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Would-be builders and carpenters have a chance on Nov. 23 to find out more about a course next spring that will take them onto the jobsite of tomorrow as Okanagan College instructors and students help to construct one of the most energy efficient homes in the region.
The College’s Trades Department is hosting an information session at 5 p.m. on the evening of Nov. 23 to showcase a Residential Construction program that will see students working side-by-side with a local homebuilder to construct two homes in the Wilden subdivision in Kelowna.
Students who sign up for the College’s Residential Construction program in February will have a unique opportunity to hone their skills through a unique research project designed to study how new building technologies can translate to energy savings for homeowners.
The 26-week course will introduce students to all aspects of the construction trades, including familiarization with the latest building materials and installation techniques. Graduates will receive Level 1 technical training credit and credit for 450 work-based hours toward completion of the Carpenter Level 1 apprenticeship program.
As part of the building project, two single-family “Living Laboratory” homes will be constructed on lots provided by Wilden developer Blenk Development Corporation. The first home will be built to current building code, while the second will be designed and built to push the envelope and achieve next-level energy efficiency through the use of a number of emerging sustainable building technologies.
Students from the Residential Construction program will work with local builder AuthenTech Homes to install the latest energy efficient technologies into the second home. Researchers from UBCO’s School of Engineering will then monitor and compare the energy use of both homes over the next three years and report their findings.
“We are very excited to see the contributions the students will make, both on the construction side and the technology side,” says Scott Tyerman, President of AuthenTech Homes. “At the end of the day, there is potential to gain some major insights into how homebuilders and homeowners can get the most out of these new technologies.”
“These students are the future of our industry,” adds Russ Foster, President of Blenk Development Corporation and Wilden’s Project Manager. “We feel it is important to work with the College and UBCO to ensure that students have meaningful opportunities to build their skills and put their knowledge to work.”
While the technology involved may be new, the project builds on over a decade of community partnerships for Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program.
To date, students have contributed to nearly 50 building projects like this throughout the valley, with the College’s Trades Department always on the lookout for new opportunities for students to gain practical experience in the construction workplace.
“This project is exciting because it will give our students the hands-on training of building homes, as well as the chance to explore and implement the latest green building technologies and techniques,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.
“The practical experience of being on the jobsite for a very high-end build like this, and receiving mentorship from a builder like AuthenTech homes, is so valuable for students. We are very grateful to the builder and the developer for giving our students this opportunity.”
The info session will take place on Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. in room T137, Okanagan College Kelowna Campus, 1000 KLO Road. Space is limited and those interested are asked to RSVP to Nancy Ankerstein, Program Administrator for Trades and Apprenticeship by email: Nankerstein@okanagan.bc.ca.
Design and preparation for the build is underway. Construction on the homes is expected to begin next spring.
The Residential Construction program is offered at the College’s Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm campuses.
Have little critters been giving you the creepy crawlies? In an effort to shift your perspective towards insects, Dr. Jeremy McNeil, Biology Professor at Western University, will make the case about their crucial role in the planet’s ecosystem when he visits Okanagan College’s Vernon campus later this month.
McNeil encountered the knee-jerk fear reaction towards insects first hand when he showed his neighbours’ seven-year-old son a hornworm caterpillar from his garden. The young boy stared for a minute and then squashed it in the palm of his hand. When McNeil asked why he did that, the boy replied "Insects are not nice.”
This interaction sparked nearly four decades of public outreach, where McNeil has attempted not only to educate the public about insects (and hopefully reduce insecticide use) but also to instill a real appreciation for the natural world around us.
Part of the Science in Society Speaker Series, his public talk titled Are humans really smarter than insects? will take place on Tuesday Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre.
In this talk, McNeil will draw comparisons between insects and humans to establish the fascinating common ground we share, such as making paper, building solar panels, as well as how both species apply the same physics principles used in snorkeling and scuba diving.
With a teaching career spanning over 40 years, McNeil alongside students and collaborators has published more than 180 papers in primary international journals and more than 10 book chapters. He has received many national and international awards (including the prestigious Humboldt Prize), is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and this year he was named to the Order of Canada for his work in studying the reproductive biology in insects and for his dedication to increasing public appreciation of science.
Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, please call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. For more information, visit www.okanagansisss.wordpress.com.
Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Cooper’s Food, and the Vernon Morning Star.
Those interested in learning more about careers in aviation will have a chance on Nov. 14 to tour Okanagan College’s Vernon Aerospace Campus and speak with instructors and students about program opportunities and two big new additions to the College’s fleet.
Okanagan College recently received two donated aircraft for training purposes in Vernon – a Jetstream 31 from the Swanberg family of Alberta and a Metroliner II from Carson Air in Kelowna. Guests of the open house will have an opportunity to tour the aircraft and learn more about how they will be utilized in the program.
