News

Previous Posts(3)
Vernon Trades campaign kicks off with big boost
Credit Union invests in next generation
Kelowna Secondary School student wins tuition at Okanagan College
Archive(388)
December 2017 (3)
November 2017 (10)
October 2017 (6)
September 2017 (13)
August 2017 (6)
July 2017 (6)
June 2017 (11)
May 2017 (12)
April 2017 (6)
March 2017 (12)
February 2017 (15)
January 2017 (12)
December 2016 (9)
November 2016 (9)
October 2016 (10)
September 2016 (6)
August 2016 (11)
July 2016 (5)
June 2016 (8)
May 2016 (12)
April 2016 (7)
March 2016 (19)
February 2016 (14)
January 2016 (14)
December 2015 (10)
November 2015 (11)
October 2015 (11)
September 2015 (20)
August 2015 (4)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (13)
May 2015 (12)
April 2015 (14)
March 2015 (18)
February 2015 (21)
January 2015 (12)
Blog Topics(0)
Records 1 to 4 of 25
Vernon Trades campaign kicks off with big boost

campaign launchThe future is looking bright for a new trades training hub in the North Okanagan after Okanagan College kicked off its fundraising campaign on Monday with the announcement of two major gifts.

Vernon philanthropist George Galbraith announced a $250,000 pledge to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons – Building for Skills campaign for the new Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus. Immediately after, a second gift of $250,000 from Kal Tire was announced.

The $500,000 boost puts the Okanagan College Foundation well on its way to the campaign’s $1 million fundraising goal.

“It’s very rewarding to be a part of such an exciting initiative in our backyard,” says Galbraith, who is dedicating his gift and naming one of the trades shops in memory of his son Kieran.

Well-known in the community for his generosity, Galbraith sees his gift as an act of gratitude for the benefits he received raising a family and building a livelihood in the Okanagan. For him, it’s not about signing a cheque, it is about making a long-term investment in the future of the region. Galbraith hopes it will inspire others to contribute as well.

“The new centre will provide youth from our community the educational foundation and tools to be successful as they embark on their careers.”

The contribution from Kal Tire will see one of the new centre’s trades shops named for the company.

“We’re proud to support a new learning environment that will provide the highest quality trades training, and a promising career path for students,” says Robert Foord, President of Kal Tire. “This new centre will create a positive impact for our local economy and help keep qualified tradespeople in the North Okanagan.”  

The two contributions will support the completion 13,450 square-foot state-of-the-art centre on the Vernon campus that will have the capacity to train approximately 150 students per year. The project is being supported through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Through this fund, the province of B.C. is investing $2.9 million and the government of Canada has provided $2.7 million. The Okanagan College Foundation is fundraising for the remainder of the project cost and to provide program and student bursaries and scholarships that will help increase access to training.

Construction of the $6.2 million building is underway, with completion targeted for Spring 2018.

“Both George Galbraith and Kal Tire are renowned for their philanthropy and civic spirit,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Once again, they are supporting the community, this time through significant contributions to a leading-edge facility where Okanagan College students will train to become part of the solution to address the skills shortage in the province.”

At the launch event, the Okanagan College Foundation also announced a partnership with the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan (CFNO). According to Michael Tindall, Chair of the Bright Horizons Vernon campus campaign, the collaboration will give individuals and businesses the opportunity to make a donation to the campaign through the charity of their choice.

The first gift to the campaign was a $50,000 pledge from Vernon home building and renovation company Keith Construction, announced in May 2017.

For more information about the campaign or to donate, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.

 

Credit Union invests in next generation

SDCUA local financial institution has stepped forward with an inspiring gift that will yield great returns for families in the South Okanagan. 

The Summerland & District Credit Union (SDCU) announced a pledge of $5,000 to Little Learners Academy, the new child care centre at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. 

A fixture in the Okanagan since 1944, SDCU has helped individuals buy their first car or home, start a new business, send themselves and their children to college, and save for their futures. Their contribution to the child care centre’s fundraising campaign will support another of life’s firsts – a solid start to education for young learners.

“A child care centre right on campus is a brilliant idea - both for students and the greater community,” says Kelly Marshall, CEO of SDCU, who says it is easy to get behind a project that clearly addresses a community need.

“People helping people is the essence of what we do,” he explains. “Our members aren’t account numbers, they are people we know – they are parents, students, and neighbours.  

“The relationships we build with our members gives us insight into the needs of the region. We see a demand for high quality child care in the South Okanagan and feel the new centre will be a community asset for years to come.”

The credit union has been a long-time investor in students at Okanagan College, with their philanthropic history dating back to 1989. In 2008, they established the Credit Union Foundation of BC – Summerland Credit Union Endowment, an annual bursary presented to a deserving student at the Penticton campus.

"Our sincere thanks goes out to the Summerland & District Credit Union for their support of our students and our growing campus," says Eric Corneau, Okanagan College Regional Dean South Okanagan-Similkameen. "Their gift will help to build stronger families and community in the region, as well as empower parents to pursue the education and careers they desire."

SDCU is a single branch, independent credit union serving Summerland and the surrounding area. With members across Canada and the world, Marshall notes the donation to the Penticton child care centre aligns with the company’s commitment to support initiatives that benefit all residents in the region.

“Our reach and membership goes beyond Summerland and we want to give back to the communities that support us,” adds Marshall. “We are excited to be part of a development that will fulfill the needs of so many families in the South Okanagan.”  

The new Little Learners Academy opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS). Registration is open to families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.

To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give.

 

Kelowna Secondary School student wins tuition at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Gillett and Lambert CF tuition winner Dec 2017A Grade 12 student attended Okanagan College’s 36th annual Career Fair to learn more about post-secondary education and got more than expected after winning the event’s grand prize, a $2,500 tuition credit.

Kelowna Secondary School (K.S.S.) student Braeden Lambert has always had a passion for business and went to the Fair on Nov. 5 to research the College’s Bachelor of Business degree program.

“I want to open my own business one day,” says Lambert. “That’s why I went to Career Fair, to check out the program and its possibilities. I’ve heard good things about the College and the business school and really liked what I saw, so I decided to apply for it on the spot.”

The College’s Career Fair is one of the Interior’s longest running fairs and attracted hundreds of prospective students this year. Attendees were treated to post-secondary preparatory seminars, tours, activities, program information and draw prizes. Anyone who applied for a program at the Fair was entered to win the grand prize.

“It totally took me by surprise when I got the phone call telling me I won the tuition money – I felt like I won the lottery or something,” says Lambert. “It’s like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders because I don’t have to stress as much about my job or how I’ll pay for tuition – I can just focus on my school now.”

