Campaign News

Friday, November 18, 2016

FortisBC donation fuels new lab, teaching tools at Okanagan College

Fortis support OC1 Nov 2016Support from FortisBC is powering up a cutting-edge new space at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, helping the College deliver training for a number of B.C.’s most in-demand trades.

A $50,000 donation from FortisBC assisted in the construction and outfitting of a new natural gas lab, located in the plumbing shop of the renovated and expanded Kelowna Trades Complex that officially opened last month. An additional $25,000 gift from the company will also help the College enhance the delivery of curriculum for construction carpenters and technologists in the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program.

“FortisBC sees giving back as an important part of our efforts to create a sustainable future for British Columbians,” explains Barry Smithson, Director Operations, FortisBC. “This partnership is a great fit for FortisBC, as Okanagan College trains students that could one day become our employees.”

The new lab will be utilized by students across the piping trades, and will allow the College to deliver all four levels of its new Steamfitter/Pipefitter apprenticeship program. Demand is mounting for Steamfitter/Pipefitters in B.C. (more than 1,100 openings are projected over the next eight years), and the arrival of LNG projects could spell even greater need. The first class of students recently completed Level 1 and the first offering of Level 2 began on Oct. 3.

“We are deeply grateful to FortisBC for this generous support,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “This donation is already having a direct impact on students. The new lab provides us with a state-of-the-art space to deliver the latest training.”Fortis support OC3 Nov 2016

Over the past five years alone, Okanagan College has trained more than 1,200 Foundation and Apprenticeship students in the Plumbing/Pipefitting and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic programs.

As part of the $50,000 donation, FortisBC contributed equipment for the lab – including state-of-the-art gas meters – and stepped in to assist local company Kal West Mechanical with the installation. The installation provided a chance for hands-on learning for Okanagan College students.

Tammy Rudrum is one of those students. A recent graduate of the Sheet Metal Foundation program and the Women in Trades Training program, Rudrum and about a dozen of her classmates helped put in furnaces which will serve as training tools in the new lab.

“I definitely learned some great practical skills that you can’t get from a book,” says Rudrum. “Hands-on experience is better. Everyone's furnace units are different, so it was interesting to see how things can be adapted.”

On top of the $50,000 for the new lab, FortisBC’s additional donation of $25,000 will soon generate further hands-on training opportunities for students.

Among other teaching tools, the funds will allow the College to purchase two calibrated blower doors to be used for training and testing. The doors demonstrate to students how different wall assemblies and construction techniques can reduce energy consumption by preventing air leakage. The resources will benefit students in the Carpentry and Sustainable Construction Management Technology programs.

“It is very positive for our students to see a major employer like FortisBC investing in their education,” explains Moores. “It shows them the industry need is real. It validates their choice to learn here and to pursue a career in the trades.”

Okanagan College’s new Trades Complex opened its doors to students in April and was officially opened by Premier Christy Clark and Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson on Sept. 22.

The three-year renovation and expansion project began with a $28-million investment from the province and has also seen strong support from donors in the community. The Okanagan College Foundation kicked off the Bright Horizons campaign in October 2014 with the goal of raising $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for student and program support to complete the project.

More information about the new Trades Complex and opportunities to support the campaign can be found at  www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Nutech supports new Trades Complex

Nutech at OC Oct 2016A local fire protection and safety services company is showing its support for the recently opened Trades Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, and the company’s gift carries an important message to students about health and safety.

Nutech Safety has pledged $30,000 toward the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign. The support will help outfit the first aid room in the new building.

“As a company we feel strongly about supporting students,” says Bob Dieno, President of Nutech Safety. “We want to ensure the next wave of tradespeople knows business is behind them. And given our company’s focus, we obviously want them to know that safety while they are in school, and when they step out into the workforce, is very important.”

With offices in Kelowna and Kamloops, Nutech is one of the region’s key suppliers of fire protection, first aid and safety gear. The company also works with organizations of all size to create fire safety plans and other training resources.

The College’s new Trades Complex was officially opened on Sept. 22 by Premier Christy Clark, B.C. Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson, Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. The new complex blends 10,000 sq. metres (over 100,000 sq. feet) of renovated facilities and new construction, including an all-new three-storey tower along KLO Road.

“Safety is critical in the trades,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Having a local industry leader like Nutech step up and support our campus serves as a reminder to students about the importance of safety measures on every jobsite, and while they are training. We deeply appreciate Nutech’s support.”

More than two years in construction, the Kelowna Trades Complex is one of the College’s most ambitious capital projects to date. It was launched by a $28-million investment from the province and has been bolstered by community support. The Okanagan College Foundation kicked off the Bright Horizons campaign in October 2014 with the goal of raising $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for student and program support to complete the project.

More information about the new Trades Complex and opportunities to support the campaign can be found at  www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Carpentry students get new study space thanks to award-winning renovator

Turner Family Sept2016A local renovation expert and long-time Okanagan College volunteer is showing his support for the newly upgraded facilities at B.C.’s second largest trades training institution.

Gord Turner, founder of Gord Turner Renovations Ltd., has donated $15,000 to support the outfitting of a new study space in the Carpentry shop. The space will come online for students this fall.

“I think it’s important to give back,” says Turner. “I’ve been fortunate in this business. With the way the industry is going, I feel it’s incumbent on us to support future tradespeople.”

“Our company has supported a number of apprentices during their training over the years. The industry is constantly changing. If you want to be successful in the long run you have to keep learning and changing with it.”

Turner says the decision to help create the new study space was an easy one given his long connection to the College. He has been a member of the Carpentry program’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for nearly a decade and took a refresher course in carpentry at the Kelowna campus in the early 2000s.

Gord Turner Renovations also boasts two other Okanagan College alumni on staff: Turner’s children. His son Cody earned his Red Seal as carpenter in 2005, while his younger son Kyle graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 2008.

“I was brought up in this trade by my dad,” explains Cody Turner. “I was the first apprentice from our company to train at the College, so it’s nice to see our company able to support the place where our family and a number of our employees have trained.”

“It’s wonderful to see the College keep growing,” notes Kyle Turner. “Having access to trades training in Kelowna is a great for our business.”

The company has grown from an army of one – Turner – in 1991, to a team of 13 employees today. Along the way, Turner and company have racked up Gold and Silver Tommie Awards, including “Renovator of the Year” in 2010. Gord Turner Renovations has also been voted “Best Residential Renovator of the Central Okanagan” by the readers of Okanagan Life Magazine multiple years, including the latest issue in December 2015.

Sept. 28 marks the company’s 25th anniversary, and its founder is quick to point out that while building technologies, materials and styles may have changed over the decades, one aspect of his business has remained constant.

“We help people renovate their houses, design through build, and we do it really well. That’s it. And that takes good people.”

Which, as Turner points out, harkens back to the need for a deep pool of well-trained trades people in the region.

“The new trades complex will help the College continue to stay in step with the needs of industry,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “From top to bottom, from shops to classrooms, it is a totally modern, cutting-edge learning environment.”

“We appreciate the way local employers like Gord Turner Renovations have embraced the project and have chosen to invest in the future of trades training at the College.”

The College recently completed a 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion of trades facilities at the Kelowna campus. The new three-storey LEED Platinum-targeted building opened to students in April and is slated for an official public grand opening this month. The new and renovated facilities will allow the College to train 2,700 students per year.

The Okanagan College Foundation launched its $7-million Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign in October 2014 to raise an additional $5 million for capital construction and $2 million in program and student support to top up the province’s $28-million investment.

To learn more about Okanagan College’s new trades facilities and opportunities to support students, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign


Monday, August 8, 2016

Cloverdale Paint helps College go green

cloverdaleA unique donation from a national paint and coatings manufacturer with B.C. roots will be brightening Okanagan College campuses for years to come.

Cloverdale Paint Inc. has pledged $50,000 worth of product to assist the College in beautifying classrooms, labs, shops, and student spaces across its four campuses over the next five years. 

“Cloverdale Paint is a B.C.-based, family owned business that was founded in 1933,” says Cloverdale’s VP of Branch Operations Dave Chaulk. “We are proud to support health care and education in the markets that we serve, and Okanagan College is an important facility for the community.”

The first canvas for the donated paint will be the College’s new trades facilities in Kelowna, which opened to students in April. The College is currently putting the finishing touches on the new three-storey complex, as part of the $33-million, 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion project in anticipation of an official grand opening this fall. Cloverdale’s donation has been directed to the $7-million Bright Horizons fundraising campaign for the building, although the product will support the College in enhancing numerous other spaces.
Colour palette aside, green is the theme the College has kept in mind throughout the renovated and expansion project, as part of its institutional commitment to sustainability.

“Sustainability is one of our core values,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “This generous gift from Cloverdale Paint supports our commitment to providing learning and work spaces that are healthy for our college community and for the environment.”
The Cloverdale credit gives the College access to ultra-low VOC (volatile organic compound) and environmentally friendly coatings that will help keep classrooms, shops, study and work spaces as healthy as they are environmentally-friendly.

The new trades building will allow the College to accommodate more than 2,700 students per year in a facility that targets LEED Platinum standards, one of the highest measures of sustainability that can be achieved by a building. In 2015, the College’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence (COE) building in Penticton became the first building of its size in the region to earn the coveted certification. Earlier this year, the COE was named the Greenest Post Secondary Building in Canada in a national independent review conducted by Corporate Knights Magazine. 

Boasting the second largest solar-photovoltaic array of any non-utility building in the province (the largest is on the College’s Centre of Excellence), the new trades complex is expected to reach net-zero energy—meaning it should be able to generate enough energy to meet its operational needs without drawing power from the grid. Other sustainability features include geothermal heating and cooling, and the latest in energy efficient lighting and environmental controls. 

