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IELTS testing Nov. 1 at College
Celebrate the colourful pageantry of Aboriginal culture at Okanagan College
Three area residents join College’s Board of Governors
JIBC and Okanagan College pledge greater cooperation
Okanagan College students cross the country to pitch entrepreneurship
Coyotes ready to hit it out of the park
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IELTS testing Nov. 1 at College
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College will be hosting IELTS (the International English Language Testing System) testing Nov. 1, and a course to prepare students for the exam will start Sept. 16.

There are two versions of the IELTS, academic and general. The academic version is used for entrance into post-secondary institutions and the general is used for work or immigration purposes. While both versions have the same listening and speaking sections, they have different reading and writing sections. The general version is one of the measures that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will accept as part of an immigrant’s application for citizenship.

Currently, CIC requires that people between 18 and 54 prove they have adequate knowledge of English or French in order to apply for citizenship. While there are a number of ways to demonstrate those language skills (including successful completion of a post-secondary credential program), one of the acceptable ways involves IELTS scores.

The test is offered at the College in conjunction with Global Village Vancouver, a 25-year-old English language school in Vancouver that administers IELTS in Canada. (To register for one of the exams or to learn more, go to

The preparatory course being offered by the College is Intensive Academic English for IELTS, a 10-hour-a-week course focused on development of language skills assessed by IELTS. The program runs three evenings a week.

The course goes beyond simple exam practice. Rather, it develops the micro skills that IELTS assesses including topic-relevant vocabulary and academic and general reading and writing tasks typical to IELTS. To find out more about the course, email

IELTS is not only used by CIC, it is also one of the standards used by many academic institutions (including Okanagan College) for admission to various programs. More than 20 years old, it is used by 8,000 organizations and last year, more than two million IELTS tests were administered. It is offered at 900 test centres in more than 130 countries.
Celebrate the colourful pageantry of Aboriginal culture at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Powwow 2013Always a highlight of the fall season, the sixth annual Youth Exhibition Powwow at Okanagan College boasts some new features this year, making it the most culturally rich event to date.

In addition to the First Nation’s singing, drumming, dancing and colourful regalia that takes over the courtyard of Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus on Sept. 18, there will also be a traditional meal of bannock and deer stew offered to all guests and participants. 

“The sharing of food is an integral part of our traditions,” says Okanagan College’s Aboriginal Access and Services Coordinator, Anthony Isaac. “The elders coming to campus and blessing the food really highlights how important it is to the whole celebration.” 

The serving of the meal has been made possible thanks to generous donations from the community, including Urban Harvest, SunRype and the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, along with campus supporters, including Culinary Arts Manager Chef Bernard Casavant and Indigenous Studies professor Bill Cohen, among many others.

“It’s been a real community effort,” says Isaac.

A new initiative aimed at helping students is also launching at this year’s event. A 50/50 draw is being held in conjunction with the Okanagan College Foundation. All the proceeds from the draw are earmarked for a new scholarship for Aboriginal students taking Adult Academic and Career Preparation programs at the College. 

Visitors will also get to enjoy craft vendors selling authentic Aboriginal artwork, carvings, and beadwork, including Dorothy Clough and Marsha King of First Nation Crafts, Barbara Patkiw of Native Bead Works, and Morning Dove Hall ixastcawt who makes jewelry from shells and antlers. 

In addition, more than 200 youth from private band schools across the Okanagan, including sənsísyustən House of Learning, Studio 9 Independent School of the Arts, Outma Sqilx'W Cultural School and OKIB K-7 Sqilxw Cultural Immersion School, have been invited to attend this year’s festivities. 

For the fifth time Richard Jackson brings his infectious energy as MC, Noel Ferguson reprises his role as ceremonial Whip Man – otherwise known as the arena director – and the invited drum troops are crowd-favourites Iron Mountain and Little Hawk.

“The powwow is a great chance to celebrate our youth, highlight the richness of who we are, and the strengths of our culture,” says Isaac. 

“The more we do to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing, the more we create a sense of belonging for all of our learners.” 

The powwow festivities start at 10 a.m. and run to 2 p.m., but for those who can’t make it Okanagan College is streaming the event live at
Three area residents join College’s Board of Governors
Okanagan College Media Release

Three new members of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors will be bringing business and community perspectives to the table asChristopher Derickson Sept 2014 they begin their yearlong appointments.

