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College business program accredited by HRMA
Partners collaborate to offer coding fundamentals course
Carpentry students get new study space thanks to award-winning renovator
New program helps support workers better serve Aboriginal people and communities
WFN Councillor new Vice-Chair of OC Board of Governors
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College business program accredited by HRMA

HRMAWhen Ryan Lazauskas graduated from Okanagan College in June with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, the 27-year-old knew he had written his last college exam. But in the back of his mind, another daunting exam was weighing heavy on him—the National Knowledge Exam, the first step in obtaining the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.
 
“I did a lot of research before I chose to study human resources at Okanagan College,” said Lazauskas, who is now a Human Resources Assistant at Tolko Industries. “The program has an excellent reputation and the professors have the industry experience that really makes a difference in the real world. I knew I wanted to pursue the CHRP designation and was confident an education at OC would put me in the best position to be successful after graduation.”
 
However, Lazauskas isn’t going to have to challenge his knowledge with the national exam.
 
Baldev Gill, Chief Operating Officer of the Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of BC and the Yukon, was in Kelowna Thursday to recognize Okanagan College as an HRMA accredited institution, which means graduates of the Human Resources Management program are exempt from writing the exam. The announcement was welcome news for recent graduates like Lazauskas.
 
“This new accreditation is just one more reason to take business at Okanagan College,” he said. “It’s a lot to expect students to finish their degree, start a new career and at the same time prepare for a really intense exam. I am so glad the program has been accredited by HRMA; it allows new graduates to really focus on building their careers and adjusting to life after post-secondary.”
 
Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business, says the accreditation marks a significant achievement for the institution’s human resources specialty.
 
“This agreement represents a tangible outcome ensuring that BBA graduates are well equipped to take on professional roles in organizations of all types and sizes,” says Banham. “Employers can be confident that these students have developed competency in the nine required practice areas and are on their way to attaining certification as a Certified Human Resources Professional.”
 
Lazauskas couldn’t agree more.
 
“This accreditation is a huge step forward for the program,” he said. “The professors at the College bring so much industry knowledge into the classroom and that creates a learning environment that prepares students for the challenges they will face when they enter the workforce.”
 
The agreement will be retroactive for three years, meaning students who graduated with a BBA and human resources management specialty dating back to May of 2013 will receive an exemption from writing the exam, providing they achieved a minimum 70 per cent grade point average. 

Partners collaborate to offer coding fundamentals course
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Okanagan College is teaming up with Lighthouse Labs - one of Canada’s fastest-growing computer coding trainers - to offer an introductory course that will start students on the path to a career in coding.

The Coding Fundamentals course begins Oct. 11 in Kelowna and will provide students with some of the most in-demand skills in the high-tech marketplace. Over the course of 60 hours, students will build their coding literacy and learn the fundamentals of web development. Talented developers will mentor students as they work with templates and create apps using coding languages including Ruby, Sinatra and Swift.

“Coding is garnering a lot of interest from educators and employers,” observes Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department. “Lighthouse Labs is a recognized leader in this field. We are excited to collaborate with them on this leading edge course.”

Lighthouse Labs co-founders Jeremy Shaki and Khurram Virani are among those who see the need for more focus on coding and more educational opportunities. During last fall’s federal election, they called on all political leaders to put coding at the forefront of their policy platforms.

“We're disappointed,” they wrote in an open letter. “The tech community is disappointed. And many Canadians, from coast to coast, are disappointed with the lack of discussion on the importance of technology, technology education, and code literacy to drive prosperity and innovation across Canada. We know that technology is the beating heart to drive progress in Canada and that it is the biggest driver of growth in the industrialized world.”

Some levels of government are paying attention. The B.C. government, for instance, announced earlier this year that coding will be a component of its public school curriculum. This came just as an industry analysis revealed that Canada could face a shortage of 182,000 information and communications technology workers by 2019. The new Coding Fundamentals course has been made possible as a result of a Provincial investment in coding programs at several B.C. institutiions.

One Okanagan company with an interest in finding qualified employees and which has experience with Lighthouse Labs is FreshGrade, which has developed apps for use by teachers, parents and students that are in use in 70 countries by more than a million people.

"FreshGrade has always been invested in helping grow the Okanagan tech community, and more developer talent will only support that growth,” says Steve Wandler, Co-Founder of FreshGrade. “It's wonderful to see organizations like Lighthouse Labs come into the community and partner with the Okanagan College to train locals to fill the demand for tech talent."

"We've worked closely with Lighthouse Labs in the past, and are looking forward to seeing the positive impact on Kelowna's industry with the addition of more coding training opportunities."

The course is being offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings, beginning Oct. 11. The cost is $1,800. For more information about the course, visit Okanagan.bc.ca/coding

 

Carpentry students get new study space thanks to award-winning renovator
Okanagan College Media Release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

New program helps support workers better serve Aboriginal people and communities
Okanagan College Media Release

A new program developed by Okanagan College in collaboration with local First Nations communities and regional Aboriginal organizations will prepare learners to step into community support work assisting Aboriginal individuals and families.

The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program launches in October at the College’s Salmon Arm campus. It will include a practicum with a local community/human service work employer.

“This program is the product of extensive consultation with bands throughout the Interior of B.C. as well as a number of community entities that serve Aboriginal peoples in the region,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “We learned there was a need for training that enables community support workers to gain a deeper knowledge of the specific challenges facing Aboriginal individuals and families.”

The College worked closely with members of the Aboriginal community to develop the curriculum and to ensure it was built on a strong foundation of traditional Aboriginal knowledge and culture. Jennifer Leason is one of the scholars who is helping guide the process and make the program a reality.

The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate says it all in its name,” notes Leason, a highly regarded Anishina-kwe scholar and PhD candidate who teaches Women’s Studies at Okanagan College. “The program is about transformative learning and providing culturally safe, relevant and meaningful support when working with Indigenous peoples, families and communities.”

Leason is no stranger when it comes to advancing Indigenous knowledge in the post-secondary sector. She also recently piloted a new course at the College on Canadian Indigenous Women's Perspectives, Indigenous Feminism, Oppression and Resistance. Her research focuses on Indigenous women’s maternal and reproductive health in Canada.

The course includes workshops featuring local Aboriginal knowledge and culture, Elders and other guest speakers from local bands. It is designed for students of all backgrounds (Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal heritage) who are interested in working with the Aboriginal community, notes Leason.

“The approach to designing and delivering the program has been based on collaborative relationships, respectful dialogue and meaningful engagement,” she says. “The course engages students in a process of decolonization and encourages them to work together towards reconciliation. It is truly an innovative and exciting program."

The College is currently looking for organizations in the health and human service work field who are interested in accepting students for practicum placements.

More information about the Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program is available atwww.okanagan.bc.ca/acsw

 

WFN Councillor new Vice-Chair of OC Board of Governors
Okanagan College Media Release

Chris Derickson, a councillor from the Westbank First Nation, is the new-vice chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors.Chris Derickson Sept 2016

Derickson, who replaces Doug Manning in the role, has been on the College Board since 2014, has been a Westbank First Nation Council member since 2012, and has a consulting practice working with First Nations communities developing community plans, community engagement strategies, strategic plans, and providing legal research services.

He holds a degree in law from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC Okanagan. He is also completing a Masters of Business Administration in Aboriginal and Business Leadership at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.

“Chris is a respected community member who brings leadership and planning insight to the Board of Governors,” says Okanagan College Board Chair Connie Denesiuk. “He will be a key asset in the governance of the College as we implement our new strategic plan.”