To learn more about Okanagan College’s new trades facilities and the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign for the project, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign


Monday, July 18, 2016

Local builder proud to support future tradespeople

John Bachelder July 2016

With more than two decades of experience under his tool belt, a local construction business owner and Okanagan College alumnus is giving back to support future tradespeople.
John Bachelder, owner of Bachelder Construction Ltd., has pledged $10,000 toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College.

“This is an incredible facility that really honours tradespeople,” says Bachelder. “I’m excited to be a part of that. I imagine students are going to feel very proud to learn here and proud of the career path they’ve chosen.”

Bachelder moved to the Okanagan in 1970 when he was just 14-years-old, and says the trades have always been an important part of his life from an early age. He studied Commercial Transport at the College in 1985 before going into the construction business in 1993.

“I’ve been around the housing industry for most of my life,” says Bachelder. “And there has always been the challenge of finding enough skilled people. We need to stay ahead of the curve and that begins with supporting and encouraging the next generation of tradespeople.”

Among that next generation is Bachelder’s son Brady, who also trained at Okanagan College—earning Red Seals in Carpentry and Welding—and has gone on to be very successful right out of school.

“The trades are becoming increasingly technical, which is why education and training is so important,” notes Bachelder.

His wife Cynthia and daughter Anna-Leigh are also College alumni, having completed the Early Childhood Education and Human Service Work diploma programs in recent years.

In addition to his philanthropic activity with the College, Bachelder is also a member of the Kelowna chapter of 100 Men Who Give a Damn.

“I like to support things that tug on the heart strings a little, and we’re lucky to have a place like the College in the region, it creates a lot of opportunities for students.”

The College recently completed construction on its new and expanded trades training complex—a $33-million project. More than $6.2 million has been raised from local industry and individuals, to top up the province’s $28-million investment. The fundraising campaign goal is $7 million, which includes $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for program and student support. An official grand opening is being planned for the fall.

According to Bachelder, becoming a donor has afforded him the chance to build a stronger connection with the College and to others in his industry who have supported the recent trades expansion project.

Bachelder reconnected with his alma mater during a dinner hosted by two of his fellow home builders Lambert Schmalz and Gord Wilson. Both men have contributed to the fundraising campaign for the project and have invited other builders to support their future workforce.

“It’s been great re-connecting with the College, and meeting with others in the industry to hear what they’re doing to support the next generation. It’s great to see that there is a growing number of us who believe in supporting the future of our industry.”

As a sector, local homebuilders have contributed more than $500,000 to the project.

“We greatly appreciate the support our local homebuilders have shown for the project,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “This gift from John Bachelder is very generous, and once again demonstrates for our students that local employers value the training being offered at the College."

More information about the new building, the fundraising campaign and opportunities to get involved is available at  www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Alumnus celebrates College’s history with gift for tradespeople of tomorrow

Lambert Schmalz June 2016An alumnus with a connection to Okanagan College that spans more than five decades has made a gift to inspire the next generation of tradespeople who will follow in his footsteps.

Lambert Schmalz, owner of Lambert & Paul Construction Ltd., has pledged $50,000 toward the Bright Horizons campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna campus. The new three-storey tower opened to students in April, as part of an overall $33-million, 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion project.

“The College and this region are very dear to me,” says Schmalz, who was born in Germany and immigrated to Canada in 1956 after completing his training as a journeyperson Carpenter. “I am proud to support the place where our future tradespeople will train.”

At that time, there were only 9,600 people in Kelowna and very few residential or commercial builders. He says the opening of the College (then BC Vocational School) in 1963, helped spark the growth of the construction industry in the years that followed, and was critical in developing a culture of apprenticeship in the valley.

“Having come up through the European system of apprenticeship which has been going strong for hundreds of years, I was surprised by how little apprenticeship there was in the valley when I arrived,” explains Schmalz. “I am pleased with the progress that has been made to change that over time, and the College has played a big role in that development.”

Schmalz’s involvement with the College has taken many forms over the years. As a student, he took business courses in the mid-1960s, adding bookkeeping, drafting, and estimating to the skills he learned as a journeyman Carpenter travelling Europe. He also served on the Program Advisory Board for the Carpentry program for more than a decade beginning in the 1970s.  

In 2004 Okanagan University College conferred upon Schmalz an honorary doctorate, in recognition of his long-term involvement.

“Lambert has been a dedicated champion and supporter of the College for many years,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We deeply appreciate his significant contributions to our institution and his dedication to advancing apprenticeship in the Okanagan.”

In addition to founding multiple contracting companies, Schmalz was also a founding member of the Okanagan chapter of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA), a professional organization that promotes affordability and choice in the residential construction industry.

Individuals and businesses from the construction sector have contributed more than $500,000 to the Bright Horizons campaign to date. Schmalz recently challenged the valley’s builders to reach the $1-million mark.

“These tradespeople are our future work force,” said Schmalz. “If we don’t support them, who will?”

It is a message echoed by Schmalz’s friend and colleague Gord Wilson. Wilson, owner of Team Construction, has also stepped forward with $50,000 for the campaign.

Okanagan College’s new Trades Training Complex is now open to students; a grand opening is being planned for September. The three-year capital construction project rejuvenated existing spaces to match the same sustainability standards of the new tower, which is targeting LEED Platinum, net-zero energy usage, and carbon-neutrality. The complex will allow the College to train more than 2,700 students per year in Kelowna.

The Okanagan College Foundation is aiming to raise an additional $5-million for capital construction and $2-million for program and student support, to top up the provincial government’s $28-million investment.

To learn more about the campaign and opportunities to get involved, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign


Monday, May 30, 2016

Outland Design gift grows trades campaign total, nurtures early childhood educators

Outland Design May 2016

Education is one of the roots of a healthy community. This is the message a local landscape architecture firm hopes people in the valley will take away from its recent donation to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus and its students.

Outland Design Landscape Architecture has pledged $10,000 to support the new Trades Training complex at the Kelowna campus; the firm has also created an annual bursary to support students in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program.

Trades and Early Childhood Education may seem unrelated at first glance, but as Outland owner Fiona Barton explains, the gift was inspired by the College’s commitment to opening doors for a diverse array of learners.

“We’re hoping to inspire local students and would-be students to lifelong learning. The value of education for themselves and for our community is limitless,” says Barton, who is also the firm’s senior landscape architect. “The College has a growing Horticulture Certificate program, and there are many intersections with the trades in what we do, so there were lots of reasons for us to support.”

“Support from the community plays an integral role in Okanagan College’s efforts to break down barriers to education,” says Okanagan College Foundation Director Kathy Butler. “We are deeply moved by the way Fiona and her team at Outland Design have so generously invested their dollars, and their time and expertise in our students.”

The newly launched Outland Design Landscape Architecture award, valued at $750, will provide an annual boost to an ECE student entering second year of the two-year diploma program at Okanagan College.

“We wanted to highlight the important role that early childhood educators play in the Okanagan, which is what led to the creation of this award and inspired our ongoing research partnership with the College,” explains Barton.

Last year, Outland Design signed on as a community partner of a federally-funded, applied research grant exploring the benefits of outdoor play on children’s wellbeing, and how it can be tied into the training of early childhood educators.

As a mother of three, Barton saw working with the College to bring outdoor play into the lives of young learners as a natural fit, and a project that could have a long-term positive impact.

“Our goal as a design company is to create beautiful landscapes that enrich the environment,” notes Barton. “It is a natural fit for us to be involved in research that will have a positive impact on ECEs and help children grow and learn in the outdoors.”

Equipping early childhood educators is a growing area of expertise for Okanagan College. Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, has been involved in researching the benefits of outdoor play in the ECE curriculum for several years. Dietze and Outland Design embarked on an outdoor play research project that was funded by NSERC in 2014-2015, and earlier this year received a research grant of $195,000 from the Lawson Foundation.

The grant will allow researchers to explore a wide range of training modules to benefit ECEs, from physical literacy to indigenous outdoor play practices, to outdoor play designs for optimal play.

“Fiona Barton and her staff are important community partners as they bring expertise in creating diverse and complex outdoor play spaces for children. These spaces contribute to triggering children’s curiosity, exploration and learning for life,” says Dietze.

The first recipient of the Outland Design award will be selected later this fall.

“Our students graduate with an in depth understanding of the benefits of well-constructed outdoor play environments to the overall development of the whole child,” explains Pam Wetterstrand, Chair of the ECE program. “We are grateful for support like this for students, and for the important research being conducted to support professional development opportunities for Early Childhood Educators.”

More information about this and other awards available at Okanagan College can be found at www.okanagan.bc.ca/financialaid


Monday, May 16, 2016

Ford dealer drives up support for new trades complex, celebrates father’s legacy

Orchard Ford donation May 2016A local automotive dealer wants to help rev up the learning environment for trades students at Okanagan College in Kelowna, carrying on his father’s legacy of supporting education and the community.

Orchard Ford and Kelowna Ford Lincoln Dealer Principal Dan Assam has pledged $100,000 to assist the College in outfitting a new student lounge in its renovated and expanded trades training facilities in Kelowna. To the delight of automotive students and car buffs, the lounge will feature a mural depicting a Ford GT50 – a nod to Assam’s father Norm who owned a classic GT40 and for whom the lounge will be dedicated.

“My father was a big supporter of education and training,” says Assam. “Helping staff advance their skills was important to him, as was giving back to the community. This gift honours and celebrates his legacy, and we hope it will inspire the next generation of automotive tradespeople training at Okanagan College.”

The valley’s automotive dealers and collision repair shops have been among the strongest supporters of the renovation and expansion project, contributing more than $850,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons fundraising campaign since it launched in October 2014.

“We are deeply grateful to Dan and his family for this phenomenal support,” says campaign Chair Dennis Gabelhouse. “This gift sends a powerful message to students at the College that local employers are behind them and gives them a sense of the long legacy of trades in the valley that they are a part of.”

