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Rotary Club of Kelowna supports Okanagan College efforts to elevate trades training in the region
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Rotary Club of Kelowna supports Okanagan College efforts to elevate trades training in the region
Okanagan College Media Release

Tradespeople do more than just build houses, they help build communities. This is one of the key messages that a local Rotary club Rotary Club Donation March 2015hopes the community will take away from its decision to support the new trades training complex at Okanagan College.

The Rotary Club of Kelowna has pledged $75,000 to the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign supporting the $33-million renovation and expansion project currently underway at the College’s Kelowna Campus. 

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

“Trades are a key thrust in our economy,” notes Campbell, “and so it seemed only natural for us to support the training of these young apprentices. When you think about it, you can’t step out your front door and go very far without coming into contact with something that a tradesperson has helped to build, wire, plumb, weld, and so on.”

“We had a chance to speak with students and instructors at the College and learn about the plan for the building,” says Ross Gilley, past-President of the Club. “And when we saw how the expansion will enhance space and equipment for students, we knew it was a worthy project. The College’s efforts will really elevate the profile of trades as a career path in the Okanagan, and we’re proud to support that.”

“The new trades training complex will help us be proactive in addressing the skills gap projected for trades and technical training in B.C. over the next decade,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “It is truly gratifying for the College to see people and organizations from all over our region stepping up to support the project.”

“We appreciate the Rotary Club of Kelowna’s generous investment in our campus and our students’ futures.”

When doors open in spring of 2016, the three-storey tower will be a significant update for Okanagan College’s trades facilities, some of which date back to the 1960s. The complex will be able to accommodate over 2,400 students per year in trades programs. Okanagan College is currently the second largest trades training institution in B.C. 

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Our students have a reputation for excellence that we’re very proud of,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “As do our instructors. This new facility will provide an incredible space to learn and work, and, we believe, will further establish the Okanagan region as a hub for trades training in Western Canada.”

The provincial government has committed $28 million to the project. The $7-million Bright Horizons campaign to top up this funding includes $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for program and student support—which will allow the College to explore new trades programs in high demand, as well as create awards and bursaries for students.

The Okanagan College Foundation announced in February that the campaign has officially reached the halfway mark of its overall goal, with over $3.5 million raised. To learn more about the campaign, opportunities to give, and to get involved with the project, please visit http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.
Explore College education options at upcoming information session in Penticton
Okanagan College Media Release

Coleman Helgerson Mar 2015Making a choice of career and credential can be daunting for many people looking at their post-secondary path.

Quality, cost, and location are all factors that enter the picture. Okanagan College instructors and staff will be on hand to shine a light on all those considerations (and more) at an Arts and Science University Transfer Information Session March 9 at 6 p.m. at the Penticton campus.

The session is open to all potential students, including those graduating from high school, their parents, and anyone considering further studies for additional training or a career change. The event will be held in the atrium of the campus’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence.

For students like Summerland’s Coleman Helgerson who is currently in the second year of Okanagan College’s Criminal and Social Justice diploma program, the decision to stay within the beautiful Okanagan valley was easy. 

“One of my main reasons was being able to stay close to home,” says Helgerson. “Having that extra bit of support when it’s needed by being close to family and friends has been great.”

The College’s broad course offerings in university transferable arts and science programs enabled Helgerson to consider various directions for his studies. His education plan evolved over the last couple of years, and Okanagan College afforded him the flexibility of exploration. As a result of small class sizes, students benefit from more time with their instructors, enabling discussions such as how to achieve their educational and professional goals. 

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The instructors have been a great help, and given me valuable feedback and guidance. That's my favorite part of the program; how much the instructors want to see their students succeed, in whatever chosen career path they have,” adds Helgerson. “As far as the entire College community goes, all the departments work hard to create a positive and energetic environment for students to enjoy.”