Christopher Derickson, Susan Johal and Joe Maciel will serve on the Board of Governors for a one-year term ending July 31, 2015. They were appointed by the Provincial Government through Order-in-Council this summer.

Derickson serves on the Westbank First Nation Council and works as a consultant focused on strategic and community planning for First Nation governments and organizations.

Johal is the Office Manager for Kimmitt Wrzesniewski, a Kelowna law firm. She is an active community volunteer and has previously worked with the Okanagan Sikh Temple, the Ovarian Cancer Walk and Rutland Citizens Patrol. She’s also a member of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and a past director of the Boys and Girls Club. Johal is also an Okanagan College alumna, with an Accounting diploma and certification from a legal secretary program from Okanagan College.

Maciel is a Chartered Accountant and Financial Planner with a public practice that focuses on corporate year-end services to privately held corporations and tax services to businesses and individuals. His experience includes work with the Canada Revenue Agency’s audit division, Bombardier Capital’s Wholesale Finance division, as well as teaching at Okanagan University College in the areas of tax, Canadian business, management and financial accounting.

“We’re looking forward to Christopher, Susan and Joe joining us this fall,” says Board of Governors Chair Tom Styffe. “I am confident they will bring perspectives and experience that will benefit our deliberations.”

“I taught for three years at OUC in the early ‘90s,” says Maciel. “I’ve watched the business program and the institution evolve over the years. I’m excited to be part of the governance of an organization that has such a rich history in the region and I look forward to participating in decisions that will shape its course for the coming years.”

“As an alumna and someone who has lived my whole life here, I’ve relished watching Okanagan College change and develop,” says Johal. “I think there are great things ahead for the College and am happy to be a part of it.”

“There are many opportunities for partnerships right now, between schools and other organizations,” notes Derickson, who is following his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (2012, UBCO) with a Master’s of Business Administration at SFU. “This is a very exciting time to be involved in the governance of Okanagan College.” 

Three other College Board members have had their appointments extended: Charity Gerbrandt, Douglas Manning and Robert McGowan will serve additional two-year terms until July 2016.
JIBC and Okanagan College pledge greater cooperation

The following press release was issued by Justice Institute of British Colombia in conjunction with Okanagan College.

JIBC MOU SigningMemorandum of Understanding aims to expand opportunities to meet student, industry, business and community needs.

Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) and Okanagan College have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance educational and training opportunities for students at both institutions.

Under the MOU signed on September 5, 2014, JIBC and Okanagan College will explore opportunities to develop courses and programs that can be offered in partnership. Both institutions will also explore opportunities for students to transition effectively to programs at both institutions by developing transfer and prior learning assessment arrangements.

Opportunities under discussion include additional pathways for Okanagan College certificate and diploma graduates to enter into degree programs at JIBC, and joint activities to complement each institution’s programming to best meet the interests and needs of regional labour market demands.

Both institutions will also aim to share information and explore ways to work together to further each institution’s applied research endeavours.

Dr. Michel Tarko, JIBC President and CEO, said, “We have had a longstanding relationship with Okanagan College and this MOU aims to deepen and extend our partnership. We look forward to working together to expand the educational and training options for our students and support the employment needs in our province.”

“Formalizing our intention to work more collaboratively is an important step forward for both institutions,” said Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “There are natural pathways between our programming areas and a stronger partnership will result in greater access and opportunities for students in our region.”

About Justice Institute of British Columbia
Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is Canada’s leading public safety educator. Our specialized programs lead to certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and graduate certificates in Policing, Investigations, Emergency Management, Firefighting, Paramedicine, Sheriffs, Corrections, Counselling, Leadership, Mediation, Conflict Resolution, and Driver Training. JIBC also provides customized contract training to domestic and international governments, agencies and organizations. Our approach to education emphasizes applied learning and realistic simulations, delivered by instructors who are experienced practitioners. Our students’ work makes communities safer, and helps people in need, throughout B.C., across Canada and around the world.

 About Okanagan College
Okanagan College is a public, post-secondary institution located in B.C.'s interior. With four campuses in Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm, as well as education centres in Oliver, Summerland, and Revelstoke, the College serves more than 20,000 learners annually throughout its region.

Okanagan College is a significant driving force in the regional economy. Partnerships with industry, community groups and other educational institutions enhance opportunities for citizens of the region served by the College and beyond, giving proof to the College's mission of transforming lives and communities.

