A tool donation worth $25,000 is helping automotive students at Camosun College thrive as they continue to learn amid the pandemic.
In early December, the Ed Coates Memorial Foundation purchased 12 new tool kits for the college’s Automotive Service Technician program. The donation ensures every student has their own set of tools to complete hands-on learning.
“Sharing tools and working on cars together was part of the daily norm before COVID-19,” said Patrick Jones, an automotive instructor at Camosun.
Donations of this size aren’t uncommon for the Ed Coates Memorial Foundation – which was formed by Coates’ wife, Marlyn, and his four children after he died in 2015. Coates founded Lordco Auto Parts in 1974 and, over the years, the business became the largest distributor of aftermarket auto parts in western Canada.
“He was a great businessman who understood the importance of education in the automotive aftermarket industry,” said Candace Gottschalk, Coates’ youngest daughter and vice president of human resources. “The foundation is our way of honoring him and continuing his legacy of giving back to communities here in B.C. and supporting the automotive industry.”
The Ed Coates Memorial Foundation typically partners with educational institutes for scholarships and bursaries, but Gottschalk said tools are often overlooked in funding despite being an important part of learning.
While this was the foundation’s first tool donation to Camosun, it was not the first contribution to students. In 2019, the Ed Coates Memorial Foundation established a bursary for automotive students.
At Camosun, trades students are back on campus for hands-on training with new COVID-19 safety protocols and while theory classes are conducted online, said Rodney Porter, executive director of communications at Camosun. He added that health checks and other pandemic guidelines are enforced for face-to-face instruction which is “good practice for when they go into the workplace.”