Helgerson as well as fellow current students, instructors, Education Advisors, the Aboriginal Transitions Planner, and an Admissions Clerk will be on hand to share the Okanagan College experience and answer questions. This session will also provide information about university transfer credits, financial aid and awards, and discuss career options for those pursuing studies in both arts and science.
Take it outside! Conference focuses on outdoor play
Okanagan College Media Release

Child’s play is serious work for a group of academics, professionals, and planners who will be gathering March 6 at Okanagan Beverlie Dietze Dec 2013College’s Vernon campus to consider the how and why of developing outdoor play spaces and why they are essential for children’s development and for building healthy, sustainable communities.

Shifting Views – Why Children Need Outdoor Play Now!” is a one-day conference being organized by Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, Dr. Beverlie Dietze (who is also a principal researcher in outdoor play) and Jane Lister, the College’s North Okanagan Regional Dean. The conference is also being supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, which funded recent research involving Dietze, and the Kelowna-based Outland Design Landscape Architecture company.

“Recent research is really reinforcing how important outdoor play is to children’s development, especially at a time when so much of their activity is focused around electronic devices and digital interaction,” says Dietze. “Having the chance to connect to nature is about a lot more than just the experience of the outdoors. It impacts a whole range of behavior and early childhood development.”

Details of the conference speakers and sessions, as well as instructions on how to register can be found at www.okanagan.bc.ca/play.

The day-long, free conference features a number of experts and workshops. Two Nova Scotians will present the story of Nova Scotia’s Journey of Advancing Outdoor Play – Peter McCracken (who works with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness) and Laura MacPherson (who works in the same department and also sits on the ParticipACTION’s National Active Play committee.)

Dr. Mariana Brussoni, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia will examine the need for children to have play environments that allow them to take a variety of risks in their outdoor play.  

Dietze will present an overview of the current research in the area of outdoor children’s play and how the research should influence public policy, community development, and how it ties into the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

Fiona Barton, the principal in Outland Design Landscape Architecture, will focus on how important it is for landscape architects to create nurturing outdoor spaces for children. She’ll highlight some new outdoor play designs that incorporate natural materials into play space. 

Dr. Diane Kashin, a registered early childhood educator and College professor, will present a session called Cultivating Children’s Identities Through Outdoor Play.
New awards honour aviation pioneers and help college students take flight
Okanagan College Media Release

Margaret Fane Rutledge Feb 2015Students enrolled in the Commercial Aviation diploma program at Okanagan College will soon get a lift from new awards that recognize the achievements of two distinguished B.C. aviators.

The Roy Clemens Memorial Award in Aviation and Margaret Fane Rutledge Award in Aviation, valued at $1,000 each, celebrate the contributions to Canada’s aviation history made by Clemens and Rutledge over the course of their careers in the air. 

“We are proud to recognize the legacy of these two aviation forerunners” says Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean, Okanagan College School of Business. “These awards in their honour will assist young pilots in their training. Okanagan College is very grateful to the Clemens and Rutledge families for their generous support in creating these awards.” 

“We’ve trained over 400 pilots since the program began in 1990,” says Marc Vanderaegen, Flight School Director, Southern Interior Flight Centre, Okanagan College Commercial Aviation Diploma Program. “And the demand for pilots is only going to increase, with retirements looming in the big airlines. It’s a very exciting time to get into commercial aviation. This program gives students some great opportunities to connect with local employers and leaders in aviation from the moment they start training.”

Roy Clemens was born in Moose Jaw, Sask., on March 14, 1918. He studied aeronautics and served as a pilot and technical officer in the RCAF in England during WWII. In 1967, Clemens moved from Vancouver to Kelowna to set up and run Western Star manufacturing plant. It was here he rekindled his interest in flying, soon getting his pilot’s license and building his own plane. 

Clemens coordinated Air Search and Rescue in the region for 35 years, retiring from that volunteer position at the age of 87. He was a founding member of the Kelowna Flying Club and the Kelowna branch of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and provided technical advice to aircraft builders all over the world. Clemens passed away in 2013.

“Dad's greatest passion in life was flying—from his first flight in a crop duster at age eight, right up until the end of his life at age 95,” says his daughter, Patricia Campbell. “He inspired so many people to pursue flying—either as a career or as a hobby—and I know he would be pleased that this memorial award will continue helping others to achieve their airborne dreams.”