“I appreciate the vital role that higher education plays in strengthening our communities and transforming individual lives,” says Derickson. “I look forward to continuing to help grow and develop Okanagan College as a key engine in our region’s social and economic progress.”

Manning finished his term with the Board of Governors at the end of July after serving the maximum allowable six years.

“Doug will be missed – he contributed significantly to the College’s growth and development over his tenure on the Board, bringing a sincere concern for student wellbeing and success to our deliberations and decisions,” says Denesiuk.

 

Astro-paparazzo in search of goldilocks worlds
Okanagan College Media Release

 

Jaymie Matthews Aug 2016Evidence is mounting that life-supporting planets may be more commonplace in the Galaxy than previously thought. As of late August 2016, there are about 3,500 confirmed exoplanets (planets with the right conditions for liquid water, and with it the potential for life) and thousands more candidates. What about life on those planets? What about liquid water oceans on alien worlds?

Dr. Jaymie Matthews, one of Canada’s foremost astronomers and a self-proclaimed astro-paparazzo, will take stage, in a public presentation at Okanagan College, to describe his efforts to spy on planets around other stars that might be homes for alien celebrities.

“The first step in finding abodes for life is to find planets in the Habitable Zones of their stars, whose surface temperatures would allow liquid water,” explains Matthews. “These are known as ‘Goldilocks Worlds’ – not too hot, not too cold, but just right for life as we know it. We live in a revolutionary era for the understanding of the origin and evolution of planets, including our own Earth.”

Matthews’ presentation, entitled Goldilocks and the Three Thousand Worlds: Searching for planets that are "just right" will take place at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre on Monday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. The talk launches the 10th season of the Science in Society Speaker Series, which is co-presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre.

Matthews is a Professor of Astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. He leads the MOST (Microvariability and Oscillations of STars) mission – Canada’s first space telescope – and is an expert in the fields of stellar seismology (using the vibrations of vibrating stars to probe their hidden interiors and histories) and exoplanets. 

In 2006, Prof. Matthews was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, and in 2012, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

In addition to his accomplished academic record, Matthews is an ambassador in the promotion of astronomy and public science education in general. He holds a 1999 Killam Prize for teaching excellence in the UBC Faculty of Science, and the 2002 Teaching Prize of the Canadian Association of Physicists. Matthews is a co-founder of and instructor for UBC’s Science 101 course for disadvantaged residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He was a “Human Library Book” in Surrey, BC where “readers” could reserve him to ask about science or life, and a storyteller at the Kootenay Storytelling Festival in Nelson, BC. Matthews was featured in the Discovery Channel series "Light: More Than Meets The Eye", and the documentary “LUNARCY!” He is a producer and writer for Knowledge (BC’s educational TV network) of Space Suite – a series of astronomy/space ‘music videos’. Matthews was awarded the Canadian Astronomical Society’s Qilak Award for education and outreach in 2016. Qilak is an Inuit word meaning “canopy of the heavens” or the sky overhead.

Interest in exoplanets is trending with the recent discovery of Proxima B, the closest exoplanet to earth yet to be found at a mere 25 trillion miles or 4.2 light years away. It is thought to be a rocky, Earth-sized planet orbiting the nearest star to us: the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advance tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.

Presented jointly 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.

 


Program prepares nurses for in-demand specialization
Okanagan College Media Release

An aging population could mean a dual crunch for B.C. hospitals over the next decade, with an increased number of patients requiring care coming at the same time as a wave of retirements among the province’s nurses.

A program being offered by Okanagan College aims to help health authorities bridge the skills gap in an increasingly in-demand specialization.

Shirley Pope is among the first graduates of the College’s Gastroenterology Nursing Certificate program. After a 15-year career in neonatal nursing in Calgary, Pope and her husband retired to Kelowna a few years ago. But when she found out about the opportunity to pursue a new specialty in the Okanagan, Pope decided to forgo retirement in favour of the chance to make a difference in a field new to her.

“I tried retirement for less than six months and thought, ‘No, I’m not ready. I want to try something different in nursing’.”

The field has proven to be a new calling for Pope.

“It’s a specialty that’s definitely growing, and it’s one that requires a great deal of education.”

“I gained a lot of knowledge and then put it to work during my practicum, which reinforced the learning.”

Okanagan College launched the program last October, after consultation with Interior Health and with the support of the Canadian Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates.

The program is delivered online and focuses on providing practicing nurses with the knowledge and skills for endoscopy-room nursing. It includes 232 hours of theory and a 70-hour practicum.

Despite never having taken a distance education course before, Pope says she was pleasantly surprised with how quickly she adjusted to online learning.

“The program was set up very well,” explains Pope. “It was challenging, but I was impressed by the way it was delivered.”

“It was nice that students in the class could share their experiences. Coming from a different specialty, I found the level of interaction highly beneficial. I didn’t feel isolated.”

For Pope, the best news of all came just after completing her practicum when she was offered full-time employment on the Gastroenterology unit at Kelowna General Hospital. She says a number of her classmates have also been hired onto the unit.

“It’s been a wonderful thing for me,” says Pope. “I love the new challenge.”

She is quick to point out that even for experienced nurses, stepping onto a specialized unit can be incredibly difficult without prior training.

“It really helps a nurse coming onto a unit to have that background of knowledge,” she says. “Learning is ongoing—you will always keep training, but having the knowledge in place has really made my transition into a new specialty that much easier.”

The program is already being hailed as a groundbreaking new training opportunity. Prior to its launch, practicing nurses who wanted to prepare to take the Certificate in Gastroenterology Nursing exam would often have to educate themselves.

“This program has been well received by the first group of Interior Health nurses participating in the studies as well as by their managers,” noted Denise Dunton, Interior Health’s Surgical Services Clinical Leader in Acute Care Services.

Dunton was instrumental in the program’s development. She saw a need for it after discussions with gastroenterological nurses and administrators at IH. She then checked in with other health authorities, including Fraser Health Authority and the Northern Health Authority, and found that they were supportive of a specialized program being developed. Dunton approached the College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department and provided input on the curriculum as it was developed. The first students stepped into the classroom in October and began practica earlier this summer.

The next intake for the program begins on Sept. 12. Dunton is excited about the program’s ongoing development and the need it is filling.

“Feedback has been excellent and I am pleased to be supporting the second cohort of students in this comprehensive program,” said Dunton.

According to B.C. government statistics, the province will need 25,000 nurses by 2022. New and mid-career nurses will be needed to replace those retiring in specializations like Gastroenterology.

To review admission requirements or for more information about the Gastroenterology Nursing Certificate program, visit Okanagan.bc.ca/GINursing

 

Comba and Stewart receive OC Alumni Association’s highest honours

In recognition of outstanding contributions to the College and its surrounding communities, two Okanagan College alumni have earned the top honours awarded by the Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA).

Kelowna’s Heather Stewart is this year’s recipient of the OCAA Distinguished Alumni Award that recognizes excellence in the areas of leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts, and/or support for Okanagan College. Sarah Comba, also from Kelowna, will receive the OCAA Young Alumni Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of an alumnus who is under the age of 35.stewart news 2016

Stewart, a sought-after organizational development consultant and founder of Sage Transitions, was involved in facilitating development of the College's first strategic plan. Since then, she has remained engaged in the College’s ongoing strategic planning and has also helped to guide planning for the OC Foundation and the OCAA.

