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When 20-year-old Keith Hind competed at Skills Canada BC he was determined to keep Okanagan College’s winning streak alive.
“We had two national gold winners last year, and I think that says a lot about the institution and the instructors here,” said Hind, one of three Okanagan College gold medalists who will represent B.C. at the Skills Canada Nationals May 13 in Edmonton.
Hind, a Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology student kept his cool, all the while creating a fully functional virtual network infrastructure, deploying and testing both Windows and Linux servers, and finally installing and configuring a web server – all essential components to outfit a typical small business.
“It’s a pretty amazing experience,” Hind said. “I think if I can put myself through the stress of that, then it’s going to help me in the future.”
Joining Hind at the Nationals will be Alexander Travis, a student in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering M license program, and Zander Erasmus, who is studying Electronic Engineering.
For Hind, the gold was especially sweet. Last year, with only a few months of training under his belt, he came in fifth out of six in the provincials.
“I really went to feel it out,” he said. “But this time around I had an extra year of experience at the College behind me.”
Hind also had a Jordy Koenig TELUS Scholarship in his back pocket, plus experience tinkering with computer technology and software since his legs dangled from his desk in elementary school.
“I spent my childhood playing around with computers and trying to fix things. By the time I got to high school, all my friends and family were asking me to fix their computers.”
Now, even with all his courses wrapped up, he’s back at the books again, preparing for the Nationals.
“Keith has been a tremendous student,” said Philip Ashman, chair of the Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology department. “He’s enthusiastic, hardworking, and really enjoys the pressure, although he’s loath to admit it. We’re always proud of how well our students do. Going to the Nationals gives them a chance to work at a high level, and has a great influence on their job prospects.”
In addition to the provincial gold medals, Okanagan College students placed as follows:
SilverNathanael Bergmann – Electronic Engineering TechnologyJoshua Hines – Culinary ArtsRussell Rousson – Automotive Collision RepairJayson Stratford – Aircraft Maintenance Engineering M
BronzeDarren Martini – Electronic Engineering Technology
Skills Canada takes place May 13-16. The program was launched in 1994, and is the only national multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country.