Fastest Apprentice/Student, Canada West — Mateo Berrio, NAIT, Edmonton, AB

Fastest Apprentice/Student

Mar 11, 2019

By Line Goyette

After eight months, 263 events, 17 broken clocks, and thousands of competitors, Ideal Industries’ 2018 National Championship Qualifying Round in Canada came to an end last October, and the Third Annual Ideal National Skills Competition took place December 1-3 in Orlando, Florida. The competition brought together some of the best electricians from across North America.

This marked the first Ideal National Championship that had been extended to Canadian competitors. In all, nearly 40,000 electricians across North America took part in local timed competitions organized by Ideal Industries. From these 40,000, a professional representative and apprentice were selected from each state, as well as from both Western and Eastern Canada based on their times. A team comprising one professional and one apprentice were also selected from each area.



Mateo Berrio

During the competition Mateo Berrio couldn’t help but feel nervous working in front of a big crowd, not to mention the TV camera crews circling the electricians as they worked. He is a fourth year apprentice, studying at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). Mateo arrived in Canada from Colombia at the age of 10 with his mother. He had no plan for a career in trade until he entered a registered apprentice program at high school and got then what he describes as the amazing opportunity to become an electrician.

“I love new experiences and electrical provides this to me. It’s a way to work with your hands and your head. It is an industry where you learn new things every day. I never thought of electricity before I started my apprenticeship as a career. I just had this incredible chance and as soon as I started my schooling, I knew I was at the right place and I am always happy to go to work.”

Mateo’s enthusiasm for his trade doesn’t mean things were or are always easy. “At the beginning it was heavy learning. I was learning new things every day, all the time, but I put myself into it because I want to be the best and this is why I’m here at the Ideal competition.” He said that as soon as he saw a poster for the contest at his distributor, he wanted to be part of the competition. “These guys here are the most passionate. We don’t just want to be an electrician, we want to be the best one. It’s a lifestyle.”
For Mateo, there’s always been a challenge in his trade. “I arrived in Canada at the age of 10 and English is not my first language and the Code is very challenging — it’s difficult to read. So, you have to ask people to help you, you can’t be too proud.”

The competition proved to be more difficult than he expected. “No matter how good you think you are there is always room to grow. It makes me feel good that they are better people than me because they can teach me how to progress.” As our conversation wound up, I reminded him that he had finished first in his category for Canada West.

After the competition, Mateo continued his training and joined his mentor at Optics lighting in Edmonton.

Learn more about Ideal Industries’ 2018 National Championship:, and follow coverage of the 2019 championship in EIN.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

Changing Scene

  • Nedco is an official Alliance Master Industrial Automation Distributor!

    Nedco is an official Alliance Master Industrial Automation Distributor!

    May 26, 2023 Nedco Quebec announces appointment as Alliance Master Industrial Automation Distributor, making us a proud partner of Schneider Electric and their Alliance Partner Program, attesting to high level of technical competence and expertise in the field of automation and digitalization.  The entire Nedco Automation team is excited to announce that we have officially… Read More…

  • Canada Investing $1.2 Billion to Make Affordable Housing More Energy Efficient

    Canada Investing $1.2 Billion to Make Affordable Housing More Energy Efficient

    May 26, 2023 The federal government has announced the launch of the Canada Greener Affordable Housing (CGAH) program, which will modernize affordable multi-unit residential buildings by making them more energy efficient and affordable to operate, while also extending building lifespans.  The CGAH program will make available $1.2 billion in low-interest repayable and forgivable loans over the next… Read More…

  • IBEW Announce New Canadian Education Specialist

    IBEW Announce New Canadian Education Specialist

    May 26, 2023 The IBEW First District office has announced Richard Prasad from Local Union 804 – Kitchener as the new Canadian Education Specialist, effective June 1, 2023. The application process involved 13 applicants, “who had outstanding videos and resumes,” the organization commented via press release. Prasad joins the First District Office with an extensive… Read More…

  • ESA Providing Free Resources for LECs to Help Clients with Busy Home Renovation Season

    ESA Providing Free Resources for LECs to Help Clients with Busy Home Renovation Season

    May 23, 2023 Spring is here, and so begins the start of home renovation season! Many homeowners are spending time researching their next home renovation project, studying the latest trends, and figuring out their list of must-haves. But even after all that research, they inevitably still have questions on who to hire, inspections and permits…. Read More…