“Okanagan College has made such significant progress in the past decade, and it’s been a fabulous opportunity to be involved, in a small way, in that progress,” notes Stewart, who was a student at the Vernon campus in the early 1970s when classes were still held in the old army barracks.

After pursuing general studies at the College, Stewart went on to earn a Masters Degree in Distance Education and an Advanced Graduate Diploma in Distance Education Technology from Athabasca University. She taught in Okanagan College’s School of Business in the mid 2000s and continues to volunteer her time with the College in numerous ways. In 2013, when the College was celebrating 50 years of transforming lives and communities, Stewart was named one of the 50 People Who Made a Difference.

“I’m very honoured to be recognized,” says Stewart. “I believe strongly in supporting organizations where I can contribute to them and to our community. I feel we all need to find ways to give back to those groups and causes that are important to us.”

Stewart’s latest contribution to the College will make a difference in students’ lives for years to come. Last year, she launched a scholarship fund to assist automotive technician trades students.

comba news 2016Young Alumni Award recipient Sarah Comba, who earned her Business Administration Diploma in 2007, is another difference maker.

While in her second year of studies at the College, Comba partnered with the Alumni Association to launch the Pay it Forward campaign, which invited the College community to contribute useful items – clothing, food, toiletries – for the Kelowna Gospel Mission, Inn from the Cold, and other local organizations serving those in need in the community. More than a decade later, the campaign she founded is still going strong and Comba remains as inspired as ever by the people it brings her in touch with.
“I’ve learned that through simple, small acts of kindness we can have an impact on the lives of others,” says Comba. “That’s all there is to it. It’s such a simple idea: it’s not money, or time, it’s just a few small items, like a pair of socks, that can make all the difference in the world to someone.”

Comba admits her drive to give back pervades all elements of her life. She is also a member of the fundraising team at The City of West Kelowna Parks and Operations Department where she has worked as an Operator for six years.
“I suppose I’ve always been a nurturer in life. I always want to be taking care of people.”
Despite her already impressive track record of giving back in the community, Comba admits she was surprised to learn she’d been selected to receive the award.

“I was honestly shocked when I found out,” says Comba. “To me, this is such a simple act of kindness that I was surprised anyone would take note. But I am truly honoured and humbled by it.”

“Heather and Sarah have each focused a great deal of their time, expertise and energy into making Okanagan College and their community an even better place,” says Kara Kazimer, President of the Board, Okanagan College Alumni Association. “On behalf of my fellow OCAA board members, I commend both of this year’s award recipients on their accomplishments and the high bar they have set for our future OC alumni.”

Comba and Stewart’s achievements will be celebrated at the OCAA awards ceremony and reception at the College’s Kelowna campus on September 13, 2016. For more information about the awards and previous recipients, please visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/alumni.

OC and Toyota Technical College celebrate 25 years of cultural and educational exchange

Twenty-five years ago the first students from Toyota Technical College arrived at Okanagan College to embark on a summer program of collision repair training and learning English. It planted the seed for a relationship that would blossom to span oceans, cultures, and decades.OC and Toyota 2016

This year a record 110 students from the Japanese institution are completing the program, bringing the total to more than 1,000 participants since the program began in 1992. On Friday, Toyota Technical College President Kazunori Ikeyama joined Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton in congratulating students and the passionate instructors and sanseis who have helped to grow the program.

“Today we celebrate and reflect on this great friendship and the many students it has benefited over the years,” explained Ikeyama. “It is a program and a partnership that means a great deal to both institutions.”

“What started out as an educational partnership has become, in many ways, so much more,” noted Hamilton. “The cross-cultural exchange that takes place has enriched our campus community tremendously over the years. The more than 1,000 students and the many teachers who have come here to learn about Canadian culture have been, and will continue to be, our honoured guests, friends, learners, and teachers.”

Five years ago the two presidents celebrated the program’s 20th anniversary (and 700 students through the program) by planting a Japanese Cherry tree – or Sakura – at the Kelowna campus. The tree serves as a year-round reminder of the friendship between the two institutions.

Video from the event can be found here: https://youtu.be/l5uS0Ly1XRA.

 

Aboriginal students can gain jobsite skills through CCWAB program

With strong demand for construction trades workers across the province and a healthy residential construction market in the region, Okanagan College is offering up a second intake of a popular program designed to help Aboriginal students build jobsite skills, gain apprenticeship training and get on the fast track to employment.
 
In March 2015, the College delivered the new Red Seal Construction Craft Worker apprenticeship program. Last November, the College worked with the province to develop an intake customized specifically for those Aboriginal students who might benefit from cultural, financial and academic support alongside the apprenticeship training. Twelve First Nation and Metis students, aged 20-56, completed the program and many of them are now working full-time in construction in the Okanagan and Shuswap regions and in Fort McMurray.

Okanagan College, in partnership with BC Hydro, will offer a new intake of the program, Construction Craft Worker Aboriginal Bridging (CCWAB) from September 12 – December 16, 2016. Delivered at Westbank First Nation (WFN) and the College’s Kelowna campus, this hands-on program will cover a variety of topics, from trades math to carpentry skills to workforce training certifications. The Construction Craft Worker program is designed to benefit students with limited construction experience or those looking to refresh or enhance their skills. The program is tuition-free and includes work boots, bus passes, group study sessions, cultural activities, volunteer work experience and job search skills to remove potential barriers and support success.
 
“Working with, and learning from, the Indigenous community is one of the key directions in Okanagan College’s new strategic plan,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “This course is an example of ongoing collaboration with our local bands and First Nation communities, employers and the province to provide training that is responsive to the needs of industry and highly supportive for our indigenous learners.”
 
The B.C. 2025 Labour Market Outlook predicts there will be about 123,000 job openings in trades, transportation and related occupations in the province over the next decade.
 
Building on the success of the first in-take of the program, the College, WFN, and BC Hydro will offer a number of additional supports for students—both in the classroom and on the jobsite—to promote their success in the program. Students enrolling in the course this September will once again receive one-on-one training and support from a dedicated Aboriginal peer mentor.
 
“Mentorship is an important element of the program,” explains Hamilton. “In addition to learning from experienced instructors and employers like BC Hydro, students also get to work beside a recent graduate who can share some insight into how to put their best foot forward in the industry.”
 
“By understanding the local environment and available resources, we are able to coordinate relevant training and education with local service providers, educators, and our own project teams,” says Laurie Sterritt, BC Hydro Director of Aboriginal Employment and Business Development. “With programs like the CCWAB, together we develop solutions that ensure local Aboriginal people gain the skills and experience needed to join our workforce and/or our contractor network.”randy weatherbee
 
Randy Weatherbee, a member of the Okanagan Indian Band, was among the dozen students who completed Level 1 earlier this year. Shortly after, he landed a job as a construction craft worker with WIBCO construction, a First Nations construction company based in West Kelowna. Weatherbee is now working on the new WFN Youth Centre, only steps away from the WFN Community Centre where he and his fellow students were recognized for completing the program.
 
“I was looking to change careers and so the program gave me the opportunity to learn a lot and gain some valuable certifications in a short time,” says Weatherbee, who worked in IT for 15 years prior to enrolling. “Many of the other students had some construction experience but it was all new to me. The program is fast-paced and focused on skills that employers want to see on the resume. It helped me get a foot in the door in the industry.”
 
Jay Charleyboy graduated the program with Weatherbee and now works alongside him at the WFN project site. A member of the Ulkatcho First Nation and a single father of three, Charleyboy says the program has helped him advance his career in the construction industry.
 
