Skills BC gold medalist Kendall Giesbrecht. (Photo submitted)

Okanagan College nabs seven medals at Skills BC

Gold medals were won by students Josh Burnell and Kendall Giesbrecht.

Winning gold usually means the hard work is done, but for Okanagan College Aircraft Maintenance Engineer student, Josh Burnell, it means it is time to buckle down.

Burnell and six other Trades and Technology students have returned home after podium finishes at the Skills Canada BC competition in Abbotsford last week.

Burnell performed a 100-hour inspection on a Rolls Royce Allison 230-C20 free turbine engine in only eight hours which won him the gold medal.

“I spent two months researching the engine as well as studying the Canadian Aviation Regulations,” said Burnell. “During the competition I was pressed for time and had to work under pressure – finding part numbers and maintenance manual references. In the end all my hard work paid off and I won gold.”

Now Burnell will go on to compete at the 25th annual Skills Canada National Competition on May 28 – 29 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“The National competition will be massive and a lot more difficult than Skills BC was,” he said. “I am very excited to compete and to learn so much more than I already have. I will be staying after class every day until then, working with my instructors Hal Hobenshield and Lyndon Walker who will be mentoring me through the tasks that I will need to perform.”

Also earning a gold medal was Kendall Giesbrecht in the Automotive Service Technician program.

“The competition was challenging but there wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before, so it was just a matter of staying relaxed and focused at the same time,” said Giesbrecht. “When they called my name as the gold medal winner I was so excited and very happy with the results. I’m really looking forward to the national competition…it’s a huge honour to have this opportunity.”

Skills Canada is the only national, multi-trade and technology competition for students and apprentices in the country with more than 550 competitors participating in over 40 skilled trade and technology competitions.

“Skills Canada offers an opportunity for students across the country to hone their skills in trades and technology,” said Teresa Kisilevich, Associate Dean of Trades & Apprenticeship. “The students compete against the clock and each other in an intense competition that also serves as an interactive and engaging environment for the students and instructors in the audience. A lot of hard work goes into preparing for this, and it’s great to see the learning in action.”

Also taking home medals from the provincial competition were Riley Nairn with silver for Heavy Equipment Service, Frank van Zandwijk with silver for IT Network Systems Administration, Cody Mayo with bronze for Heavy Equipment Service, Michael Parker with bronze for Refrigeration and Ryan Robertson with bronze for IT Network Systems Administration.

Related: Okanagan College achieves second LEED Platinum award

Related: Okanagan College Enactus teams going to nationals

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