New Trades Training House opens in Kelowna

Kelowna Trades Training House openingThe next generation of carpenters, plumbers, and electricians are stepping into a state-of-the-art new training space at Okanagan College today thanks to investment from the Government of Canada, the College and a host of industry and community partners. 

Stephen Fuhr, Kelowna-Lake Country Member of Parliament, joined OC students, staff, donors and community members on Tuesday to officially open the College’s new Trades Training House at the Kelowna campus. In March 2017, Fuhr helped the College break ground for the building after announcing $332,485 in support for the project from the Federal Government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.

The 2,700 square-foot facility is expected to accommodate more than 300 students per year. It is designed to simulate a real-world jobsite that will constantly change as new techniques, technologies and building materials emerge.

The total cost for the project was approximately $1,060,000. To date – not including the federal government’s commitment – the College has received more than $384,000 in donations and gifts-in-kind toward the project. The College will contribute the remainder of the cost.

Read more in the media release.

Employee Excellence Award recipients announced

2018 Employee Excellence AwardsPresident Jim Hamilton delivered a surprise at the 2018 Employee Excellence Awards when he announced the recipient for the President's Award - an award that isn't always given out - to long-time Biology professor Laurie Donovan. 

Donovan was among 37 finalists nominated in for eight categories that support the College's mission, core values and key directions. 

The 7th annual event was hosted by Cam McRobb, BCGEU Vocational Bargaining Chair and Laura Thurnheer, Chair of Business Administration – the duo also announced the award finalists.

Read the full list of recipients here.

Collaboration opens up access to online business education

CollegeCollaborationStudents from across the province will be able to tap into online applied business skills training to work as office professionals, thanks to a new agreement between four BC colleges. 

The memorandum of understanding between North Island College, the College of New Caledonia, Okanagan College and Selkirk College will see the institutions co-ordinate delivery and improve access to online programs designed to support students entering office assistant, administrative assistant, computing accounting assistant, legal administrative assistant and medical office assistant programs. 

The agreement means students will be able to move more easily between institutions to complete their credential. Each college agrees to smooth the application process for students, by coordinating course schedules and availability, waiving some fees when students take classes at more than one institution and more. Students also get access to all the services each teaching institution offers. 

"Over the past 50-plus years, BC's colleges have focused on providing access for students of this province," notes Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. "This agreement is another example of how we can - and do - continue to work together for that purpose."

Read more in the media release.

Media tour new Vernon Trades Centre

Vernon Trades Training Centre media tourMembers of the media joined College and OC Foundation officials on Monday, May 14 for a sneak peek inside the new $6.2-million Trades facility under construction at the Vernon campus. 

Mike Donohoe, Project Manager with builder Maple Reinders, led the tour and shared insights into the innovative construction and some of the advanced green building technology and materials being incorporated into the project.

The building is slated to open in August. President Jim Hamilton acknowledged the Federal and Provincial Governments for their investment in the project ($2.7 million and $2.9 million, respectively) and spoke about the variety of programs – from carpentry to welding to Women in Trades and more – that will benefit from the new space.

The tour was also a chance for students to get a first glimpse inside the shops. Electrical Foundation students Amanda Hodgson and Kalvin Blaesar explored the space where in future both plan to return for further apprenticeship training.

Michael Tindall, Chair of the OC Foundation’s Bright Horizons fundraising campaign, acknowledged donors and industry partners whose support to date has totalled $890,000 toward the campaign’s $1-million goal. As part of the fundraising goal, $400,000 will create new scholarships and bursaries for students at the Vernon campus in all programs. To support or find more information about the campaign click here.

View a video from Global News here.

Innovative applied research showcased at RIPE

RIPE 2018For the second year, the College’s Learning and Applied Research team hosted the Research Innovation Partnerships Expo (RIPE) which brought together community members, industry, educators, researchers and students.

“Applied research by Okanagan College employees is making a big impact regionally and globally,” explains Dr. Beverlie Dietze, Director of Learning and Applied Research at the College. “The world is ever-changing and applied research can help us anticipate, react and even lead that change.”