“I’ve been in construction for a long time, but the program was a great way to relearn skills,” says Charleyboy, who after earning his Occupational First Aid Level 2 was hired on as the Construction Safety Officer and First Aid Attendant for the project.
 
“There’s a ton of hands-on training, from carpentry and joinery to pipelaying,” explains Charleyboy. “The course has helped me get into the industry again, refreshed. I’m excited to keep learning, keep building my career, and keep building a better life for myself and my family.”
 
More information about the Construction Craft Worker program is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/trades.

Two new board members for Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

A former Chief of the Splats’in Indian Band and a Vernon lawyer – both with established community service profiles – are joining the Okanagan College Board of Governors.

Gloria Morgan, who was Chief of the Splats’in Indian Band from 2001 to 2005, has been appointed for two years to the College’s Board, while Riminder Gakhal’s term is to Dec. 31, 2017.Riminder Gakhal Aug 2016

Gakhal is an associate at Davidson Pringle LLP in Vernon and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Vernon and District Immigrant Services and as a director of the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services Agencies, which is a province-wide association working with more than 70 member agencies who serve immigrants and work to build culturally-inclusive communities.

Gloria Morgan Aug 2016Morgan has been an RCMP officer, a criminal defence lawyer and a Crown Prosecutor. She was the President of the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce, and member of the RCMP’s E Division Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and served on the board of the Provincial Community Co-ordination for Women’s Safety. She was recently appointed to the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council and serves on the BC Patient Care and Quality Review Board. She was the recipient of the Community Leader Awards – Community Builder award 2016, North Okanagan.

Gakhal grew up in Vernon, and completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Northern British Columbia. Upon graduation from UNBC, she worked for TD Canada Trust as a loans and investment officer before attending law school at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. She was called to the British Columbia bar in 2015.

“I’m looking forward to being involved with the College,” says Gakhal.

Morgan sees the importance of education for Canada’s Aboriginal community and is eagerly anticipating working on a board that can help further build access and support success for Aboriginal students and for other students who may face obstacles. “I am so impressed with the high number of Aboriginal students enrolled at the College,” she says. (More than 1,500 Aboriginal students attended Okanagan College in 2015-16.) “I honestly believe knowledge is power – power for self-improvement.”

“I know that both Gloria and Riminder will add to the strengths of our current board,” observes Connie Denesiuk, Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors. “Their experience, enthusiasm and energy will be welcome.”

 

Education uncorks wine industry opportunities
Okanagan College Media Release

Ryan Fipke is a confirmed believer in the future of the Okanagan’s wine industry, and a staunch advocate of educating yourself to take advantage of the growing opportunities.Ryan Fipke Aug 2016

As tasting room supervisor and sales co-ordinator for Tantalus Vineyards and a long-time resident of the region, Fipke has witnessed the growth of the industry, and sees more ahead, as the chance blossoms to introduce more Canadians to the wines of British Columbia.

(Recently, the B.C., Quebec and Ontario governments announced they would make interprovincial sales easier by removing trade barriers.)

“Definitely a good thing,” says Fipke. “The easier it is sell our wines to more Canadians, the better it will be for us.”

Fipke is well-poised to be among those in the industry who can benefit, and he believes education for industry professionals will continue to be a critical factor if the Okanagan is to continue growing its reputation – both across Canada and internationally – as a producer of world-class wines.

Having completed three of the wine-industry certificate programs Okanagan College offers: Wine Sales, Viticulture, and Winery Assistant, Fipke is quick to point out the advantage gained by wearing many hats in the industry. The proof of his approach is to be found in the career he has carved for himself at Tantalus. “It definitely set me up for a management role.”

His career at Tantalus is a little like a homecoming for him. While his passion for wine was ignited by his father’s interest and appreciation for wine, it was cemented when he volunteered to help with a harvest at Tantalus years ago. “That gave me a taste for the industry.”

From there, the course was set: education soon became blended with the practical experience offered by the College’s programs.

“The practicums are one of the best things about the programs,” says Fipke. “It’s where you get the hands-on experience and where you get to learn from the experts.”

“We are really focused on answering the skills needs of the industry and addressing the career aspirations of prospective students,” explains Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “Students like Ryan epitomize the enthusiasm and passion that make the region’s wine industry so vibrant and if we can serve them with the education, training and applicable work-integrated learning opportunities, we will.”

Okanagan College offers a number of certificate and short-term courses linked to the wine industry, from a free online program intended for hospitality industry servers (but of interest to anyone who wants to know more about B.C.’s wines – wineserver.okanagan.bc.ca), to the three certificate programs Fipke took. To find out more visit okanagan.bc.ca/fwt or okanagan.bc.ca/cs

 


10 years of opening eyes and shutters to digital camera capabilities
Okanagan College Media Release

Tom Cooper August 2016A decade of teaching Okanagan shutterbugs the intricacies and nuances of their cameras, and opening their lenses to the creative capabilities of digital photography has not dimmed Tom Cooper’s enthusiasm for teaching or photography.

The professional photographer and instructor in Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department is as keen as ever on helping photography enthusiasts make the most of their tools and talents.

“Photography is a lifelong interest for me that persists,” he says. “I still have photographs from when I was in university – more than a few decades ago – that I enjoy looking at.”

“Teaching at Okanagan College for the past 10 years has helped fuel that interest, as I watch a whole variety of different people discover things about photography and their cameras.”

“I learn from students too – I end up probing the limits of my craft.”

Cooper’s Kelowna classes focus on digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera essentials, creative modes and advanced features and functions.

“Digital photography is not rocket science, but it is complex,” says Cooper, who has been balancing his time teaching at OC with duties at Red Deer College in Alberta, where he is in his sixth year of teaching the Digital Photography Certificate there, which is delivered online.

“There are five skills to be a good photographer,” explains Cooper:

  1. Camera comfort
  2. Photo editing
  3. Photographic techniques
  4. Structure (composition), and
  5. Developing a creative eye.Tom Cooper Photo Aug 2016

Providing students the technical skills and theory isn’t enough to help them become great photographers, says Cooper. “You also have to create an environment to allow them to take risks and experiment, because that’s how you learn.”

It’s not who you might expect who signs up for his courses. Most students, he notes, have had their cameras for a couple of years.

Cooper’s passion for teaching predated his first DSLR camera. He was a computer-based training course developer and instructor for the Canadian Armed Forces and a community college instructor before retiring to the Okanagan in the early part of this century.

For more information on Cooper’s classes and other courses offered by Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department, you can visit Okanagan.bc.ca/cs or watch for College’s fall brochure, being distributed by mail and available online at tiny.cc/occsfall2016.

 


Okanagan College student passionate about building a lasting health and safety culture
Okanagan College Media Release

Ron Glave Aug 2016Ron Glave initially got into construction because he needed something to do during the off-season from skiing. Twenty years later, he’s passionate about having a lasting effect on the construction industry’s health and safety culture.

Glave is the Occupational Health and Safety Manager for the Vic Van Isle Group based in Revelstoke, B.C. He’s also currently completing the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) certificate via an online course with Okanagan College, and will graduate this December.

“The first five-to-ten years I worked in construction there was still very much a culture of male bravado,” says Glave. “People were regularly taking unnecessary risks and nobody was coming around asking ‘where’s your protection?’ Now, our industry is changing and maturing. Safety leadership is more common than before. I think it’s more important to come from a genuine concern for everybody’s wellbeing rather than strictly from a compliance standpoint. Stronger cultures also develop from logic and reason rather than shall and must.”

