College powers up new welding building in Penticton

Penticton Welding FacilityWelders training in the South Okanagan now have a state-of-the-art facility in which to hone their trade.

On Monday, Aug. 20, College officials, students, industry partners and community members gathered at the Penticton campus to mark the opening of OC’s new $2.2-million, 465-square-metre (5,000 square ft.), welding facility.

Among them was a class of 16 Welder Foundation students, who, under the tutelage of instructor Mark Stathers, will be the first to train in the facility. The shop they’ll soon step into is one of the most advanced and sustainable in the province, informed by extensive input from industry.

The new facility will also afford the College enhanced space and flexibility to be able to offer other trades programs on campus.

“In addition to serving our welding students, we’ll be able to utilize the space to deliver offerings like our Gateway to Trades for high school students and our Women in Trades programs. Our HVAC Foundation students will tap into it from time to time as well,” explains Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. 

“It will also open doors to customized training opportunities, which we expect will be of great benefit to local employers.”

Read the full story here.

Website redesign consultations coming this fall

OC websiteIT Services and Public Affairs will be hosting College-wide consultations this fall to guide the redesign and re-development of OC’s website.

Sessions will be held at all campuses, engaging and inviting input from all departments across the institution. Feedback will also be collected from students, alumni, program and regional advisory committees and other community and industry partners.

More information about the format and schedule for consultations will be posted in College Matters in myOkanagan in the coming weeks.

Any questions, concerns, ideas or immediate feedback about the consultation process can be directed to Kim Fukushima ext. 4526 in Public Affairs.

Partnership fuels new training for trades and technology teachers

TTTE partnership brockA new collaboration between Okanagan College and Brock University will bring the Trades and Technology Teacher Education (TTTE) program online this September.

The program offers high school teachers looking to specialize in trades and technology and professionals in the industry a chance to add instructional training to their toolkit. Secondary school teachers can complete the TTTE Certificate and qualify to teach various trades courses, while tradespersons with a Red Seal and industry experience can complete the TTTE Diploma and apply to instruct trades programs in their industry.

Students pursuing the TTTE Certificate will enroll with the College, while those looking to complete the Diploma will register with both OC and Brock University. The goal of the program and the new collaboration is to provide students entering the program from different fields with just the right blend of instructional and hands-on trades training.

For more information, read the full story here.

OC Little Learners Academy receives local and national support 

Little Learners Academy supportThe Penticton campus’ Little Learners Academy has received $10,000 of support from Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union (VF) and from the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) South Okanagan. 

CHBA and VF each donated $5,000 toward the new child care centre. VF’s gift is supporting a kitchen space located in one of the centre’s four age-specific spaces.

“Hunger is our signature cause at Valley First and along with that we also support food security, which includes access to healthy food for all,” says Susan Ewanick, President of Valley First.

CHBA’s donation is helping to build up the Okanagan College Foundation’s fundraising efforts. This is not the first time CHBA has supported growth at the Penticton campus, having provided financial support to help open the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in 2011. 

As the first Passive House child care centre in Canada, Little Learners has already received accolades for its achievements in sustainable construction techniques (including making a list of the greenest new buildings in Canada for 2018).

For more information on Valley First’s donation click here. For more information on CHBA’s donation click here.


Connections underway in Vernon

Connections 2018 - presentationConnections, the College’s annual employee learning conference, kicked off at the Vernon campus today. This year more than 320 employees register for the event.

Employees walked, cycled, drove or bused from across the region to attend workshops presented by their peers from across the institution. The day started with registration, a light breakfast and a welcoming presentation from OC President Jim Hamilton. After the morning presentation employees went to their first morning workshop, ate a delicious lunch while connecting with fellow colleagues and then went on to their afternoon workshops followed by a social hour.

View livestream of Jim Hamilton’s presentation and the annual Connections video at

Indigenous Wood Carving Returns to Kelowna Campus this Fall

Wood CarvingMaster carver and artist Darren McKenzie is once again setting up shop at Okanagan College with the goal of ingraining in students his passion for carving while also sharing his Indigenous knowledge and culture. 