Lambert spends his free time enjoying the four-season Okanagan lifestyle and feels fortunate to be able to live at home while studying at the College.

“The fact that I can stay home and save money while getting a quality education is such an amazing opportunity that I know most don’t get,” says Lambert. “Also, the College is so familiar to me which makes moving into post-secondary much more comfortable.”

Last year more than 1,550 full-time equivalent students were enrolled in the Okanagan School of Business.

“This is an exciting time to study business in the Okanagan,” says Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. “With the rising tech sector and a strong climate for entrepreneurialism, the region has a wealth of strong business leaders and is filled with opportunities for success.”

Lambert is currently completing his final year at K.S.S. and will start classes at the College in September 2018. 

 

New year brings new part-time viticulture courses to OC
Okanagan College Media Release

Vit Nov2017While wine lovers will have to wait months – if not years – to sip and savour 2018 Okanagan vintages, 2018 is poised to be a very good year right from the start for anyone looking to learn the art and science of grape growing in the region.

Three new part-time viticulture courses starting in January at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus will offer students a flexible way to gain the skills and knowledge needed to work in or manage a commercial vineyard. Previously, the courses have only been available to students enrolled in the full-time Viticulture Technician diploma program.

“By allowing students to take individual courses on a part-time basis, we aim to provide a more convenient means to explore this exciting field of study,” explains Jonathan Rouse, the College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “It will allow individuals, both experienced and new to viticulture, an opportunity to further develop a range of skills and knowledge that aligns with the needs of the wine industry.”

The courses will run Jan. 3 – April 26, 2018 and span three key cornerstones of viticulture – vineyard health and nutrition, irrigation and trellis systems and vineyard operations. Students can expect a blend of classroom instruction and practical experience at local vineyards.Vit Students Nov2017

“Beyond having an understanding of the scientific principles of grape growing, there is a great deal of practical knowledge up-and-coming viticulturists need to have to find employment and be an asset in the vineyard,” explains Rouse.

The courses were developed as part of the College’s new Viticulture Technician diploma program that launched in September. The two-year pilot program was made possible with funding from both the federal and provincial governments through labour market agreements, and developed in partnership with the B.C. Wine Grape Council.

“In designing these courses, we worked closely with local vineyard managers, winemakers and proprietors to better understand the talent they need to ensure we continue to produce quality grapes in the Okanagan."

In addition to budding grape growers and future winemakers, the coursework may also be an asset to professionals in other areas of the wine industry, notes Rouse.

“I can see these courses appealing to individuals working in wine sales and marketing,” he says. “Students will come away with a greater depth of knowledge of the entire process from grape to glass.”

More information about the courses is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/vittech

 


Penticton couple helps feed the minds of young learners
Okanagan College Media Release

A pair of former educators are supporting the next generation of students as they take their first steps into a formal learning environment.

Longtime advocates of Okanagan College, Allan and Evelyn Markin have pledged $2,500 to the new Little Learners Academy at the Penticton campus.Evelyn and Allan Markin Nov 2017

The need for the child care centre has been on the couple’s radar since Allan Markin was Campus Principal at the College more than 15 years ago.

“I was involved in some of the early conversations where we recognized there were mature students and College employees with children,” explains Markin. “The need for child care was acute and is still an obstacle for parents in the region.”

During his time working at the campus (1988-2003), Markin saw firsthand the sacrifices parents made for their children, often at the expense of pursuing their own educational goals.  

“It’s wonderful to see the centre develop from an idea to become a reality, and to see families in Penticton already benefitting from it,” he adds.

Little Learners opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS). Registration is open to College students and employees, as well as families in the South Okanagan, which the Markins see as part of the College’s broader role in the community.

“Affordable, accessible child care is essential to the educational system and a healthy society,” Markin notes. “Evelyn and I have always been big believers that we all have a responsibility to help build up our community to make it better.”

The Markins’ altruism doesn’t stop at the edge of the campus. Both are well known for championing many educational, fundraising and community-based initiatives in the Penticton area. Their soft spot for youth in need has also led them to support and fundraise for a children’s orphanage and art school in Russia, including travelling overseas to lend a hand in person.

According to Evelyn Markin, another passion of the couple’s is cooking, which inspired them to support one of the kitchen spaces at Little Learners. As a former elementary school teacher, she understands the influence nutrition and healthy eating has on a student’s ability to learn and process information.

“You need to feed the mind to learn well,” she remarks. “Nutrition has an impact on activity levels, social interaction and brain function, especially in early childhood development. The educational foundation Little Learners provides will help prepare children for success when they face more difficult work in elementary school and afterwards.”

The Markins’ spirit of philanthropy has spread through their family to their daughter Allison, who also contributed to the fundraising campaign earlier this year in honour of her parents.

“It’s deeply inspiring to see the Markins’ dedication to helping children both in our region and across the globe,” says campaign chair Mary Ellen Heidt, who also sits on the College’s Regional Advisory Committee. “They have a long history of involvement with the campus and we thank them for this generous gift, and for continuing to be champions of education for learners of all ages.”

To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give.

 


Jazz Aviation helps Okanagan College students’ careers take flight
Okanagan College Media Release

Miglani_Jazz Nov 2017Two Okanagan College students are getting a remarkable opportunity to jump start their careers as commercial pilots with major Canadian airline Jazz Aviation LP (Jazz).

Each year two students in the College’s Commercial Aviation program are recognized by Jazz for their educational achievements, safety and professionalism. The airline awards each winning student with a $3,000 scholarship and enrolment in the Jazz Aviation Pathways Program (Jazz APP) which guarantees the student an interview with the company upon graduation.

“Being part of Jazz APP is something I’ve been working toward since I started this program,” says Paawan Miglani, OC commercial aviation student. “I’m graduating soon and knowing I have an interview with such a renowned airline is huge. Also, the scholarship money is a big help because it’s going straight into my training with simulator sessions, flights and ground school.”

Miglani was presented with the Safety, Professionalism and Diversity award and his classmate Aimee Wintle received the Safety and Professionalism award. Both Miglani and Wintle excelled on their Transport Canada written exams and industry flight tests and have a high grade point average.

“It was a huge honour to win this award, it makes me feel like all of my hard work has paid off,” says Wintle. “The scholarship portion helps pay for tuition costs and whether I’m successful or not, the interview is one of the biggest benefits of this award.”Wintle_Jazz Nov 2017

Jazz has been collaborating with accredited colleges nationwide for a decade and takes a deep responsibility to mentor future generations of aviators and is dedicated to hiring Canada’s best and brightest youth.