Founded in 1983 by Norm Assam, Orchard Ford remains a family-owned and -operated dealership (as is Kelowna Ford Lincoln) with Assam’s son at the helm carrying on his father’s legacy of supporting skilled training. The two dealerships currently employ 20 Okanagan College-trained Red Seal Automotive Service Technicians, with another six on staff who are currently completing their apprenticeship training at the College.

Existing shops across a host of trades, from automotive to welding, have now been completely re-vamped at the College’s Kelowna campus. Upgrades were made to match the same LEED Platinum-targeted standard as the new building, as a testament to the College’s commitment to sustainability.

The Automotive Service Technician (AST) shop was one of the first new shops to come online for students in late 2014, and features new and emerging technology in the industry. Feedback from students and instructors on the new space has been overwhelmingly positive according to the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores.

“Industry support is absolutely vital to what we do,” says Moores. “Quality learning environments support quality instruction and the proof is in the pudding in our students’ accomplishments.”

Okanagan College recently tied its best-ever results at the provincial Skills Canada BC competition in Abbotsford, earning 11 medals overall. Automotive Service Technician students from the College dominated the podium, taking home gold (Aaron Schmit), silver (Dale Blumhagan), and bronze (Hugo Beaumier-Martin) medals.

The new complex will allow the College to accommodate more than 2,700 students each year and comes at a critical time for training as BC faces a potential shortage of skilled labour over the next decade. It is projected that more than 160,000 job openings will exist for trades and technical workers by 2022, with more than 10,000 needed in the Thompson Okanagan region alone by 2024.

To date the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign has raised more than $6.2 million toward its $7 million goal, which includes $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for program and student support through awards, bursaries, and emergency funding.

“Creating access and supporting students is at the heart of this campaign,” notes Gabelhouse. “As we enter the summer and approach the grand opening of the new building this fall, community and industry support is going to help us reach our goal and open a world of new doors for students.” 


Monday, May 2, 2016

Local business helps College gives trades students a warm welcome

Coast Appliances Donation May 2016As Okanagan College welcomed students and staff to its new Trades Training Complex last week, a donation of equipment from a local appliance dealer helped ensure it was a warm welcome. 

Coast Wholesale Appliances Inc. has donated microwaves to power up kitchenette stations throughout the new three-storey tower at the Kelowna campus. Construction on the building completed on Mar. 31. Over the past three weeks, more than 700 students training at satellite campuses on Acland and Penno Rd. transitioned to their new home at the KLO campus.

“We are very proud and excited to contribute to the student experience at Okanagan College,” says Robert Siddon, General Manager for Coast Wholesale Appliances in Kelowna. “The trades are connected to our business, and so many others in the Okanagan, and so having a world-class training facility here benefits us all.”

Siddon says it was important to Coast Appliances that students know the valley’s businesses are behind them, which is why the company has also provided a tool credit to assist a student in purchasing tools.  

Coast Appliances joins a growing number of individuals and organizations in the community who have stepped up to help the College enhance student spaces like food service and study areas in the building.

“Our goal with this renovation and expansion is to provide a world-class facility that truly celebrates the trades and celebrates our students,” says Okanagan College Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “We are very grateful for the depth of community support for that vision. Local industry and individuals are sending a message to our students that they have chosen an important and valued field in the trades.”

Community support has brought the Okanagan College Foundation within $1 million of its $7-million goal for the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign in support of the project. The Foundation is aiming to raise $5-million for capital construction and $2-million for program and student support, to top up the provincial government’s $28-million investment. To date, the campaign has raised more than $6.2 million.

Last week’s welcome event for students and employees was a soft opening for the building. An official grand opening is slated for the fall.

In the meantime, College officials will continue to put the finishing touches on the new complex over the summer, including landscaping, signage, and activation of the building’s solar panels (when completed, the roof will have the second-largest solar array of any non-utility building in the province, behind only the The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus).

More information about the Bright Horizons campaign and opportunities to get involved is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

PrairieCoast Equipment gives Trades campaign an Okanagan-style push

prairiecoast(1)With heavy duty mechanics in high demand across many sectors, a donor has stepped forward with a locally-inspired donation to remind Okanagan College students and would-be students that BC’s agricultural equipment industry needs more mechanics.

“Our company is very pleased to support Okanagan College in building a facility that is going to benefit so many people,” says Ryan Johnson, Regional Manager for PrairieCoast Equipment. “We feel it’s important to invest in the future of our industry, and tomorrow’s trades students are a big part of that future.”

PrairieCoast Equipment has pledged $50,000 toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. To the excitement of students and instructors, the first installment of the company’s donation arrived on four wheels.

The College’s Heavy Duty Trades shop now boasts a piece of equipment geared towards Okanagan industry: a farm tractor suited to orchard and vineyard work.

“We’re projecting about a 10 per cent increase in our technician workforce this year,” explains Johnson. “So we wanted to provide a piece of equipment that would really benefit and be interesting to students, and that also spoke to the need for skilled workers in our field.”

Read more about BC's demand for Heavy Duty tradespeople, and how donor support is helping Okanagan College gear up to meet this need, in the press release.
Thursday, March 17, 2016

Voyager RV gives back to help new Trades space roll forward

FriesenThe Okanagan’s largest dealer of “homes away from home” has made a major donation towards the new home for learning students at B.C.’s second largest trades training institution.

Voyager RV has donated $30,000 to support the construction of a bright new student space in the trades training complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

“We jumped at the chance to be part of building a facility that will make students proud and excited to learn their trade,” says Voyager’s Vice President Jason Friesen.

“I think the College is doing wonderful work to remind people that there are bright futures in the trades. Tradespeople are vital to so many businesses like ours in the Okanagan and all over the province.”

A completely renovated, state-of-the-art 6,302 sq./ft. RV shop is now in operation. The entire new complex is slated to open doors to students by the end of the month and will provide the College with room to train more than 2,600 students each year.

“Support from industry and the community has helped make this building a reality,” says the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “We thank Voyager RV for supporting so many of our graduates over the years and now for this generous investment in our new facilities.”

Friesen says the need for RV Service Technicians continues to grow, and even prompted Voyager in recent years to build a new space to keep up with the demand for new RVs and servicing, and to provide a state-of-the-art home for the company's growing team of technicians. 

Read the full story in the press release.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Kelowna Hyundai and Buy Direct Truck keep trades campaign rolling toward goal

hyundai(1)Two local automotive dealerships have made a major donation to Okanagan College to help drive home the message that with more vehicles on the road, the valley will continue to need a greater number of skilled automotive service technicians in the coming years. 

Kelowna Hyundai and Buy Direct Truck Centre have together donated $20,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna campus.

“We believe it is important to give back to our community, and for that reason we are very proud to support Okanagan College in building for the future with its new Trades Training Complex,” said John Kot, owner of Kelowna Hyundai & Buy Direct Truck Centre.

Skilled technicians play a vital role in our industry, and we are so pleased that this gift will assist the next generation of automotive technicians training at the College.”

“Whenever a local employer chooses to give back to the College, it sends a message to our students that the valley’s industry believes in the high quality of training being offered here,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “The generous help of these two dealerships is greatly appreciated and builds on incredible support from the automotive sector over the past year-and-a-half." Between now and 2024, it is projected that there will be job openings for more than 10,750 tradespeople in the Okanagan, including more than 1,100 automotive service technicians. In this same time period, openings are expected for more than 160,000 tradespeople province-wide.

“Since our campaign launched in the fall of 2014, support from individuals, families, and businesses in the automotive sector has been remarkable,” says Gabelhouse. “More than $780,000 of our $7-million goal has come from this sector, to date. This donation is yet another example of a local employer looking to help the next wave of students put their education in gear.” Read the full story in the press release.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Builder of the Year Bellamy helps build bright horizons

bellamy(1)The Okanagan's "Builder of the Year" has stepped up with a major donation in support of the next wave of home builders in the valley.


Bellamy Homes has donated $30,000 toward the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College. The company’s donation will support the construction of a new social/study area for students in the renovated and expanded facilities at the College’s Kelowna campus.

Opening this spring, the new complex will accommodate more than 2,600 students, many of whom will study the trades that go into building homes, from carpentry to welding.

“I think it’s very important as industry leaders that we support and encourage young people getting into trades careers however we can,” says Les Bellamy, CEO and Owner of Bellamy Homes Inc. “To maintain the quality and craftsmanship that goes into building our homes and communities, the valley needs skilled tradespeople and the College is a key supplier of that workforce.”

The Kelowna-based company took home Builder of the Year, one of the top honours given out by the Canadian Home Builders Association at the 2016 Tommie Awards on January 30. 

Read the full story in the press release.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Boyd Autobody and Glass supports students and helps College rev up interest in Automotive Careers

methalBoyd Autobody and Glass recently presented the College with a unique demonstration piece – a mobile collision repair demonstration vehicle which can be transported to local high schools. Boyd’s Owner Methal Abougoush, who volunteers his time as an industry advisor for the College’s Collision Repair programs, has been touring the vehicle around Kelowna and sharing tips of the trade with students.

“If we don’t continue to promote and drive young people into careers in the trades we simply won’t have the skilled workers our industry needs,” says Abougoush. “Our company is very supportive of the training offered by the College. It is so beneficial to the Okanagan to have this training available locally.”

In addition to the demonstration unit valued at over $15,000, Boyd Autobody and Glass has also donated to support much needed locker space in the new trades building under construction at the Kelowna campus.

Collision Repair facilities at the College are currently receiving upgrades as part of the $33-million 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion that will wrap up this spring with the opening of the new Trades Training Complex.

“It’s an exciting time for Collision Repair and for all our programs,” says Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “The donations of equipment, tools, and support for the new trades facilities and for our students are helping us continue to enhance our programs. We’re very grateful to all the donors who have stepped forward to support the project.”

Read the full story in the press release.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lunelli family helps Okanagan College inspire the automotive tradespeople of tomorrow

lunelliA local family that includes two generations of Okanagan College alumni has made a major donation to assist the next generation of automotive technicians at B.C.’s second largest trades training institution. 

