Tools of the trade: Minister announces funding for new equipment at College

New trades with Minister B.C.'s Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson visited the Kelowna campus last week to announce $171,428 in funding for the College to purchase new trades training equipment, and for his first tour of the campus. The announcement is part of the provincial government’s B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint commitment of $185 million over three years for trades training infrastructure and equipment at public post-secondary institutions.

This funding will cover the acquisition of a scissor lift, a pavement breaker, two electric jackhammers, and masonry table saws for construction craft students, as well as an engine lift for the heavy duty mechanic students.

Witnessing the calibre of our instructors, students and facilities, Minister Wilkinson (accompanied by Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and Board of Governors' Vice-Chair Doug Manning) toured the campus including the heavy-duty mechanics shop, the construction site of the $33-million Trades Training Complex, and was treated to lunch prepared by the Culinary Arts department.

For more information, read the press release here and visit the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint website

Styffe and Manning head College’s Board of Governors

Tom StyffeIn an election held at the first 2015 Board meeting in January, Tom Styffe was re-elected as Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors and Doug Manning was elected as Vice Chair. Styffe has served for two years in the role and Manning has served on the Board since 2010.
“This coming year will be a very important one for Okanagan College as we revisit our strategic plan,” said Styffe. “We will be connecting with our internal community and to the people and organizations of the region to help us develop that plan.”

Doug ManningBesides Styffe and Manning, other appointed members of the Board of Governors are: Connie Denesiuk, Christopher Derickson, Charity Gerbrandt, Susan Johal, Joe Maciel, and Robert McGowan. Elected members are Wesley Favro (student), Spencer Lupul (student), Laura Thurnheer (representing Okanagan College faculty), CJ Mitchell (representing support staff), Michelle Nicholson (ex officio, representing Education Council), and President Jim Hamilton (ex officio).

For more information about the elections, read the press release here.

Conference Board of Canada releases BC Skills for Success report

The Conference Board of Canada has released the Skills for Success: Developing Skills for a Prosperous BC report, jointly commissioned by BC Colleges (BCC) and the BC Association of Institutes and Universities (BCAIU) to shed light on the current and future needs of BC employers.
Highlighting the occupations, credentials, and skills required by employers for a prosperous B.C., the report found that B.C.’s skills shortages and mismatches cost the provincial economy up to $6 billion in forgone GDP and $785 million in provincial tax revenues annually.

A total of 854 B.C. employers were surveyed—covering over 130,000 employees or nine per cent of total provincial employment. The report fills in knowledge gaps about the occupations, post-secondary credentials, and skills required by a large number of B.C. employers. 

“The information gathered by the Conference Board of Canada, combined with Labour Market Statistics and our own on the ground experience, helps ensure that our programs are aligned with the current and future needs of the market,” said BCC Chair and Selkirk President Angus Graeme. “It’s another piece of the puzzle that helps ensure we are educating students to meet the demands of a rapidly changing economy.”

To learn more about the report and read the release visit the website.

New classes of welders help address South Okanagan demand 

Two new classes of welding students being taught by Okanagan College are expected to help address employer and student demand for the trade.
“We’ve heard from employers – both those who have businesses in Penticton and the South Okanagan and those who are further afield – about the need for welders,” said South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Dean Donna Lomas. “With support from industry, and from the government, we’ve been able to organize two new intakes of students that start in February.”
Each intake will have 16 students, adding 32 welders to the more than 110 the College has already taught in Penticton, since it began offering welding in 2007.
Penticton Fabricating President Brad Harder is among those industry representatives who see the need for welding programs in Penticton. Right now, he has about 17 welders working for him – many have come from the Okanagan College programs.
Even if oil patch prospects have been dimmed by falling oil prices there is still demand for welders. “Whether it is ship-building, fabricating, or manufacturing, there is intense employer demand for welders,” said Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “All you have to do is look at the demographics of the trades to see there is a silver tsunami of retirements on the horizon.”

Follow this link for more on the campaign and to read the complete press release.