“Jazz is committed to creating a strong future for the pilot profession in Canada and we’re proud to support the education of top aviation students like Aimee and Paawan,” said Peter Batten, Senior Chief Pilot, Line Operations for Jazz. “Safety and professionalism are paramount to success as a commercial pilot and it’s wonderful to see such deserving recipients from the College.”

Okanagan College is one of the first aviation schools in Western Canada to team up with the Jazz APP. Since the program launched at the College in early 2016, many graduating students have gone on to accept pilot positions at Jazz.

Last year OC student Chris McCann won the Jazz APP scholarship and upon graduation, successfully interviewed with the airline.

“Jazz flew me to Vancouver for an interview shortly after I graduated and then flew me to Toronto for a second interview,” says McCann. “I found out pretty quickly I was hired as a commercial pilot and I’ve already started training.”

McCann is currently in Toronto and just began a two-week training program. Upon completion, he will be sent to another city to complete an additional six weeks of training before being assigned a home base. 

 


Sheet metal career paths on display at open house
Okanagan College Media Release

The need for skilled Sheet Metal Workers locally and across B.C. has prompted Okanagan College to open the doors to one of its newest shops so potential students can test-drive the trade this fall.Sheet Metal Nov 2017

“There is a huge need for sheet metal workers right now,” says Brad Oliver, Chair of Mechanical Building Trades at the College. “We can’t train them fast enough to meet the demand locally, and our grads are finding work all over the province, Alberta and up north. We are constantly hearing from industry that they are struggling to find enough skilled workers.”

The College is hosting a free public information night on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6-8 p.m. in the Atrium of the Trades Complex. Students will have a chance to explore the cutting-edge new Sheet Metal shop and can sign up to be a student for a day this fall.

“It’s a great opportunity for people who are considering the trade to understand how the training works and get a sense of what the job opportunities and career paths are like,” notes Oliver, who points out that sheet metal may appeal to potential students looking to stay in – or move to – the Okanagan.

“This trade sometimes flies under the radar in people’s minds, but sheet metal is everywhere you look – homes, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants – so there is endless work if you’re skilled in fabricating, installing or servicing ducts or anything with a sheet metal component.

“It’s a Red Seal trade, which means your ticket will be recognized across the country,” explains Oliver. “But what I think what is attractive about this trade for students is the potential to train here, and find stable work locally if they want to stay here.”

Upon completion of the 20-week Foundation program, students receive credit for Level 1 Technical Training and 350 work-based hours toward their apprenticeship. They can then choose to continue on to complete all four levels of their apprenticeship training in Kelowna, all while working and gaining on-the-job experience.

“The apprentice works in industry and attends school for six weeks each year,” explains Oliver. “If they complete all four levels, they’ll have the full spectrum of training required to become a qualified Sheet Metal Journeyperson.”

A recent labour market sweep by BC Business predicted there will be call for 900 more Sheet Metal Workers in B.C. over the next eight years. Sheet Metal Workers made the magazine’s list of 50 high paying jobs in the province, earning an average of $31/hr.

The next intake of the Sheet Metal Worker Foundation program starts in April. More information about the program and the Nov. 28 information night is available at Okanagan.bc.ca/mbt

 


Memorial Award helps fuel Okanagan College student’s education
Okanagan College Media Release

Chapman Memorial AwardLosing her husband and son to a tragic plane crash two years ago led Michaela Chapman to contemplate how she could honour their memory. Today, an Okanagan College student is completing his education with her help, thanks to a memorial award that Chapman established.

Pilot Brad Chapman and his eldest son, Florian, passed away in October 2015 when their Cessna 207 crashed on takeoff. In honour of her husband and son, Michaela Chapman established the Chapman Memorial Award which enables Okanagan College students in Vernon to reach their educational goals in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME-M) program.

“Okanagan College is virtually in our front yard and I thought it would be a good idea to support our region’s budding aviation professionals and help students carry forward in their education,” says Chapman. “Being married to a pilot and also knowing many pilots, I know how important it is for them to look after their airplanes and for the industry to have people with the know-how to take care of the machines.”

The award was recently given to Okanagan College's Deverick Clingwall, an AME-M student based out of Vernon. Clingwall is currently finishing the final 14 weeks of training at OC's partner college, Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.

“I was honoured to receive this award and am so deeply thankful for the Chapman family,” says Clingwall. “Being able to meet Mrs. Chapman and talk to her was very personal, it was a new level that I’ve never experienced before, we really connected.”

Like Brad and Florian, Clingwall has a passion and extensive history in aviation. From age two-and-a-half, he knew he wanted to become a pilot and since then has achieved both his private and glider pilot licenses as well as float endorsements – all before age 17. Clingwall is now currently working on his commercial pilot’s license while completing the AME-M program.

“My career goal is to be a commercial pilot, which is why I chose to enrol in the College’s AME-M diploma because like any vehicle or machine, if you’re going to be operating it, you should know what makes it tick,” says Clingwall.

Clingwall recently represented the College and placed fourth in the Aircraft Maintenance Competition at Skills BC. He is active in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, volunteers with the bi-annual Salmon Arm airshow and is involved in the Vernon and Salmon Arm flying clubs.

“He’s one of the top students we’ve ever put through the AME-M diploma,” says Dale Martell, Chair of the program. “Deverick is extremely dedicated to aviation and well deserving of this award.”

Every year the Okanagan College Foundation distributes awards to students like Clingwall. The Foundation will present 44 awards totaling $38,150 to students at the College’s Vernon campus in the upcoming Student Awards Reception ceremony on Nov. 15, 2017.

 

Coders take note: $4,000 tuition award up for grabs
Okanagan College Media Release

An internationally-recognized software development company based out of Kelowna is so anxious to find coding talent that it is putting its own money on the line in hopes of attracting students to a new College program.

Acro Media is one of North America’s premier users of Drupal, an open source content management system (CMS) that is at the heart of seven million websites globally. Okanagan College and Acro Media have worked together to develop a new Drupal Web Developer certificate that will be offered weekday evenings beginning Jan. 8.

To help draw out talent for the program, Acro Media is hosting a coding contest that will award one lucky applicant a $4,000 tuition award toward the program.

There is a serious need for software developers in the Okanagan region and Shae Inglis, CEO of Acro Media in Kelowna, is one of the people who knows first-hand the need for Drupal developers. In fact, he is guaranteeing everyone who successfully completes the Okanagan College certificate a job interview upon graduation.