The event featured five workshops by industry-leading professionals which covered topics from indigenization to small businesses, millennials and pinot noir and drones to marijuana. 

Watch a video about the expo from Castanet here.


OC Coyotes win league championship

Coyotes baseball championsIt wasn’t very long ago that the Coyotes came out of the den, dusted off their cleats and hit the field in a quest to become the Canadian College Baseball Conference champions – and they did just that.

The Coyotes are celebrating their first league championship title since joining the conference 10 seasons ago. The ‘Yotes played eight games in four days including a tiebreaker game, the semifinals and championship game in just 18 hours. The team faced elimination in their final five games and fought hard to win each game to stay alive. The Coyotes were pitted against the University of Fraser Valley Cascades for the championship and took the crown with a 10-9 win.

It is a sweet ending to the season especially for six players who are graduating this year – Jared Dulaba, Brandon Graham, Zan Yandeau, Brandon Becking, Jared Frew and Cole Parusinni.

“It was nice to see them go out with their degrees and certificates and win a championship at the same time,” Head Coach Geoff White told the Daily Courier. “We’ve been close before, we’ve had some good teams in the past, so it’s nice to see these guys finish it off the way they wanted. A lot of hard work has gone into this. It was a sweet way to close it out.”

Read the full coverage in an article from the Capital News, KelownaNow and Daily Courier.

Aboriginal Career Fair provides opportunities for youth

24th annual Aboriginal Career FairOn May 3, more than 220 high-school students from across the region came to the College’s Kelowna campus to partake in the 24th Annual Aboriginal Career Fair which saw 54 vendors, a variety of post-secondary institutions and local and provincial businesses engage with students and talk about future studies and career paths. 

The event is well-attended each year and continues to draw in new vendors including the Canadian Armed Forces who brought in a Tactical Armored Patrol vehicle and allowed students to climb in and see what it feels like sitting at the control stations. The event has become an Okanagan-wide community staple and is made possible thanks to event partners, Okanagan College, UBC and Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society and a brigade of volunteers. Click here to view the event photo gallery on Facebook.

Animation students welcome community at open house

Animation open houseThe College opened up the doors to its Animation lab, located in the Okanagan Innovation Centre downtown Kelowna, on May 4 for an information night and open house.

More than 70 people attended the event and had the chance to tour OC’s animation classroom, view the state-of-the-art equipment, chat with instructors and students and view first-year students' impressive artwork. Of the attendees, approximately 36 were prospective students who were eager to learn more about the program and talk to current students about their experiences. Click here to view photos from the event on the College's Facebook page.

May 15, 2018, Vol. 12, Issue 9


Innovation Fund applications welcome

Applications for the Okanagan College 2018-19 Innovation Fund are open until May 22. The fund has been used to support a number of innovative and professionally creative applied research projects. There were eight projects that received almost $45,000 in funding last year.

If you’re planning to apply, you can learn more about what’s involved and how to outline your project proposal by clicking here.

Family Award applications 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 April 1 and August 31, 2018.

Click here for 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 by May 31. For more information, contact Financial Aid and Awards via email or phone at 250-862-5419.

Registration open for Connections

Registration is open for the College’s annual employee conference. Connections is being held at the Vernon campus this year and is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses and celebrating the strengths and diversity of the people who work here. Employees will enjoy a series of interactive and social activities, fun informative workshops and will hear from OC President Jim Hamilton. You can choose to attend on either Tuesday, Aug. 21 or Wednesday, Aug. 22. Click here to register

Convocation Ceremonies 2018

Faculty and instructors are invited to participate in the Convocation and Commencement ceremonies by leading graduands in the processional. If you are planning to attend a ceremony, please email Michelle Lowry noting the ceremony you wish to attend. If you require regalia, please include your height and highest credential awarded (i.e. 5’11” MSc, U of Calgary).

  • Vernon Convocation – Tuesday, June 26 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Summer Commencement (CS grads only) – Wednesday, June 27 at 6 p.m.
  • Summer Convocation – Thursday, June 28 at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the website or view the invite.

