Government announces $6.21-million trades training centre at Vernon campus

11.21 Vernon Trades AnnoucementA federal-provincial investment will make a new trades training centre at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus possible.

The joint announcement of the $6.21-million project provided details on the construction of a 1,250 square-metre (13,450 square-foot) Trades Training Centre that will alleviate the shortage of available trades training shops in the region and allow the College’s trades programs to operate on campus in state-of-the art facilities.

“As a student, who has been training in a facility off campus, I think it will be hugely beneficial to future students to have the opportunity to take their training in a brand new purpose-built facility on campus,“ says Harrison Coe, an electrical student at the College. “I think they will take even greater pride in where they are and what they are doing.”

The new building will include multipurpose trades shops and supporting space, a dedicated welding shop and multi-use trade space for the electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as Aboriginal and Women in Trades Training programs.

Okanagan College will contribute $670,000 to the project, with $2.66 million from the Government of Canada and $2.88 million from the Province. The facility will follow the College’s commitment to sustainable building technologies and be designed to LEED Gold certification, with completion expected by Spring 2018.  

For more information watch the video from Global News or read the B.C. Government’s release

Provincial funding brings daycare partnership to College’s Penticton campus

Penticton Daycare AnnoucementGround was broken at the Penticton campus for a new $1.2-million daycare facility at the northern end of campus.  Penticton MLA Dan Ashton announced the facility will be possible thanks to a $500,000 child care major capital grant from the B.C. government and support from Okanagan College and some of its students.

"This is great news for the local families,” says Ashton. “Adding 64 new child care spaces for Penticton-area families who need them demonstrates our government’s commitment to building stronger, healthier communities throughout the province.”

“The new child care centre will benefit the community, but is also a major benefit to our students and staff,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “The survey that was part of the business case for the daycare clearly identified the need for this. We also know that even when our campus is less busy in the summer months, there will be demand for the daycare because of the increase in activity in the tourism and hospitality sector.”

When the 372-square-metre (4,000 sq. ft.) daycare is complete in mid-2017, it will be operated by Penticton and District Community Resources Society.

Read more about the announcement here

Board approves Capital Master Plan

Capital Master PlanThe Board of Governors approved Okanagan College’s Capital Master Plan at its regular meeting today, clearing the path for future development and infrastructure upgrades.
“We are very pleased with the work that has been done and I feel excited about the direction the College is moving with regard to its long term planning,” says Connie Denesiuk, Chair of the Board. “The plan is aligned extremely well with the College’s new strategic plan.”
The plan’s development was led by Donna Lomas, Regional Dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen and began in the summer of 2014.
“It was a long process that involved a great deal of consultation with our students, staff and members of the community in each of our four regions,” says Lomas. “The plan demonstrates the College is in a really good position to grow and capitalize on opportunities as they arise.”
To read the Capital Master Plan, click here

FortisBC donation fuels new lab

Fortis supports OCA new cutting-edge natural gas lab at Okanagan College's expanded Kelowna Trades Complex officially opened last month thanks to a $50,000 donation from FortisBC. An additional $25,000 gift from the company will go towards teaching tools for the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program.

“FortisBC sees giving back as an important part of our efforts to create a sustainable future for British Columbians,” explains Barry Smithson, Director Operations, FortisBC. “This partnership is a great fit for FortisBC, as Okanagan College trains students that could one day become our employees.”

The new lab will be utilized by students across the piping trades, and will allow the College to deliver all four levels of its new Steamfitter/Pipefitter apprenticeship program, an industry that is seeing an increased demand in B.C.  

On top of the $50,000 for the new lab, FortisBC’s additional donation of $25,000 will allow the College to purchase two calibrated blower doors to be used for air leakage training and testing for students in the Carpentry and Sustainable Construction Management Technology programs.

“It is very positive for our students to see a major employer like FortisBC investing in their education,” explains Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “It shows them the industry need is real. It validates their choice to learn here and to pursue a career in the trades.”

Read the full story here.

New national recognition for one of OC’s nursing programs

BSN studentsOkanagan College’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree bridging program has been recently accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), a national independent body which conducts rigorous evaluation of nursing schools across the country.      

The bridging program is a conduit that allows students to complete the first two years of the four-year BSN degree at the College before transitioning to UBC Okanagan to complete the final two years. Graduates earn a BSN degree from UBC.

The accreditation by CASN is another feather in the cap for the program, explains Yvonne Moritz, Dean Science, Technology and Health, and one that will hopefully continue to strengthen the reputation of the OC-UBCO collaborative partnership in the minds of students and prospective students.