Glave moved to Revelstoke nine years ago from Whistler, where he had just completed his first real safety gig at the 2010 Olympic Nordic Centre. His family had recently relocated to Revelstoke, and Glave, after years of industrial carpentry, followed his father’s recommendation to apply with Vic Van Isle Construction.

“I distinctly remember meeting with their safety manager, and being asked the standard interview question ‘Where do you see yourself in three to five years?’ I answered: ‘I want your job.’ And ultimately I got it.”

The company Glave began working for was rapidly expanding – going from a crew of seven to over 100 in 18 months on the Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR) project alone. Nine years later, the Vic Van Isle group has had hundreds of employees, with work in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario, and divisions in commercial/ industrial construction, independent Rona Building Centers, architectural millwork manufacturing, and heavy equipment rental, mechanics, and welding.

With strong work ethic and a variety of skills, Glave moved from taking care of first aid and carpentry for the first six months of the RMR project to spending 12 months as the onsite safety manager. Then in an unexpected turn of events the 2008 recession hit, and he was promoted into construction management.

“Health and safety is definitely a great field to be in,” says Glave. “It’s growing, it’s necessary, and it’s rewarding. It’s great knowing that I’m making a difference, and that over time all the little wins, and big wins, are positively changing the culture.”

But there certainly are challenges.

“It can be difficult at times. I’m not in the make money column, I’m in the save money column – and sometimes it’s hard for people to see the value right away. It also can take time, patience and persistence to turn around a very aged safety culture.”

One of the reasons Glave is taking the OH&S course at the College is to prepare for his Canadian Registered Safety Professional, which is a professional designation that will increase his value to his company and the industry. Another thing that appeals to Glave is the networking opportunities the program provides, particularly because the health and safety field is mostly lacking in available mentors.

“You can feel like you’re on an island by yourself. Unless you work with a large organization with multiple safety professionals that you can train under, you’re left sourcing a lot of important information on how to do things on your own. It’s great to be able to meet other safety professionals, connect to mentors, build a rapport, and know that we’re there to support each other. It definitely gives you the confidence and feeling of support to deal with the variety of situations coming your way.”

Glave has an insider perspective on Okanagan College. He’s worked with them previously while building the Human Resources department within Vic Van Isle, assisting with the College’s Seven Weeks of Certificates (employment skills development), and Fast Track program. He’s instructed employment and start-up skills programs at the College. He recommends his staff for professional development in office skills, project management, first aid, and he currently sits on the OC advisory committee board.

He credits his close connection to the College, especially his membership on the advisory committee, to his unique perspective as to why he thinks Okanagan College is so valuable.

“I find the College very forward-thinking, engaged, and supportive of the communities they’re in. On the advisory committee, I get to see the thinking and planning that goes into the community involvement initiatives, as well as how to Okanagan College stays competitive and relevant.”

As much as Glave is enjoying the OH&S online course, there’s definitely a drawback: staying focused during the summer takes additional discipline.

“It’s not a heavy workload, it’s just allocating the time to be consistent (studying and completing assignments) while balancing out the rest of life’s responsibilities. It also matters a lot what else you have going on in your life as in my case: working full-time, family, volunteering, relationships, friends, active playing, building a horse barn and a fourth season of beekeeping. In the end though, I know it’s all very worthwhile.”

To find out more about Okanagan College’s Occupational Health & Safety certificate, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/ohs.

 

Cloverdale Paint helps College go green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OC business students awarded prestigious international scholarships
Okanagan College Media Release

Two Okanagan College students will soon have the chance to continue their education abroad after receiving coveted awards from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.Lum Klingel Jones Aug 2016

Madeline Kempf and Cassandra Lum of Okanagan College’s School of Business are two of only six college students in the province to receive the Premier’s International Scholarships this year. The awards, valued at between $6,000 and $10,000 each, assist students studying a wide variety of subjects ranging from fine arts to nursing to political studies at colleges and universities around the world.

“It’s great to see students gaining international experience through support from the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College.

“Ike really believed in the transformative power of education. His support of students throughout the province has created a legacy that grows each year. It benefits students across such a diverse array of programs, backgrounds, interests, and institutions.”

For Penticton’s Cassandra Lum, receiving the scholarship was the ticket to fulfilling a long-standing dream of studying in France. Okanagan School of Business students currently have the opportunity to study abroad at institutions in 16 different countries.

“I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity,” says Lum, who will graduate next June with a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Accounting. “I think it’s extremely beneficial to have a worldly view when it comes to business, but beyond that I firmly believe travel is just such an important part of how we learn and grow outside of the classroom.

Lum will depart for EDHEC Business School in Nice at the end of August.

“Studying abroad is a wonderful option the school provides,” says Lum. “I’d certainly encourage students to consider it when planning their studies.”

The scholarship win caps off a busy and rewarding year for Lum, who also served as President of Enactus Okanagan College, a community of young entrepreneurial leaders committed to advancing social issues through business. At the Enactus National Exposition in Toronto in May, Lum and fellow BBA student Abbey Jones were two of only 10 students from all across Canada to take home national Founders Bursaries.

The Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society has awarded more than $3.1 million in international scholarships since the program’s inception in 2008. The Premier’s Scholarships are awarded once annually, while the Society’s One World International Scholarships are disbursed to students throughout the year.

Along with international scholarships, the society provides transfer scholarships and financial awards and scholarships for Aboriginal students at the undergraduate level through to those enrolled in Doctoral studies.

This year, Okanagan College students hoping to study overseas can apply online to tap into $35,000 available in One World Scholarships from the Society. More information about these and other awards for study abroad applicable to OC students is available at http://ow.ly/WDmr302TSDv

 

COF funds financial literacy program for elementary

A $6,630 grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation (COF) is helping Enactus students from Okanagan College continue their efforts to support financial literacy among elementary school children.

The grant from the COF is supporting the College students as they develop a new teacher resource page for the CAN$ave program, thanks to a large grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation.  CAN$ave is an innovative award-winning financial literacy program aimed at Grade 1 and Grade 3 students, developed by Enactus students. Can$ave 2016

The elementary school participants learn the importance of buying for need over want, the differences between good and bad debt, and how to save for their future while putting money aside to help those in need.  The program is taught using a simulated economy, allowing students to earn pay for things like good behaviour and for completing their CAN$ave workbooks.  Students are also charged desk rent and are met with unforeseen expenses like the teacher’s SmartBoard breaking.  Students are enticed by toys from a "store", which may cause the students to incur debt, which can be as frustrating for a six-year-old as it is for an adult.

“We see this as a valuable investment that will benefit grade school students, as well as support the work of socially-conscious College students doing good things in our community,” says Cheryl Miller, Central Okanagan Foundation, Director, Grants & Community Initiatives.

The Enactus team partnered with Valley First Credit Union, a division of First West Credit Union, which donated $25 to the charity of a class’s choice for each student who successfully completed the program.  A Valley First representative also helped facilitate a lesson that teaches students how to open a savings account and how banking works.  In the spring, over 200 students successfully completed CAN$ave, resulting in almost $5,000 donated to local charities.

This fall, the Enactus CAN$ave team hopes to significantly increase the number of students exposed to financial literacy.  The creation of a teacher resource page means educators from across the province will be able to access CAN$ave curriculum and lesson plans free of charge. 

 “The grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation validates all of the hard work my team and our teacher partners have put into CAN$ave,” explains Abbey Jones, CAN$ave project manager. “We can't wait to see how much more impact we will have with these extra resources at our disposal.”

