Zach Andrews electrifies at Skills Canada

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Zach Andrews had to skip his convocation ceremony at Okanagan College this year as he graduated with a diploma in electronic engineering technology, but he had an acceptable excuse.

Andrews had to pass on the College ceremony because he was in Moncton, New Brunswick, winning a gold medal in electronics at the Skills Canada competition.

And while Andrews’ victory and the accompanying award ceremony was an acceptable alternative to the sun-drenched ceremony in late June where he would normally have picked up his credential, there were hundreds of other Okanagan College students who were able to attend the ceremonies over the past year.

In fact, Okanagan College presented more than 2,000 credentials in the 2015-16 academic year, marking the success of students in everything from culinary arts to criminal and social justice. Those credentials included baccalaureate degrees (Okanagan College offers two degree programs – Business Administration and Computer Information Systems), diplomas (30 different programs) and certificates (more than 100 programs).

zach andrews at ocAndrews – even before he graduated from the engineering technology program – qualified as an alumni of Okanagan College. In 2005 he started his post-secondary path in the trades with an electrical program that led him to journeyman status in 2009. In 2014, after a decade of work as an apprentice and a journeyman, he returned to OC for the electronic engineering technology program.

His choice of careers – first electrician and then electronics engineering technologist – align closely with the predictions for labour market needs in the coming decade. B.C. is forecasting more than 900,000 job openings by 2025.The experts are saying there will be 4,600 job openings for electricians and 1,800 opening for electronic engineering technologists.

From business administration (data suggests there will be jobs for more than 28,000 retail and wholesale trade administrators alone in B.C. in the next decade) to early childhood education (9,300 jobs in that occupation), to carpenters (10,300) and cooks and chefs (16,000) many of Okanagan College’s programs align with those forecasted needs.

Zach Andrews is back at Okanagan College this fall, taking an engineering bridge program that will allow him to apply to entry into the third year of UBC Okanagan’s engineering program.

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