“We need great candidates for interesting and exciting CMS work in Kelowna and are looking forward to hiring graduates from this program,” says Inglis. “In fact, Acro Media is going beyond just supporting the OC program. We are also sponsoring a contest to provide a $4,000 tuition award to a talented student who submits the best code sample before Dec. 15 (for the January intake of the course) and/or April 6 (for the May intake).” Contest details are available at okanagan.bc.ca/drupal.

“The Drupal Web Developer certificate will give students the knowledge, practice and experience to find great jobs and careers in the Okanagan,” says Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “This exciting Okanagan College and industry partnership has resulted in a program that will provide companies with highly qualified and work-ready graduates.”

Taught by industry experts, this 240-hour certificate will be offered at the Okanagan Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna Mondays through Thursdays from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Students applying for the Drupal Web Developer certificate are financial aid and student loan eligible.

For more information visit okanagan.bc.ca/drupal or call 1-888-638-0058 to learn more about qualifying for this certificate. You can also find out more by visiting Okanagan College’s Career Fair on Nov. 5 at the Kelowna campus – Acro Media and College representatives will be on hand to answer questions.

 

Generosity continues to flow for College’s Trades Complex
Okanagan College Media Release

Bartle & Gibson Donation Nov 2017A leading Western Canada company is giving a surge to trades students at Okanagan College.

Bartle & Gibson Co. Ltd. is contributing $37,500 to the Bright Horizons - Building for Skills fundraising campaign for the new trades complex on the Kelowna campus.

The Canadian-owned plumbing, heating and electrical products distributor announced the gift at the grand opening of their new location in West Kelowna on Nov. 3. Bartle & Gibson President Robert Whitty was in town to present the cheque to Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“Bartle & Gibson is proud to make an investment in the training and education of the industry’s future electricians and plumbers,” says Whitty.

The company’s contribution to the $35-million trades complex, which officially opened in Sept. 2016, is two-fold. A cash donation will support the tool room that serves the Electrician program’s three labs. The company has also pledged an in-kind donation to provide products, tools and equipment to electrical and plumbing and piping trades students.  

Launched in 2006, the College’s Electrician program is the most popular trades program in terms of enrolment, with approximately 700 full-time equivalent foundation and apprenticeship students per year, with training at all four campuses and through a partnership at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt.

“We are very grateful for this generous gift to our students, programs and facility,” explains Moores. “When a well-respected company like Bartle & Gibson makes the choice to invest in skills training, it instills confidence in our students knowing the industry supports their educational choices.”

Founded in 1944, Bartle & Gibson originally launched with stores in Vancouver and Victoria and has expanded to 30 branches. Their first Okanagan store opened in West Kelowna in 1997, followed by a Kelowna location in 2006. After more than 20 years in the region, their highly-anticipated new space combines the two branches into a single 35,000 square-foot building located at Hwy. 97 and Stevens Rd.

“Our customers, manufacturers and employees have helped us grow our footprint in the Okanagan,” adds Whitty. “Investing in the region is our way of thanking them and showing our commitment to the region today and well into the future through our partnership with the College.”  

 

The 8th Annual 3-Hour Short Story Contest returns
Okanagan College Media Release

To write, or not to write? That is the question Okanagan College students and Grade 11 and 12 secondary students across the valley will be asking themselves in anticipation of the 8th Annual 3-Hour Short Story Contest. Sean Johnston Nov 2017

Students will be spinning stories, telling tales and mastering metaphors in a timed short story writing contest on Nov. 18, presented by Okanagan College’s English department. Participants will be challenged to go out of their comfort zone to write and edit an original story in just three hours.

“The pressure of this contest is energizing and liberating for writers of all levels,” says Dr. Sean Johnston, contest organizer and English professor at the College. “It forces a writer to be free and uninhibited and quite often they produce surprising results that show them a way forward in their artistic development.”

Pitted against the clock, students will also be required to weave a mystery phrase into their story, revealed at the start of the contest. Participants in previous years were required to incorporate phrases such as “under the weather,” “downy mustache” and “soggy bread” into their story.

Writers will be competing for glory and prize money towards tuition. A judging panel, made up from the College’s English department, will review stories and select four regional winners. Each winner will receive a $250 tuition credit and an overall grand prize winner will take home an additional $250 tuition credit and have their story published in a limited fine-press edition by the Kalamalka Press.

“What we hope to see in the stories is something human and startling, something that makes us see a bit of our world in a new way,” says Johnston. “Each year it is astonishing to see the scope of creativity and talent in such a short amount of time.”

Registration is open until midnight on Friday, Nov. 17. The contest is free to enter and takes place from 1 – 4 p.m. at Okanagan College campuses in Salmon Arm, Penticton and Vernon. The Kelowna contest will be held at KSS. For more details, complete contest rules and registration, please visit okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting

 


Okanagan College deans educate on approaching digital revolution
Okanagan College Media Release

Two Okanagan College deans are combining their perspectives on preparing for the digital revolution at the upcoming Kelowna Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Bill Gillett Nov 2017Bill Gillett, the College’s new Dean of the Okanagan School of Business will present the keynote address to a chamber audience on Friday, Nov. 3, giving the community a glimpse of technologies to come and how to prepare for success.

“Change is afoot in the digital industry and all aspects of businesses, from human resources to operations, will be impacted,” says Gillett. “Students and businesses will need to prepare for a future where billions of people are connected with massive processing powers and have an even broader access to knowledge than they already do.”

Gillett will be joined by Phil Ashman, the College’s new Central Okanagan Regional Dean, who sees the disruptive shifts in today’s world akin to the industrial revolution.Phil Ashman Nov 2017

“More than 20,000 students attend the College each year and many graduates are hired by regional employers and local businesses,” says Ashman. “We are actively planning how we are going to meet the challenge of educating students with the skills and knowledge required in this increasingly digital age.”

The Preparing for Digital Revolution luncheon event quickly sold out and there is now a waiting list for tickets.

“We’re not surprised this event sold out so quickly, as many businesses in our organization are coming to grips with the reality of the emerging digital change,” says Dan Rogers, Executive Director of Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. “Okanagan College injects large numbers of qualified workers into the community and businesses are eager to hear how they’re going to address digitization.”

Those interested in attending can register to be added to the waitlist at kelownachamber.org.

 


College opens its doors to showcase high flying options at Career Fair
Okanagan College Media Release

A global shortage of commercial pilots, which made headlines in Kelowna earlier this month after local flights were cancelled, has created an even more urgent need for industry professionals to spread awareness of the opportunities that exist in aviation.

Southern Interior Flight Centre (SIFC) will be doing just that as one of more than 50 employers showcasing careers and educational pathways at Okanagan College’s Career Fair on Sunday, Nov. 5.OC Flight Simulator

Representatives from Southern Interior Flight Centre, Okanagan College's long term aviation training partner, will be at the College’s Kelowna campus all day on Sunday to spread their passion for aviation with would-be pilots.

