Government of Canada boosts
Okanagan Technology sector

Hon. Michelle Rempel, tech fundingThe Okanagan Centre for Innovation (OCI), including a digital media centre that Okanagan College is participating in, received a jump in support with a $3.4 million funding announcement from the federal government. Currently under construction at the intersection of Doyle Avenue and Ellis Street in Kelowna, the OCI is expected to be completed late next year. The College is planning a digital media lab and equipment space in the new building as an additional learning location for its students.

At a news conference, the Hon. Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WD), described how the new centre is anticipated to benefit start-ups and the region’s booming technology sector. The OCl will provide innovators, entrepreneurs, and emerging high-growth technology companies with direct access to resources, facilities, funding and mentorship in its state-of-the-art 24,000 square foot new building.  

“The Okanagan Centre for Innovation will strengthen our region’s position as an economic powerhouse in the West,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MP, the Hon. Ron Cannan. “With the support of our Government, it will create new businesses and jobs that will help generate prosperity for our communities now and in the years to come.”

Media were quick to report on the good news, with articles published in the Kelowna Daily Courier  and on Castanet. Follow this link to read the Government-issued press release.

First interprofessional health training event held at OC

Health DayThe inaugural Interprofessional Training Event (IPE) was hosted at Okanagan College on July 15, in partnership with the Justice Institute of BC (JIBC). The day’s events were geared towards promoting teamwork and providing communications tools to help the various health care disciplines collaborate in providing best-practice patient care. A total of 52 students from the College’s Practical Nursing, Health Care Assistant and Pharmacy Technician programs participated along with students from JIBC’s Primary Care Provider (paramedic).

Students were divided into small teams to practice patient-care scenarios, with volunteer actors portraying patients with realistic medical conditions. Under the guidance of facilitators within the disciplines, students collaboratively solved complex care scenarios. Feedback from the day was immensely positive, and it was a successful example of applied learning. Planning is already underway to offer another IPE event in the near future.   

Estheticians in demand at
local beauty and spa businesses

Esthetics J.28Okanagan College Esthetics and Nail Technology Certificate program graduate Heidi Luken’s career took off a month before she even graduated when Ten Spot Beauty Bar, a trendy Toronto franchise that recently opened its first B.C. location in West Kelowna, hired her.

She is just one example of nearly all of the College’s Esthetics students finding immediate work in the field, evidence of the spa industry’s growth and the demand for qualified estheticians, which extends beyond manicures and pedicures to include skin and body treatments such as massage.

A Canadian Tourism Commission report predicted strong growth in the spa sector - an average annual rate of 17 per cent. The Spa Association of Canada reported the industry’s tremendous growth was reflected not only in the number of spas, but the diversity of spas and therapies available.

Okanagan College is hosting two information nights, in Vernon on Aug. 4 and in Kelowna on Aug. 5, for those interested in starting a spa career and finding out more about the College’s Esthetics and Nail Technology program.

The College’s Spa Training Centre in Vernon is open to the public for appointments from October to June.

Read the press release here to learn more about Luken’s path to a spa career and for details on the info nights.


Welcome Toyota Technical College students

Toyota GroupOkanagan College is welcoming 88 students and three instructors from the Toyota Technical College (TTC) in Nagoya, Japan who are visiting the Kelowna campus for four weeks. The students will gain a global learning experience towards their automotive careers, while improving their English language skills. Half of the group will be studying customer service practices in the classroom program, while the other part of the group will experience hands-on training in the Autobody shop. They rotate between the two experiences.

Beyond the classroom, the students will take part in local culture and tourism including golfing, sailing, and community events.

This is the 24th year that Okanagan College has partnered and hosted a group from the TTC. There are a total of 210 Study Tour students studying at the College over the summer and fall. Other groups have come from Boren Sino School (China) and additional Japanese partners include: Nagoya Gakuin University, Konan’s Women’s University, Kansai Gaidai University, Sanno University and Tsuruga Nursing University.

Canadian Home Builders’ Association South Okanagan helps students build strong foundation for education

Bursary recipients, Home BuildersCody Plante was grooming ski hills in the Fraser Valley when he decided to carve a new career path; now a bursary from the South Okanagan Chapter of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association is helping him and two other Okanagan College students build for their futures.

Plante and classmates Chelsea Lindley-Scott and Jeremy Miller, students in the Residential Construction at the College’s Penticton campus, each received the award valued at $1,000. For Plante, the immediate benefit is a boost to his budget for tools, but beyond the financial lift, it’s also a boost to his confidence in his career choice.

As part of a mentorship opportunity provided by Greyback Construction Ltd. in partnership with the College, the current residential construction class is assisting with the construction of a high-end home at the Skaha Hills development in Penticton.

Click here to read the press release, and for more information on the campaign visit the website.

July 28, 2015, Vol. 10, Issue 9


Statutory holiday closure

Okanagan College will be closed Monday, Aug. 3 in observance of the B.C. Day statutory holiday.

Employee learning opportunities with the ILT

The Institute for Learning & Teaching is now accepting applications to two certificate programs for support staff and faculty.

The Service & Support in a Learner Centered Organization certificate (SLCO) will be offered during the fall semester. Geared towards service and support staff, it is a program ideal for those who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills in service excellence.  

The Learner-Centered Instructor certificate (LCI), designed for beginning and continuing faculty/instructors, will provide you with training to enhance your instructional skills and explore the concept of learner-centered instruction. The LCI will be offered in the winter semester.

For more information on both programs please see the ILT web site.

