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College students take bronze at national Skills Canada competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Two Okanagan College students returned from the two-day Skills Canada competition, held last week in Edmonton, with hard won bronze medals.

Alexander Travis, who is taking the first year of his Aircraft Maintenance Engineering – M License, and Zander Erasmus, who graduates this year from Electronic Engineering Technology, were among 24 B.C. students who returned home with medals.

This year’s competition drew more than 500 of the mostly highly skilled trades students in the country to compete against each other in the Olympic-style event.

“It was intense,” said 18-year-old Travis. “It gave me a much better understanding of what I need to work on when I’m in school.”

“Alex set himself up on the fast track to be successful in his career,” said his instructor Dale Martell. “He withstood the pressure, grew with it and the result speaks for itself.”

For Erasmus, 20, the bronze medal was a perfect way to cap off his final year.

“We had to pull him out of his finals exams here in Kelowna to take him to compete, but it was worth it,” said Erasmus’ College Instructor Kevin Bradshaw.

Both instructors helped coach their students for the national competition, made possible thanks to their gold medal wins at the provincial level.

The competition attracts dozens of representatives from various industries interested in up-and-coming developments in trades and technologies, something Erasmus took advantage of.

“I had a long chat with the president of Fluke over lunch and was able to talk with employees from many companies around Canada about their work and employment,” Erasmus said.

The company is a world leader in the manufacturing, distribution and service of electronic test tools and software, and one of many corporations that attend the event, in part to recruit future employees.

“That’s one of the real benefits of this event -- it gives students a chance to meet their peers and find mentors in the industry,” said Bradshaw. “Some of the industry representatives came to recruit, and all were willing to share what they knew with the students.”

Skills Canada was launched in 1994, and is the only national multi-trade and technology competition for young students and apprentices in the country. Gold medalists from the Edmonton competition will take part in the world skills event to be held in Germany in July 2013.