Tony and Franca Lunelli, founders of Anthony’s Subaru, have pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons - Building for Skills fundraising campaign. The donation will assist the College to build and outfit a classroom space in the new Trades Training Complex under construction at the Kelowna campus.

“Skilled technicians are always in demand in our industry,” says Franca Lunelli (pictured here, centre). “Tony and I are firm believers in the importance of education, and so we’re delighted to support the College and the automotive apprentices of the future.” 

Since moving to the Okanagan in 1970 from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the automotive business has been a constant in the lives of the Lunellis. 

After beginning his career as a technician and working in sales for more than a decade, Tony Lunelli opened 5th Avenue Auto in West Kelowna in 1981. He acquired the property for the original Anthony’s Subaru dealership in 1988 and began selling Subarus in 1995; a second Subaru dealership followed in Penticton in 1998. Today the dealerships are led by the Lunelli's children, Christina Bailey (right, above photo), Dealer Principal in Penticton, and Anthony Lunelli Jr. (left, above photo), who heads up the Kelowna dealership.

“We’ve hired apprentices from the College for decades,” explains Anthony. “It has been wonderful to witness the growth of trades at the College over the years, and now to be a part of the next chapter is very exciting and humbling.”

Read the full story in the press release.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mentors Jim and Yvonne Lamb give back to the College

lambsTwo long-time Okanagan College donors have made a major donation to support the training of the Valley’s future carpenters.

Jim and Yvonne Lamb, owners of Vintage Design Ltd., have donated $32,000 to assist the College with renovations to the carpentry shop at the Kelowna campus.

“I didn’t get here by myself,” says Jim Lamb. “I was able to learn my trade and build a business because people supported me and helped me learn along the way. And now I’m a firm believer that we need to invest in the next generation and ensure they know how to build it right the first time.”

Fittingly, this is not the first time the Lambs have helped connect trades students with a home for learning. 

Jim has been helping students get hands-on training at the College since 2007, when he invited classes from the Residential Construction program to work alongside experienced tradespeople in the construction of two “Home for Learning” projects in the Village of Kettle Valley.

Students in the program worked under the supervision of their instructors and were mentored by Lamb, who served as the general contractor for the projects. Once the homes were complete, they were sold and the proceeds – more than $225,000 – were donated to the College and the Village of Kettle Valley to create awards for students entering the building trades.

Over the past decade, the Vintage Design fund has provided $17,400 in tuition credits to 10 students starting the Residential Construction, Plumbing, and Electrician programs. Read the full story in the press release.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Cookson honours father's legacy with gift to Heavy Duty program at Okanagan College

cooksonA local business owner has bestowed a heavy duty gift upon trades students at Okanagan College, in honour of his father who helped pave the way for the growth of the commercial trucking industry in Kelowna.

Cookson Motors Ltd., owned by Hugo Cookson Jr., has donated $50,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex under construction at the Kelowna campus.

The donation is being made in honour of Cookson’s father Hugo Cookson Sr., who founded Cookson Motors in Kelowna more than 50 years ago in 1965.

“My dad did his apprenticeship in Kelowna, and had a strong belief in the apprenticeship process,” says Cookson.

The commercial truck sales, leasing, and servicing company has grown from three employees in 1965 to a staff of more than 70 today; a second dealership was purchased in Penticton in 2001.

“As our company has grown there has always been a need for skilled apprentices,” says Cookson. “My dad recognized the importance of investing in the next generation and so this gift is meant to carry on that legacy.”

Read the full story in the press release.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Okanagan College receives $250,000 from The Joyce Foundation for Trades Bursaries

Current and future trades students at Okanagan College received a remarkable early holiday present from The Joyce Foundation in the form of a major gift that will soon open doors to education and help make dreams a reality for many over the next several years.
 
The $250,000 donation will be used to create entrance bursaries and augment existing financial aid for students in the College’s Trades and Apprenticeship programs. At least $50,000 in entrance bursaries for students demonstrating financial need – 10 awards valued at $5,000 each – will be made available beginning in January. Additional entrance bursaries and funding for literacy and numeracy tutoring for trades students will be made available throughout 2016 and 2017.

“This gift represents a tremendous investment in the future of many students in our region,” says Okanagan College’s President Jim Hamilton. “We are very grateful to The Joyce Foundation for enhancing our efforts to make trades training accessible for a diverse array of learners."

“Education is key in opening new pathways to success. The Joyce Foundation is very pleased to be part of that process at Okanagan College,” said Ron Joyce, founder of The Joyce Foundation and well-known Canadian entrepreneur. The Joyce Foundation is dedicated to supporting increased accessibility to post-secondary education.  Students and staff at the Kelowna campus acknowledged and celebrated the donation with a photo in the Automotive Service Technician shop, and also filming a video message for The Joyce Foundation.

Students and staff gathered at the Kelowna campus to celebrate and acknowledge the donation. A photo was taken in the Automotive Service Technician shop, along with a thank-you video message to The Joyce Foundation: 

 

The Joyce Foundation’s donation will count towards the Okanagan College Foundation’s $2-million goal for student and program support as part of the overall $7-million Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign in support of the $33-million renovation and expansion of Trades Training facilities at the Kelowna Campus. 

More information about the new bursaries will be available in January. Read the full story of this donation in the press release.


Friday, December 4, 2015

CLAC donation puts tools in the hands of tradespeople in training

CLACOne of Canada’s largest national independent unions is helping Okanagan College put tools in the hands of tradespeople in training with a major gift toward the new carpentry shop in Kelowna.

CLAC has donated $30,000 toward a new tool crib in the shop which has received an extensive renovation and upgrades in recent months. The tools will be used by students in the Carpentry and RV Service programs.

“CLAC Training BC believes strongly in strengthening communities through better training opportunities,” says Larry Richardson, CLAC’s Director of Training for BC.

“We are very pleased to support Okanagan College in developing this modern trades facility, which will help the College continue to develop better skills and better workers for B.C.’s industries.”

“Our sincere thanks go out to CLAC for helping us enhance the learning environment for our carpentry students,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“Overall, the new shop is far more modern and efficient, and the location of the new tool crib makes it more accessible to students in our outside work spaces, which the students and instructors greatly appreciate.”

With a strong demand for more skilled tradespeople over the next decade – more than 160,000 in B.C. alone – CLAC recognized the need to reinforce the College’s effort to train proactively against potential skills shortages.

“The practical skills and education offered through this new facility will enable our tradespeople to gain the necessary knowledge to help us compete not only within Canada, but in the global marketplace,” says Brad Bent, CLAC’s Director of Training for Alberta.

Okanagan College is currently B.C.’s second largest trades training institution, offering an array of Apprenticeship and Foundation (pre-Apprenticeship) training programs. 

Read the full story in the press release: Press Release

Friday, November 27, 2015

Horizon Electric amps up new lab for electricians at Okanagan College

Horizon(1)The future looks bright for the next generation of electricians in the Okanagan thanks to a major boost from a local contractor that will help the College amp up a cutting edge lab for trades training. Staff from Horizon Electric joined students and employees of Okanagan College to celebrate the announcement of the company’s donation of $100,000 toward the new Trades Training Complex under construction at the Kelowna campus.  

“Having a state-of-the-art facility like this in our own backyard is so beneficial to our industry and our community,” says Horizon Electric President Jerry Pasitney.   

“This new complex will attract people to the region, keep jobs local and provide the skilled workers needed in the Okanagan and throughout the province. As a local family-owned company we are very proud to be able to support that.”  

Students in the Electrician program will have access to three new electrical controls labs when the complex opens in the spring of 2016; both will feature the latest equipment, technology, and workstations specifically geared for electricians.  

“From top to bottom our new trades training facilities are being designed, built, and outfitted with a great deal of input from our industry partners,” says Okanagan College’s Vice President Education Dr. Andrew Hay.

“We are very grateful to Horizon Electric for supporting our vision to create a dynamic, new learning environment for trades students.”  

Launched in 2006, the Electrician program is the largest program in the College’s Trades portfolio with more than 500 FTE (full-time equivalent) enrolments in 2014-15, and is one of the fastest growing trades programs in the province.  

The arrival of the new electrical labs next spring will be timely for the College and for students, given the projected demand for electricians in the region.  

Over the next seven years, it is expected that the Thompson Okanagan will need more than 1,000 new electricians. Provincially, the government has identified electricians as one of the top trades-sector jobs over the next decade, along with heavy duty mechanics.  
The 10,000 sq. metre $33-million renovation project includes a new three-storey tower along K.L.O. Road, along with upgrades to existing shops. Overall, the College has set the goal of meeting LEED Platinum standards for the new trades facilities. Earlier this year The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus became the first building of its size in the Okanagan to become LEED Platinum Certified.  

As an added benefit of the new space and facilities, the College will also be able to bring back to campus more than 700 students currently training at leased facilities on Acland and Penno Road.  

“When the new complex opens it will allow us to bring our Kelowna trades students together in a world-class facility,” explains Hay.   “Community support, as we are witnessing here today from Horizon Electric, is helping us strengthen the bond of community among our students; this is yet another way our donors and industry partners are helping the College build for the future.”  

The Okanagan College Foundation is endeavouring to raise $7 million – including $5 million for capital construction costs and $2 million for program and student support – to top up the Provincial Government’s $28-million investment.  

More information about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to support students is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.  

Horizon Electric is a family-run electrical contractor based in Kelowna employing more than 100 people locally. The company has worked on numerous large scale commercial and residential projects, including recent renovations and expansions for Interior Health, and provides services to many small businesses and individual home owners.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Rambow Mechanical supports OC in going green with new trades facility

A local business leader and volunteer for the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign has made a gift to help the College ensure that the tradespeople of tomorrow have an opportunity to learn in a facility that sets a new standard for sustainable construction. 
RamboRambow Mechanical Ltd., led by President Patrick Waunch (pictured right), has donated $50,000 to support the construction of a classroom in the new $33-million, 10,000 sq. metre complex currently under renovation and expansion along KLO Road.

