Three Okanagan College students are on their way to Moncton, NB to compete in the Skills Canada National competition following their gold medal wins at the provincial competition, which was held in Abbotsford on April 13.
The three gold medalists were joined on the podium by an additional eight students who earned four silver and four bronze medals for the college in categories that ranged from aerospace technology and carpentry to culinary arts.
Okanagan College was the best in B.C. in the areas of Electronics, Aerospace Technology and Automotive Service.
Second-year student Zachary Andrews won gold in the Electronics category. Spencer Humphries, a first-year student in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering M License program, won in Aerospace Technology and Aaron Schmidt, a level 4 apprentice, led the College to gold in Automotive Service. He was one of three Okanagan College apprentices who finished in the top three in the province – OC swept the automotive category.
Automotive service instructor Jamie Bloomfield said he was extremely proud of the efforts of his students, who he referred to as the dream team.
“Each one of our students took the competition preparation and practices very seriously,” he said. “They had great attitudes and were very motivated. During the competition they shook the nerves off quickly and performed beautifully – I couldn’t be prouder.”
By the end of the competition, Okanagan College had captured 11 medals. Other institutions that took part included Vancouver Island University, BCIT, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Camosun College, North Island College, Northern Lights College, University of the Fraser Valley, Thompson Rivers University and Vancouver Community College.
Okanagan College students placed as follows:
Gold Zachary Andrews – Electronics Spencer Humphries – Aerospace Technology
Aaron Schmidt – Automotive Service
Silver Dale Blumhagen – Automotive Service Curtis Koepke – Refrigeration Sarah Maw – Culinary Arts
Lukas Pfob – Carpentry
Bronze Hugo Beaumier-Martin – Automotive Service Andrew Kennedy – Aerospace Technology Rav Matharoo – Heavy Equipment Service
Rudi Verlinden – IT – Network Systems Administration
All of the above-mentioned students are from Kelowna except for the following: Curtis Koepke, West Kelowna, (attended Okanagan College in Penticton); Hugo Beaumier-Martin, Penticton (attended Okanagan College in Kelowna); Rav Matharoo, Penticton (attended Okanagan College in Kelowna) and Rudi Verlinden, Vernon (attended Okanagan College in Kelowna)
The National Skills Canada competition attracts more than 500 competitors who compete in 40 contest areas, each vying for a chance at a coveted gold medal. The program was launched in 1994, and is the only national multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country.