was two inches in diameter, and I had to machine it down to multiple different sizes and hit those sizes within a thousandth of an inch."

From that point, Schultz had to add threads and make grooves at specific points, all while following a drawing from Skills Canada.

"As well as making a specific part on the CNC mill using the same coding system," said Schultz. "Facing and drilling holes and putting slots in it."

Schultz's work was amongst the best in the province, with it earning him the bronze medal. Sadly, it was just barely short of the first and second-place finishes, of which the gold medalist will be off to compete in nationals.

"They have a point system, and I missed it by 0.4 points," said Schultz.

Schultz hopes to compete again next year. Anyone with an apprenticeship is allowed to compete, until such a time as they graduate. The chance to test his mettle against others is a valuable chance to learn, grow, and exceed himself.

"They get people from all over the industry," said Schultz. "We had people come from specific shops and everything. They invite a lot of guys from different shops from all around the province."