“This new facility is going to be a great asset to students who want to make a future for themselves in this industry,” says Waunch.

Waunch is a long-time supporter of the College and currently serves as Chair of the Program Advisory Committee for the Plumbing/Piping program. He joined the fundraising campaign for the new building last year, as a volunteer Sector Chair. 

And while sustainability and innovation were importance factors in his decision to support, Waunch also cites the need to train more skilled tradespeople amid retirements and new job creation in the industry over the next decade.

“I believe it’s incredibly important that we invest in the skilled tradespeople of tomorrow,” he explains, noting that Rambow Mechanical currently employs five Okanagan College-trained apprentices. 

In acknowledging the donation, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton noted that industry support, from donations to the campaign to the hiring of trades graduates is a motivator for students.

"It sends a powerful message to our students and to our surrounding communities when local employers invest in education,” said Hamilton. “We are grateful to Rambow Mechanical for this generous donation and to Patrick Waunch personally, for championing the project in his sector.”

More information about the new complex and Rambow Mechanical's donation is available in the press release.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

PCL helping Okanagan College build a bright new home for trades in Kelowna

PCL giftThe construction company helping Okanagan College build what will be one of the most advanced and sustainable trades training facilities in North America's is also helping the College build up its fundraising total for the project.

PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. (PCL) has pledged $75,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign for the new Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna campus. 

The building marks the third major construction project that PCL has partnered with the College on since 2006, and the donation brings the company's giving to the College over the past decade to $185,000.

“Okanagan College is a leader in producing qualified skilled tradespeople for our province and our country,” says Todd Craigen, PCL’s Vice President and District Manager for the B.C. Region. “These tradespeople are on the frontlines of jobsites everyday building the projects that PCL is renowned for across North America.”

“These people are the backbone of our industry,” he added. “Without qualified skilled trades people, we would not have a successful business.”

Craigen (pictured here, 2nd from right), alongside Gary McEwan (first from right), Manager Special Projects Division for PCL, made the official cheque presentation to Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton (left) and Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler in front of this building recently.

“With more than 160,000 new job openings projected in the trades in B.C. by 2022, this new facility will allow us to continue to build the Okanagan as a hub for trades training," said Hamilton. "Which is timely for the province and beneficial for our regional economy. More than 40 per cent of our trades students come from outside of the Okanagan.”

“On behalf of Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation, I would like to thank PCL for making yet another significant investment in our students and in our infrastructure,” added Butler. 

Read more about PCL's involvement in this innovative construction project, and the company's support for Okanagan College over the years, in the press release.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Keldon Electric amps up classroom and gives campaign a boost of energy heading into the fall

keldonWith the BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint calling Electricians one of the key trades-sector jobs over the next decade, Okanagan College has received a timely show of support for its training of the next wave. 

Keldon Electric and Data Ltd. has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons fundraising campaign for the Trades Training Complex slated to open next spring at the Kelowna Campus.

“Keldon Electric and Data Ltd. feel privileged to support a facility where the majority of our workers are trained,” says Keldon Electric President Brian Yamaoka. “The College is a proven training facility that continually puts out skilled workers.”

The donation will help College construct and outfit a classroom tooled up for the needs of electricians and other skilled tradespeople to hit the books.

“New technologies and techniques are always emerging and so we adapt the training to reflect changes across the sector,” says the College's Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores.

“From top to bottom, the vision behind the new complex is to elevate trades training and provide students with learning environments that prepare them for the job sites of tomorrow.”

Electrical is one of the College's newest trades training programs, but it has quickly established itself as the leading program in terms of enrollment, making it one of the fastest growing trades programs in the province. In the last five years alone, the College has graduated 2273 full-time equivalent foundation (pre-apprentice) and Red Seal apprentice electricians.

Read more about how Keldon Electric is supporting the project in the press release.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Torches spark in new welding booths thanks to support from Praxair

praxairThe new welding shop at the Kelowna Campus is up and running and students have stepped into some cutting-edge workspaces thanks to the generous support of Praxair and the company's Global Giving Program.

Praxair has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons campaign, a donation that was supplemented by a matching grant through United Way Worldwide, which brought the overall total up to almost $60,000. 

“Praxair has a long history of developing talented STEM and skilled trade professionals that help us remain competitive globally,” says Praxair Canada President Sean Durbin. “Having this kind of training available locally through Okanagan College will help our region grow and we’re proud to be able to support our community in this way.”

The donation to the College supported the construction and equipping of six welding booths in the new shop, which will boast 36 booths in total. Students will continue to have access to 32 booths in an older shop space behind the new facilities. 

“This new welding shop is going to provide our students with a completely modern learning environment with all the latest technologies and equipment that they will encounter out in the industry.”

In addition to new technologies, improvements to the shop include more efficient lighting, heating and cooling, and a more efficient extraction system which improves ventilation. 

Community support for the new welding shop has topped $250,000, including donations for program and student support. Read more about how this support is benefiting students, and the growth and demand for the welding program, in the press release.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Village of Kettle Valley donation helps build another home for learning at Okanagan College

Kettle ValleyIt is truly an example of a gift that keeps on giving for trades students at Okanagan College.

Village of Kettle Valley has donated $62,412 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign. The gift was made to support the rejuvenation of the College’s carpentry and joinery shop, part of the $33-million renovation and expansion of the trades training facilities underway at the Kelowna campus.

“We feel it is very important to support the future tradespeople of the Okanagan,” says Stephen Wells, Village of Kettle Valley’s President and General Manager of Land Development and Land Sales.

“Village of Kettle Valley has been proud to work with the College on a number of projects and awards for students over the years. This gift evolved out of those collaborations and we were thrilled to play a role in helping the College build a beautiful new shop,” explains Wells.

It is a partnership that dates to 2005 when the developer provided lots on which Okanagan College could construct two “Home for Learning” projects. Students from the College’s Residential Construction program worked side by side with tradespeople from Vintage Design, Delnor Homes, and Excite Homes to build two high-end homes in the community.

Funds from the sale of the homes were then donated by Village of Kettle Valley to create entrance awards for trades students at the College. Nearly 50 students have benefited from the awards since that time. When Kettle Valley learned that the College was updating it's trades training facilities, and that major support was needed for the carpentry shop, a decision was made to roll the funds over into a donation to support the renovation. 

“It is particularly heartening for us that donors in our community like Village of Kettle Valley have stepped up to support the College in building this space for students," says Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores.

Read more about what this donation allowed the College to achieve through the upgrades, in the press release.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Fenders donation keeps support rolling for automotive trades in the Okanagan

norm cross fenders(1)A local automotive shop owner and College Alumnus has made a major donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign to help ensure that the rich history of automotive trades continues in the Valley.

Fender’s Automotive Center in West Kelowna has pledged $50,000 to support upgrades underway in the College’s Collision Repair shop, the very shop in which Fender's owner Norm Cross
 earned his Red Seal in 1983. 
 

“As a business owner who hires Red Seal technicians and as someone who went through the apprenticeship process myself, I feel a responsibility to support the next generation and to help keep the automotive trade alive and healthy,” says Fender’s owner Norm Cross.

“The fact that local employers have chosen to support the new trades training complex is very affirming for us as we build for the future,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We are truly grateful to Fender’s and all of the other automotive business owners investing in our campus, our programs, and our students as we grow to train ahead of the skills gap predicted for the province.”

“I worked for my dad, Norm Sr., who started Springfield Auto Body in the mid-1970s,” explains Cross. “My father was the one who signed off on my apprenticeship ticket.”

Hear more about Cross's support, and what inspired him to return to the College and give back as an alumni, in the press release.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Wilden donation aids students and helps create inspired space at Okanagan College

WildenKnown for their motto "Nature Inspired Living", Wilden Development has made a major donation to Okanagan College to create an inspired student space in the Trades Training Complex. And the support goes even further, with the creation of an award fund also intended to inspire and invest in the future tradespeople of the Okanagan.

Blenk Development Corporation (Wilden Development) has pledged $100,000 toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign for the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna Campus. The donation will boost both student space and awards, with $75,000 going toward construction of a space in the new three-storey complex where students can meet, study, and relax between classes, and $25,000 to be utilized to establish an award fund for trades students.

“We are proud and excited to support Okanagan College in this new chapter of its trades training,” says Russ Foster, President and CEO of Blenk Development Corporation. “We see this as a wonderful opportunity to give back to our community, support the industry we are a part of, and invest in the future of trades in the Okanagan.”

Says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton: “When our students see local businesses like Wilden stepping up to invest in their futures, it inspires them and demonstrates the value our community places on education.

Sustainability was one of the important factors in Wilden’s decision to support the project. 
Carrying on the "green" theme, it was crucial that the space would refresh students, with plenty of natural light and views to green space.

“When the College shared its vision for a sustainable facility, we knew it was a fit with Wilden’s innovative practices and our commitment to working in harmony with nature,” explains Wilden Developer Gerhard Blenk. “We hope that this contribution and the beautiful space it will help to build will inspire students for many years to come.”Read more in the press release.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mazda Canada donates vehicle to Okanagan College; students get hands-on training opportunity

Mazda5Students in Okanagan College’s Motor Vehicle and Collision Repair trades programs received a little zoom zoom recently from Mazda Canada Inc. in the form of a vehicle donated for training purposes.

The vehicle, a 2015 Mazda5, was damaged in transit. Mechanically sound but dented, scratched and minus a window, it presents a perfect hands-on learning opportunity for students of the College’s foundation and apprenticeship programs dedicated to getting our cars, trucks, and SUVs back on the road.   

