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Indigenous carving course takes shape at Okanagan College
Water Engineering grad on road to success after College experience
Winner declared in Okanagan College 3-Hour Short Story contest
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Indigenous carving course takes shape at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

An internationally renowned master carver and Indigenous artist is setting up shop at Okanagan College this winter to pass on the traditional skills and knowledge he has honed over a 25-year career working with wood.

Darren McKenzie Jan 2018Darren McKenzie is a Cree and Métis artist from Vancouver. Fueled by a desire to inspire the next generation of carvers, he recently worked with the College to develop a new course – Indigenous Wood Sculpting – that will run from Feb. 2-18, and again from March 2-18, at the Kelowna campus.

“This course is a bit of a hybrid,” explains McKenzie, who began his career as an illustrator and painter before turning to carving in the early 1990s. “It will be a blend of traditional carving and Indigenous wood carving, but it’s going to be very open-ended. We’ll delve into any techniques and styles the students want to learn.”

The course will also cater to students of all skill levels.

“There will be something for everyone,” says McKenzie. “We’ll work through everything from basic drawing, design and carving, to some more advanced elements.”

McKenzie began carving in 1993 under the instruction of Salish Artist Gerry Sheena. He then went on to complete an intensive four-year apprenticeship with master carver Ken Mowatt at the ‘Ksan Historical Village and Museum in Hazelton, B.C.
Darren McKenzie carving Jan 2018

His work has been displayed extensively at museums and galleries across North America over the past three decades, from the Museum of Arts and Design in New York to a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Regina to the Douglas Reynolds in Vancouver.

Throughout that time, McKenzie has remained committed to sharing what he has learned along the way with budding artists. He hopes this course might encourage new carvers to pick up the tools of his trade.

“I’m always excited to hang out with like-minded people and pass on my knowledge,” says McKenzie. “I hope everyone comes away inspired to keep on learning and keep on carving.”

The course runs Friday evenings and weekends. More information is available at okanagan.bc.ca/indigenouscarving

 


Water Engineering grad on road to success after College experience
Okanagan College Media Release

Brian Bjorkland Jan 2018With big goals to be part of the solution for a brighter environmental future in British Columbia, Brian Bjorkland enrolled in Okanagan College’s Water Engineering Technology program and is now among 427 students receiving their credentials at the College’s first convocation ceremony of 2018.

Saturday’s graduation ceremony will see Bjorkland receive a diploma in front of family and friends, but it won’t be the first time he has crossed the stage. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology in 2013 from Thompson Rivers University, Bjorkland knew he would have more career options if he specialized in his field.

“I knew I had to get another credential on top of my degree to give myself the best chance of standing out from the masses and getting a good job,” says Bjorkland. “I chose to enrol in the Water Engineering Tech program because of the program’s history and reputation and most importantly because it had a co-op component.”

Bjorkland was hired in his first year as a co-op student at the City of Surrey and was responsible for monitoring, completing maintenance and responding to alarms for the various pumping stations throughout the city. He was the first OC student to work for the City of Surrey and was invited back to complete his second co-op term with the same employer.

“The experience and skills I got with the City of Surrey was invaluable – it was really a unique job and actually helped me choose the environmental monitoring focus in my second year,” explains Bjorkland. “I was obviously expecting to enjoy that focus area because I chose it, but I wasn’t expecting to uncover a new passion for the biology of insects and plants in fresh water.”

The two-and-a-half-year program offers two streams of specialization for second-year students, water and wastewater technology and environmental monitoring – both of which see students spend more time wading in a creek than in a classroom chair.

“I loved that the classes in this program were so interesting and interactive,” says Bjorkland. “The instructors were great, it was an awesome learning environment and my fellow students were all really good people and I’ve made some friendships for life.”

Winter convocation is the first of the College’s eight ceremonies that take place this year. Students from all four campuses will cross the stage at the Kelowna campus to receive their credentials. The College will confer 79 Bachelor’s degrees, 11 Associate degrees, 231 diplomas and 106 certificates.

The morning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and the afternoon ceremony at noon. Both ceremonies will stream live on the College’s Facebook page: facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.