“The need for commercial pilots has reached an unprecedented level—not just nationally, but globally,” says Marc Vanderaegen, Flight School Director. “We’ve been training pilots through the Okanagan College Commercial Aviation diploma program for more than 27 years and have certainly seen ebbs and flows but we have never witnessed a need as great as the demand that exists right now.”

Students who take the commercial aviation program, which is a partnership between SIFC and Okanagan College, earn a Transport Canada licence, making them highly sought-after around the world.

“There are far fewer barriers to becoming a commercial pilot these days,” says Vanderaegen. “A student who enters the program can reach a major airline as a junior first officer immediately after graduation, through various industry partnerships, a pathway which used to take closer to a decade in the previous labour market. There are also opportunities for students to access financial and employment awards which makes taking the training much more achievable.”

Vanderaegen encourages anyone who has an interest in pursuing a career in aviation to attend Career Fair on Sunday. The College’s campus facilities will be open, including the program’s flight simulator.

“Our staff will be at Career Fair and can answer questions, provide advice, and even help people make their first big landing in the flight simulator,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to find out whether or not the program is a fit.”

 

Okanagan College students to pitch in social change competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Semchuck_Silver Surfers_Oct 2017Okanagan College business students will take to the stage this week to put their social initiatives to the test in the Okanagan’s most popular social and environmental change pitch competition.

The College’s Enactus team are finalists in Okanagan Changemakers’ ChangeUP contest held on Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Community Theatre. The bi-annual competition, now in its third year, sees six finalists present their ideas for tackling some of the community’s most difficult social and environmental challenges for prize money and mentorship. Enactus OC is vying for the top pitch against Volinspire, Start Fresh, Hope for the Nations, Junior Achievement and Change Gamers.

The competition takes place before a live audience which votes on who they think should win. The public is invited to purchase tickets and take part.

Zabrina Semchuk and Cooper Simson, two Enactus OC students, will stand up and pitch on behalf of their team on the Silver Surfers project.

“The stakes are high in this competition,” says Semchuk, Silver Surfers Project Leader and OC business student. “Last ChangeUP event, the Enactus team came in third and won $1,000 towards their initiative and we hope to place again this year.”

Currently in its third year of operation, the Silver Surfers program pairs OC students with seniors living in local retirement facilities. It provides one-on-one training on cyber security and the use of technology and various electronic devices. The program’s goal is to help seniors connect with loved ones and address the social isolation and mental health issues often felt by seniors.

“Competitions like these are a great way for organizations, businesses, potential investors, social entrepreneurs and community members to hear about the amazing social initiatives that are running in our community,” says Devin Rubadeau, Okanagan School of Business professor and Enactus Advisor. “This event is an opportunity for those businesses or investors looking for alignment to possibly find a social initiative that fits their business profile.”

In addition to the pitch portion of the evening, keynote speaker Murad Al-Katib, the Ernst & Young Global Entrepreneur of the Year, Oslo Business for Peace award winner and founder of AGT Foods and Ingredients in Saskatchewan, will share his story about his work with Syrian refugees.

The competition is being held from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Kelowna Community Theatre. Tickets are available at okanaganchangemakers.com.

For more information on Silver Surfers, visit silversurfersoc.com.

 


Industry partners design the right fit for College’s gas lab
Okanagan College Media Release

A collaboration between three local companies and Okanagan College has given trades students a new cutting-edge natural gas lab. Gas Lab Team Oct 2017

John Davina of KalWest Mechanical Systems Inc., Rob Jemson and Shawn Campbell of Midvalley Sheet Metal and Mathieu Pastinelli of British Columbia Safety Authority donated their time and talent to help create an industry-ready training space for Plumbing and Piping Trades students at the College.

Located in the mechanical trades shop on the Kelowna campus, the 1,500 square-foot lab provides hands-on training for students to learn gasfitting and steamfitting techniques.

Part of the College’s $35-million trades complex renovation and expansion, the design of the brand new natural gas lab needed to utilize new and existing equipment. The creation of the space was originally assisted with a donation from FortisBC and the planning, layout and installation was led by Peter Csandl, Manager, Plant Services and Operations at Okanagan College and Davina, owner of KalWest.

“We are happy to be part of such a unique collaboration,” says Davina. “It was extraordinary to have so many partners bring their expertise to the table for a common goal. We all understand the importance of skills training and wanted to invest in the future of trades education in the Okanagan, and that’s what made this project a success.”

Davina, who has been an advocate of the College’s trades training programs and a guest speaker in classes, was the first to come on board to help create a layout that would work in the new space. Along with employees and instructors from the College’s Facilities and Trades departments, he reached out to industry partners for their expertise on the project.  

Midvalley Sheet Metal was eager to jump on board and Jemson and Campbell donated their time and efforts to layout and install the lab’s high-efficient venting systems. Pastinelli, a Gas Safety Officer at BC Safety Authority, helped ensure the equipment and installation was up to code and field standards. According to the team, lending a hand to set up the lab will help students receive the best possible training and they see the positive impacts of that firsthand in the workforce.

“It’s a huge asset to the industry to have skilled labour come out of a world-class facility right in our backyard,” says Davina. “After 30 years in the industry, it is deeply rewarding to give back to the community by helping provide training opportunities for plumbers and gasfitters in the Interior.”

Students from both the Sheet Metal Worker and Plumbing and Piping Trades program worked on the project alongside Davina, Jemson, Campbell and Pastinelli. In addition, the College’s team of electricians also contributed to the collaboration by completing the work on the lab’s electrical systems and control interlocks.

“This new space is a win-win for the students and the College,” says Brad Oliver, Chair of Okanagan College’s Mechanical Trades program. “The lab provides our students an incredible example of the standard of workmanship they should strive for in their careers and it gave them the opportunity to work alongside and learn from industry experts in its creation.”

Since it opened in September 2016, more than 400 students have trained in the lab. Okanagan College trains more than 2,500 trades students annually. 

 


Community Foundation gives boost to College’s child care centre
Okanagan College Media Release

Aaron McRann Oct 2017The future is looking bright for the new child care centre at Okanagan College as another community group adds a building block to the fundraising campaign. 

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen is contributing $7,490 to the Bright from the Start: Building for the Future campaign to help enhance the outdoor play space at the new Little Learners Academy at the Penticton campus.

“We had a committee of 27 reviewers of more than 80 applications and this project was near the top of the list,” explains Aaron McRann, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. “It resonated because everyone in the region is affected directly or indirectly by the challenges of finding child care and understands the need for quality early childhood education.”