Born in Edmonton on April 13, 1914, Margaret Fane Rutledge’s life-long interest in aviation was sparked in early childhood. Rutledge was the first woman west of Toronto to earn a commercial pilot’s license. She overcame frequent discrimination in pursuit of her dream of being a commercial pilot, as many airlines refused to hire women for the role. 

"Aunt Margaret never saw herself as being special because she was a female pilot...she was special because she was a pilot,” says Rutledge’s nephew, Graham Fane. 

Rutledge persevered and ultimately piloted several flights for a Canadian airline, worked with a bush pilot outfit in northern B.C. She worked with Grant McConachie and Canadian Airlines, and also founded the "Flying Seven" - an elite group of Canadian female pilots associated with Amelia Earhart, based out of Vancouver. Rutledge passed away in 2004 at the age of 90.

“She wasn't just a pilot. She was a role model for following your dreams,” says Fane.

Both the Roy Clemens and Margaret Fane Rutledge Award will each be awarded annually to a student who has completed the first year of full-time study in the program. For more information about awards eligibility, please contact Okanagan College’s Financial Aid office at financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca

The Commercial Aviation diploma program is for men and women who are interested in pursuing a career in aviation. The two-year program provides participants with business experience along with the aviation training required by Transport Canada to ensure they are prepared to enter into the field of commercial aviation.

For information on the program, additional details on participant eligibility or to apply, contact Marc Vanderaegen at marc@flysifc.ca.
Let’s raise a glass (of water) to our water engineering technologists
Okanagan College Media Release

Turning on the tap this morning to brush your teeth, you probably didn’t think twice about the process of how that clean, fresh waterOC WET Grads Feb 2015 made its way into the comfort of your home. Who are those that we trust so immensely with the job of ensuring our water is controlled, treated, monitored, and ultimately safe?

Engineering Week (March 1 to 7) might just be the time to give thought to the vital and universal role of the water engineering technologists we depend on.

“We all want to drink water from the tap that is safe, and likewise to ensure our waste is taken care of properly,” says Professor Eric Jackson, Chair of Okanagan College’s Water Engineering Technology (WET) program. “Our graduates are the water quality monitoring technologists, environmental engineering technologists, and water and wastewater treatment plant operators who work diligently behind the scenes in our communities to ensure public health is protected when it comes to water and wastewater.”

Water treatment is a complex field that is rapidly evolving to constantly improve procedures and to protect the environment.  Engineering technologists monitor the various steps of water management and conduct preventative maintenance.  For the job, candidates need to have a strong foundational knowledge in biology, chemistry, technology, and have good analytical skills. As with all engineers, it’s about the desire to know how something works, and making it work. 

Nicole Moggey graduated from the College’s WET program 10 years ago. Since then she has worked with the City of Kelowna at the Wastewater Treatment Facility and manages the laboratory. 

“Each day I get to come to work in an advanced facility that is cutting edge from a design, technology and science perspective,” notes Moggey. “When I first graduated, I felt prepared to jump right in and put my skills to work. Now, I see new graduates joining our team who are knowledgeable about the latest technologies and methods. That speaks volumes about the quality of education the program provides and how it evolves to keep pace with the innovation we see in the field.”

Helping treat up to 45 million litres a day of wastewater from Kelowna, a total of seven College WET graduates work at the Kelowna Wastewater Treatment Facility.  An additional four graduates work to ensure that the City Water Utility provides safe drinking water.

The two-year WET program at the College offers students hands-on learning that includes traditional chemical and civil engineering technology combined with innovative water-focused environmental studies. The curriculum of the Water and Wastewater Technology specialty of the diploma focuses on domestic water treatment, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, hydraulics, and industrial computer control.

For each hour of lecture, students have one hour of practical lab skills time. There is the appeal of small class sizes (an intake of 40 students per year) that allows students increased time with the instructors to train for a successful career, many of which are municipal positions offering pensions and job-security. 