 


Winner declared in Okanagan College 3-Hour Short Story contest
Okanagan College Media Release

More than 30 budding writers from across the valley put their writing skills to the test in Okanagan College’s 8th Annual 3-Hour Short Story contest and second-year arts student Hannah Stanley has been announced as the overall winner for her original story “The Best Years of Our Lives.”Hannah Stanley Dec 2017

The 180-minute timed contest was held last month at the College’s Vernon, Salmon Arm and Penticton campuses and at Kelowna Secondary School. The contest was open to Grade 11, 12 and College students who competed for four regional prizes of $250 in tuition credit. From the regional winners, an overall winner was selected to win an additional $500 credit and have their story published in a limited fine-print edition by Kalamalka Press.

“I woke up in the morning feeling very uninspired and I went into the contest without any prior story ideas or anything worked out in my head in advance,” says Stanley. “It actually wasn’t until the clock started and I heard the mystery phrase that I found inspiration and knew what I was going to write about.”

The contest challenges authors to integrate a mystery phrase, revealed at the start of the competition, into their stories. This year’s phrase, “frozen fish sticks,” immediately gave Stanley an image from her childhood of eating fish sticks and ketchup straight off the table, without a plate.

Her winning story is loosely based on her childhood experiences and is told from a child’s perspective about what life was like one year when, unknown to Stanley, her mother was experiencing depression.

“The goal of the story is to kind of take away the stigma of parents with a mental illness like depression who are worried they’re not a good enough parent or are somehow ruining their children’s lives,” explains Stanley. “The child doesn’t notice anything wrong with her mother and actually finds it to be one of the best years of her childhood because she gets to eat unlimited freezies, has tons of sleepovers and finds eating without plates or cutlery incredibly fun.”

Stanley’s story was one of many captivating narratives from the contest which drew out a diverse group of authors aged 16 to 43.

“We saw a large age span this year from previous years which added a lot of interest and made the competition pretty close – it was tough to choose just one overall winner,” says Dr. Sean Johnson, contest organizer and English professor at the College. “There is almost a 30-year age difference between the regional winners which just goes to show the uniqueness of this competition, that regardless of age anyone can win.”

Darby McEachern-Corley was declared the Salmon Arm regional winner for “The Eyes Never Lie,” Dawn Naas’s “Un-Fragmenting Thoughts” was selected as the Vernon regional winner and Parker Arcand took home the Penticton regional award for “Hearts of Metal and Ice.”

This year’s winning stories can be read online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting

 


Distinguished Alumnus Ben Klick to headline weekend of concerts at OC
Okanagan College Media Release

Ben Klick Jan 2017Okanagan College is kicking off 2018 with a weekend of musical entertainment featuring some of Kelowna’s outstanding local talent, including alumnus and award-winning country music artist Ben Klick.

A 2017 recipient of Okanagan College’s Young Alumni Award, Klick will once again bring his twist of modern country music to the OC stage following an incredibly successful year for the singer/songwriter. With a newly released single “That’s Who I Wanna Be” and fresh off receiving the 2017 Country Club Act of the Year Award at the 41st Annual British Columbia Country Music Association (BCCMA) Awards, Klick’s performance will headline the College’s annual Audio Engineering and Music Production (AEMP) show. 

Klick, and the supporting act “Under the Rocks,” will perform on Saturday Jan. 13 as part one of a two-part concert series put on by the College’s AEMP students.

“As part of our live sound module, we are given this opportunity to act as audio engineers and show the community what we have been working on,” says Nina Greschner, who is a student in the program. “This is a chance for us to work together as a team and get hands-on experience in a real life setting.”

On Friday, Jan. 12, the night before Klick’s show, two popular opening acts – My Dudes and Fated Sons – will hit the stage for the aptly titled Rock, Paper Scissors, ROCK! concert. The high-energy entertainers will be followed by headliner Rosebone, a local duo who bring a modern twist on a vintage sound and a unique style of storytelling through their songs.

The student organized concerts raise funds for bursaries for future AEMP students to attend the program and are curricula for one of the modules of the certificate program.

Doors to the lecture theatre at the Kelowna campus will be opening at 6:30 p.m. each of the nights, with the two-hour shows starting promptly at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 each ($10 with a valid student I.D.), and are available at okanagan.bc.ca/aemp
, and at the door.