If you’d like to watch any of the convocation ceremonies but can’t be there in person, tune into the College’s Facebook page to watch the live stream of each ceremony.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Throughout the month of May, the College’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (LifeWorks) features mental health awareness content on depression, anxiety and stress management and has online toolkits and other resources available to all. Visit LifeWorks online, download the mobile app for resources at your fingertips or call anytime, toll-free at 1-888-307-0590. 

Motorhome and vehicles for sale

Okanagan College Foundation and Supply Management, in conjunction with the RV department and Automotive Service Technician department are presently offering several motorhomes and vehicles for sale. Click here to view for sale items, descriptions and bidding deadlines.

Kelowna Fitness Facility hours

The Kelowna Fitness Facility will be closed at 5 p.m. from Friday, May 18 until Monday, May 21 for the long weekend. The Facility will re-open on Tuesday, May 22 at 8 a.m. 

Infusions hours

Lunch service at Infusions is now closed. The restaurant is still open for dinner, Tue-Fri from 6 – 9 p.m. Note that when a holiday falls on a Monday, Infusions will be closed on the Tuesday. Infusions will be closed for dinner on May 15. Find dinner menu here.

Waterway Houseboat vacation raffle

The Okanagan College Foundation is raffling a Waterway Houseboat vacation package, aboard a Mirage 65 houseboat (sleeps 18-22) valued at $2,645. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased by visiting the Advancement & Alumni Office (P103, Kelowna campus) or through Margaret Scharf at the Salmon Arm campus. The draw will be held on Thursday, May 24 at the Okanagan College Foundation and Western Financial Group Charity Golf Tournament. The winner does not need to be present when the draw is made. Licence #106076. Know your limit, play within it. Must be 19+ to play.


The Okanagan College Coyotes baseball team won the championship title in the 2018 Canadian College Baseball Conference. Many news outlets covered the games leading up to the championship game including KelownaNow, Capital News, Kamloops This Week, the Daily Courier, the Chilliwack Progress and Castanet.

Okanagan College helped Grade 8 and 9 students from Glenrosa Middle School and the Trades Sampler class from Central School cut timber and assemble planter boxes and tables for a community project that drummed up a lot of intrigue when the recipient (the Rose Valley Community Gardens) didn't know who had completed the random act of kindness. The Lake Country Calendar and KelownaNow reported on the activities.

The Penticton and Vernon campuses both recently hosted their annual Experience OC day. PentictonNow came to the Penticton campus and wrote two articles; the first which interviewed two student attendees and the second which interviewed Regional Dean Eric Corneau. The Vernon Morning Star came to the Vernon campus and put together a video highlighting the day.

The College's basketball team held a fundraiser connecting local fans and athletes for a fun night, mix and mingle and to participate in a silent auctio. KelownaNow went to the fundraiser and caught up with Men's Head Coach Dino Gini and made a video recap of the event.

Castanet came to the College's RIPE event and made a video highlighting the day's activities.

Infusions restaurant at Okanagan College is staying open throughout the summer and the Capital News shared information on the restaurant. 

Exactly one year after he passed, 2008 Honorary Fellow Kenneth Harding was honoured once again ensuring his legacy will live on thanks to a new picnic table installed in Kinsmen Park. The Lake Country Calendar shared details about the unveiling ceremony and more on Harding's life work.

Okanagan College business student Cameron Olson took the top prize in the Junior Dragons' Den that was held May 5 in Trail, B.C. He runs Wild Kootenay Honey, which was chosen as the winner and netted him $1,500 prize money to go towards his startup business expenses. Arrow Lakes News has the full story. 

The College hosted an open house for the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering programs. The Vernon Morning Star and Daily Courier provided event information.

The new Vernon Trades Training Centre was the focus of Global News which attended a media tour of the Centre.

The new Trades Training House has been unveiled at the Kelowna campus and the Daily Courier, KelownaNow, the Capital News and Castanet caught up with a few students who will be using the space.

The Historic O'Keefe Ranch reported board changes to the Vernon city council including the new president of the board and OC BBA alumna Jenelle Brewer and new directors including 2018 Honorary Fellow Mollie Bono. The Vernon Morning Star reported on the changes.


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 May 29, 2018.