Pushor Mitchell supports trades expansion at Okanagan College

New Pushor Mitchell A local law firm has recognized the importance of trades to the entire community and has put its support behind the $33-million project to renovate and expand the trades training complex at the Kelowna Campus.
Pushor Mitchell LLP has pledged $30,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation towards the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills Campaign for the complex.
“Our gift is based on community mindedness,” said Alf Kempf, Partner, Pushor Mitchell LLP, who also serves as President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We know that many of our commercial clients are either tradespeople or employ tradespeople, and we believe that all Kelowna businesses, even if they don’t employ trades, should recognize the importance of trades education.”
“We know there are 430,000 job openings projected in the province by 2022 that will require trades or technical training,” explained Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We are very grateful to Pushor Mitchell and other local organizations for working with us to further trades training in the region.”
Follow this link to learn more about the campaign and opportunities to be involved in shaping the future of Okanagan College, and read the press release here.

College students and staff contribute to success of Gold Medal Plates

New Chef O'Flynn When Okanagan College student chef Chantelle Eustache woke up on Sunday morning, she thought the weekend’s events had been part of a dream.

“I was like - did this really happen? Pinch me,” she recalls.  

Eustache was one of two Okanagan College apprentice chefs to be part of the Gold Medal Plates winning team. After three intense culinary challenges, Chef Ryan O’Flynn of Edmonton was crowned the winner of the 2015 Gold Medal Plates competition.

“[Chef O’Flynn] was welcoming and really made us feel part of the team,” said Eustache. “It was always ‘have fun, work safe and get it done.’ ”

Much of the prep work for the national competition was done by 22 Okanagan College apprentice chefs alongside the 11 competing chefs in the College kitchens. The College’s own Culinary Manager, Chef Bernard Casavant, sat on this year’s judging panel and played a major role in coordinating the events at the College with several other Culinary Arts chef instructors, including Chef Reinhard Foerderer, Chef Jeremy Luypen and alumnus Jon Garratt.

The Black Box challenge, where competing chefs created a dish from a selection of mystery ingredients in less than an hour, was held at the College. A recording of the live-feed from the event, which has now been viewed over 2,200 times, is available here.

OC's support for the event went beyond the kitchen, though. When circumstances led to an apparent shortage of volunteers to help with all the logistics of the events at the Delta, a Thursday-afternoon call went out to the Kelowna campus community, and within a few hours a number of volunteers among OC staff were filling the gap, to the delight of event organizers.

For more information on Gold Medal Plates and a list of the other winners, visit this website.

More than 1,100 students supported by $946,313 in scholarships and bursaries awarded by College and Foundation

In recognition of educational merit, community contributions and financial need, the Okanagan College Foundation has awarded 491 Okanagan College students with a total of 647 scholarships and bursaries valued at $541,851 in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. In addition, Okanagan College also awarded 880 financial awards to 615 students amounting to $404,462. When combined it means a total of $946,313 was disbursed to 1,106 students last year.

New Thorpe Award In Penticton, the continued support by donors Rick and Yasmin Thorpe made all the difference to Okanagan College Sustainable Construction Management Technology diploma student Sloane More. She was one of three recipients to receive the $2,500 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship.

In Kelowna, Bachelor of Business Administration Honours in Accounting student Amanda Wright received awards amounting to $6,500.  The financial support allowed her to focus on her studies and to stay committed to her community contributions. Wright is a volunteer with the College’s Accounting Club, United Way, Motionball Kelowna (supporting the Special Olympics Canada Foundation), and also Gennext Kelowna.

Vernon AwardIn Vernon, single mom to three young sons and Human Service Work diploma student Gabriella Carr received awards totaling $3,500. For her, the awards meant education was within reach, provided a better quality of life for her children as she was going to school, and made her career path attainable.

“Our donors are an integral part of our community here at the College,” said Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “Their generosity makes it possible for students to pursue their studies and explore new careers. These awards not only help relieve the financial pressure and support students being able to stay in school, but beyond that they let students know that there are donors in the community behind them, celebrating their successes.”