 

College chefs help prepare for a flavourful Christmas
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College Chef Bernard Casavant, Chef Mike Barillaro and 14 culinary arts students are putting their talents and training to work as they help prepare a delicious community Christmas dinner.Chef B Dec 2017

When Chef Adam Relvas (owner of Relvas Catering and a College alumnus and Victory Life Fellowship volunteer), approached the College several years ago to help with the dinner, the College chefs saw it as a perfect opportunity to give the first-year culinary class an education in preparing the popular holiday-time bird.

“There’s nothing like giving students real-life training especially for an amazing cause like this,” says Casavant. “You should have seen the students’ eyes when Chef Mike and I wheeled out the cart with the 25 turkeys on it.”

The dinner is hosted by Victory Life Church at the Parkinson Recreational Centre and has been running for 14 years. Victory Life is anticipating it will help feed more than 500 people this year. Two dinner seatings are planned to serve the crowds, thanks to an endless team of volunteers.

“This entire event is made possible thanks to volunteers,” explains Casavant. “The turkeys were donated by Victory Life Fellowship and together with Chef Adam and the 14 students we’ve been making the stuffing and cooking the turkeys and Chef Mike worked his magic with the gravy.”

The dinner is open to everyone; the driving belief is that no one should be alone on Christmas. Those attending will be treated to a flavourful turkey dinner with all the trimmings, gift bags, door prizes, games and live entertainment.

For more information, visit www.victorylife.ca/christmas-day-dinner
.

 

Scholarship supports post-secondary transfer students at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Jake Tourand Dec 2017Merritt’s Jake Tourand moved to Kelowna to attend Okanagan College this fall with some significant help – $5,000 of it – thanks to the Irving K. Barber Scholarship Society’s Transfer award.

Making a similar move was Lindsay Booth who completed her Associate of Science diploma at the College’s Salmon Arm campus and has now found her way to UBC Okanagan to complete a Bachelor’s degree with the same $5,000 award.

Tourand and Booth are among 163 post-secondary students in British Columbia who received a helping hand from the transfer scholarship which eases the costs for students transferring to another institution to complete their degree.

“This scholarship has made for an easy transition to a new school and new city,” says Tourand, who recently completed two years at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. “I was juggling two jobs while going to school and because of the award I didn’t feel the stress to find a job the moment I moved to Kelowna – I can focus more on school for once.”

Tourand is working towards his Bachelor of Business Administration degree specializing in Human Resources Management. U
pon graduation, he is looking forward to a career working with Indigenous people in a human resources or community-facing role.
Lindsay Booth Dec 2017
“I wasn’t sure what to expect from the College because I came from a really small school but I have to say I couldn’t have asked for a better experience here – the class sizes are good, my professors are great and everyone is really friendly,” says Tourand. “The College also gave me full credit for all of my completed courses which I didn’t find at other schools I applied to.”

Okanagan College is well known for its small class sizes and engaging professors, something Booth will certainly miss.

“My plan was always to start at the College, get my diploma and then go on to complete my degree,” explains Booth. “I watched a lot of friends go straight to UBCO from high school and really struggle with 300-person classes, busy professors and coursework expectations.

“I was lucky to stay at home for the first two years of school and am even more lucky to have this scholarship because it made the move to Kelowna and paying for my third year much easier – science text books are expensive!”

Applications for the 2018 Ike Barber Transfer Scholarships are now available. To find more information and to apply, visitwww.ikbbc.ca
.

 

Prestigious scholarships propel Okanagan College students to study abroad
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s Grace Oswald and Kira Johnson are among 29 students in British Columbia that are fulfilling their dreams of studying abroad thanks to the Irving K. Barber Premier’s International Scholarship which awards students between $6,000 and $10,000.

Grade Oswald Dec 2017“I’m supporting myself through school so winning the award was big news,” says Oswald who was awarded $7,500. “It’s the biggest scholarship I’ve ever won and I feel like I’ve got financial freedom to take in more of the culture now.”

Oswald is currently preparing to embark on an exchange program to Finland in January where she will study for six months at
Jyväskylän University of Applied Science. The scholarship money is helping her realize a future in the tourism industry.

Growing up in Milk River, a small town in southern Alberta and notably home to the Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, Oswald found a passion for meeting new people and experiencing other cultures at a young age.

“I grew up next to the park and worked at its visitor centre which is actually the first point of contact in Alberta from the U.S. border, so I got to talk to Americans all day long about interesting things to see in the province and Canada in general,” says Oswald. “It was the best job I’ve ever had and made me realize how much I love talking with people and having the opportunity to be an ambassador of my country and help influence people’s experiences.”

