KAMLOOPS-Next stop: Finland. After winning the annual Skills BC competition provincial finals in April, UCC Electronics student Greg Hibbert went on to compete with provincial gold-medal winners across the country at the National Skills Canada competition held in Winnipeg last week.
The 19-year-old Kamloops student, who has just completed the first year of his two-year Computer Automated Systems Technician diploma program, won againby a 2% margin. “We knew he would be first or second,” said his instructor and coach, Alan Green. “He and the contestant from Quebec see-sawed back and forth; we didn’t know until the end.”
Green was extremely proud of his student’s win, but not very much surprised. “We instructors noticed as early as last October that Greg had a lot of intelligence and a very strong work ethic, and we knew at that time he would be one of our best students ever.”
Hibbert was modest. “It was a fun experience,” he said. “It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, and I learned a little bit during the competition.”
Currently studying robotics, the Norkam grad has always had an interest in electronics, continuing to volunteer at his former high school setting up electronic equipment for assemblies, ceremonies and other events. He hopes to work a few years in robotics after graduating from UCC in June 2005, and then pursue further education in engineering, with the goal of becoming an electronics designer.
Hibbert’s win qualifies him to compete against entrants from 38 other countries in the World competition to be held in Helsinki, Finland in June, 2005, but whether he goes or not isn’t certain. Skills Canada can’t afford to send all national gold-medal winners, who represent a total of 50 trades and skills; a selection committee decides which trades and skills will be represented globally. If technology is selected as a category Skills Canada wishes to represent, there’s still a matter of getting there.
“We’re currently looking for ways to fund Greg’s trip,” explained Green. There’s also the issue of training, but Green is confident that his protegeis up to the task. “Skills Canada provides a lot of coaching to its world contestants,” he said, “and Greg still has a year of theory and practice in the classroom and two co-operative education work terms, where he actually learns on the job, before the world finals are held. Attitude is really important, and Greg has the right attitude.”
Photo available on request to Bronwen Scott, UCC Media and Marketing, at 250-371-5739 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org For more information, please contact Alan Green at 250-828-5107 or Greg Hibbert at 250-578-8533.