Okanagan College students cross the country to pitch entrepreneurship
Okanagan College Media Release

A delegation of students from Okanagan College’s Enactus team traveled to Montreal recently to meet with top business executives,Enactus MRC Sept 2014 entrepreneurs and students from Quebec after making a lasting impression with one of the lead judges at Canada’s national Enactus competition. 

Michel Kelly-Gagnon is the president and CEO of the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) and also serves on the Board of the John Dobson Foundation. The well-known executive was selected as a judge for the national Enactus exposition, where he was first introduced to students from Okanagan College’s award-winning team.

“In April I had the distinct pleasure and honour of acting as a judge in the final round of the 2014 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Calgary,” said Kelly-Gagnon. “On that occasion, I heard great presentations from students from various universities about how they were making Canada and the world a better place, through entrepreneurial actions and a mentality of autonomy and self-reliance. 

“In my view, one of the best initiatives presented, if not the best, was the InStill Life project from the Enactus Okanagan College team.”

Kelly-Gagnon was so impressed with the student-led project, he invited the team members and their faculty mentors to make a presentation to his Board and Montreal university students, in the hope of bringing a similar program to Quebec. 

InStill Life is an Okanagan-born project that students from the College’s Enactus team have been building for the past six years. The project is led by Enactus team members who work with Grade 5 and 6 students through a series of 10 lesson plans, all with prescribed learning objectives. The elementary school students create micro-businesses that generate profits that are directed to people around the world through a micro-lending program. 

Throughout the course of the program, the youth learn about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, personal selling and micro lending.   

“I can tell you already that our objective is to facilitate the implementation this program, or a similar program, here in Quebec,” explained Kelly-Gagnon.

“Being identified as a leader in the Enactus network and having our InStill Life program showcased to the audience in Quebec is testament to the strength of our team and the incredible programs and community partners we work with on a daily basis,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Enactus Okanagan College faculty advisor. “I am looking forward to the relationships we are creating to bring our impact to even greater levels across Canada.”

Enactus Okanagan College president Tom Arrowsmith was a part of the Okanagan College team that traveled to Montreal to present the project and said the experience has the potential to create a new partnership that could increase the project’s impact across the country.

“What a fantastic opportunity to present our InStill Life project to students, donors and business leaders in the Quebec region,” said Arrowsmith. “Our team is excited to see how this program can grow and expand both locally and across Canada.”
Coyotes ready to hit it out of the park

Okanagan College BaseballExpectations are high this year for the Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team as players report for the team’s seventh season on Sept. 1.

Last season, the Coyotes made it all the way to the Canadian College Baseball Conference Championships but fell to Lethbridge’s Prairie Baseball Academy Dawgs in dramatic fashion, 8 - 7.

Head coach Geoff White is optimistic about the team’s prospects for the upcoming year.

“We have a good group,” says White. “We have many strong returning players and a promising group of freshmen. I have high expectations this season.”

After participating in some social events during Orientation week, the team play starts on Sept. 6, with three inter-squad games at Elks Stadium over the course of the weekend. This will be the first chance White has to see his first year players in action. 

“We have a busy fall schedule, which will give us lots of time on the field. It’s a long season but everything we do is preparation for those CCBC championships in May,” says White.

The Coyotes first series against another team begins on Sept. 13 at 2:30 p.m. when they face the Langley Blaze at Elks Stadium at Richter St. and Recreation Avenue in Kelowna.

Tickets for the Coyotes home games are available at the gate for $5.

For the Fall schedule and player lineup, visit

As part of the College's orientation events, the Coyotes will be attending a tailgate party at the Kelowna campus on Sept 11 at 6 p.m. It's a great chance to meet the team.

