A Place to Belong

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A Place to Belong

Training opportunities for everyone 

At Okanagan College, we transform lives and communities. We educate, train and support our students to excel in the workplace, to succeed in further education and to become lifelong learners. Included in our values is a commitment to both accessibility and inclusivity. Growth in the trades has been exponential since the College opened its doors in 1963 as a vocational institution with just 96 students. Since those early days, tens of thousands of tradespeople have trained here, and in recent years there have been growing numbers of Aboriginal, at-risk youth and female students.

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Aboriginal Trades Participation

Okanagan College has experienced one of the fastest growth rates in its Aboriginal student population of any post-secondary institution in the province. Entering the trades is increasingly a popular choice for many Aboriginal students. On average, more than 10 per cent of Aboriginal students enrol in trades programs, including the unique Aboriginal Gateway to the Building Trades, which brings trades training into our regional and remote communities, and makes education more accessible.

Women in Trades training
Okanagan College has established itself as having the largest and most successful Women in Trades program in the province. In the last six years, more than 1,000 women have attended Okanagan College to participate in the Gateway to the Building Trades for Women program. This program has helped them decide which trade they want to focus on for a career, with many of them continuing their education through a Foundation program or an apprenticeship.

Gateway to the Trades (Youth Explore Trades Sampler)

Since 2006, Okanagan College has been working with school districts throughout the College region to provide high school students with dual credit opportunities, including early access to trades training. For those interested in the trades, they not only complete requirements for their high school diploma, they also obtain Level 1 credit with the Industrial Training Authority.

Your support will provide transformational skills for those facing barriers to education and will have social, economic and emotional impact for students as they transition from the classroom to become confident, skilled tradespeople in the workplace.


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Connecting our students to their campus community 

 The creation of a dedicated home for trades in the heart of the Vernon campus will:

  • demonstrate the importance and economic impact of trades training by giving trades an on-campus identity.
  • provide trades students greater access to the support services, learning resources and amenities of the Vernon campus.
  • increase student success through peer-to-peer connections between trades and non-trades students on campus.
  • put an end to the distance trades students travel to the campus community from their current off-site facilities
    (a 7.5 KM drive from the Vernon campus).

The move to campus will be a positive change – students will enjoy views of Kalamalka Lake and the convenience of using the campus space to study, chat and share meals with their peers.