Sale: two vehicles, one motorhome

The Okanagan College Foundation, Supply Management Services and the Collision Repair Department are presently offering for sale two vehicles and one motorhome:

  • 2009 Honda Civic 4 Door Sport: reserved bid is set at $7,600.00
  • 2010 Toyota Matrix 4 Door Hatchback: reserved bid is set at $8,795.00 
  • 2001 CruiseMaster 35’ Motorhome: reserved bid is set at $27,000.00

For more information, including vehicle information sheets, bid forms and instructions, follow this link.

Bids for the Honda or Toyota will be accepted until Friday Aug. 7 at 2 p.m.
Bids for the CruiseMaster Motorhome will be accepted until Tuesday Aug. 11 by 2 p.m.

Employee health and wellness newsletter

Okanagan College’s employee and family assistance provider, Optum PPC Canada, provides information on issues regarding your health and wellbeing. Read the July edition of The Balance Sheet newsletter here.

On Wednesday July 29, join a webinar orientation to learn more about the support available to employees and their family members. Register here.

View the calendar of upcoming Optum webinars and monthly themes here.


Share your story at Connections 2015

Help us broadcast the diversity at Okanagan College. Public Affairs is producing a video presentation for Connections 2015 that highlights the various paths employees and students take to Okanagan College. To share your story about how you came to arrive at the College, follow this link. All employees, new and veteran alike are encouraged to participate. Filming will take place during the first two weeks of August, with segments filmed at each campus.

Aug. 18 and 19 – Employees can still register to attend one of the two days of the College’s 10th annual employee learning conference, Connections, taking place at the Kelowna campus from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Each day will have a similar agenda: an overview session at 9:30 a.m., followed by a morning workshop, lunch to be provided, and an afternoon workshop. Concluding the day is a social event featuring appetizers and samples from the Okanagan: Big Surf, Rider Cider, Bella Wines, Roche Winery, and Okanagan Spirits. This is an opportunity to connect with your peers, have fun, and celebrate the OC network.

To plan your day, see full descriptions of each workshop on the Workshop Planner.

Explore effective learning & teaching environments “Planting The Seeds” event

Aug. 24 and 25 – New and continuing faculty are invited to participate in a two-day interactive workshop held at the Kelowna campus that will focus on creating effective learning and teaching environments. The "Planting The Seeds" event is presented by Learning and Teaching and IT Services.

Much like planting a seed and watching it grow, learning and teaching provides a rewarding, organic experience of growth. This two-day workshop will look at multiple topics to foster learner-centered educational environments.

Register for the event by emailing Carla Whitten. Questions about the event can be directed to Ross McKerlich at ext. 4921. 

Tiltshift Conference registration

Registration for the first annual Tiltshift Education Technology Conference at Okanagan College on Sept. 25 to 26 is open. Presented by Learning and Teaching and IT Services, the conference will explore themes including online learning, technology leadership, and tools to benefit student learning among others.

To register for the conference ($50 fee), or for further information please visit the Tiltshift website or contact Ross McKerlich


Alumnus Matt Rademakers, the viticulturist at Poplar Grove and Monster Vineyards in Penticton, recounts how the College’s Viticulture and Winery Assistant programs helped launch his career in a feature article published in Crush Magazine.

Also earning ink for student success was Heidi Luken’s story about diving into her esthetics career at a new spa in West Kelowna following graduation from the Esthetics and Nail Technology certificate program, with a feature article in the Kelowna Daily Courier's business section on July 24 and online.

Watermark Beach Resort Chef Adair Scott, an OC alumnus, was profiled in Okanagan Life Magazine speaking about his passion for real and healthy food and how he incorporates it into the restaurant's kids' menu.

Ben Klick, a recent graduate of the Audio Engineering and Music Production program, is well on the path to country music stardom, starting with a concert at the Caetani Summer Music Series in Vernon as publicized in the Daily Courier's Life & Arts pages on July 23. reported that the new Cactus Club Cafe in Kelowna contributed $5,000 towards the College’s Kelroy Munroe Memorial Scholarship in celebration of its opening.

The July 15 Kelowna Capital News print edition ran a story sharing Kelowna Kia’s support of the new Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College.

In an article focused on sustainability, Okanagan Life Magazine's July/August issue highlighted the newly activated solar arrays at the Kelowna campus, the second largest solar panels in B.C.(the largest array resides at the College's Penticton campus on the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence.)

Business in Vancouver also wrote about the College's green campuses in a July 14 online article about PCL’s involvement in building the LEED Platinum Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton.

The Vernon Morning Star captured news that five of the new Okanagan College Foundation board members are from Vernon in a July 12 print article.

The newspaper also reported on the interim naming of the new Greater Vernon Athletics Park in a July 10 article.

Also in the Vernon Morning Star, Honorary Fellow Annette Sharkey, who works with the Social Planning Council, commented on the support being provided for tenants being evicted from the Green Valley Motel.

Maxine DeHart’s July 15 column in the Kelowna Capital News shared news that Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Business at Okanagan College, has been elected to the inaugural board of the Chartered Professional Accountants of B.C. (CPA). Also noted in the column is news that Laura Thurnheer, Business professor at Okanagan College, has joined the United Way board.

In a contributed editorial in the Penticton Herald, Okanagan College’s Board of Governors member Connie Denesiuk, introduced her vision for Canada to readers, as the Liberal candidate in the federal riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

The Summerland Review published an article looking at the candidates' race in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. The article explored the support received for Denesiuk, and also included commentary from NDP candidate, and OC Honorary Fellow, Dick Cannings.

A "thank you" from the Youth Writers Camp was published in the Penticton Herald on July 15. It acknowledged Okanagan College staff as well as College Honorary Fellow Yasmin John-Thorpe, and her husband Rick Thorpe (both generous donors to the College), who volunteered with the event.

In a look back at life in the Okanagan, the Kelowna Daily Courier captured that 25 years ago the College was seeking employees to sustain its growth in activity.


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

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Aug. 11, 2015.