TIBS Skills demonstration attracts new Georgian College students – Regional and National Competitions this spring

Rob Davidson with the student competitors at the Toronto International Boat Show

Mar 26, 2024

After years of struggling to attract post-secondary students into the Marine and Small Engine program, the skills demonstration that Georgian College put on at the Toronto International Boat Show last January is bearing fruit. The show sponsored a large and well-located space and Mercury Marine also provided sponsorship support.

In a recent conversation with Rob Davidson, Program Manager at Georgian college we learned that the two top winners from the Skills Competition held at the Toronto International Boat Show have been selected to move on to the Skills Ontario competition on May 6th of this year. They will be competing against other post-secondary students to win a seat at the Nationals later in the spring.

If one of the three is a Gold Medal winner there, they will move on to the Skills Canada competition .

Last year, Georgian College grad Zander Powell achieved that level and went on to win Gold at the National level – a huge accomplishment.

This year the students moving up in the competition are Aiden Crandall, Josh Merritt and Storm Dearish-Lennox . Bob Dundas one of Georgian’s part-time faculty members is prepping the students for the competition.

You might have expected that Rob Davidson would be doing that but in fact, he is also the Technical Chair for Ontario and also the Chair for the National Competition so another instructor had to do the student preparation.

It’s significant that last year nearly got scrubbed due to the fact that there were almost too few students and yet, Zander Powell emerged with the Gold as National Champion in the Outdoor Recreational Products category. Rob Davidson believes that the momentum the display at the Toronto International Boat Show in 2024 created, has had a significant impact. In terms of students entering the Georgian College Marine and Small Engine program, Rob hopes to see 3 sections in 2025 because enrollment is up 25 to 30% this year and there seems to be increasing interest amongst young people. Boating Ontario is holding their Regional Meetings right now and that will shine more light on the success that the Georgian College program is achieving.

Let’s all pledge to support this great new momentum!

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