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Okanagan College trades and technology students win accolades

If the future of our region is dependent on a skilled workforce, the Okanagan is in good shape.

Nearly a dozen Okanagan College trades and technology students have returned home after podium finishes at the BC Skills Canada competition, held earlier this month in Abbotsford.

The College earned 11 medals (three gold, four silver and four bronze) in a series of timed high-pressure skills competitions ranging from Automotive Collision Repair to IT Network Systems Administration.

“I’m extremely proud of the results of our students,” said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “The Skills BC competition is a great measure of how our students perform in the real world. They are faced with hands-on applied challenges and are given a set amount of time to make repairs, trouble shoot and come up with relevant solutions. The medals are evidence of our students’ skills and the great instruction they receive.”

Winners of the provincial competition are eligible to compete at the nationals, held in June in Toronto. The Okanagan College students who will represent the province in Toronto are: Vernon’s Dominique Zimmermann, gold in Aircraft Maintenance; Kelowna’s Ken Anderson, gold in Automotive Service; and James Webber, gold in Electronics, also from Kelowna.

For the second year in a row Okanagan College swept the Electronic Engineering competition, taking all three podium spots. It’s the third year the College has competed in this category; each year students from the program have returned with medals. The College earned gold, silver and bronze in 2013 and took home a silver and bronze in 2012.

“I am really excited to support Dominique at the national competition,” said AME M instructor and coach Dale Martell.

“After winning the provincial competition I’m feeling very confident about how he’ll do in Toronto. We’ve been sending students to the Skills competition for three years and are yet to return without medals. Dominique and Derek are no exception. They are both great students who can work independently and will be a huge asset to the industry.”

Other medalists include: Derek Volling, Aircraft Maintenance (bronze); Russell Relling, Automotive Collision Repair (silver); Jay Kendrick, Automotive Collision Repair (bronze); Nick Spottock, Automotive Service (bronze); Christopher Dalton, Carpentry (silver); Josh Wams, Electronics (silver); Alex Pelton, Electronics (bronze); Bryer Edwards, IT Network Systems Administration (silver).

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