Jones, her team and area teachers will also be presenting CAN$ave to primary teachers from across the Central Okanagan at the School District 23’s Pro-D week before schools starts this September. 

The $6,630 grant from the Central Okanagan Foundation is the second grant received for the CAN$ave program in the past few months.  In April, the Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth and United Way's Gennext gave the Enactus team $2,000 to help purchase supplies for the CAN$ave program.

The CAN$ave program was introduced to teachers in January by Jones and a team of four other Okanagan College students.  In the winter, Jones and CAN$ave team member Hannah Griffin, earned first place at the Western Canadian Enactus Championships.  In May, the CAN$ave program was awarded second place at the Enactus Nationals, against 55 universities across Canada. 

“Teaching financial literacy to students has been a wonderful experience,” says Cody Troutman, another CAN$ave team member.  “We've learned that you are never too young to learn these important life skills.  When you see a seven-year-old starting to understand debt avoidance and how to save to help others, you really know that you are making a difference in someone’s life.”

“The Enactus OC students have put a tremendous amount of effort into creating and implementing CAN$ave,” says Okanagan College Professor Devin Rubadeau, who serves as advisor to the Enactus team. “It's very rewarding seeing other community programs come to our aid as Okanagan College students work to educate youth about the perils of debt and not saving for their future.”

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EDS: Please find attached an image of a Grade 3 class from A.S. Matheson Elementary, with (left to right) Enactus members Hannah Griffin, Julia Lalach, and Abbey Jones. 

For more information:

Allan Coyle, Public Affairs
Okanagan College
250-862-5413
acoyle@okanagan.bc.ca

Medical Office Assistant training helps launch graduate into a career she never planned for

JeromeLindsay Jerome never expected to go into the medical field.
 
Yet, Jerome decided to take the Medical Office Assistant (MOA) certificate at Okanagan College and upon graduation was hired by the North Okanagan Medical Clinic at Superstore in Vernon, B.C. Three years later, she enjoys a challenging career at the clinic where every day is different.
 
“I had no idea what I wanted to do and was just working retail – going nowhere,” says Jerome. “I knew I wanted to make more money, and I also wanted a job that was in-demand and that I could be proud of.”
 
Jerome decided to start investigating post-secondary education and her research led her to consider a career as a medical office assistant.
 
“Everybody that I talked to about the job had been doing it for 20-plus years, and they loved it,” says Jerome.
 
Jerome enrolled in the College’s part-time, Medical Office Assistant certificate and worked two jobs – retail and dog grooming – while completing her education. The flexibility of the program, which includes evenings and some weekend classroom time, allowed her to fit both work and school into her busy schedule.
 
Jerome found the instructors knowledgeable and ready to answer all of her questions, and appreciated the fact that her training included an observation.
 
“I did my observation at the clinic that I now work at, and I know for a fact that they wouldn’t have hired me without the course,” says Jerome. “Plus, there’s only so much the books can tell you. Our teacher would often say ‘it depends on where you work.’ So by doing my observation I learned things that were specific to working in a walk-in clinic.”
 
The Medical Office Assistant program is offered at the Vernon and Kelowna campuses and covers medical terminology, medical office procedures (including computerized medical billing), medical office guidelines, and medical and legal ethical standards. Instructors also help students develop time management and effective verbal and written communication skills.
 
“The training really is a great jumping off point for our graduates to go into a versatile career,” says instructor Carrol Tull. “We’ve got grads working in doctor’s offices, vet clinics, walk-in clinics, and hospitals.”
 
Tull also says that the instruction is designed to be hands-on and practical.
 
“Having been an MOA for many years I get great pleasure passing on my knowledge to the students who are eager to be part of this industry. It’s exciting to be part of this learning process, watching the students become skilled, confident and eager to start their rewarding careers.”

What does Jerome like best about her job?
 
“You never know what’s going to walk through the door!” she laughs. “It’s chaotic, it’s crazy busy, and it’s challenging because the medical field is always changing and we have about 20-30 doctors who rotate through here. So you’re always learning and definitely never bored.”
 
Jerome has a message for students considering the program: “Just do it – you won’t regret it.”
 
To find out more about Okanagan College’s Medical Office Assistant certificate, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/moa.
 

Local student athlete gives back

Okanagan College Media Release – Wednesday, July 20

Local student athlete gives back

An elite cross-country mountain bike racer and business student has shown he has the generosity to match his world-class prowess on two wheels.

Kelowna-born Evan Guthrie, 25, has been racing bikes at the highest levels since he was only 12-years-old. In 2009, at age 18, he was already a four-time national champion in cross-country mountain biking and cyclo-cross, and that year earned a silver medal in team relay at the World Championships and was named BC Male Mountain Biker of the Year.

Seven years later, Guthrie is still competing on the national and international stage, while also juggling life as a full-time student. He’s currently completing a diploma in Business Administration at Okanagan College and will graduate next year. And with national championships on the horizon this summer and a busy competitive season that extends well into the fall, Guthrie has already chalked up one of his most rewarding victories this year: he recently launched a scholarship fund to help student athletes pursue their dreams.

“As someone born and raised in Okanagan, it means a lot to me to be able to support our local student athletes,” says Guthrie, who graduated from Mount Boucherie Secondary and now lives in Peachland.

“It was also a priority to meevan guthrie to make this happen early in my career,” he says. “I drew inspiration from other local athletes, like Kelsey Serwa, who have done the same, while still very young. I thought ‘Why wait?’”

As a high school student, Guthrie received a bursary founded by Kristi Richards, an Olympic freestyle skier from Summerland. Guthrie credits receiving the award as one of his earliest inspirations to create his own fund one day.

“I just find the idea of athletes giving back and supporting other youth athletes inspiring,” says Guthrie. “I’m so grateful for the support I received, and my hope is that young athletes will use this support to continue reaching for their dreams, as I did.”

Guthrie approached the Central Okanagan Foundation to set up an annual award to benefit young athletes. The criteria for the award is focused on athletics and good sportsmanship rather than marks, and athletes can apply it toward post-secondary tuition, books, and fees, or purely toward athletic costs while in school.

“I wanted the criteria to be flexible and allow a wide array of young people to apply,” explains Guthrie. “School wasn’t something that came naturally to me, but heading back to College as a mature student I have come to appreciate the doors that education can open in our lives and careers.”

Guthrie says his business education at the College has helped enhance his personal marketing as an athlete, and has also upped his confidence when it comes to managing the financial side of his business.

“Being an athlete is very similar to owning a small business,” he notes. “And some of the skills and knowledge I’ve picked up at the College have helped me further my career, no question.

“But above all, being a student has reminded me that none of us get where we are going alone. We all need a little help along the way.”

Guthrie notched a 7th place finish at National Championships in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec on July 14 and will compete in the Canada Cup in St Felicien this weekend. He took time off from a busy training schedule in June to personally present the inaugural award from his fund to local biathlete Tekarra Banser, who plans to attend UBCO this fall.

"As a Youth Olympic athlete and having experienced national sport, I know the amount of determination and perseverance that it has taken for Evan Guthrie to get to the level he's at in his sport,” says Banser. “I am thrilled and feel truly honoured to be the inaugural award recipient of Evan Guthrie's scholarship."

“We’re tremendously proud and appreciative of the growing number of young people like Evan Guthrie who are looking at how they can make a positive impact in their surrounding communities,” says Bruce Davies, Executive Director of the Central Okanagan Foundation. “They are lighting and carrying the philanthropic torch among their generation.”

Guthrie also joins other numerous Okanagan College students and alumni who are making an impact early on.

