June 11, 2013 - 4:01 PM
Okanagan College proved two of its students are among the top in the country when it comes to skills in both electronics and autobody repair after taking a silver and bronze at the Skills Canada national competition, held June 5 – 8 in Vancouver.
Electronic Engineering Technology student Nathanael Bergmann came home with silver in the electronics category, while Collision Repair student Brandon Scott took bronze in the Automotive Collision Repair category.
Bergmann’s success marks the third time in three years that Okanagan College has reached the national podium in the electronics competition.
During the competition, judges examined how effectively Bergmann, who now works as a technician at Kelowna Refrigeration and Appliance Services, was able to install components into a circuit board, design and build circuitry required to complete a balancing robot, and troubleshoot a number of faults judges inserted into another system.
“It was fun, but it was challenging too,” said Bergmann. “It was a fantastic experience to find out what you can accomplish in the time they give you.”
Bergmann’s professor and coach Kevin Bradshaw said his student’s work paid off.
“It was a tough competition, and he was the only one of the three winners who was even able to complete the design portion involving the balancing robot.”
The silver medal capped off a memorable weekend for Bergmann, who left the event before the results were handed out in order to attend his convocation in Kelowna on Saturday.
“He missed out on being up on the podium, but everyone there understood,” Bradshaw said.
Meanwhile, Scott’s bronze medal re-establishes the College’s Auto Repair performance on the national stage, said Collision Repair department chair Jeff Francis.
“This is the first time in four years that we’ve made it to the national podium, so this was a big deal for us to carry on that tradition once more,” he said. Since 2000, students from the College’s Collision Repair department have reached the podium eight times.
Scott’s success was particularly priceless for his instructor and coach Tyler Selzler, who won the gold medal himself at the Skills Canada event back in 2008 when he was an Okanagan College student.
“I knew exactly what Brandon was going through,” Selzler said. “He had to do a door skin replacement, a plastic repair on a bumper and a quarter panel replacement. In some cases these were jobs that shops allot 12 or 14 hours for, and the judges were giving them six hours to get the job done. That’s a lot of pressure, so it’s good that Brandon is a very calm guy.”
For Scott, who just landed a job with Boyd Autobody in Kelowna, the competition was something he’ll never forget.
“It was definitely an experience of a lifetime, me and Tyler had a lot of fun together, and I met a lot of great people,” Scott said. “I was happy to get up on the podium. I'm really happy with how I did, and am pleased with the result.”
The National Skills Canada competition attracts more than 500 competitors 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.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013