“Training is a big expense for employers,” explains Jackson. “The combination of instruction by industry experts, the applied learning model, and co-op job placements mean our graduates are well-equipped to jump right into a job upon completing the program. In fact, most seamlessly transition into a permanent job with their co-op employer.”
Engineering technologists plug in to the business of IT
Okanagan College Media Release 

Troy Berg Feb 2015Information Technology (IT) managers increasingly have the ear of senior management and have a seat at the table when it comes to making strategic decisions to advance a company’s objectives. 

In today’s world, businesses operate on a need-for-speed model and it is the IT team’s responsibility to provide productive, timely, and most importantly connected business solutions. After all, nothing grinds business to a halt as much as Internet service interruptions or not being able to access working files on the network servers.

Kelowna resident Troy Berg graduated four years ago from Okanagan College’s Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (NTEN) program and currently works as IT Manager for the law firm of Doak Shirreff. “As an IT professional, I see myself as an advocate for and translator of technology to business managers,” he says. “IT can be confusing to those who are not familiar with it. We can use our knowledge to offer creative and proactive solutions on ways to improve productivity, workflow, security, and profitability. A huge part of my job is to make business cases for ways technology can help make businesses run faster and better, and get a calculable return on investment.”

The two-year NTEN diploma program at Okanagan College teaches students the intricacies of technology in three distinct areas of focus: network infrastructure, telecommunication, and client/server administration. Attuned to the business needs of the future, the program incorporates business management courses to help students understand the correlation between IT and business. 

“Certainly a passion for technology and a curiosity for finding out how things work is a must when entering this field of study,” says Phil Ashman, Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health at Okanagan College. “More than simply being ‘techies’, our graduates are engineering technologists who apply their thorough understanding of the sophistication of IT in order to support businesses broadly across industries. They are employed as IT specialists for banks, natural resources companies, government and education institutions, and in Troy’s case a law firm.”

The diploma affords graduates the practical skills to become Computer System Analysts, Cloud and Data Centre Specialists, Network Administrators, Telecommunications Technicians, and IT Integrators and Consultants as examples. Since its launch, 136 students have graduated from the niche NTEN Diploma program. The BC Student Outcomes Survey results for the last five years found that 91 per cent of NTEN graduates are employed, many of which in a variety of organizations throughout the Okanagan.

“The convenience of technology is a part of our everyday life, and as such it’s easy to think we all know IT quite well. It’s the millennial factor,” explains Ron Light, Okanagan College Professor and Chair of the NTEN program. “What we see in our students in their first week of class is how surprised they are to discover the intricate back-end complexities of user technologies.”

As a rule, the easier the technology is for individuals to use, the more complex and bigger the team on the back-end to make it operate smoothly. It’s an unforgiving field of work with no margin of error: it either works or it doesn’t.

“I agree that this is indeed the age of the ‘Internet of Everything’,” says Light. “You cannot run a business today without having an efficient and secure computing infrastructure. From our smart phones and wireless devices that enable us to work remotely, to Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and streaming video for conferencing, to fibre optic connectivity and cloud-based services., these are the tools of business today. The IT department is the architect, mechanic, and occasionally maybe even the magician, that makes it all happen.”

Engineering Week (March 1 to 7) celebrates the engineers and engineering technologists who make things work in our community. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/nten for more information about Okanagan College’s program.
A comedic curling match with the devil takes the stage in upcoming Red Dot Players production
Okanagan College Media Release

What could be more Canadian than W.O. Mitchell, a curling competition with the devil set in the Prairies and curling stones that can be used in any season?Red Dot Players Feb 2015

This is what you can expect on the stage March 5 to 8 as the Okanagan College Red Dot Players present Mitchell’s comedy The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon at the Kelowna campus. This will be the theatre company’s fifth production.

Based on the classic literary tale of Faust's deal with the devil, a curling match sets the stage for this humorous, clever and Canadianized version of the ultimate battle between good vs. evil. 

"One of the challenges with the script was to create an actual curling match on the stage," says the play’s director Mike Minions, Okanagan College's Educational Technology Coordinator. "Using the big lathe in the College's carpentry shop we built some wooden curling rocks on roller bearings. They painted up pretty well and the actors have been working hard to learn to make the shots they need to for each end of the game." 