Applications are currently open for student awards for the September 2015 intake. More information can be found here.  To read the press releases for each region follow these links: Penticton, Kelowna, and Vernon.

Nominations open for OCAA annual Alumni Awards

The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) is currently accepting nominations, until Feb. 28, for the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni of Okanagan College and Okanagan University College for their demonstration of excellence in the areas of leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts, and/or support for the institution. The Young Alumni Award celebrates the outstanding contributions of an alumna or alumnus who is under the age of 35.
“Hearing about the impact our alumni are having in their communities is inspiring for us at OCAA, but even more so for current students and recent graduates of the College who are following in their footsteps,” said Kara Kazimer, President of the OCAA Board of Directors.   “These awards are an opportunity to share our alumni’s stories and celebrate them for their accomplishments.”
All members of the Okanagan College Alumni Association are eligible to be nominated. Nominees must have completed a certificate, diploma, degree, apprenticeship program or have completed a minimum of 30 academic credits at Okanagan College or OUC.
Online nominations forms are available here  and profiles of previous years’ recipients can be found at this link

Neuroscientist explores how science can inform the management of sports-related concussions

New Van Donkaelaar PaulThe Science in Society Speaker Series, a joint project of Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College, will host Dr. Paul van Donkelaar on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the College’s Vernon campus for a public talk, entitled How can Science Guide the Management of Sport-Related Concussions?

In recent years, concussions resulting from sports activity have gained the attention of sports enthusiasts and scientists alike. Questions about diagnoses of when a concussion has occurred and the best time for an athlete to return to play are becoming focal points in these conversations.

Dr. van Donkelaar is a professor and Director of the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at University of British Columbia Okanagan. His presentation will highlight key discoveries in how the brain is changed as a result of a sports-related concussion and how this knowledge will lead to improved initial diagnosis, management, and return to activity decisions. 
Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. Follow this link for more information.


Dr. Alix Hawley launches debut novel about Daniel Boone’s life

New All true not a lie in itEnglish professor Dr. Alix Hawley has just released her debut novel All True Not A Lie In It. The novel recounts the poignant adventures of American pioneer Daniel Boone who attempted to settle Kentucky and was famously held captive – yet adopted – by a Shawnee Chief.

A striking image she saw in a National Geographic magazine when only 10 years old inspired Hawley to conjure up the adventurous and historical world of Boone, and tell his tale from his perspective.

“It was a labour of love, one that was six years in the making,” said Hawley. “In the end, I chose to write the novel long-hand, which was a challenge, but I think it helped me connect more deeply with Daniel, his life, and his story.”

alix headshot
Hawley wrote each moment, chapter, phrase and word of the 371 page novel in longhand, rewriting the story as needed. This was not an easy feat, but it gave Hawley a sense of freedom and allowed her writing to be much less inhibited.

“We are very proud of Dr. Hawley’s achievement with this novel, which we are certain will establish her as one of Canada’s leading authors in the Canadian writing community,” said Dr. Robert Huxtable, Okanagan College’s Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs. “Her commitment to writing has always nourished her passion for post-secondary teaching, obviously benefiting our students, and it is appropriate that her writing nourishes the imaginations and reading interests of the public at large.”

Hawley will read passages from her novel and share insights and anecdotes about her writing process at The Bohemian Café in Kelowna on Thursday Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. (see events). Hawley’s All True Not A Lie In It, Knopf Canada's New Face of Fiction pick for 2015, is available in stores for $29.95 (hardcover) and $12.99 (e-book).

For additional information about Alix Hawley, please visit her website and follow this link to read the press release.

Feb. 10, 2015, Vol. 9, Issue 21

Governance opportunities

Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in the governance of Okanagan College. Both the Education Council and the Board of Governors are looking for nominations to fill eight positions. 

The Education Council considers curriculum and education policies relating to students, standards, planning and operations. The Council is seeking four faculty representatives (one from each region) for two-year term positions. Also two seats are available through a by-election for a one-year term: one representative from Health and Social Development and one from Science, Technology and Health. 