The donation has a local connection in that one of the valley’s prominent auto dealers helped to set it in motion. Back in January, Brian August, Dealer Principal for Kelowna Motors for Mazda, penned a letter of support indicating that a donated vehicle would greatly benefit College students studying the automotive trades.

“Our company has experienced the success of the Okanagan College’s Automotive Service Technician (AST) programs first hand through hiring a number of its graduates over the years,” says August (pictured here, centre, flanked by his son Matt August (left), General Manager of Kelowna Motors, and Dennis Gabelhouse (right), Chair of the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign.)

“Okanagan College’s graduates have joined our team fully prepared and equipped to not only perform their roles but to also contribute in a meaningful way to the success of our dealership," August adds. “We believe there is a definite need to support the automotive industry demand for the supply of a skilled workforce that is job-ready, and highly trained and we hope this vehicle will benefit students across a variety of automotive trades training programs.” 

The Mazda5 is set to get a makeover from Okanagan College’s foundation and apprentice Collision Repair students, who will repair the damage to the car’s body and windows—returning it to its intended showroom look.

“Our trade training is over 70% hands on,” says John Euloth, Chair of Collision Repair. “With this donation, students will have the opportunity to learn the latest vehicle build technologies, materials and safety restraint systems that are currently entering our markets.”

Following the collision repair and finishing work, the Mazda5 will be shared by the College’s AST and Collision Repair shops, providing a variety of “under the hood” and exterior training scenarios for many years to come.

Mazda Canada has donated vehicles to the College over the years, dating back to 1991, when it first provided a vehicle for training purposes. Earlier this month, students in this year’s Collision Repair Technician Certificate program class completed restored to mint condition a 2013 Mazda 3 with significant damage to its rear-passenger side.

For more information about Okanagan College’s Motor Vehicle and Collision Repair trades programs, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/trades


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Kelowna Kia donation drives home the importance of backing trades students

Kelowna kiaWith a growing number of automotive-related businesses throughout the Okanagan, a local automotive dealer says support for the next wave of automotive tradespeople will be crucial. 

Kelowna Kia has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign in support of the renovation and expansion of the College’s trades training facilities along KLO Road.

“Having been in the Okanagan for 43 years, I wanted to give something back into the community and the industry that has been very good to me,” says Winfried Gradnitzer, Dealer Principal of Kelowna Kia.

"Helping young people get started in automotive careers is certainly good for our industry but it also has a positive effect on many others sectors. This new complex will be good for our community as a whole.”

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton thanked and ackowledged Kelowna Kia for its support. 

“We are very appreciative of Kelowna Kia’s investment in our students and our campus as we build for the next fifty years of trades training at Okanagan College," said Hamilton. "This new facility, which will accomodate more than 2,600 students per year, will allow us to be proactive in training the skilled workers needed in our region, across the province, and throughout Western Canada."

Campaign Ambassador Mike Roberts reiterated the impact that community support is having on students.

“Every dollar raised benefits students,” says Roberts. “When you see the impact that a bursary has on a student—when you see the look of pride and motivation on his or her face—it is something that is difficult to put into words.”

Read more in the press release.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kelowna Toyota hopes to give the next generation of automotive tradespeople a boost with Bright Horizons donation

Toyota 2015Providing opportunities for students in the valley, benefits us all says one Okanagan auto dealer who has made a bold investment in the next wave of men and women who will keep our vehicles on the road.

Kelowna Toyota has donated $50,000 to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign to help the rubber hit road when it comes to a new a classroom in the Trades Training Complex currently under construction along KLO Road.

"As the technology in our vehicles advances at an ever-increasing pace, it is vital for automotive tradespeople to have a solid foundation of formal training,” says Jack Kofoed, Dealer Principal at Kelowna Toyota.

“We have had the privilege of hiring numerous Red Seal graduates from the College over the years and have seen first-hand the quality of the training they receive.

Kofoed expounds upon this by noting that further establishing the Okanagan as a go-to locale for trades benefits businesses in all sectors of the economy due to the dollars trades bring in to the region. 

Says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton: 

“We are very grateful to Kelowna Toyota as one of the local industry leaders who have stepped forward as donors and champions in the community for this project.”

Read more about how Kelowna Toyota is being a champion for students, in the press release.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cliff and Lois Serwa support the future tradespeople of the Okanagan through Bright Horizons donation

Cliff and Lois SerwaTheir connection to Okanagan College spans more than 50 years. Now, through a generous donation to the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus, Cliff and Lois Serwa are helping the College build for the next 50. 

The Serwas have given $50,000 to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign behind the $33-million renovation and expansion of the College’s trades training facilities in Kelowna; the donation will assist the College in building a state-of-the-art classroom space in the new three-storey tower along KLO Road.

“This community has been good to us and we’re very proud to be able to give back and support an institution that continues to have such a far reaching impact on students from all walks of life in the Okanagan,” says Cliff Serwa. “Whether it’s supporting students fresh out of high school, or mature students, or single parents going back to school to find employment so they can support their families, the opportunities Okanagan College creates valley-wide are truly invaluable.”

“We are sincerely grateful to Cliff and Lois Serwa for this generous investment in our students’ futures,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Support like this sends a strong message to our students that there are people in the community who believe in their potential and want to see them succeed.”

The Serwas’ support of students at the College goes beyond the trades. In 2007, they established an annual bursary for students enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program.

“The value of a gift lies not in its price but in its potential,” says Lois Serwa.  

Read more in the press release.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Northside shows its support for trades campaign, welding students

northsideIt's a bright day for welding students at Okanagan College--so bright in fact, they may need to wear eye protection. Fortunately, a donation from a local business has them covered: 

Thanks to a $30,000 donation from Northside Industries,a steel manufacturing company based in West Kelowna our students will soon be stepping into three new welding booths as renovation and expansion on the Trades Training Complex continues (doors are slated to open spring of 2016).
While Northside Industries,officially announced its generous support to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign today, the company's support of students and apprentices at the College runs deep. 

They are also an active member of the Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for the welding program—a group of organizations and individuals that provides the College’s Trades department with insight into the latest industry trends and training needs.

"It’s great that we have manufacturing in the valley and a college that can support it,” says Northside Industries' President Steve McKay. “Okanagan College does a tremendous job of preparing graduates for industry, and it works especially well for companies like ours to have a strong pool of talent to draw from locally.”

Read the full story about Northside's support, and how it will benefit students in the press release.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Support from every corner of the Okanagan helps push trades campaign over the $4-million mark!

complex juneThis week marks an important milestone as the campaign for Okanagan College’s new trades training complex has hit and surpassed the $4 million toward its $7-million goal. As of today, the campaign's total sits at more than $4.18 million.

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton says the outpouring of support for the $33 million renovation and expansion project illustrates the extensive network of donors and industry partners working with the College to make education accessible to a diverse array of learners. 

“It has been very encouraging for us to see donors from a variety of areas and interests that have come forward to support the College as we build for the future,” says Hamilton. “From large organizations to families to our own staff and students, the depth of support for this project demonstrates the value our community places on education.”

“This new facility—which will accommodate more than 2,400 students per year—will be transformative for our students and for our communities as well, as we train the next wave of tradespeople in B.C."

“The community has really embraced the fact that this campaign is about much more than building classrooms and labs and hallways,” says Gabelhouse. “It’s about the impact that we all can make by supporting the learning that occurs in those spaces. 

“It’s about opening doors for people through education and helping young people get a trade they can use to build a life for themselves and their families.”

Read more about this major milestone, and the donors who have helped the College reach this mark, in the press release.


Monday, May 25, 2015

TEAM Construction Ltd. donation helps Okanagan College Campaign keep building momentum

wilson, gordPicking up a hammer can take you anywhere is a message Gord Wilson, Founder and President of TEAM Construction Ltd. would like to get across to students considering a career in trades. It is also a message Wilson hopes the community will get behind him in communicating, as Okanagan College seeks to elevate the trades as a career path, while also elevating the learning environment for students, as the new trades training complex at the Kelowna campus takes shape. 

Wilson and his company have stepped up with bold support for the College's efforts. 

Team Construction Management Limited, based in Kelowna, has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign. The donation will help to build a leading edge classroom space in the $33-million complex currently under renovation and expansion along KLO Road. 

“The construction of this new facility is very timely,” says Wilson. “When you look at the growth of the Okanagan, a region our size needs a hub for trades training. It provides opportunity for students and it benefits the economy of the region. I hope others will choose to support it.” 

Wilson's support goes even further: he is volunteering his time as a sector chair on the Bright Horizons Campaign, and Team Construction Project Manager Chuck Cullen—an alumnus of the College’s Carpentry program—is also helping the College spread the word about trades careers. For several years now Cullen has delivered spotlight sessions at local high schools, educating students about career paths in the building trades.

“My training at the College was very valuable,” says Cullen. “I went from being a student fresh out of high school to someone who felt confident in my skills and confident on the job site.”

Read more about TEAM Construction's support of the campaign in the press release.

Wednesday, May 14, 2015

Andrew Sheret Ltd. supports Okanagan College's sustainability efforts with new LEED Platinium-projected Trades Training Complex

ttc may 2015Sustainability encompasses more than just building with the environment in mind, says one donor who has stepped forward with a major gift toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign. It also means ensuring that the talent pool from which our industries draw is continually replenished with well-trained workers.

This desire to support both environmental responsibility and the next generation of trades people has inspired Andrew Sheret Limited to donate $50,000 to Okanagan College. The company’s donation will support the construction of a tool crib in the new trades training complex currently under construction at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus along KLO Road. 

“First and foremost, we see this as an investment in the future tradespeople of the province,” says Brian Findlay, President of Andrew Sheret Limited. “As technology advances, current training is so essential. We’re very proud to be able to support students and help the next wave of apprentices learn their trade.”

“The new trades training complex features innovative design and the latest technology and equipment,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College.