A father of two, McRann is no stranger to the dilemma.

“Finding child care was an issue when my kids were younger and families in Penticton are still facing the same problem today,” he explains.   

McRann hopes the gift from the Community Foundation will help address part of the issue.

“We can see the immediate, positive impact our gift will have on Okanagan College students and South Okanagan families served by the centre. We also see the bigger picture and the long-term benefits for our community that will come from this.”

The College hopes that bigger picture is something South Okanagan residents will see. 

“The significance of the new centre goes beyond the boundaries of our campus and will benefit the community and economy,” explains Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation.

“Providing parents access to child care empowers them to enter or stay in the workforce or focus on their own education. We thank the Community Foundation for recognizing that need and showing their support to give the next generation a quality start to their education.”

The donation from the Community Foundation will support the outdoor play area at Little Learners. The centre opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS). Registration is open to families in the South Okanagan, including College students and employees.

To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give.

 


Applied research on the college agenda for businesses and non-profits
Okanagan College Media Release

Whether it’s exploring ways to speed up and stabilize online connections for gamers or designing better outdoor playgrounds for children, applied research at Okanagan College takes many shapes.

On Oct. 27, Vernon-area companies, non-profit organizations and individuals have opportunities to learn more about how applied research and connections with Okanagan College can help them.

“There are many examples of how the College’s professors and researchers have helped companies, industries and non-profit organizations advance their agendas, whether it is product development, innovation, or solving business problems,” explains Jane Lister, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the North Okanagan. “The sessions planned (there are two) for the 27th will help shed light on how the College can help make that happen and where there might be support for such initiatives.”

Dr. Andrew Hay, the College’s Vice President Education, and Dr. Beverlie Dietze, the College’s Director of Learning and Applied Research will lead the sessions, and a collection of researchers and other College Deans will be on hand.

The first free session is focused on business, manufacturing, agriculture, and technology, and runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday at the Vernon Campus in room E102. The second session runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the same room and is also free.

Interested in attending? RSVP to Joan Smeyers at jsmeyers@okanagan.bc.ca.

To see examples of the types of projects Okanagan College researchers have engaged in visit okanagan.bc.ca/researchstories.

 


Families invited to experience outdoor play

The first of two free outdoor play workshops will kick off in Peachland this Saturday, offering children and their families the chance to express their creativity and engage their sense of wonder.Beverlie Dietze - web

Children will have the opportunity to discover and explore playing with loose parts – a trending concept in the world of unstructured outdoor play. Families are invited to join in the fun at the Peachland Heritage Park and Pavilion on Beach Avenue on Saturday Oct. 14, and again on Saturday Oct. 28, from 10 – 11:30 a.m.

And the unique play experiences aren’t just an incentive for families to spend a fun morning at the park – feedback from participants will inform a research project guiding the creation of a new play space unlike any other in the region.

“Research tells us that when children visit traditional play spaces, they spend about six minutes on the play equipment,” says Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at Okanagan College. “They spend more time playing with the gravel and the items that are underneath the play apparatus.

“With a natural play space, children will spend as much time as you allow them. There are options for them to pick up rocks and look at the bugs underneath. They can challenge themselves to balance on a tree stump or walk the length of a log. The play opportunities are absolutely open and expansive. When you add in man-made materials that we call loose-parts then all of those pieces require the child to do something, to actively engage in the play.”

Those types of play opportunities are precisely the kind Dietze hopes to gain feedback on through the workshops as part of a $91,000 research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and neighbourhood developer New Monaco. The goal is to support New Monaco in creating unique naturalized play spaces that fit children’s zest for curiosity, learning, and development. Using a research tool developed by Dietze, data on how children use the loose parts in their outdoor play will be compiled and relayed to the developer and landscape architects at Outland Design Landscape Architecture. The architects and Dietze hope to bring an entirely new kind of play space to the Okanagan.

A potential spot for the unique park has been identified within the New Monaco master planned community currently being developed in Peachland.

“Our vision for the community is to be the healthiest place to live in Canada.” explains Mark Holland, Partner, New Monaco. “We’re very excited to be actively involved in this applied research project with the ultimate goal of understanding how we can create a new type of play space that is innovative, supports healthy lifestyles for children and their families, and goes beyond what people expect to find in a traditional playground.

“New Monaco is committed to working with Peachland to attract more families to this great community and make it the best place to grow up in the Okanagan.”

But before it can ever be built, Dietze’s findings will first need to be translated into a design that can be brought to life in the New Monaco neighborhood. Enter Fiona Barton, Principal of Outland Design.

“Our company is focused on re-thinking the way in which play spaces are designed and support optimal child development. It’s hard to imagine how the next generation will become stewards of the natural landscape if they haven’t actually spent time in it,” says Barton, who worked with Dietze in 2016 to train her staff in the principles of early learning and outdoor play spaces.

“We look forward to embracing the challenge of applying natural outdoor play principles from the research work and incorporating those into a municipally managed, public park system that is beneficial to families in the Okanagan.”

Dietze hopes the project will serve as a model for public parks and play spaces in other areas.

“It would be wonderful to see what we learn with this project in the Okanagan inspire and help others create innovative play spaces across the country and around the world.”

Joining Dietze and Barton at the workshops will be a team of early childhood education students and educators to support children in playing with loose parts. The outdoor play opportunities are free but families are encouraged to register in advance by emailing outdoorplay@okanagan.bc.ca.

 

 

UVic professor sheds light on Indigenous Peoples’ land management practices
Okanagan College Media Release

Nancy Turner Oct 2017Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia have historically been described as hunter-gatherers, but according to ethnobiologist Dr. Nancy Turner, this label scarcely acknowledges the sophisticated techniques and approaches First Nations have developed and applied over millennia to sustain and enhance their plant resources and habitats.

Turner, who is a Trudeau Fellow and Emeritus Professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, will share insight into these management practices in a public talk at Okanagan College as part of the Science in Society Speaker Series. 

The presentation will take place at the College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and is called Looking after the Plants, Looking after the Land: Environmental Management by Indigenous Peoples of British Columbia.

Turner will explain how Indigenous plant managers bring their personal knowledge, techniques and practices passed down through generations, to cultivate wild species. These include influencing ecological succession, creating and extending particular habitats, pruning and coppicing trees and shrubs, enriching soils, distributing seeds, and transplanting species from one locale to another.

“Indigenous Peoples also embrace their own associated cultural institutions, means of monitoring and maintaining productivity, and ways of passing on knowledge to others, including future generations,” says Turner. “Their lessons and approaches are often taught through experiential learning, storytelling, ceremony, and art.” 