Photo credit: Greystoke Photography


Salmon Arm man upgrades to a new career

Okanagan College offered Mike Pogson an opportunity to retrain for a rewarding career in health care at a price he couldn’t refuse.
Pogson, who lives in Salmon Arm, completed nine upgrading courses to qualify for entry into the practical nursing diploma program in 2011. The upgrading courses were tuition-free.
“When I found out I could get the prerequisites to get into the nursing program for free, it made going back to school a much more affordable option,” he says.
Okanagan College’s Foundation programs offer tuition-free upgrading in a variety of subjects including biology, chemistry, computer studies, English, mathematics and social studies, as well preparation for the General Education Development (GED) high-school equivalency test and B.C. Adult Graduation Diploma.
In 2011, Pogson was working in the residential construction industry as a finish carpenter but the market crashed and the jobs had started to dry up. That’s when he decided to go back to school.
“With the population aging practical nurses are in high demand and I knew the work would suit my personality,” he says.
Not long after Pogson graduated with his Practical Nursing diploma and passed his licensing exam, he landed a job as a licensed Practical Nurse at Mount Ida Mews, a 72-bed complex care community located in Salmon Arm.
“I love what I do now,” says Pogson. “Working with seniors is so rewarding. It was worth the time it took to go back to school.”
“So many people don’t have the prerequisites to enter the programs they want and think that’s the end to their career dreams,” says Dan Chetner, Instructor and Adult Basic Education coordinator at Okanagan College.
“When they discover they can upgrade at the College, a whole new world of possibilities open up to them,” he says. “We get students coming from all situations: those who had difficulty in high school, those who didn’t take the credits they need to get into the program they now want to do, and those who want to retool their existing careers.”
“My experience with Okanagan College’s Foundation program was so positive,” says Pogson. “The instructors were great because they got to know me, cared about what my goals were and supported me while I worked toward those goals.”
“We hear a lot about the coming skills shortage and many people may feel the opportunity is closed to them because they don’t have the prerequisites to access the education or training that will open the door to the career they want to pursue. The upgrading programs we offer may be a solution to that dilemma,” says Chetner.
It’s not too late to apply for classes starting in September. To find out more visit

OC’s Computer Information Systems degree answers employer and graduate needs

Chris KlukaChoosing the Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree program at Okanagan College was a no-brainer for Chris Kluka – and it has been a decision that paid off in spades with career opportunities.

Kluka had taken post-secondary studies at other Canadian institutions, but the credential and education he received didn’t fully meet his needs or expectations.

“I’m interested in infrastructure and systems management,” says Kluka, who is now an IT Systems Infrastructure Architect at Daemon Defense Systems Inc. in Winnipeg.

“I looked at programs across the country and chose Okanagan College. The other program I took and others I looked at had the wrong focus. They were focused on Programming or Computer Science. I wanted a program focused on IT systems implementation and management,” he says.

With the benefit of the College giving him transfer credits for much of his post-secondary education taken elsewhere, Kluka entered the Computer Information Systems (CIS) diploma program at Okanagan College. The CIS diploma is a two-year credential that ladders into the College’s four-year Bachelor of CIS degree. At the College, he was also able to integrate some courses from the Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology program as electives.

Between diploma and degree, Kluka found work with a Kelowna-based company, FormaShape, where he started as a junior network administrator. Eight months later he was IT Manager. Then he came back for his degree.

After graduation, it was a return to Manitoba, where career opportunities have been unfolding. For the past two years, he has been with Daemon Defense Systems Inc. and the contracts the company has secured have afforded him considerable experience in a variety of environments.

“I’ve been leading architecture design and deployment in projects such as the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, network redevelopment in the Winnipeg Convention Centre and the Investors Group Field, home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Those three projects alone represent 6,300 network drops and $20 million worth of servers and storage architecture. I have designed and implemented the IT systems architecture for three of the largest projects in the province in the last two years. ”

The College’s degree program has a solid reputation among employers, explains Department Chair Rick Gee. Demand for graduates may also partially explain the high ratings given the program by students in independent surveys conducted by the Provincial government. A review of five years of graduate data shows a 94 per cent employment rate, average annual earnings of $56,000 and 91 per cent of surveyed students reporting they were satisfied or very satisfied with their education.

“There will be continued demand for diploma and degree graduates from our programs,” says Gee. “Our lives are becoming increasingly dependent on information systems, and that bodes well for the people who can understand and manage them.”

For more information on the degree or diploma programs in Computer Information Systems, visit

Talented, experienced professors bring amazing array of arts courses to Vernon campus
Okanagan College Media Release

Award-winning instructors, published poets, experienced editors and publishers, as well as archeologists, geographers, sociologists and political scientists are among those instructors who are bringing an array of interesting and applied university arts courses to Okanagan College’s Vernon’s campus this year.

“There are tremendous talents who teach here,” explains Jane Lister, the College’s Regional Dean for the North Okanagan. “And they are committed to providing students a great learning experience that can’t be matched in larger schools.”

An example of the talent is author and freelance editor and writer Jeremy Lanaway, whose role with publishing company Pearson Longman’s Canadian, UK, and Asian subsidiaries has led him to author, co-author, and edit more than 70 English language teaching textbooks. Lanaway is teaching ENGL 209: Studies in Professional Editing this fall. 