Indigenous Wood Sculpting will include basic carving techniques for those just starting out, as well as more challenging projects that may also include self-study. The new course will feature more power tools, shortcuts and secret tricks of the art form. McKenzie wants to ensure the course is inclusive to all – whether they have carving skills or not, or are new to Indigenous culture and knowledge.

The course runs two weekends in October on Friday nights and during the day on Saturdays and Sundays, from Oct. 12 - 28. Space is limited. 

Click here to read the full story.

Dawn Southern joins Camosun College

After more than 13 years in the Human Resources, Dawn Southern has moved on to a new role at Camosun College as a Labour Relations Specialist.

“The decision to leave Okanagan College was difficult in light of my relationships with the college and departments that I interact with,” she said.  “Okanagan College has been life-changing.  This is where I discovered my passion for HR, where I obtained my degree and had the opportunity to meet and work with such terrific colleagues.”

In her new role, Southern will be have the responsibility for further developing Camosun’s labour and human relations functions by providing expert advice, services, consultation on a broad range of labour and employee relations matters and more.

Her last day at the College was Aug. 17.

Aug. 21, 2018, Vol. 12, Issue 16


Emergency procedures in the classroom

Emergency procedure posters have been posted in every classroom at all campuses, in high visibility areas (often near the door or light switch). Posters include emergency contact numbers (250-862-5401 from any cell phone or 6699 from any campus phone), the steps to take if you need First Aid, what to do if you experience a fire, lethal threat, power outage, hazardous material exposure or gas leak, building flood or if you need to evacuate a building.

Please review the poster with your classes during the first few days of each semester so everyone is familiar with the proper procedures. It is also recommended that students and employees download the OC Safe App. Click here for details about the app. 

Mental Health First Aid training opportunity

Want to learn how to support student wellness? This two-day training course is an official program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Mental Health First Air and is being offered to Okanagan College employees for free. The workshop is designed to give participants the skills to help someone who is in emotional distress or experiencing a mental health crisis.

Choose from two dates and two locations (Oct. 2-3 at the Kelowna campus or Oct. 23-24 at the CMHA Vernon Brach). For more information about this training opportunity, click here

Orientation volunteers needed

Orientation day at all campuses is just around the corner and Kelowna organizers are in need of a few volunteers for Sept. 4. The event welcomes more than 1,500 new students to OC and there are several opportunities to get involved and start building connections with incoming students. Volunteers are treated to a free lunch and sample beverages from local breweries and cideries during the afternoon Taste the Okanagan event. Click here to learn about how you can help and to sign up as a volunteer.

Kelowna campus Fitness Facility holiday closure

The Kelowna campus Fitness Facility will be closed for the Labour Day Statutory holiday on Mon, Sept. 3. The Facility will reopen on Tues, Sept. 4 with fall semester hours:

  • Mon – Thu from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Fri from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sat from 12 – 4 p.m.
  • Closed on all Sundays and statutory holidays 

Family Award Fall application now open

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 and deadline for applications is Sept. 30. 

Click here to download full award criteria and application form. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm. For more information, please contact the Financial Aid and Awards office (250-862-5419).

Note: There is no longer a requirement to acquire an additional email from HR to confirm relationship to applicant and verification that the employee is a continuing (regular) employee of Okanagan College.

Food services hours at the Kelowna campus


  • Aug. 21 – Sept. 21: open Tue-Fri for lunch from 2 – 4 p.m. and dinner from 5 – 7 p.m. View menu here.
  • Oct. 2 – Nov. 15: will be closed for lunch and open for dinner from 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Nov. 15 – June, 2019: open Mon – Fri for lunch from 11:30 – 1 p.m. and dinner (closed on Mondays) from 6 – 9 p.m.
  • Will be closed from Sept. 25-28 for curriculum purposes.

Coffee shops

  • Fezziwig’s is open Mon-Thurs from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • DeBeans is open Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Food trucks return during the week from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (approximately)

 The cafeteria is closed for the summer.