For students like Kirby Wildeman, knowing the program is accredited is a great asset from an employability standpoint.

“You get to start off in the College setting with small class sizes and lots of one-on-one instruction, which makes for a smooth transition out of high school. And then there is the excitement of knowing you are stepping into another really well-respected nursing school,” explains Wildeman.

Read the full story here

OC students business plan rides to tourism competition

Tourism CompetitionFour Okanagan College business students will be representing the interior at a B.C. Tourism Industry Conference competition in February, after a victory at a regional competition this week in Kamloops that involved developing a full business plan for a luxury biking tour company.

Adrian Lemiski, Nicolas Gallant, Brooks Hewko and Merissa Hucul spent about 60 hours, with help from coaches Laura Thurnheer and Blair Baldwin (both professors in the Okanagan College School of Business), developing the plan for Pioneer Adventure. The fictitious company serves the Columbia and Western Rail Trail from Castlegar to Midway and the Kettle Valley Rail Trail from Midway to Osoyoos.

The Tourism Industry Case competition is sponsored by go2HR, an industry organization that promotes tourism careers, helps with labour market information and analysis and provides training and certification.

The four OC students will travel to Victoria in February to compete against regional winners from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Kootenays and from Northern B.C.

Read the full story here.

Fresh air fitness on campus

fitness_2The Athletics and Recreation office and the Regional Dean’s office have provided new outdoor stationary gym equipment in front of the Kelowna campus C building.

The four pieces of equipment will challenge you to get outside, get fit and have fun. Instructional panels demonstrate the different exercises that can be performed on the machines. Take a walk outside on a coffee break and follow the fitness paths to find the equipment. 


ECE students present at National Child Day event

CATCH presentationOn Nov. 15, students from OC’s Early Childhood Education program presented their National Child Day displays at CATCH’s annual National Child Day luncheon at the Laurel Packinghouse. 

National Child Day celebrates the rights of the child, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, declared in 1989. In preparation, each student group researched local facts and portrayed a children’s right, such as the right to education, protection, play, care, and individuality. The presentations are a practical application of the early educators’ roles as advocates for children and families. 

Jan O’Brien recognized for outstanding service

Jan Receiving Presidents Service AwardJan O’Brien, OC’s Manager of Institutional Research was recently awarded the PNAIRP President’s Award for Service at a successful joint CIRPA/PNAIRP conference, where she served as co-chair.

The Canadian Institutional Research and Planners Association collaborated with the Pacific Northwest Association of Institutional Researchers and Planners (an association representing Alaska, Yukon, BC, Washington, and Oregon) to create a unique international conference experience. O’Brien worked with colleagues at UBC Okanagan on the conference, which welcomed 200 delegates to Kelowna in November.

“While a joint, international conference was rather complex to organize, it was a terrific opportunity to bring these two groups together and learn from each other,” observed Jan. “We were able to combine and respect the traditions of both associations. And the weather held! I think everyone really enjoyed coming to Kelowna.” 

Salmon Arm celebrates U.N. International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Shuswap ConnextionsShuswap Connextions, a self-advocacy group in Salmon Arm, is hoping to raise awareness about the abilities, similarities and differences of people with disabilities at their second film festival called Connecting Everyone on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Salmon Arm campus.

Get your holiday shopping done in the festival marketplace and gallery where artisans with diversabilities will be selling and showing their creations from 1 to 4 p.m.  

Admission to the festival is by donation. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and six films will show. The first film begins at 10 a.m. and the last at 8:10 p.m.

Shuswap Connextions emerged from a group of Okanagan College Adult Special Education students in collaboration with students from the Human Service Work program who decided the community had a need for a self-advocacy group.

For a full schedule of films and times click here or contact Shuswap Connextions by email.

Scholarship for Selkirk College student makes move to OC easier

Sawyer Thor-LarsenWhen Sawyer Thor-Larsen learned she was one of about 100 recipients of a $5,000 Transfer Scholarship from the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society, she didn’t realize the honour would prove to be much more than a just financial reward.

The Society offers transfer scholarships to students who have completed one year or more at a public post-secondary institution in B.C. and are transferring to another degree-granting institution to complete their studies. Thor-Larsen completed a Business Administration Diploma and a year of general studies at Selkirk College before transferring to Okanagan College’s School of Business in September. The $5,000 awards are granted on the basis of academic merit and involvement in school or community.

Thor-Larsen has been enjoying the switch to Okanagan College and the perks of living in a larger city centre haven’t compromised a sense of community at school. “I like that the teachers actually care about what you are doing. My favourite thing is they know you by name.”

The Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society also awarded transfer scholarships to Okanagan College students Duncan Gordon MacGregor, Teresa Oyer, Kelsi Layne Taron, Adia Van Buren, and Alisha Wozny. These six students transferred to complete their degrees at the University of British Columbia.

Read the full story here.  

Salmon Arm students team up to bring business community together

Salmon Arm Business ForumOn Nov. 15, the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) held its Annual Business Forum at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort. The business forum provides information to local business owners and employees concerning global economic projections, business trends, and best practices. Okanagan College's Office Administration students teamed up with SAEDS to organize this successful event. Students were given the opportunity to put their newly learned skills to the test by helping set up the venue, working with audio visual media, greeting attendees, preparing delegate packages and various other tasks.

Sandy Camire joins Continuing Studies

Sandy CamireThe Continuing Studies team welcomed Sandy Camire to the position of Operations Manager, Continuing Studies. Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team, having most recently held the position of Faculty Community & Contract Services Programmer with Douglas College. Her expertise in project management includes the development, delivery and oversight of a wide range of contract training; community education; business and industry demand; workplace skill enhancement and First Nations programming is a perfect fit for her new role at the College. Sandy has recently moved to the Sorrento area with her family, and is looking forward to working out of both the Salmon Arm and Vernon campus locations.

Sandy can be reached at local 2663 or by email at

Coulthard earns doctorate

Glen CoulthardOkanagan College School of Business professor Glen Coulthard recently earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue University.
Coulthard has been teaching at Okanagan College for 14 years. During his doctoral studies he specialized in Learning Design and Performance Technology. Coulthard’s dissertation research culminated with the development of a technology acceptance and customer satisfaction model for evaluating Web-based e-learning programs.
His current research focuses on applying this model to the evaluation of e-commerce websites and online customer experiences.

Nov. 29, 2016, Vol. 11, Issue 18 Notices

Pay It Forward

The OC Alumni Association is hosting its annual Pay It Forward (PIF) giving drive and looking for donations of warm blankets and clothing, or unused toiletries. Look for the holiday-wrapped donation boxes around the Kelowna campus. The drive will run until noon on Friday, Dec. 2.  For a list of donation box locations and more information on the charities being supported click here

Nominate an OC employee who makes a difference

Nominations are open for the 6th annual Okanagan College Employee Excellence Awards, which recognize employees who have made a difference to their colleagues, to students and the institution.
Awards are given out in the following categories:

  • Strong Start
  • Scholarly & Creative Activity
  • Service Excellence
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Leadership
  • Key Directions
  • Teaching Excellence
  • Career Achievement
  • President’s Award

All nomination forms are available on the Employee Excellence Awards Website. Nominations close on Friday, Feb. 3.  

Kelowna Fitness Facility holiday hours

Please note the upcoming change in hours for the Kelowna Fitness Facility:
Dec. 5 - Dec. 16
Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday: Closed

The facility will close for the holiday break on Friday, Dec. 16 at 4:30 p.m. and reopen and return to regular hours on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 6 a.m.

OC Community Report available online

Review the success stories and achievements of Okanagan College in the 2016 Report to the Community here.


Men's health webinar

Nov. 30 – With increasing awareness of the health issues men face, it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle. In this presentation, Mary Roncarelli offers practical information and advice to assist. Register here.

Internationalization Strategy development town hall meetings

Okanagan College employees, students and community members are invited to
 participate in a Town Hall discussion that will help to inform the activities of the project team and to provide information and direction in the creation of an Internationalization Strategy.   

Meetings will take place at all four campuses in early December. 

Dec. 2 – Vernon 1 - 2:30 p.m.  Room D 344
Dec. 8 – Salmon Arm 1 - 2:30 p.m. Room SA 130
Dec. 8 – Kelowna 1 - 2:30 p.m.  Room E 103
Dec. 9 – Penticton  1 - 2:30 p.m. Room PC 120 

The Composite Radio Telescope Project at DRAO

Dec. 5 – 7 p.m. – Gordon Lacy, Mechanical Engineer at DRAO provides an update on the composite radio telescope’s (DVA-1) journey to White Lake Observatory, its design, development and performance, and the continuing work to develop even higher performance telescopes. The talk takes place in the Ashnola Lecture Theatre, Penticton campus. Click here to view the speaker series schedule and for more information.