“We’ve had students complete their programs and immediately set up awards,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “These are young people in the early stages of their careers, who often do not have a great deal of money, but who are finding ways to give back. I think that speaks to the quality of young citizens we’re fortunate to have in the Okanagan and to the value they place on education.”

 
 

Camp OC keeps kids learning all summer long at Okanagan College

Summer in the Okanagan means lazy days at the beach, but for 1,500 kids in Kelowna this year it also means exciting adventures in everything from Lego robotics to the culinary arts at Okanagan College’s Camp OC.
 
Last week, more than 150 children and teenagers filled the College’s Kelowna campus for nine different camps including Chef Academy, Java Programming using Minecraft, and Jewelry and Craft Creations. Camp OC – Okanagan College’s educational summer camp – offers more than 100 camps and runs from now until Aug. 26 at the College’s Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm campuses.
 
“We started offering Camp OC in Kelowna 12 years ago with about 10 camps and 70 kids,” says Helena Jordo, Camp OC coordinator. “This year we are expecting close to 1,500 kids and teens to attend 100 camps during the eight weeks of summer. “We’re really proud of how the camps have developed.”
 
Jordo explains that all of the Camp OC programs have an educational component, and are taught in a fun and interactive way.
 
“One of the biggest differences compared to other camps is that the majority of our camps are taught by actual teachers with a passion and expertise in the subject they are teaching and obviously a background in teaching.”
 
Matching industry experience and expertise with a student’s area of interest is nothing new to the College, nor Camp OC for that matter. Jordo says that one of the purposes of Camp OC is to get children and teens familiar with the College now so that when they graduate from high school they are already comfortable with the campus and the post-secondary environment.
 
Eden Froom, 10, attended the camp Movie Director – Lights, Camera, Action! and says using the green screen to make funny videos was her favourite part.
 
“I love Camp OC because I can make new friends and do stuff I’ve always wanted to do,” says Froom.
 
Kevin Nickel, who teaches the Movie Director camp, says one of the things that makes Camp OC so much fun is the educational experience without grades or risk of failure.
“Taking grades out of the equation is great for both the instructors and for the kids because it allows a ton of room for creativity and genuine learning.”

Camp OC runs weeklong day-camps for children entering Grades 2-9 in the fall, throughout the summer. Space is still available in some camps. To find out more or register, visit the Camp OC website:www.okanagan.bc.ca/campoc.

Local builder proud to support future tradespeople
Okanagan College Media Release

With more than two decades of experience under his tool belt, a local construction business owner and Okanagan College alumnus is giving back to support future tradespeople.

John Bachelder July 2016John Bachelder, owner of Bachelder Construction Ltd., has pledged $10,000 toward the Bright Horizons Building for Skills Campaign in support of the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Downtown College campus not proceeding as hoped, College to focus on enrolment growth as top priority

Enrolment challenges mean that a prospective donation of land proposed as a potential site for a new campus of Okanagan College in Salmon Arm will not proceed. (The land identified for the potential donation is located between 10th Street SW, 10th Avenue, Foothill Road and Shuswap Street.)
 
“We very much appreciate the generous offer of 20 acres of land for a campus closer to Salmon Arm’s downtown, but the agreement around the proposal included some conditions that we will be unable to meet,” explained Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “It would be unfair to Jerry Thompson (the prospective donor) and municipal planning processes to tie up the land by suggesting that we might be able to meet them in the near future.”
 
The offer of land to the College and the City of Salmon Arm’s commitment to servicing were contingent on a number of factors that the three parties agreed to in 2013.
 
Those included developing education and business plans that would warrant building a downtown campus. Because the land is in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the eventual donation would hinge on having the Agricultural Land Commission approve removing the parcel of land from the ALR, based on the education and business plans.
 
“We worked hard to identify programs and circumstances that would take us past those conditions, but we have been unable to do that,” said Hamilton. “One of the reasons is because we have not experienced the enrolment demand for programs in Salmon Arm that was anticipated, mainly as a consequence of changing demographics and declining school populations regionally. In order to proceed with an application to the Agricultural Land Commission we would need a compelling case based on a lack of space at our current facilities. That is not the case at this time or within the time frame anticipated by the agreement.
 
“We have been working closely with both the prospective donor and municipal officials, who have been gracious in their appreciation of our circumstances. While we regret that we are unable to proceed, the College remains completely committed to growing its activities in the Salmon Arm region.”
 
The City of Salmon Arm is understandably disappointed that Okanagan College will not be proceeding with the downtown College campus, at least in the short term, due to enrollment challenges,” said Mayor Nancy Cooper. “The City remains committed to the concept of an expanded campus in close proximity to the downtown. The City is here to support the College in continuing to grow the Salmon Arm campus. Thank you to the prospective land donor, Mr. Jerry Thompson, for his vision and generosity. Thanks also to the many volunteers and the Economic Development Society for their passionate work on this project to date.”
 
“We would like to thank all the people (including the City staff) that were associated with the effort to make the downtown College a reality,” said Jerry Thompson. “It may have been a big dream for all of us at this time but in the future it will happen, it just was not the right time. We do not attach any blame to the Okanagan College staff, as we think they did what they could in this environment. But as we move forward and we must, other opportunities will present themselves.”
 
Hamilton said Okanagan College’s efforts are focused on increasing enrolments and developing new programs to take advantage of the capacity at the current Salmon Arm campus and the associated trades facility (located in the industrial area).
 
“We also remain committed to meeting the needs our community and ensuring we are offering relevant programming,” he said. “Our new Regional Dean, Joan Ragsdale, will bring fresh eyes to those objectives and will work closely with College personnel, our partners and the community in that regard.”
 
An example of what that may look like is the recently-announced development of a new Environmental Studies diploma option in Salmon Arm that builds on existing geographical information systems expertise and programs at the campus, says Hamilton. The College is also pursuing other programming options, all with the purpose of offsetting declining high school graduating classes over the next few years by attracting students both from out of region and from other groups within the area.

Jazz and Okanagan College create new opportunities for graduating pilots
Okanagan College Media Release

A new agreement with Jazz Aviation LP could spell more career opportunities for pilots graduating from Okanagan College’s Commercial Aviation diploma program.

The College’s two-year program, run in concert with flight partners Southern Interior Flight Centre (SIFC), recently celebrated a quarter-century of operation. This month, Jazz and the College signed an agreement that will see OC participate in the Jazz Aviation Pathways Program (APP), which can serve as a fast track for the OC pilots to land flying careers with the national airline. It is among the first aviation schools in Western Canada to participate in the program. Five colleges and universities in Ontario participate as well as Mount Royal University in Alberta.

“We have worked closely with Jazz regarding our program’s curriculum, and expected outcomes for students,” said Dr. Barry McGillivray, Okanagan College’s Acting Dean of Business. “Our program and our graduates have a good reputation in the industry, and this affords them some advantages in terms of advancing their careers.”

Jazz Aviation LP has a strong history in Canadian aviation with its roots going back to the 1930s. Jazz is owned by Chorus Aviation Inc. As the largest regional carrier in Canada, Jazz has a proven track record of industry leadership and exceptional customer service, and has leveraged that strength to deliver value to all its stakeholders.

“Further strengthening our Jazz APP program with the addition of OC, and our first B.C.-based college, is an exciting development,” said Steve Linthwaite, Vice President of Flight Operations at Jazz. “Our goal is to create a strong future for Canadian professional pilots and engaging with academic institutions from coast-to-coast is an important part of delivering on that. We’re very pleased to welcome OC to the Jazz APP and look forward to working together toward these common objectives.”