One of the most innovative aspects of the facility is found overhead. The 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion project includes the construction of a 1,858-square-metre outdoor training space, which is covered by a canopy housing one of the largest solar photovoltaic arrays in the province.
It is estimated that the panel will generate over 208,550 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. The average home in B.C. uses 8,000 kWh per year, meaning that the panel could generate enough electricity to power 26 homes for a year.

The array will aid the College in achieving its goal of net-zero energy usage for the complex—meaning the building will generate all the energy it needs. The new facility will also feature smart environmental controls systems and processes, including geothermal heating and cooling and greywater recycling. 

Read more in the press release.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lifetime of tools for Bright Horizons

Bill Schoof, retired tradesperson, speaks to SHAW TV about why he chose to donate "a lifetime of tools" to the Bright Horizons Campaign

You may have read the story back in March about Bill Schooff, who donated thousands of dollars of tools gathered during his 40+ years as a Journeyperson tool and die maker. Mr. Schooff recently stopped by Okanagan College to see his tools at work in our shops. He spoke with SHAW TV about why he chose to donate to the College and support trades students.

 


Monday, April 20, 2015

Okanagan College Alumnus Dale Lamb supports Bright Horizons and steps up with financial mentorship for students

Dale LambIt's always heart-warming when alumni give back to the College to help support the futures of students who will follow in their footsteps. It's even more inspiring when donors encourage others to follow their lead. It all contributes to the strong spirit of philanthropy that is alive and well in the Okanagan. This is the story of one alumnus who wanted not only to help the Okanagan College provide students with a great learning space, but to show the next generation the importance of giving.

Dale Lamb, President of D.K.L. Financial Services Inc., has donated $50,000 towards to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign. Lamb’s support will help build a state-of-the-art classroom space in the new Trades Training Complex currently under renovation and expansion along KLO road. 

“Having called the Okanagan valley home for the past 36 years, I believe it’s important to give back locally,” says Lamb. “When I heard about the new trades facilities at Okanagan College and the way this space would elevate training to a whole new level for students in our community, I thought ‘What a great way to show my own children that giving back is important.

“I see this as an opportunity not just to support students, but also to inspire young people—and everyone in our community—that whether it’s a few dollars or thousands, by giving back and paying it forward, we can all have an impact.”

Lamb's support of students doesn't stop there. Read more in the press release about how he has stepped up with a mentorship opportunity that is helping students access a crucial life skill as they enter the workforce. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Inland supports apprenticeship in the valley in a big way with $50,000 campaign donation

inlandVery few donation announcements involve a 3,100 horsepower semi-sized diesel drag racer, but this one did.

Inland, a B.C.-based transportation and equipment company, has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizon’s Building for Skills Campaign; the company announced it's donation at a recent open house at their West Kelowna location.

 “The Smokin Gun”, a 1968 Canadian Kenworth diesel drag semi, roared in the background as the Inland team presented the cheque to Okanagan College Foundation’s John Haller, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd.

Inland's Vice President of Business Development, Boyd McConnachie, pointed out that the company's decision to support the trades training complex was a natural fit with Inland's long-standing support of the apprenticeship process. 

“We’re very proud to call the Okanagan home,” says McConnachie. “It is key to the economy that local businesses and organizations work together to develop our own homegrown talent.” 

Okanagan President Jim Hamilton acknowledged the donation, saying: “The new trades training complex will elevate the Southern Interior as a hub for trades training, by providing students with a world-class facility to match the high quality of instruction that Okanagan College has offered for more than fifty years." 

 "We’re very grateful to Inland for investing in the future of our students and our campus.”
To read more about Inland's support and how it will benefit students, read more in the press release.

Monday, April 9, 2015

Trades tailgate party celebrates trades training in the Okanagan, vibrant local industry; College thanks CHBA, regional media for support

Tailgate photoOver a hundred representatives from construction trades businesses and organizations throughout the Okanagan were on campus Thursday evening for the Trades Tailgate Party, presented by CHBA. The tailgate party was organized as a networking event for industry professionals and a celebration of trades training--and the next generation of tradespeople--at Okanagan College.

Event co-emcees Heather Schneider, Regional Dean of Okanagan College, and Sherri Paiement, Executive Officer, Canadian Homebuilders Association Okanagan, welcomed guests.

Guests enjoyed inspired culinary creations prepared by Okanagan College's Culinary Arts students and faculty, all with a playful trades and tailgate flair. In what seemed like only a minute, the carpentry shop was transformed into a dining hall, with woodworking tables decked out with lumberjack sandwiches, pulled pork, a huge assortment of greens and sides, and--perhaps the night's most talked about treat--bacon infused caramel popcorn. Food was sponsored by D.K.L Financial and Wilson Beck Insurance. Event beverage sponsors Big Surf Beer and Volcanic Hills poured local craft beer and wine.

Tailgate photo2The evening was also an opportunity to recognize the community's incredible support to date for the Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign. 

Gord Wilson, President of Team Construction Management Ltd. announced and thanked CHBA Okanagan for it's pledge of $10,000 to the campaign. Campaign Chair Dennis Gabelhouse also thanked CHBA and spoke about how this donation will inspire others in the community, and in the construction industry especially, to support students as the new trades training complex comes together (the complex is expected to open in Spring of 2016).

Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton also thanked the region's media for contributing over $385,000 to date in in-kind media support for the campaign. 

“With a province-wide skills shortage projected across the trades sector, Okanagan College is renovating and expanding our facilities to train ahead of that need and help thousands of new tradespeople get job-ready,” said Hamilton. “We truly appreciate how the region’s media has bolstered our efforts to raise awareness about this project.”

Overall, it was a hugely enjoyable event for all and a wonderful way to shine a light on how the community--and local industry--has stepped up to support the campaign.

Read more in the press release.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Emil Anderson Construction gives a heavy-duty gift to Okanagan College students

EAC Ltd"We absolutely need to get young people into trades." is the message Mike Jacobs, President and CEO of Emil Anderson Construction, wants the community to hear.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The Kelowna-based construction company has pledged $50,000 donation to the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign. Emil Anderson Construction's donation has enabled the College to build and outfit a new classroom in the heavy mechanical trades shop, which integrates new technology and equipment into the learning space.

“We know there is a coming shortage of tradespeople, and we’re very proud to support the College’s efforts to train new apprentices so we can stay out in front of that skills gap,” says Mike Jacobs, President & CEO of Emil Anderson Construction.

“The new trades training complex will provide our students with learning environments that are truly modern,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President of Education. “We are very grateful to Emil Anderson Construction, and to all our donors, for investing in our students’ educational experiences. It sends a powerful message to our students that local industry is behind them.”

Jacobs joined Dr. Hay and Okanagan College Foundation Director Kathy Butler on a tour of the Heavy Duty Mechanical Trades shop this week; he met students and spoke about what industry, and the community, can do to support the next wave of apprentices.

Read more about what this new space will mean for students in the press release

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Campaign Ambassador Mike Roberts hits the campaign trail

RobertsMike Roberts chatted with Phil Johnson of AM1150's morning show today about the renovation and expansion of the trades training complex at Okanagan College - and what the community can do to support the project.

Listen to what Mike had to say here.











Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sentes donation a leading example of strong support from local automotive dealers

Adam RichIn a strong show of support for trades in the Okanagan, Sentes Automotive has pledged $50,000 toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign. Sentes' support will help to build a student study space in the new trades tower currently under construction along KLO Road in Kelowna.

“Our company recognizes the impact that new trades students and apprentices have, not only on our business, but on the industry as a whole throughout the Okanagan,” says Adam Rich, General Manager of Sentes. “We see the skills and the energy these young people bring to the table, and we’re proud to support their training."

Adam Rich, General Manager of Sentes has also lent his time and support for the campaign as a volunteer Chair for the Automotive Sector.

Okanagan College Jim Hamilton says, "We are very grateful to local industry leaders like Sentes Automotive who are helping us build for the future, and personally to Adam Rich for his efforts as a champion for the campaign out in the community."

Read the full story in the press release.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bill and Mary Schooff donate a lifetime's worth of tools to trades students at Okanagan College

SchoofBill Schooff, a retired journeyman tool and die maker, and his wife Mary, a retired school teacher, have donated Schooff's 40 year collection of machinist tools to Okanagan College. Mr. Schoof stepped forward with his generous gift to the College after learning about the renovation and expansion of the Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus, and the need for equipment, in addition to capital, to help bolster programs and opportunities for students.

“If you’re learning a trade you need more than books, you need the right tools in your hand as well,” says Schoof. “The College already has great equipment, of course, but I know that good tools are always in demand, always appreciated. I was glad to hear that they would benefit students and I’m happy to see them put to good use.”

“I want to extend a sincere thank-you on behalf of Okanagan College to Mr. Schoof for this generous gift. As a journeyperson machinist and tool and die maker myself, I feel a special connection to these tools and the trade, and I appreciate that Mr. Schoof has chosen to share an important part of his life’s work to inspire our students,” adds Moores.

The tools were amassed by Schoof over the course of his career in trades, and took a great deal of careful planning, saving, and effort to attain.

Read more about Schoof's donation and how these tools will benefit students at Okanagan College in the press release.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rotary Club of Kelowna donates $75,000 to help Okanagan College elevate trades training in the region

rotary kelownaYou can’t step out your front door and go very far without encountering something that a tradesperson has helped to design, build, or fix.

This is one of the inspiring messages that a local Rotary club hopes the community will recognize and take away from its decision to support the new trades training complex at Okanagan College, as the college expands its trades training complex at the Kelowna campus.

The Rotary Club of Kelowna has pledged $75,000 to the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign, with the aim of helping Okanagan College not only elevate learning environments for trades students but to ultimately elevate trades as a career path in the Okanagan.

“Our club has a long history of supporting education,” says Club President Dennis Campbell. “It’s an important part of the culture of what we do. Be it through creating bursaries at the College, or supporting major projects like this, we’re very passionate about helping the next generation of students achieve their educational goals.”