Planting the Seeds

Aug. 28-29 – Planting the Seeds is a two-day orientation event for new and continuing faculty members. The event is hosted at the Kelowna campus in the Centre for Learning building in room E107. Participants will engage in experiential activities, discussions and teaching strategies that are transferable to a variety of learning environments.

The workshop runs from 8:45 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. on both days and registration is required. Click here to download the workshop brochure which outlines daily schedules and learning outcomes. To register and for more information, please email Learning and Applied Research.

Building on Progress 2018

Sept. 13-14 - Okanagan College and the Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan have partnered with the Global Climate Action Summit to host an affiliate event during the Summit. With a focus on two of the Summit themes of healthy energy systems and sustainable communities, this affiliate event will demonstrate progress by showcasing local projects addressing sustainable energy, building and infrastructure. 

The event will include an exhibit from local business and organizations helping to achieve climate progress and building toward a more sustainable future. The event is open to the public. Click here for more information.

Pre-Powwow seminar

Sept. 18 – In advance of the Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 20 (see below), come out and learn the meaning behind Powwow dances, songs and protocols. Join Powwow MC Richard Jackson from 2 – 3 p.m. in the Pit in the Student Services Centre at the Kelowna campus to learn what to expect at the Powwow and enjoy refreshments afterwards. No registration is required, please just show up for 2 p.m. sharp.

If you have any questions, please contact Jewell Gillies at extension 4498. For more information, visit

10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow

Sept. 20 – OC is proud to host its 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow in the courtyard at the Kelowna campus on Thursday, Sept. 20. The Powwow begins at 9 a.m. and the closing ceremony takes place at 4 p.m. Year after year dancers and drummers from across the B.C. interior attend this non-competitive Powwow and draw in a crowd of more than 1,000 visitors. 

Everyone is welcome to attend and experience one of the most visual celebrations of Aboriginal culture and dance. Craft vendors will also be on site.

For more event details including maps and etiquette guides, visit


The College officially opened the 1,250 square-metre (13,450 square ft.) Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus. Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and Kelowna–Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr helped make the announcement which drew a lot of media interest from the Revelstoke Review, Daily Courier and Castanet.

OC President Jim Hamilton spoke with Global News about the $850,000 revenue impact from the Saudi Arabian student departure. The Daily Courier and C-FOX also commented on the departure and the impact it has on the College and UBCO.

On Monday, Aug. 20 the College officially opened the doors to the new Welding Facility at the Penticton campus. The opening sparked the interest of the Summerland Review and Castanet

The air quality monitoring station at the College’s Kelowna campus was a recent topic in the Daily Courier as it helped measure the particulate matter (air quality) for Kelowna.

The Capital News and Academica Group shared details about the new partnership between Okanagan College and Brock University that is opening the doors for those looking to teach trades and technology.

The Daily Courier distributed information about the College’s recent Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program information night on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) South Okanagan helped the Okanagan College Foundation work towards their fundraising goal for the Penticton Child Care Centre with a $5,000 gift. The Business Examiner shared details about the donation and industry partners helping to drive the Little Learners Academy.

The College is offering new courses in the cannabis industry, a topic that caught the eye of Global News and Academica Group.

Master carver and artist Darren McKenzie is setting up shop once again at Okanagan College to offer another installment of the Indigenous Wood Sculpting course. The Capital News and KelownaNow shared information about the course and McKenzie’s art form.

OC employee Bree Cawley launched a chapter of GIRLS CLUB (a social group for girls with any type of neuro/developmental differences) in Vernon last August and has since received a lot of support from local and provincial organizations, allowing it to expand and attract more than 60 registered girls. The Vernon Morning Star caught up with Cawley to talk about GIRLS CLUB.

KelownaNow shared details about a new partnership between the Okanagan College Coyotes basketball team and Invasion Championship Wrestling. The two programs are working together to plan an event that will combine athleticism and pumping adrenaline for a good cause.


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

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 Sept. 4, 2018.