United Against Violence Against Women Vigil

Dec. 6 – OCSU and OC Aboriginal Services are partnering with SAFE Society to host a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the anniversary of the Montreal Polytechnique Massacre and to bring awareness to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Taking place at the Salmon Arm campus, topical documentaries will be screened at 3 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. and a candlelight service will begin at 6:15 p.m. View the schedule of events here

Data Analytics in Educational Institutions

Dec. 7 – 4 p.m. Jim Nastos (Computer Science), Jan O’Brien and McCall Milligan (Institutional Research) will be presenting Data Analytics in Educational Institutions: Building a Predictive Model for Student Enrolment, to IEEE Okanagan at the Kelowna campus. Room location TBA. The presentation will demonstrate a Markov chain model for enrolment forecasting, which includes many override inputs to allow for extensive “what if” analysis. Click here for more information. 


Former Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs, Stan Chung, will be returning to Okanagan College to read passages from his new book I Held My Breath for a Year and Other Essays on Sunday, Dec. 4, as reported by the Daily Courier.

Canadian Architect, the official magazine of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, explored the design process behind the College’s Kelowna campus Trades Training Complex.

News of former Okanagan College student Ron King’s appointment to the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) Advisory Board (an international financial crime prevention organization) reached PRNewswire.

The Daily Courier featured Okanagan College business professor Devin Rubadeau, for his recent honour as one of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Top 40 Over 40.

On Nov. 18, the Vernon Morning Star reported the donation of a new greenhouse from Harnois Industries to Patchwork Farms, a community garden at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.

Chef Rob Walker, OC Culinary Arts alumnus and the Executive Chef at Big White Ski Resort, headed to Victoria for the provincial Gold Medal Plates competition, as featured in the Capital News, the Daily Courier and Okanagan Life

Kelowna NowCastanet and the Daily Courier reported on Okanagan College second-year student Nat Beleuse-Christman who won the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators’ Open the Doors grand prize of free rent for a year at their Vancouver gala.

News of FortisBC’s donations of $50,000 and $25,000 towards the new natural gas lab and teaching tools for the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program at the Kelowna Trades Complex reached and the Capital News.

The announcement of $80,000 of provincial funding support for adult literacy programs at Okanagan College was picked up by the Daily Courier and Castanet.

Canadian Blood Services brought pop-up donor clinics to Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Andrew Kieswater, Okanagan College’s chief engineer, was featured on Castanet for donating blood more than 160 times.

Politicians and media attended the ground breaking of the new $1.2-million daycare at the College’s Penticton campus, which made headlines in the Penticton Western News, the Penticton Herald, Global News,, Castanet, in a Penticton Herald editorial by James Miller and on Academica Top 10.

Several media outlets reported on the recent $6.2-million project announced by the Provincial Government for the new Trades Training Complex at the College’s Vernon campus, including Global News, Castanet, the Vernon Morning Star, the Daily Courier,, the Capital News and the Lake Country Calendar. The news also made the Academica Top 10 on Nov. 24.

The mother-daughter team collaborating to teach the Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program at Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus was featured in the Daily Courier.

Northern Ontario Business and Skies reported on a new agreement between Jazz Aviation LP and Wasaya Airways LP that will provide career opportunities to graduates of the Jazz Aviation Pathways program, including Okanagan College students.

Student Sawyer Thor-Larsen received a $5000 Transfer Scholarship from the Irving K. Barber Scholarship Society. The story of her move from Selkirk College to Okanagan College’s School of Business was featured on B.C. Colleges and

Kelowna Now shared Statistics Canada's enrolment trends in B.C.’s post-secondary institutions. While most institutions experienced a drop in enrolment, Okanagan College isn’t following the trend – student numbers have increased steadily in the last few years.

The B.C. Interior R.V. Society’s scholarship for a South Okanagan resident to register in the College's RV Technician Program was reported by

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree bridging program’s recent accreditation by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing was picked up by the Capital News and

Four Okanagan School of Business students will be off to Victoria in February to compete in a B.C. Tourism Industry Conference competition. News of their success reached the Capital News and

The $35-million Kelowna Trades Complex was spotlighted at the Wood Design conference at the Delta Grand hotel for its excellent use of mass timber, as reported by the Okanagan Saturday.

The Capital News reported on Okanagan College alumna Kelly Scott, who was inducted in to the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame alongside her teammates for their exceptional accomplishments winning the Canadian women’s curling titles in 2006 and 2007, as well as the world women’s curling championship in Japan in 2007.

The Three-Hour Short Story contest, which took place on Saturday, Nov. 5 at all four Okanagan College campuses, was featured in the Salmon Arm Observer.

The success of the College's Enactus Silver Surfers program and the $3,500 donation from Odlum Brown Investments was mentioned on Nov. 19 in Okanagan Saturday


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

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 Dec. 13, 2016.