Oswald’s zest for people and tourism quickly led her to enrol in Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration program in Tourism and Hospitality Management.

“I knew this was the right career path for me and I think one of the best ways to truly understand tourism is to become a tourist yourself – which is why I wanted to study abroad so badly,” says Oswald.

Okanagan College has exchange partnerships with 22 post-secondary institutions in 16 different countries spanning four continents – a draw that attracts many students, including Kira Johnson.Kira Johnson Dec 2017

Johnson, like Oswald, is also working towards her Bachelor of Business Administration degree. She was awarded the maximum scholarship amount of $10,000 to help complete her third year of study in Germany at the Berlin School of Economics and Law.

For Johnson, studying abroad has been a long-time goal as her aspiration is to work in the international education field.

“I’ve been involved with international education since high school,” says Johnson. “I started working alongside my school districts International Coordinator and even developed a program called The Peace Program that helps exchange students make friendships with local students and helps Canadian students make international friendships.”

Johnson loves the Germanic lifestyle and language and is keen to learn how post-secondary institutions in Germany go about promoting their international exchange programs.

“When I graduate I’d like to work as an International Coordinator for a school district or a post-secondary institution,” says Johnson. “So I’m really interested in seeing how Germany encourages their students to study abroad and bring that information back to Canada.”

By being an international student Johnson is hoping to get a deeper understanding of international education.

“You’d be surprised that some of the most difficult things about being an international student are actually some of the smallest things like returning an item to a store, opening a bank account or finding a cell phone plan,” explains Johnson. “I’m hoping that by experiencing these challenges first hand, I’ll be in a better place to help other international exchange students in the future.”

Thanks to the financial award, Johnson will get the opportunity to explore Germany’s exchange programs, travel to different cities and take in more experiences outside of the classroom.

 

College’s child care centre sets a first in sustainability
Okanagan College Media Release

Penticton is now home to one of the most energy efficient daycares in the country.OC Little Learners Daycare Dec 2017

The new Little Learners Academy, located on Okanagan College’s Penticton campus, is Canada’s first Passive House certified child care centre, earning the sought-after designation last month at the NetPositive Symposium hosted by Passive House Canada in Vancouver.

The project is being recognized locally with news that it has been named a Silver Finalist for the 2018 Tommie Awards in the category of Best Environmental Initiative in Construction (Residential or Commercial).

The project was announced by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development at a groundbreaking event in November 2016. Less than a year later, the centre is operating in full swing, complete with 37 children using the facility.

News that the child care centre received official certification from the Passive House Institute (Passivhaus Institut) in Darmstadt, Germany is welcome for the College, which has built a strong reputation as a leader in sustainable construction.

“Sustainability is one of Okanagan College’s core values, and building the first Passive House child care centre in Canada is a milestone to celebrate,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We are pleased to be part of creating an innovative space for the next generation of learners and take pride in continuing to be a leader in green building practices.”

Passive House is a performance-based, voluntary, international construction standard for energy-efficient buildings that developed in Germany in the 1990s. It is widely recognized in Europe and the building standard is quickly gaining popularity in North America due to its long-term cost savings and reduced carbon emissions.

In real terms, the Passive House construction and design means the Little Learners Academy is predicted to use approximately 90 per cent less energy than a building of its size and scope conforming to standard building practices.

“Every detail, from the orientation of the building in relation to the sun, to the angles of the roof, was meticulously considered and designed,” says Chris Allen, Principal at Landform Architecture, who was part of the project team along with the design builder Ritchie Contracting & Design, BC Building Science and Archineers Consulting Ltd. The project also involved consultation from students in the College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology program.

In the construction of the centre, Ritchie Contracting used innovative techniques and specialized materials to minimize heat loss and maximize heat retention in order to meet the rigorous Passive House energy model. This included the use of highly insulated walls with widths up to 18" thick, highly efficient windows and doors, external shading, and advanced mechanical systems.

A by-product of using these sustainable construction methods and materials is a quiet, draft-free environment with improved air quality for the centre’s young learners.

Though Passive House buildings are estimated to cost 5 to 10 per cent more in construction than a traditional build, Allen notes the savings that come from increased energy efficiency outweigh the up-front costs and protect the building owner from future price shocks in the market.

