Posted on May 27, 2020

Step up with Craftsman, Deeley to support COVID-19 emergency bursaries

VCC automotive student measuring blue car bumper


When we finally beat COVID-19, Rick Hatswell wants to be part of a revitalized and re-energized collision repair industry. 

To that end, the Vancouver Community College (VCC) Automotive Collision Repair Technician alumnus and president of The Craftsman Group donated $5,000 to the Giving Tuesday Now campaign funding emergency bursaries for VCC students.

The campaign, administered by the VCC Foundation, was launched on the Giving Tuesday Now global day of generosity (May 5, 2020) and runs until Sunday, May 31. Through donation matching, the campaign aims to raise $50,000 for a second round of emergency bursaries for VCC students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our industry’s future

Despite experienced technicians potentially making six-figure incomes, Rick says it’s difficult to get apprentices, even in normal circumstances. “We’re looking at any way we can help them build a career.”

Rick estimates that Craftsman Collision has 54 apprentices across their 40 repair locations. Rick completed his own apprenticeship through VCC in 1997 and earned his Red Seal.

One future apprentice is Minsu Kim, a 27-year-old international student from Korea who received one of the emergency bursaries in the first round of applications. Minsu is grateful because he says life in Vancouver is so expensive. “Thanks to the bursary, I was able to cover my living expenses, like buying food,” he says.

Rick and Craftsman Collision also have a long history of giving to VCC through annual Student Awards and sponsorship of fundraising events such as the Flourish gala. This time, however, Rick realized the need was different – and urgent. “COVID-19 has had an impact on us. It’s changed how we do things,” he says.


Rick Hatswell portrait and throwback

The Craftsman Group president Rick Hatswell today and as a young apprentice, circa 1988

Making the match

Others in the transportation industry are also answering the call to help students. Motorcycle retailer Deeley Group donated $1,000 to the campaign, knowing their donation would be matched by the Foundation.

“We celebrate VCC students in their pursuit of gaining skills and knowledge. We’re pleased we can support our community during this time of need,” says Peter Van Dyke, director of investments for Deeley Group.

Since April, the VCC COVID-19 Emergency Bursary Fund has distributed $195,000 to 312 students from 40 different programs.

VCC Foundation director Nancy Nesbitt shares gratitude for the continued student support, and also emphasizes the importance of acting now. “Never have students needed our help more,” she says.

There’s still time to help students in need. The first $20,000 donated before Sunday, May 31 will be matched, and we’ve almost reached our goal! To donate, visit the VCC Foundation donation page and select “COVID-19 Emergency Bursary Fund.”