“It is part of the very strong cadre of courses we offer in Vernon that emphasize applied theoretical and creative practice,” says Lister.

Other examples of that emphasis on English and writing include prize-winning poet Kevin McPherson teaching ENGL 150: Poetry and Drama and Kerry Gilbert (another published poet) offering ENGL 116: Introduction to Creative Writing classes. 

A seven-time national award-winner for book design, Jason Dewinetz, offers a course in Applied Publishing Skills this fall. A core of the Diploma in Writing and Publishing, the course (FINA/ENGL 170) introduces students to the use of state-of-the-art publishing and design software, as well as hands-on experience with quality letter presses. 

“Our strengths in university arts go well beyond English,” notes Lister. Amy Cohen infuses her introductory anthropology courses with the passion and engagement that she brings to her community work in and around the Okanagan. Cohen’s principal research has concentrated on the intersection of the law, citizenship and race. 

Brad Clements – a name familiar to many who have been following the efforts to acquire the CN Rail right-of-way for a park – brings his industry experience to the classroom as he teaches the Principles of Micro-Economics.

Craig McLuckie, Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs, returns to the classroom with ENGL 213: British Literature, an examination of Polish, Irish, English and Scottish writing from three genres; a timely course as the UK/GB sees independence votes in its constituent nations. McLuckie is also the author and editor of several books that examine the intersection of culture, community and politics.

“The list of instructors who bring their research and applied experience to the classroom is long. From psychology, to communications, to political science and geography, sociology, Spanish, history, French, philosophy and environmental and indigenous studies – we have many courses that will interest students, whether they are intent on getting a liberal arts degree or just pursuing knowledge for its own sake,” says Lister.

The best way to learn about what is being offered is to visit the campus or, she notes. There is still opportunity to apply to attend Okanagan College this fall. If you only want to take a course for interest’s sake, you can register to audit courses (which means you can experience the joy of learning with no grades!)
College professor’s research unlocks key to Okanagan’s future prosperity
Okanagan College Media Release

Extensive research conducted by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, the British Columbia Wine Institute and Okanagan College’s School of Business has uncovered what motivates wine visitors to come to this region and the secret to ensuring they return.

This is especially important given the Okanagan’s increasing profile on the global wine stage. A July poll of readers of the U.S.’s largest circulating newspaper, USA Today, found the Okanagan was the #2 wine destination in the world, second only to Alentejo, Portugal.

“Using interviews with 900 visitors to the Winter, Spring and Fall Okanagan Wine Festivals in 2012 and early 2013, we looked specifically at what impact wine-related events and festivals had on their desire to come to the region,” says leader of the research project Dr. Blair Baldwin, Okanagan College School of Business Professor and Okanagan Wine Festivals Society General Manager.

Baldwin and his team discovered that the greatest influence on visitor motivation was event and festivals execution—meaning not just the presence of those events but also the experience guests had while there. 

“You may sell out your event or win an award for your wine but if you haven’t devoted enough resources to ensuring a seamless experience, such as having prominent directional signage, good traffic flow to your wine shop, enough tasting room servers, and ample parking, visitors won’t return. And they won’t recommend it to their friends either,” says Baldwin.

Baldwin was invited to present these groundbreaking findings at the prestigious Academy of Wine Business Research conference at the University of Geisenheim in Germany earlier this summer. 

“The critical knowledge gained from this primary research will add so much value to the industry,” says Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism

“This was a rare opportunity to promote Okanagan College and our region’s exceptional wineries, events and festivals to an international audience,” says Rouse. “There were 125 delegates from 28 wine regions including the Okanagan, Niagara, Sonoma, Napa, Marlborough, Adelaide, Bordeaux, Champagne, Oregon and Tuscany at this conference.”

The research project was part of a larger body of research originally conducted by the same group in the fall of 2013 that looked at the economic impact of wine tourism to the Okanagan. See for more details.
Spies, double agents and fugitives take over Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Dive right into the world of espionage and intrigue at Okanagan College this fall. English professor Dr. Matt Kavanagh will take students on a journey through some of the most riveting 20th century British spy novels ever written in ENGL 213 (Studies in British Literature) which focuses on spies, double agents, and fugitive authors.  

“Even though the genre gets its start at the beginning of the 20th century, the subject matter is very contemporary: declining geopolitical power, betrayal, and terrorism,” says Kavanagh. 