The Board of Governors has the sole responsibility for the management, administration, and control of the College’s property, revenue, expenditure, business and affairs. The Board is seeking representatives for one faculty and one support staff seat. Positions are for a three-year term. 

Meetings for the Education Council are held once a month, except in July and August, at the Kelowna campus (mileage can be claimed if this is not your home campus). The Board meetings schedule can be viewed here.

Nominations are open until Feb. 20. Elections will take place from Mar. 9 to 13 online. For more information, to submit a nomination, and to vote, visit the Elections tab in myOkanagan.

Fitness facility hours this week

Please note the Kelowna campus fitness facility hours for reading week are as follows:  

  • Tuesday Feb. 10 to Friday Feb. 13, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday Feb. 14 and Sunday Feb. 15, 12 – 4 p.m.

For Sale: 2009 Toyota Matrix

New Toyota Matrix The Okanagan College Foundation and Supply Management Services, in conjunction with the Collision Repair department, are offering for sale a 2009 Toyota Matrix 4 door hatchback. The reserved bid is set at $6,499.00 (exclusive of all taxes) and bids must be received by Wednesday Feb. 18 by 2 p.m. For more information, including the vehicle information sheet, and bid forms and instructions, follow this link.

Employee health and wellness newsletter

Okanagan College's employee and family assistance provider, Optum PPC Canada, provides information on issues regarding your health and well being.

This month’s The Balance Sheet newsletter discusses the topic of bullying. Read it at the following link for articles that include tips for parents, and also how to maintain confidence in the workplace.

On Feb. 25 at 12 p.m., join the webinar “Bullying Awareness in the Workplace” to learn strategies in creating a stress-free workplace. The presentation will examine how our behaviour can affect our working colleagues, even if we don’t immediately recognize the impact. To register, follow this link.


ILT Lunch and Learn

On Thursday Feb. 12, join Continuing Studies instructor Kimberly Pflieger for an interactive workshop on successful workplace communication. The session will explore the different ways of communicating, how communication barriers and misconceptions influence message interpretation and you will learn tools on how to be successful in communicating your ideas to others. This session takes place from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Kelowna Campus, room C276. To register visit the ILT website

College Professor book launch event

Join English professor Dr. Alix Hawley for the launch of her debut novel All True Not A Lie In It at an evening event on Thursday, Feb. 19. The evening will include a reading from her book, musical song, and books will be for sale for a book signing. The event is at The Bohemian (524 Bernard Ave., Kelowna) at 7 p.m. To RSVP, contact Trish Kells, Random House publisher. 

Canadian author Karen Connelly to offer reading

On Friday Feb. 20 join renowned Canadian author Karen Connelly for a literary presentation at the Kelowna campus. Connelly will give a reading from her latest book, Come Cold River, a memoir in poetry about family politics and domestic abuse, and present a talk titled “how to see the invisible woman” on the writing of these poems.  Author of 10 books, including nonfiction, fiction and poetry, her works have received numerous accolades including the Governor General’s Award. Her first novel published by College affiliated Kalamalka Press won the Pat Lowther Award in 1991 for best book of poetry of the year by a Canadian woman. The public event will be held in room B112 from 10 to 11:15 a.m. For more information, contact Melanie Murray and visit Karen Connelly’s website.

Register for the Half Marathon

Online registration is now open for the 2015 Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, taking place at the Kelowna campus on Sunday, March 29. Early bird pricing is in effect until March 2. If you would like to volunteer on race day, please contact Michelle Lowry.


No such thing as too many chefs in the kitchen: Okanagan College hosted 11 of Canada’s top chefs at the Canadian Culinary Championships on Feb. 6 and 7. Edmonton’s Ryan O’Flynn claimed the gold at the sold-out series of events, that culminated Saturday night. Dominating the news, the media round-up in advance of the event included:

Reporting on the event’s success the media coverage included:

The College’s eighth annual Business Expo and Employment Fair saw more than 60 employers engage with students and job seekers. School of Business Associate Dean Dr. Barry McGillivray discussed the jobs of tomorrow, applied education and the expo on AM1150’s Early Edition. With additional coverage appearing in:

The Foundation’s Bright Horizons, Building for Skills campaign got a boost with a $30,000 donation from Kelowna’s Pushor Mitchell law firm. See More money for trades expansion in the Okanagan Saturday.