The College offers a 62-week Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) M-License apprenticeship program in partnership with Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.
The program is designed to take a student with little or no previous experience in the aircraft maintenance trade and supply him/her with the necessary skills to seek employment in that industry as an apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.
“Having recently received about $1 million in aircraft for training purposes it’s a very exciting time for our program and this campus,” says Dale Martell, Chair of the AME program. “We know the aviation industry is facing a very real shortage of AMEs in the coming years, similar to the shortage predicted for commercial pilots, so this is a great time to be stepping into this career.”
Guests will also have an opportunity to learn about the College’s two-year Commercial Aviation diploma program, offered through Okanagan College’s School of Business, which conducts pilot training out of the Southern Interior Flight Center at the Kelowna Airport.
Globally, Boeing has projected there will be call for 584,000 maintenance technicians over the next 20 years, making it one of the most in-demand occupations in the aviation industry, just ahead of the estimated need for 533,000 commercial pilots in the same time period.
“The open house will be a chance for anyone interested in becoming an AME to learn about how the program is delivered through the College and how they can get started,” adds Martell.
The open house will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. until noon at the Vernon Aerospace Campus, 6225 Okanagan Landing Rd. in Vernon. The event is free and no RVSP is necessary. For more information, please contact Dale Martell, AME program Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another alumnus helping the College build for a bright future for trades in the Okanagan is fellow carpenter Chuck Cullen, a Project Manager for TEAM Construction. For several years now Cullen has delivered spotlight sessions at local high schools about career paths in the trades.
“My apprenticeship training at Okanagan College was very valuable,” says Cullen. “So I’m proud to share my positive experience with young people who are considering their options for trades training.”
Between now and 2024, the province forecasts job openings for 2,346 carpenters in the Thompson Okanagan region alone. The estimates suggest there will be job openings for nearly 2,200 cooks, chefs, and bakers in the region. Overall, there is call for more than 10,750 tradespeople in professions that Okanagan College teaches in the region in the same period.
Last year, the provincial government proclaimed Nov. 7 as B.C.’s inaugural Apprenticeship Recognition Day to help raise awareness of the importance of developing a highly trained and skilled workforce amid a projected labour shortage in the trades sector over the next decade.
The proclamation has been expanded this year, with the government calling for a full week (November 2-6) recognizing the positive impact that apprentices have on individuals, businesses, and the economy in B.C. Read the full proclamation here.
More information about the College’s Apprenticeship and Foundation (Pre-Apprenticeship) training programs is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/trades.
With 18 medals adorning her neck representing five years competing in provincial, national, and international track and field events, 21-year-old Kelowna resident Jeneka Greif has defied the odds. The latest in her hardware collection are a silver and a bronze earned at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles this summer.
Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a baby, doctors had prepared Greif’s parents for the probability that their daughter would never be able to walk, and likely never speak. Not one to give up, she has proven the contrary.
Like many students this fall Greif is back on campus with a focus on a career beyond competition. She is in the midst of earning a Preparing for Access to Careers and Education (PACE) certificate from Okanagan College’s Adult Special Education department.
“Right now, I want to focus on my education and on my future,” says Greif. “Definitely something in sports, maybe in personal training or in nutrition. I needed to bring focus to my life, and I was inspired to come to Okanagan College where I could be set on that path. Taking the PACE program is a first step.”
The PACE program aims to develop student success skills with a focus on career awareness and the development of appropriate workplace attitudes, values, and behaviours. Students like Greif develop communication, time management, stress management, and conflict resolution skills that will support them in the pursuit of jobs and continued education.
“Special Olympic athletes can compete right up into their senior years,” explains Greif. “The way I see it, taking a few years off right now to get an education, that’s most important. I started the sport five years ago, so I know that with the right training schedule I’ll be able to get back into it, but now is the time to build a career.”
Training for the Special Olympics World Games had Greif in the gym six days a week, two hours a day. She describes competing on the international stage as an incredible experience and the chance of a lifetime. During the two weeks spent in L.A. as one of 114 Canadian athletes (22 on the track and field team) she also attended an L.A. Angels baseball game, walked in the opening and closing ceremonies, and met pop superstar Justin Bieber.
“What was most inspiring though was meeting the athletes from different countries,” she says. “It made me realize how fortunate we are in Canada for the resources we have available to us as athletes with special needs, from healthcare to equipment, that enable us to practice our sport.”
The silver Greif earned was in the 4x100m relay where she was the anchor, and she earned a bronze in shot put.
“These games were definitely more challenging, with more countries, and more levels to compete against. But what I’ve learned is that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it.”
This is the same perspective Greif is applying to her studies at the College. After the PACE program, she hopes to continue on to obtain a Supported Access to Modified Education (SAME) certificate.
For a complete list of speakers and detailed topic descriptions visit: www.ocspeakersseries.weebly.com.