Okanagan College becoming a Jazz APP institution establishes a direct career path for qualifying graduates; including flight simulator evaluations, student scholarships, and the opportunity for OC’s top-performing Commercial Aviation graduates to transition to first officer positions at Jazz.

In addition to the Jazz APP program, any OC student who passes his or her Intermediate Airline Transport Rating (IATRA) exam can qualify to work for Jazz with 1,000 hours flying time and 250 hours multi-engine flying time. If the student graduates from a non-partner institution, he or she would need 1,500 hours flying time and 500 hours of multi-engine time to qualify.

“That can mean a significant savings and a head-start on a career for a young pilot,” notes SIFC’s Flight School Director Marc Vanderaegen.

As a partner school with Jazz, Okanagan College pilots also find themselves eligible to apply to two Jazz-supplied scholarships: the $3,000 Jazz Aviation Pathway Award for Professionalism and the $3,000 Jazz Aviation Pathway Award for Professionalism and Diversity (open to any student who has self-identified as Aboriginal, a person with a disability, a visible minority or female).

Jazz operates more flights and flies to more Canadian destinations than any other airline, and has a workforce of approximately 4100 professionals, highly experienced in the challenging and complex nature of regional operations.

There are two airline divisions operated by Jazz Aviation LP: Air Canada Express and Jazz.

Air Canada Express: Under a capacity purchase agreement with Air Canada, Jazz provides service to and from lower-density markets as well as higher-density markets at off-peak times throughout North America with a fleet of 113 Canadian-made Bombardier aircraft.

Jazz: Under the Jazz brand, the airline offers charters throughout North America with a dedicated fleet of five Bombardier aircraft for corporate clients, governments, special interest groups and individuals seeking more convenience. Jazz also has the ability to offer airline operators services such as ground handling, dispatching, flight load planning, training and consulting.



Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends awards continue to open doors for students
Okanagan College Media Release

Thorpe Awards 2016Scholarships from Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and friends are inspiring graduating high school students from Penticton and Summerland to make the most of their studies as they step into the classrooms of Okanagan College this fall.

Eight students hailing from three different high schools assembled at the College’s Penticton campus on Thursday, June 16, to receive their entrance scholarships.

“Meeting students and their parents is rewarding for us,” says Yasmin Thorpe. “The parents appreciate the assistance and the students are keen to talk about what they hope to achieve with their studies and their futures.”

“Education opens so many doors,” says Rick Thorpe. “Yasmin and I feel incredibly proud to have been able to make a difference in the lives of students over the years.”

Scholarship recipient Hector Carlos of Penticton Secondary is one of those students reaching for the stars with a little help from the Thorpes.

Hector Carlos June 2016

“I am determined to obtain a degree in Physics and Astronomy,” says Carlos, who plans to complete the Associate of Science Degree program at the College before heading to the University of Victoria to finish his Bachelor of Science. “This scholarship is going to motivate me even more to achieve my goal and will reduce my stress along the way, so I can focus on my learning instead of student debt.”

Born in Mexico, Carlos immigrated to Canada in 2002 and moved the Penticton in 2008.

“I am excited to make my own way in the world; this scholarship is going to help me to transfer my acquired knowledge and skills into a profession that will allow me to lead a productive life.”

Honor Hollman, also a Grade 12 student at Penticton Secondary, is considering a career in education, social work, or nursing; she will take the first step toward that future when she begins the Associate of Arts Degree program at the College in September.

Honor Hollman June 2016“I am very excited to receive this award,” says Hollman, “and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future.”

“I really hope to give back to the community through my future career, so I look forward to paying it forward and using this award not only to benefit myself, but to get to a place where I can benefit others one day.”

The Thorpes have a long history of championing education in the region, having supported students at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan for more than a decade.

2016 marked the 10th anniversary of the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Entrance Scholarships for Okanagan College, which were established in 2006. To mark the occasion, the Thorpes awarded 10 $2,500 bursaries.

Since inception, $92,750 has been awarded from the Thorpe’s fund to 43 recipients at Okanagan College.

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship assists students who are graduates of, or will be graduating from, a secondary school located on the west side of Okanagan Lake, from Penticton to Killiney Beach, registering in fulltime studies at the College. The award also supports students already enrolled at the College who are continuing their studies. Recipients must be undertaking courses in business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism/hospitality, trades, technologies, English or creative writing, science, and nursing.

“We are constantly amazed at the generosity of our donors in Penticton,” says Donna Lomas, Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen. “The Thorpes have been deeply supportive of the College over the years, including spearheading the fundraising campaign for the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence.

“Awards like these send a message to students that the community and the College are behind them and invested in their futures.”

The application deadline for the 2017 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarships will be in early March 2017. Students are encouraged to review the application guidelines at www.okanagan.bc.ca/awards or financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca for more information.


Two-time College grad wins gold in national electronics competition
Okanagan College Media Release

SkillsZach Andrews is adding another medal to a growing collection of accolades after returning from the Skills Canada Competition in Moncton, NB with a gold medal in Electronics.

The 31-year-old qualified for the Canada-wide competition after winning gold for B.C. in April at the provincial challenge in Abbotsford. He was joined by fellow Okanagan College student Aaron Schmidt, who also earned gold at the provincial competition and finished second in the country in Automotive Service.

Making the trip to compete in Moncton meant Andrews had to pass up the opportunity to attend the College’s Convocation ceremony; he completed the two-year Electronic Engineering Technology diploma program in May. However, Andrews had already experienced the satisfaction of graduating from the College when he completed the Electrical program and earned his Red Seal designation in 2009.

“I started the Electrical program at the College in 2005 and worked my way through all of my apprenticeship levels,” explained Andrews. “When I became a journeyperson in 2009, I decided to focus on saving money for more schooling, as I knew I wasn’t done learning. In 2014, after a decade of employment as an electrician, I enrolled in the Electronic Engineering program and have now finished my second credential at Okanagan College.”

When Andrews was asked to consider competing at the provincial Skills BC challenge, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

“I was pretty surprised to win the competition,” he said. “I thought I had done a good job but it was exciting to learn I was the best in the province.”

Andrews drew on his experience from Skills BC at the national competition but was slightly less confident about the outcome.

“The national competition was much longer and covered all aspects of the technical skills we learn in the program—and if you ask anyone who has taken Electronic Engineering, it is not an easy program. I was shocked at how I was able to draw on concepts and techniques I had learned in first-year. It was incredible, everything from circuit theory and design and fabrication to soldering and programming microcontrollers. I think I was the only person to complete the soldering task and have the circuit fully functional.

“I was completely taken by surprise when I found out I won. I thought the other competitors from across the country were doing really well. I was pleased to win and I think the education I received throughout the program combined with my knowledge as an Electrician really set me up for success. I worked really hard and in this case putting in the work paid off.”

Now that he can consider himself as the most skilled graduate in electronics in the country, you might think Andrews’ next step would be to focus on working. And while he is spending the summer working as an electrician, he hasn’t yet completed all of his educational goals.

Andrews is enrolled in Okanagan College’s Electronic Engineering Technology Bridge to UBC Okanagan Electrical Engineering program, which builds on the two-year diploma program to prepare graduates for entry mid-way into UBC Okanagan’s degree program.

“I know I could get a job today in my field and having credentials in both the electrical trades and technologies sets me apart but I’m focused on continuing my education. I think it’s a good investment and will open a lot of doors in the future.”