“Fantasy figures like James Bond are meant to embody a sense of national virility at a time when Britain’s sense of its place in the world was very much in question. Then there are organization-men like George Smiley who orchestrate intrigue from their desks in anonymous institutional settings. Most interesting are the traitors who spy against their own country and serve as scapegoats whose betrayal ‘explains’ Britain’s keenly felt sense of diminishment amidst a broad sense of decline,” he says.

Beyond Ian Fleming and John Le Carré, this class examines modernist classics by Joseph Conrad and Elizabeth Bowen as well as contemporary work by John Banville and Salman Rushdie (who has written a memoir of his time spent living on the run from Islamic fundamentalists in Joseph Anton).

ENGL 213 is just one of several unique English courses being offered at Okanagan College this fall. 

Another is ENGL 204 (Applied English Studies), a course that puts students in the role of editor at an actual literary publication, Ryga: A Journal of Provocations. A companion course, ENGL 205, runs in the Winter term.

“From content creation to layout, students use the analytical and writing skills they have learned in their previous English classes and master the applied skills they need to create, design and publish a magazine,” says English professor Corinna Chong.

“Applied English Studies will not only appeal to arts students, but also to students interested in communications, marketing and business, as they will have the opportunity to run a real publishing company.”

While the fall term is fast approaching, Okanagan College is still accepting applications for enrolment. Go to for details.
Okanagan College contributes more than half a billion to regional economy
Okanagan College Media Release

BannisterClint Bannister knows it’s hard to put an exact price on the value of a post-secondary education, but he is confident there is a very real return on the investment.
The 31-year-old Okanagan College graduate and civil engineering design technologist at Urban Systems in Kelowna is one example of the thousands of Okanagan College graduates whose impact on the regional economy exceeds half a billion dollars annually. Provincially, the impact comes closer to a billion dollars.
A recent economic impact study undertaken by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) found that in 2012-13 Okanagan College and its students added $542 million to the regional economy. It pegged the institution’s provincial impact at $915 million.
Before entering Okanagan College, Bannister worked in sales. These days he spends most of his professional life designing highways and municipal roads; it was his investment in a college diploma that has prepared him for a long and rewarding career.
“Before I took the Civil Engineering Technology program at Okanagan College, I didn’t realize having a skilled education was so important to lifelong career success,” said Bannister. “I am excited to work for a great company doing something that really matters to the community.”
The study also found that Okanagan College students like Bannister, who were active in the regional workforce over the course of one year, collectively contributed $446 million in higher earnings and increased employer productivity.
In addition, Okanagan College’s operations and the spending from out-of-region students added $96 million to the economy.
Bannister completed his engineering technology diploma in 2011 and was hired within a month of graduation. Originally from North Vancouver, he chose to stay in the Okanagan and is among an increasing group of Okanagan College grads who provide a 12.7 per cent return to B.C. taxpayers on their investment in post-secondary education.
infographic9The positive effect of Okanagan College runs much deeper than added income. On a provincial scale, Okanagan College grads in the workforce save the provincial social safety net an estimated $16 million annually through reduced crime rates, lower unemployment rates and improved health. In short, graduates like Bannister are more productive and reduce the strain on social services.
The payoff doesn’t just impact taxpayers. Students who complete a college credential receive a huge return on that investment as well. EMSI’s estimate suggests that there is a 51 per cent lifetime earnings bump attributable to a two-year diploma over someone who has only a high school credential – it is worth an additional $346,800 over their estimated working lifetime.
For someone with a degree, such as Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration or Bachelor of Computer Information Systems, the estimated increase in working lifetime earnings compared to a high-school credential holder is 80 per cent or an additional $544,000.
“When I was working in sales my salary was up and down week-to-week and it was stressful not being able to count on a set paycheque,” said Bannister. “I also didn’t see a lot of prospects for the future. It’s so worth getting a practical education because a job like the one I have now is so much more rewarding and more lucrative over the long term.”
“The results of this study confirm that there is a significant return on the investment in post-secondary education for graduates, taxpayers and our regional economy,” explained Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “The economic impact is important to acknowledge but so is the value education yields for students and the wellbeing of our communities.”
“I chose the College because it’s local, the program is a good mix of technical and academic experience and it’s very highly regarded in the engineering industry,” said Bannister. “The co-op program was instrumental in preparing me for work and helped me apply fundamental knowledge to real world experiences."