The audience will be transported to the fictional town of Wildrose, Alberta in 1936 where protagonist Wullie, a shoe repairman, faces-off with the devil and his rink from Hell consisting of Judas Iscariot, Lucrezia Borgia, and none-other than the melancholic Macbeth in a curling match. The stakes are high: a win means Wullie will ultimately earn gold at the upcoming Brier Championship, but if he loses, he not only loses his immortal soul to the devil, but – even worse in his opinion— he will have to play on the devil’s team in the Celestial Brier, a curling match between Heaven and Hell. This two-act play delivers quirky characters, clever dialogue and takes a fond look at the obsession with curling so typical of a prairie town. 

“Each year I am truly impressed by the talent our extended College community brings to these plays,” says artistic director and Okanagan College English professor Jeremy Beaulne. “This year we have a cast of 10 and an additional five crew members who worked extremely hard these past few months to make this play come to life.”

Performances take place at the Kelowna campus theatre on March 5, 6, and 7 each at 7 p.m., with an additional matinee on Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the Okanagan College Campus Store, Mosaic Books, and at the door. 

The Red Dot Players is a theatre troupe for Okanagan College students, alumni, and employees based on the Kelowna campus. Previous productions include The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), and The Government Inspector (2014). For more information, visit the Red Dot Players website at www.kalwriters.com/rdp
Okanagan College Students’ Union supports the future of trades
Okanagan College Media Release

OCSU Donation Feb 2015The profile of Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus along KLO Road will change significantly over the next year and the Okanagan College Students’ Union is showing support for the new complex that will elevate the region as a hub for trades training.

The OCSU has pledged $100,000 towards the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign that supports the renovation and expansion of the trades training complex at Okanagan College.

“After supporting the Centre of Excellence at the Penticton Campus a few years ago, seeing how that building came together and the impact that it has had for students as a place to grow and succeed…that really inspired us to get behind this project,” says Chelsea Grisch, Executive Chairperson of the Okanagan College Students’ Union. 

“We are very proud and appreciative of the fact that our students have chosen to invest in the future of their college,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Their action demonstrates great leadership on their part and confirms our commitment to providing the best possible environment to support student learning.” 

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

The College acknowledges the significance of its students stepping up to support not only their education, but the education of those students who will follow in their footsteps.  

“They are contributing to the students and the generations to come,” explains Hamilton. “That speaks very highly to their character, to the value they place on post-secondary education, and to the value they place on being a part of this community—both now and in the future.”

While the three-storey trades training complex will enhance the physical profile of the College along KLO Road, it was the College’s commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental footprint through an innovative design that motivated OCSU to support the project. The building is aiming to meet both the Living Building Challenge and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum objectives.

“When the opportunity arose for us to play a part in supporting the rejuvenation of the trades training complex here in Kelowna, we wanted to show in a bold way just how important we feel it is for students to have a learning environment that is ahead of the curve, vibrant, and that reflects Okanagan College’s commitment to sustainability,” explains Grisch.

“The community should take note,” says Alf Kempf, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “To have our students step forward like this and say ‘we want to help make the College an even better place…we want to help build a space that benefits not just our class but all the students that follow us’, that says a lot about our students and the connection they feel to the College.”

Construction of the new complex at BC’s second largest trades training institution is expected to be completed in spring of 2016. 

The $7-million Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign for project launched in October 2014. The campaign’s efforts will supplement the provincial government’s commitment of $28 million to the renovation project. In addition to capital, the Okanagan College Foundation is accepting donations of equipment, tools, and other support to help enhance programs and opportunities for students.

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

Okanagan College’s Dr. Barry McGillivray has decided to reinvest in the economy of the region that has treated him well
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean of the College’s School of Business, is donating $100,000 to develop a research centre at the College Barry McGillivray Feb 2015that will be focused on small business and entrepreneurship in the Southern Interior.

“I’m giving back to a region that has been very good to me,” says McGillivray. “Supporting research to benefit small businesses and entrepreneurs is one of the most effective avenues of building our region’s economy.”