Read more in the press release.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Okanagan College Students Union makes milestone donation towards the future of the College

ocsuIn a truly inspiring display of school spirit and leadership by Okanagan College’s student body, the Okanagan College Students’ Union (OCSU) has pledged a $100,000 towards the Bright Horizons campaign to renovate and expand the trades training complex at the Kelowna Campus.

“We think it’s a powerful message that Okanagan College students see the value of this new learning facility and want to step up and play an active role in building it,” says Chelsea Grisch, Executive Chairperson, Okanagan College Students’ Union. “We hope it will inspire others in the community to give to the campaign and support students.”

Okanagan College is proud and appreciative of the fact that its students have chosen to invest in the future of their campus, says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. 

“Their action demonstrates great leadership on their part and confirms our commitment to providing the best possible environment to support student learning.”

Read more about the incredible story behind OCSU’s contribution, and what it will mean for students when the doors of the new complex open in 2016, here.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Al Carter and family help Okanagan College enhance study space for trades 

carterAl Carter, a well-known auto industry leader for many years in Kelowna, has donated $50,000 to support the construction of two group study rooms in the new trades building. As Okanagan College looks at the demand for apprentices over the next decade, one thing is clear: student space will need to be just as cutting edge as the programs and training offered at the College. Enter the Carter family, who have stepped up to help ensure that students have access to study space designed to support their success.

“Our family has always been a strong supporter of apprenticeship,” says Carter. “We’ve had many Okanagan College alumni working in our auto repair shops over the years—including John Haller, former Dean of Trades. We think the apprenticeship process is a wonderful thing and we’re proud to support trades training at the College.”

Carter reflected back on the growth and change he has witnessed in the Okanagan, since moving to Kelowna in the early 1960s. He offered up words of advice and encouragement to students looking to get started in a trade. 

Read the full story here


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Christian Family donation drives new student space at Okanagan College

christian family(1)When the Christian Family of Kelowna heard about the campaign to rejuvenate the trades training complex, and the opportunities the new building would provide for students, they knew they wanted to get behind it. Their family wished to support the creation of a space that would help students be successful and feel supported during their time at the College. This student-focused outlook inspired them to pledge $75,000 to the Bright Horizons Campaign.

The family’s donation is also intended to recognize Frank and Barbara Christian’s contribution to the community, explained their children, Lorinda and Randy.

“Having owned car and RV dealerships, obviously the automotive trade has played a big role in our family’s businesses,” says Randy Christian. “So when we learned about the new trades’ complex and the opportunities it will provide for students, the focus aligned with our family’s history and our desire to give something back to the next generation.

Read the full story here.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Community-mindedness inspires Pushor Mitchell LLP's donation to Bright Horizons Campaign

Pushor MitchellThe far-reaching impact of trades on our local economy is not lost on the partners of Pushor Mitchell LLP, which is why they have decided to put their support behind the campaign to renovate and expand the trades training complex at Okanagan College's Kelowna Campus.

Pushor Mitchell  has pledged $30,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation towards the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills Campaign, in the hopes that their support will help provide opportunities for apprentices and foundation students. The partners and staff of Pushor Mitchell also hopes this donation will inspire others in the community to step up and support this project that will have long-term positive benefits not just for Okanagan College but for the Okanagan as a whole.

Read more about Pushor Mitchell's community-minded gift in the press release.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Salt family donation a heavy-duty boost for Okanagan College trades complex campaign

salt(1)When Art Salt learned heard the trades training complex at Okanagan College was undergoing a significant expansion, and that the College was searching for equipment to enhance new shop spaces, he knew he had something that would be an amazing training opportunity for students. 

The local auto industry pioneer from Coldstream, B.C. has donated a Caterpillar ITI8F front-end loader, valued at $60,000 loader for instructional purposes. Students in the Heavy Duty Mechanics Program will have opportunities to work with the loader and get hands-on training experience on a piece of equipment they are likely to encounter in the industry.

During a recent tour of campus, Mr. Salt interacted with students in the trades shops and offered up pieces of advice and praise for their work. He was quick to point out that trades training is a crucial aspect of our local economy and that he hopes many students will be able to stay local and find jobs throughout the Okanagan Valley utilizing their training.

Read more in the press release

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Federal Government Announces New Loans for Trades Training

harpersmall

While not directly related to the Bright Horizons campaign, this is great news for men and women looking to begin trades training at Okanagan College: 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced while touring BCIT today that the Canada Apprentice Loan initiative is now open for business and accepting applications. The initiative will help those already apprenticing to complete their training and encourage more Canadians to pursue a career in the skilled trades, allowing participants to take advantage of the many job opportunities across Canada. 

The Canada Apprentice Loan, which was introduced in Economic Action Plan 2014, will provide apprentices in Red Seal trades across Canada with access to interest-free loans.

These loans will help apprentices address the costs they encounter during technical training, including educational fees, tools and equipment, living expenses and forgone wages. It will be managed by the Canada Student Loans Program, within Employment and Social Development Canada. Apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade apprenticeship will be able to apply for loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training. The loans are interest-free until after loan recipients complete or leave their apprenticeship training program, up to a maximum of six years.

Those interested in applying for the Canada Apprentice Loan can do so through the Canada Apprentice Loan Online Service which is available through Canada.ca/apprentice.Click here for more information.
Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 

Okanagan Chrysler Jeep Dodge gift revs up Trades Complex campaign

Jeep Chrysler PhotoDean McAuley was looking for a way to give back to the community that has responded so warmly to his business for the past twelve years. When he heard about the Building for Skills Campaign to renovate and expand the Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College's Kelowna Campus, he knew it was the right fit.

McAuley not only understands the value of trades training in the automotive industry, he has seen that value extend to his own business. Okanagan Dodge employs numerous alumni of the Automotive Trades programs at Okanagan College.

McAuley sees these young trades people as the "wave of the future" and believes that local businesses should be proactive in working with institutions like Okanagan College that are seeking to meet the looming provincial skills gap in the trades sector.

This donation is a shining example of a local business understanding the challenges and opportunities facing students today, and pitching in to help thousands of new apprentices get job-ready (the new complex will house over 2,400 students in Foundation and Apprenticeship programs per year).


Thursday Dec. 18, 2014 

Kelowna Flightcraft lands with Trades Training Complex donation

Lapointe Dec 2014

Barry Lapointe, CEO of Kelowna Flightcraft, has helped propel the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign to new heights with a donation of $500,000. Lapointe's donation puts the campaign it over the halfway mark of its $7-million goal, which includes $5 million for capital and $2 million for program and student support.

Joining Lapointe for the donation announcement, and joining Okanagan College in acknowledging this support was Premier Christy Clark, area MLAs Norm Letnick and Steve Thomson, and several representatives of Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation.

In a brief ceremony at Flightcraft’s airport hangar, where a class of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering students were nearing completion of their course, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and OC Foundation President Alf Kempf thanked Lapointe and presented him with a framed letter of acknowledgement and an Okanagan College Trades commemorative jacket.

Read more in the press release.


Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 

Westwood Electric donation powers up new electrical controls lab at Okanagan College

WestwoodpressOkanagan College students in the Electrical Trades programs will benefit from a generous donation of $100,000 from Westwood Electric towards the “Bright Horizons: Building for Skills” Campaign. 

Westwood's donation will support electrical trades space in the Trades Training Complex, currently under construction at the Kelowna Campus. The exciting electrical trades learning classroom and lab spaces in the new facility will feature state of the art equipment, technology, and work-stations for students. When completed in Spring of 2016, the trades training complex will be one of the largest and most sustainable trades training spaces in BC.

Westwood’s decision to support the campaign for the Trades Training Complex cames out of a desire to play a key role in boosting the local trades industry and ensuring that the next wave of tradespeople have the tools they need to be job-ready. Electrical trades is now one of Okanagan College's largest trades programs, having grown significantly in 2014.

Read more in the press release.


Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 

Auto sector support vital to successful $2.5 million launch of campaign to revamp Okanagan College’s Trades Training Complex

The Okanagan College Foundation campaign to raise funds for a new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus has kicked off with donations from 43 donors totaling $2.5 million – a significant portion of that coming from Kelowna area car dealerships.

Local car dealerships have collectively provided $610,000; a sizable donation that includes $10,000 from the Kelowna Auto Dealers Association. Another $845,000 has come from industry leaders in the auto, welding, construction, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical sectors.    

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Trades Campaign Launch Photo2Kelowna Auto Dealers(1)

Kelowna Automotive Dealers gather to present a $10,000 donation to the Campaign. Holding the cheque are Campaign Chair Dennis Gabelhouse and Kelowna Automotive Dealers Association President John Bokitch

Monday, May 26, 2014

Key Industry leaders supporting new Trades Training Complex 

Sector Chairs May 2014(1)Owners of some of the most established Central Okanagan businesses focused on the trades are nowadding their weight to support the new $33-million Trades Training Complex under construction at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

Representatives from companies as diverse as automotive dealers to steel fabricators have joined the Okanagan College Foundation’s volunteer campaign team, Campaign Chair Dennis Gabelhouse announced today.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Foundation announces Campaign Team

RobertsThree enthusiastic supporters of both the trades and Okanagan College have offered to head up the campaign team to raise funds for the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus.

Ben Stewart, Dennis Gabelhouse and Mike Roberts will be front and centre as Okanagan College ramps up its efforts to raise $7 million towards the new $33-million Trades Training Complex to be located on KLO Rd.

Stewart, who was the Westside-Kelowna MLA from 2009 until this spring, is taking on the role of Honorary Chair. Gabelhouse, who has a lengthy background in media and marketing - most recently at Global Okanagan - will be the Campaign Chair, while Roberts, a retired veteran broadcaster and Okanagan College Honorary Fellow, has signed on as Campaign Ambassador.


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