Turner’s research integrates the fields of botany and ecology with anthropology, geography and linguistics, among others. She is interested in the traditional knowledge systems and traditional land and resource management systems of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in western Canada.

She has worked with First Nations elders and cultural specialists in northwestern North America for more than 40 years, collaborating with Indigenous communities to help document, retain and promote their traditional knowledge of plants and habitats, including Indigenous foods, materials and medicines, as well as language and vocabulary relating to plants and environments.

Turner has authored, co-authored or co-edited more than 20 books and 150 book chapters and peer-reviewed papers, and numerous other publications, both popular and academic. She has also been recognized with a number of awards, including the Member of the Order of Canada.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. Eventbrite tickets are available online.

To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com

This lecture is jointly presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

 

John E. Peller to keynote as Wine Talks returns to College
Okanagan College Media Release

Together with Liquidity Winery, Okanagan College is presenting the third installment of its popular
Wine Talks series on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the College’s Penticton campus.

The third event will feature a single keynote speaker whose recognition and distinction in the industry is notable.John Peller Sept 2017

John E. Peller, LLB, is the Chair and CEO of Andrew Peller Limited. His company’s brands include a growing number of Okanagan wineries, among them are Sandhill, Calona Vineyards and Red Rooster. Andrew Peller Limited made headlines this month when news broke of a $95-million-dollar deal to acquire three additional Okanagan wineries: Black Hills Estate, Gray Monk Estate and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

“The topic seems very timely,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “This event has been well attended by our community and has brought a lot of value to the industry and I expect to see that trend continue with our third event.”

Peller began his legal career in 1980 in Hamilton, Ontario where he practiced corporate and commercial law. He spent a year in France attending the L’institute de Touraine for six months and worked for six months with DeLuze, the wine subsidiary of Remy Martin. He spent the next four years in New Jersey working with Nabisco Brands Inc., first as Manager, Corporate Planning and Development and then as Regional Marketing Manager for the Grocery Products Division (North East Division).

He joined Andrew Peller Ltd. in 1989, assuming the role of Vice President, Sales and Marketing Planning. He was appointed to the Board of Directors in 1990 and to the position of Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing in 1991. He became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1992, then President and Chief Executive Officer in 1994. He is currently Chair and Chief Executive Officer.

“This is a unique opportunity to hear from a leader of the Canadian wine industry,” says Ian MacDonald, owner of Liquidity Winery. “John's bold vision continues to shape the future of this business.”

Wine Talks will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College (room PC 113, 583 Duncan Avenue West), from 7 to 9 p.m., including a coffee and wine break. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/winetalks.

 

Wildfire 2017: causes, consequences and solutions to a wicked problem
Okanagan College Media Release

Lori Daniels Sept 2017As the smoke across the Okanagan barely begins to lift, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sparking a new season with a talk intended to keep wildfires top-of-mind for the public.

Since April the BC Wildfire Service has reported 1,275 fires across the province, representing a burning area of more than 1.212 million hectares. Currently 123 wildfires are active. The impact is undeniable.

“It’s important to recognize that despite the destruction, wildfire is also an essential process in forest ecosystems,” says Dr. Lori Daniels, professor of Forest Ecology and director of the Tree-Ring Lab at UBC in Vancouver. “In the wildland-urban interface though they can be incredibly destructive. What is imperative is the adaptation of individuals and communities learning how to live with wildfire.”

Kicking-off this year’s Science in Society Speaker Series on Wednesday, Oct. 4, the public is invited to hear Daniels present her long-term forest fire patterns research and hear her speak about forest resilience to climate change.

The presentation will take place at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre at 7:30 p.m.

“Wildfire is driven by climate, weather and fuels that vary among ecosystems and through time,” explains Daniels. “Combined, land-use change, fire exclusion and global warming have made many forests highly susceptible to intense fires that are difficult to control and spread to large sizes. Revolutionizing forest and fire management will improve ecosystem resilience to climate change, but we will not stop future fires from burning.”

Daniels’ research, published in leading academic journals, applies tree-ring analyses to investigate disturbance patterns and the impacts of climate and humans on forest dynamics. Given her interests in conservation and sustainable resource management, much of her research has practical application and is collaborative with non-governmental organizations, government agencies and private companies.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or purchase them online at www.eventbrite.ca. To subscribe or obtain more information visitokanagansisss.wordpress.com.

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.

 

Okanagan College sees fall student enrolment grow

Okanagan College student and logo

The total number of students enrolled in programs at Okanagan College has climbed by more than four per cent compared to last year at the same time.

A snapshot of enrolment at mid-September shows that 8,463 students had registered in programs and courses, compared to 8,089 on the same date a year ago.

“All indicators suggest that Okanagan College is on track to exceed government enrolment targets for the 13th year in a row,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “That is an achievement unparalleled in the College sector in BC. The strong demand for our programming indicates we are providing relevant and valuable education for our communities, and that’s what is most important to us.”

In 2016-17, Okanagan College achieved 111 per cent of those government targets.

The mid-September numbers don’t tell the entire enrolment story. Okanagan College has many programs that start at various times of the academic year and a significant winter semester intake in January that will determine final annual enrolment numbers.

The Sept. 15 numbers show:

•           Salmon Arm grew to 709 students from 563.

•           Kelowna grew to 5,330 from 5,155.

•           Penticton grew to 940 students from 884.

•           Vernon’s headcount dropped to 970 from 1044 – partly as a consequence of a rotating practical nursing program that was in Vernon last year and is in Salmon Arm this year.

•           The number of students taking distance education courses has risen to 513, from 443.

The number of international students attending Okanagan College this fall has grown significantly: 878 international students.

 

Youth Exhibition Powwow returns for ninth year
Okanagan College Media Release

Aboriginal Hoop DancerThe cultural event of the fall season is back and about to kick off at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Community members are invited to join in the celebration of Indigenous culture at the 9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the courtyard.

“Powwows are vibrant events and are full of excitement as it’s a time to come together and celebrate – celebrate our culture, celebrate Aboriginal youth and honour their educational journey,” says Anthony Isaac, Okanagan College Aboriginal Services Coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing and create a sense of belonging for all of our learners.”

Dancers and drummers from across the British Columbia interior will perform in a variety of dance categories at the Powwow including fancy, grass, chicken and jingle. The invited drum groups are crowd favourites, Birch Creek and The Cliffs.

The high-energy, family-friendly event continues to draw large crowds each year.

“The Powwow has always been well-attended, we had approximately 1,000 people join the event last year and we anticipate even more this year,” says Isaac.