The project’s commitment to sustainable construction doesn’t stop at Passive House design.

The centre is also built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standards, a popular green building certification program. The goal of the centre is to meet net zero energy (to produce as much energy as it consumes) by including solar technology and monitoring systems.

The Little Learners Academy isn’t the first green building on the Penticton campus to achieve national recognition. The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence was named the most sustainable post-secondary building in the country in 2016 by Corporate Knights magazine, and was one of only three buildings in North America to be featured by the New York Times as an example of a carbon-neutral post-secondary facility.

The new child care centre is expected to eclipse the Centre of Excellence’s impressive energy-efficiency record. The Centre of Excellence uses 72 kwh/m
2 of energy annually and Little Learners is modeled to use only 43.8 kwh/m2. In comparison, an average Canadian child care centre uses 250 kwh/m2 annually.  

 

Collaborative program opens doors for Indigenous trades students
Okanagan College Media Release

Cameron Jack CCW Dec 2017Cameron Jack was just 17 when he first stepped into the carpentry shop at Okanagan College. Two years and two levels of apprenticeship training later, Jack is inspiring others around him to follow in his footsteps while he continues down the path of a family member who inspired him.

A member of the Okanagan Indian Band, Jack is one of eight students who completed the Construction Craft Worker (CCW) 2 Aboriginal Journeyperson Preparation program this month. He and his peers were recognized in front of family, friends and community members at a ceremony in the Trades Complex on Friday, Dec. 15.

“For the me the highlight of the program has been seizing the opportunity to become a mentor,” says Jack. “I’ve been able to be a role model for some friends who are now going to the College for trades and culinary arts. I’m really proud I was able to inspire them to do that because the College has definitely made a difference in my life and I’m excited to see the impact is has on theirs as well.”

Jack and his fellow students represent seven distinct bands and First Nations from across Western Canada – from the Adams Lake Indian Band, Neskonlith Indian Band, Okanagan Indian Band, Ulkatcho First Nation and Westbank First Nation in B.C., all the way to the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan and the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba.CCW2 Dec 2017

Friday’s ceremony closed the loop on a two-year educational journey for Jack. This time last year, he was crossing the stage in the very same spot to pick up his CCW Level 1 credential (he was among the second class to graduate from Level 1 of the program since it piloted in February 2015). It also brought into focus for him a much longer tie to the trades within his family.

“My great grandfather built the house we live in by hand,” notes Jack. “So it means a lot to me to be on the same path as he was.”

The 19-year-old won’t have to wait long to begin his new career. With both credentials under his toolbelt, Jack will start work with local construction company Wibco in the new year – a connection he made during his training this fall.

The program was made possible through a partnership with BC Hydro and with support from the Okanagan Training & Development Council, Aboriginal Skills Employment & Training Services, Canadian Home Builders’ Association, New Relationship Trust, and Okanagan Kids Care Fund Society. The organizations provided tuition and books, tools, lunches, safety gear and transportation, meal allowances and accommodation, daycare support and living support for out-of-town students.

BC Hydro provided the funding for an Aboriginal Trades Transition Planner – a Red Seal electrician – who was on hand for cultural, academic and employment support. The students also worked with Aboriginal peer mentors, one-on-one tutors, Elders and the College’s Aboriginal Services team to keep up their grades and their spirits during the program.

“It has been incredibly rewarding for us to follow the achievements of the students in this program,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at Okanagan College. “I’m very proud of the students, for their hard work and dedication, and am appreciative of BC Hydro and all of the employers and organizations who have invested in these students and in the program since it began.”

Opening doors to the workforce for Indigenous students from all over the province was one of the key factors that propelled BC Hydro to partner with the College on this intake and last fall’s intake of Level 1, notes Nadine Israel
, Indigenous Program Specialist - Southeast Region for ‎BC Hydro.

“By starting here and preparing candidates, working closely with the Indigenous communities, BC Hydro is being proactive in training our future workforce and the workforce needed by our many contractors and the communities we serve across B.C.

“It’s wonderful to see community members like Cameron and his fellow students seize those opportunities.”

More information about the Construction Craft Worker program is available at okanagan.bc.ca/ccwab

 


Vernon Trades campaign kicks off with big boost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Credit Union invests in next generation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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