Tom Styffe has been re-elected as chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors, and Doug Manning was elected as vice chair. See:

Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson announced funding for the College to boost its trades equipment:

Okanagan College training more apprentices in trades was acknowledged in a roundtable discussion with business leaders and B.C. Jobs Minister Shirley Bond. See Addressing shortfall of apprentices in the Kelowna Capital News. Trades training opportunities at the College was also captured in the Osoyoos Times report of Osoyoos Elementary School students getting their first exposure to trades at the YES 2 IT Trades Exploration Week.

Bachelor of Business Administration accounting students Jessica Lenz and Daniel Yarmak won top honours at the Queen’s Inter-Collegiate Business Competition. A photo alongside coaches and professors Randy Newton and Margery Heuser was published in the Kelowna Daily Courier  and was also reported in the Vernon Morning Star.

Students were inspired as they heard from former Dragon’s Den deal-maker W. Brett Wilson who spoke about business principles and his battle with cancer at the Kelowna Campus in late January. See Ex-dragon to lecture at College on Castanet and also What’s up with that beard in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

The Okanagan College Alumni Association is accepting nominations for the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award and Young Alumni Award. See College alumni group seeks nominations in the Kelowna Daily Courier.

The positive impact that scholarships have on students, including Sloane More from Penticton who received the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship, was reported in the Penticton Herald’s article Scholarships ease funding challenging. In Kelowna, the Foundation’s awarding 173 scholarships and bursaries valued at $169,697 was shared in the Kelowna Daily Courier’s College scholarships really appreciated article.

Budding artists are encouraged to participate in the College’s Earth Matters art competition. See Contests link art to environment in the Salmon Arm Observer.

The Coyotes baseball season has started and the Kelowna Capital News looks at how coach Geoff White is planning the pitching staff in Deep pitching staff for Coyotes.

English professor Dr. Alix Hawley was interviewed about her debut novel All True Not A Lie In It, see Q&A: Kelowna author Alix Hawley on her tale of pioneer desire in the Vancouver Sun, also published in The Province, Calgary Herald, and Edmonton Journal.

Students Sean Rossouw and Ellery Bone, members of Enactus Okanagan College, are helping to run the third season of Launch-a-Preneur – a program that offers support to entrepreneurs in their business ventures. See Unique help for businesses in the Salmon Arm Observer.

College President Jim Hamilton is one of the founding members of the society that helped push the development of the Okanagan Centre for Innovation, a project that Jeff Keen, former CEO of Accelerate Okanagan described in recent interviews with the Kelowna Daily Courier and the Kelowna Capital News.

Vice-president of governance for the Okanagan College Foundation Board Bev Busson openly discussed her career in the RCMP and how it is a thriving career option for women in a Kelowna Capital News article.

In a story about women in politics, Okanagan College Board of Governors member, and former vice-chair, Connie Denesiuk was profiled as an Okanagan federal Liberal candidate. Three out of the four candidates in the Valley ridings are women. See Okanagan Liberals topping up field of women candidates for Parliament in the Kelowna Capital News.

Kelowna’s Soil Mate is a finalist for best concept in the B.C. Small Business Awards. Okanagan College School of Business alumnus Drew Vincent is their Director of Marketing and Operations. See Small biz finalists in the Okanagan Saturday.

The research paper written collaboratively by professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky, Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree students Trevor Alstad and Riley Dunkin, with industry input from WTfast won best paper award at the International VisioGame conference. See College research paper earns world accolades in the Vernon Morning Star.

The Vernon Morning Star reported on Art Salt’s generous contribution of a Caterpillar front-end loader to support the Foundation’s Bright Horizons campaign.

College Alumna Kelly Scott placed third at the B.C. Scotties women’s curling championships. See Scott 3rd at B.C. Scotties in the Kelowna Capital News.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Axelle Bazett.

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The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Feb.24, 2015.