A portion of the funds, invested with the Okanagan College Foundation, will be directed toward scholarships and bursaries for students as well. 

“I have a great and abiding faith in the quality of our students,” says McGillivray, pointing to a long list of student accomplishments in national and international case competitions and to a growing number of notable alumni from the College’s Business Administration degree and diploma programs.

“Research will round out the School of Business’s profile – regionally and nationally,” says McGillivray. “We have a well-deserved reputation for teaching excellence, and for meeting student and employer needs and expectations. We also have a cadre of professors who are undertaking research important to our region; research that focuses on small- and medium-sized enterprises, on the wine industry, on agriculture and on tourism.

“My intent is that the Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research will serve as an incubator for some of our newer faculty to do more applied research, especially with regard to the barriers that entrepreneurs face.”

McGillivray is also hoping that his contribution will spur others to support the Centre.

“Barry’s commitment to this region and to our institution is remarkable,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “I know he thought carefully about what he could do to help the communities we serve, consulted many people and struck upon developing this Centre as the best investment he could make. I applaud him for his generosity and his foresight.”

“Barry’s donation is also evidence of the support being shown for the College by the very people who make this place what it is,” notes Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler. “It is encouraging to see students, staff and instructors choose to contribute to enhancing the College and supporting students.”
New Construction Craft Worker program coming to the College
Okanagan College Media Release

Jason Bonneau Feb 2015The people who do the work of a Construction Craft Worker are a vital part of every construction site and team. They install utility piping, place concrete, construct roads, assist skilled tradespersons such as carpenters and bricklayers, and they set-up and break down a job site among other skills. 

Now, British Columbia and Okanagan College are offering those who function in the role the opportunity for Red Seal accreditation. Starting in March 2015 Okanagan College is offering a new two-level apprenticeship program to meet the provincial demand for the training.

“Construction labourers are professionals who have solid experience under their tool-belts,” explains Okanagan College Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “Earning this accreditation will make it easy for employers to determine that the worker is trained and skilled to perform the tasks at hand. For the worker, it can be the differentiator in getting hired.”

“Knowing that our trades workers have a Red Seal gives me confidence that they have a strong understanding of construction and the necessary skills to be on any site,” says Matt Kenyon, General Manager of Greyback Construction. “Ultimately, it makes for a safer work environment and ensures projects are completed to the highest standards. At Greyback we fully support the students of Okanagan College and will offer these workers mentorship and site tours.” 

Penticton Indian Band member Jason Bonneau has enrolled in Okanagan College’s March program, with encouragement from his employer Greyback Construction. “I’ve only ever worked in construction. It fascinates me to have the knowledge of being able to make something out of nothing, to build it up,” says the 38-year-old Bonneau. “As a father of five, providing for my family is a top priority. Obtaining my Red Seal as a Construction Craft Worker means I can earn more money and grow a lifelong career in a field I’m passionate about.” 

A Red Seal designation allows individuals to become journeypersons with a higher earning potential and they can participate in training new apprentices. It is a Canada-wide designation that translates into employability across the country, as cemented by the recent announcement in Nova Scotia that all premiers are in agreement to recognize inter-provincial apprenticeship credentials by 2016 across all of Canada.

The certification is one that is recognized across industries including building projects, roadside work, mining and forestry, oil and gas, and it is the most in-demand position for the anticipated LNG industry boom. The B.C. government forecasts that 11,800 construction trade workers will be needed by 2018 to support the LNG sector.

Okanagan College is one of a limited number of B.C. institutions offering the training program that consists of Level 1 and 2 (each four weeks long), as well as 4,000 work-based hours. As part of the program, graduates will also receive their Certificate of Apprenticeship, Certificate of Confined Space Training, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Certificate (WHIMS), and Industry Training Authority credential.

Blending instructor-led training with hands-on experience, students will attend class in the morning to learn methods and theories, and in the afternoon they apply that knowledge in their shop time.

