A Comox student at Vancouver Island University has won one of eight scholarships from Boating BC.
Keegan Cooke was a winner of the Glenn Spartz Scholarship from Boating BC, given to students to further pursue their careers in the marine industry. The scholarships were created to meet the demand for skilled people in marine trades, and the money helps support the winners’ education and career goals.
“As our industry continues to grow, one of the challenges we face is ensuring access to qualified marine mechanical technicians in communities across this province,” Boating BC President Don Prittie said in a news release. “The Glenn Spartz Scholarship is one means of giving those who wish to pursue a career in the boating sector, some help in reaching their goal.”
The winners each receive up to $2,000 for their education. All are entering level-two of the marine mechanical technician (MMT) program at the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) or Vancouver Island University (VIU) in January.
Cooke, a 2017 graduate of Highland Secondary, is studying at VIU and was encouraged to apply for the scholarship last fall by his employer, Parker Marine in Courtenay. The application asked about education and career plans. An apprentice last year who worked at Parker’s also recommended the scholarship, so Cooke was hopeful when he applied but did not take it for granted.
“I wasn’t sure honestly,” he said. “I thought that maybe other people would be more applicable for it.”
He is taking the second year of his MMT course. He plans to work toward his 1,500-hour endorsement as an apprentice soon.
“I’ll be going back to work in March,” he said.
There is a choice of three different endorsements, and he plans to apply his hours toward outboard marine because Parker’s deals primarily with outboards.
Working in a marine-related business comes as a natural choice for Cooke, who liked working on engines but leaned more toward boats than automotive work.
“I’ve always grown up around the water,” he said. “Me and my brother have always loved boats.”
BC Boating says the Glenn Spartz Scholarship is a collaborative initiative led by Boating BC with contributing partners from the marine propulsion sector such as Mercury Marine, Volvo Penta, Yamaha, BRP/Evinrude and Suzuki Marine. The award is named after a former Boating BC board member who was instrumental in establishing the MMT program. The Boating BC Association is the voice of recreational boating in the province and is comprised of more than 320 member companies representing all aspects of the boating industry.