More than 600 students from various private band and public schools from across the interior have been invited to attend the exhibition and members of the general public are also welcome.

Attendees will have a chance to taste a variety of traditional Indigenous food and peruse offerings from craft vendors selling artwork, carvings, beadwork and more. Additionally, there will be a 50/50 draw with proceeds going to financial awards for Indigenous students.

“The Powwow is intended to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members from across the region and is a place of cross-cultural learning for everyone,” says Isaac. “It highlights the richness of our culture and how Okanagan College is committed to fostering a learning environment that encourages students to embrace their heritage as they pursue their educational goals.”

The College has one of the fastest growing rates of Aboriginal student participation of any post-secondary institution in B.C. In 2016 the College delivered educational programming to almost 1,700 Aboriginal students, which is nearly 200 more than last year.

Richard Jackson of the Lower Nicola Indian Band is returning as Master of Ceremony and is once again joined by Arena Director Noel Ferguson. Jackson will also be presenting at a pre-powwow seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 2 - 3 p.m. in the Student Services building at the Kelowna campus. The seminar is free to attend and aims to teach the meaning behind powwow dances, songs and protocols before the main powwow event on Thursday.

The 9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow festivities run from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the Kelowna campus courtyard. Attendance is free and open to the public. For those who cannot attend, Okanagan College is streaming the event live atwww.okanagan.bc.ca/powwow.

 


New pilot project at Okanagan College promotes student wellness
Okanagan College Media Release

A new wellness pilot project is underway at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus and has set out to help students thrive in their studies and personal lives by teaching skills and tools to manage and promote positive mental health.Flourish Sept 2017

“Flourish is a series of workshops held on campus that model and teach students different ways of managing stress, anxiety and depression so that when they experience those overwhelming feelings they have a well-rounded toolbox of healthy ways to regulate them,” says Sarah Lefebure, Counsellor at Okanagan College and co-creator of Flourish.

The workshop series will offer activities, resources and support to help students combat stress. Additionally, guest speakers will help open up the conversation about mental health and work to break down stigmas of mental illness and the challenges students encounter in daily life.

“This project was developed very organically,” says Paula Faragher, Accessibility Services Coordinator at Okanagan College and co-creator of Flourish. “Sarah and I recognized gaps in services in terms of working with students who were experiencing really high levels of stress and anxiety while going to school.”

The project is based on a model of mental wellbeing that suggests everyone experiences times where they are flourishing, languishing or somewhere in between. Mental health care is not only for those diagnosed with a mental illness – everyone can benefit.

“We always believed that healthy campuses equaled healthy minds but it wasn’t until we saw statistics from a campus-wide mental health survey that Flourish really grew into the project it is,” says Faragher.

Last winter, OC Human Kinetics Professor Wendy Wheeler and her class conducted a mental health survey at the Penticton campus. It was found that in the past 12 months 49 per cent of students felt so depressed it was difficult for them to function, 57 per cent have felt overwhelming anxiety and 74 per cent have felt very sad.

“As a counsellor, our goal is to create and maintain a positive climate for students to succeed, both academically and in their personal lives, and a major part of doing that is promoting positive mental health,” says Lefebure.

Flourish was created and received full support from Okanagan College, which awarded the project with an Innovation Fund grant (the College’s internal grant for innovative new programs and initiatives).

“At Okanagan College, we are committed to expanding awareness of mental health issues and providing resources for those students in need of wellness supports,” says Charlotte Kushner Vice President, Students. “We are delighted to support Flourish.”

“The link between student wellness and academic success is well documented and the most recent studies suggest there is a need to improve mental health supports for post-secondary students who are facing an increasingly complex world,” says Kushner. “Students and student success are at the heart of everything we do at Okanagan College and we are committed to expanding awareness of mental health and providing resources for those students in need of wellness supports.”

The first workshop took place this week and looked into the physical, mental and emotional effects stress has on the body. The drop-in workshops are held bi-weekly on Mondays from 2:30-3:45 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in the Community Hall (PC 113). Flourish is open to all students and is free to attend. For more information on Flourish including workshop dates, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/flourish.

 

Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends award South Okanagan students
Okanagan College Media Release

Thorpe Awards Sept 2017Six students will jump-start their educational dreams at Okanagan College this fall after receiving financial awards through the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends scholarship.

Makeena Hartmann, Hailey Grunow and Mickella Di Lorenzo Biggs, recent graduates of Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton, along with Ericka Bidwell from Summerland Secondary, each received a $2,500 Scholarship for Secondary School Graduates.

Matthew Ironside of Penticton and Timothy Bey of Princeton were awarded with a $1,000 Entrance Award for Trades and Technology.

“It’s really nice to have help when you are going to school, because costs can be a barrier,” says Hartmann, who had a choice of post-secondary options with a 99.8 GPA. She chose to enrol in the Associate of Arts Degree program because she was impressed by the College’s reputation.

“It’s rewarding to see the effort I put into my studies is being recognized and appreciated through this scholarship,” she adds.

In addition to the high academic achievement of the recipients, the Thorpes look for students who are engaged with and contribute to their communities.

Grunow currently works two jobs and has been actively volunteering in Penticton to fundraise for dry grad, LGBTQ anti-bullying initiatives and the Penticton YES Project. She appreciates the scholarship doesn’t just open doors to her education, it will also provide opportunities for continued volunteerism.

“When I learned I received the scholarship I had tears of joy,” says Grunow, who is also entering the Associate of Arts Degree program. “Having the financial burden off my shoulders means I don’t need to work as much, and allows me to pay forward the Thorpe’s generosity by spending more time giving back through volunteering.”

The Thorpes have a long history of championing education in the South Okanagan, and have supported students at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan for more than a decade. Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2006, $102,250 has been awarded to 49 students entering Okanagan College.

“The contributions of Rick and Yasmin Thorpe impact our students in transformative ways as they begin their educational journey at the College,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We deeply appreciate their donations, and the support of our other donors in Penticton who provide life-changing opportunities for students.”

Each year the Thorpes make a point of presenting the scholarships in person to the recipients and their families.

“Meeting with students is very uplifting,” says Yasmin John-Thorpe. “They are enthusiastic and happily optimistic about their future.”

For the students, the level of donor interaction is a highlight.

“It's very heartwarming they take the time to get to know each of us,” adds Grunow. “It is so generous they choose to donate their hard-earned money to help students follow their dreams.”

Applications for the 2018 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarships open in early November 2017 and close in March 2018. Students are encouraged to review the application guidelines at www.okanagan.bc.ca/awards for more information.