The Kelowna campus program accommodates 16 students per level and applications are still being accepted for the March 2, 2015 program intake. Mobile training opportunities are also available. For registration and program information, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/apprenticeship.
Concussions, their effect, and return to play, topic of Science in Society Series talk
Okanagan College Media Release

When is it safe for an athlete to return to play following a concussion? In recent years, concussions resulting from sports activity have gained the attention of sports enthusiasts and scientists alike.Dr. Paul van Donkelaar Feb 2015

On Wednesday Feb. 18 clinical neuroscientist Dr. Paul van Donkelaar will present a talk as part of the Science in Society Series entitled ‘How can science guide the management of sport-related concussions?’.  The public event is jointly hosted by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre and will be held at the Okanagan College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre at 7:30 p.m. 

“The big question is ‘how do you know if an athlete who has suffered a concussion is truly fit to return to play?’,” says Dr. van Donkelaar, professor and Director of the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. “They may feel fine, their symptoms may be gone, yet there could be undetected damage to the brain. Further, the risk of multiple concussions could potentially lead to long-term disability or even premature death.”

In his research van Donkelaar and his team study how a concussion affects blood flow to the brain, and how that affects concentration, balance, and attention span. The presentation will highlight key discoveries in changes to the brain as a result of a sports-related concussion and how this knowledge will lead to improved initial diagnosis, care, and return to activity decisions.

Admission to the event is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, please call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. Visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com for more information 

The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Cooper’s Food, and the Vernon Morning Star.
Carter family donation to enhance study space for trades students at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Carters Feb 2015A generous gift by a local family will help support the creation of two new study spaces at Okanagan College, as part of the $33-million project to renovate and expand the institution’s trades training complex.

Al Carter, a well-known auto industry pioneer in Kelowna, has donated $50,000 to support the construction of two group study rooms in the new trades building, which is slated to open in spring of 2016. The study rooms will help meet the demand for student space as the College works to train and educate the tradespeople to address a government-projected shortage of skilled trades workers over the next decade.

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

“We know that labour shortages for the trades sector as a whole are expected as early as 2016—with the Government of Canada predicting that our workforce will need one million additional skilled workers by 2020,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We are grateful to the Carter family for investing in our College’s future and helping us to provide students with state-of-the-art spaces to learn and succeed.” 

After service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Al Carter’s automotive career began in Vancouver in 1948 when he opened Carter Brothers Texaco Service with his brother, Ken. Over the next 15 years, he moved up the ranks to become sales manager of Marshall Pontiac Buick. Carter moved his family to Kelowna in 1961, opening up Carter Pontiac and Buick dealership early the following year on the corner of Pandosy and Lawrence.

“When you think about the change in Kelowna since then, it’s incredible” says Carter. “There were 12,600 people here when we started our first business and look at it now. It’s been great to watch the city grow, and with it the College and the opportunities for students.”

Starting each of his businesses from scratch taught Carter and his sons some valuable lessons, he says.

“There is a big difference between buying an established business and building one from scratch,” explains Carter. “Those early days were tough. We worked hard for everything we earned.”

“One piece of advice that I’ve always had for people starting out in any trade,” adds Carter, “is to keep learning. Learn your job well, and then learn the next job up. If you show that you’re hungry to learn, and that you want to keep building your skills, employers will take notice.”

Carter still recalls his sons Barry and Greg helping him in 1968 to clear the land on the corner of Spall and Harvey, which was an orchard at the time, for what would later become the first Honda dealership in Kelowna in 1974.

One of the family’s motivations for supporting the trades complex was to help Okanagan College to get trades training on the radar of students who otherwise might not have considered trades for a career, noted Al’s eldest son, Barry.

“Our goal is to help the College build a foundation for future growth,” explains Barry. “Getting people into trades is perhaps more important now than ever before. Just look at the current workforce and the big wave of retirements we’re facing.”

“We’re going to have a real shortage of trades people, if we don’t help new apprentices get started,” noted Al’s younger son, Greg.

The new complex will accommodate approximately 2,400 students annually in a range of trades programs. The Okanagan College Foundation launched the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign in fall 2014 to raise the necessary $7 million to complete the project and help provide equipment and student support. The provincial government has committed $28 million. 

The Foundation is inviting the community to learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved, by visiting www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.