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Sixteen year old Vernon Secondary School student Nemo Des Mazes says she prefers working with her hands and building things rather than sitting in a classroom.
When the chance came to take part in the Youth Trades Explorer Sampler at Okanagan College, she eagerly signed up. The program gives high school students an opportunity to discover the trades as a career with hands-on technical training in six fields including plumbing, carpentry and electrical.
The innovative program, a partnership between School District 22 and the College, is not only attracting students, it’s also garnered the interest and support of a local employer.
Tolko Industries has donated $11,000 plus in-kind support toward the training at Okanagan College.
“We are passionate about youth and this fits with our long-term strategy to build our workforce and our communities,” says Tanya Wick, Tolko’s Vice President, People and Services.
“This program is helping young people gain the skills and experience that can help set them up for success.”
While this year’s student cohort is only in their second week of trades training, they’ve already progressed from building a deck chair to picnic tables. The lumber for their projects was also donated from Tolko’s Armstrong mill.
“It’s always very meaningful for us at the College to see an employer in the region invest in the training of our students,” says Teresa Kisilevich, Okanagan College’s Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.
“Students see that local businesses want them to succeed.”
Both School District 22 and Okanagan College are interested in elevating trades training as a career choice for students earlier on in their education.
The program can be a game changer for students who aren’t always successful in academics by empowering them to dive and explore a variety of trades at a full-time level for 10 weeks, according to Joe Rogers, Superintendent of Schools at School District 22.
“This gives kids an opportunity to go towards their passion. If you put a kid where they are happy they will do good work,” says Rogers.
“It’s also a win-win for our community as there is a shortage of trades workers.”
Patrick Kenny, who is participating in the current program says he’s always known that he’s wanted to get into the trades.
“I am really liking the program, and the College is welcoming,” he says.
In addition to lumber, Tolko is exploring how else it can support the Youth Trades Sampler program, including having the students take a tour of their Armstrong mill.
The students are working in Okanagan College’s new Trades Training Centre, which opened in August. The $6.2-million, 1,250 square-metre (13,450 square-foot) facility can accommodate approximately 150 students per year and features a dedicated welding shop and multi-use spaces in which the College can deliver training in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing and pipefitting, along with specialized training like the Youth Trades Sampler.
With the pressure on FortisBC natural gas customers to reduce consumption because of the pipeline explosion in Prince George this week, Okanagan College energy managers are inspired to continue to explore new ways to reduce reliance on the energy source.
Fortis has not reached out to the College to ask it to reduce consumption and that comes as little surprise.
“We use very little gas at this time of year,” explains Rob St. Onge, Okanagan College’s energy manager. “The reason for that is because of the energy reduction and conservation initiatives we have taken over the past years. We’d still counsel our staff and students to think about how they might be able to reduce their gas consumption in light of the circumstances in Prince George.”
St. Onge, and Peter Csandl, manager of plant services and operations, point to recent construction projects as part of the reason. “Many of our buildings use no gas or very little gas due to recent energy upgrades or alternative forms of heat,” explains St. Onge. “All of our boilers on all campuses have been upgraded to high efficiency condensing boilers which use much less gas. Interestingly, Fortis rebates helped fund these projects.”
“Our newer buildings also use exhaust air heat recovery which dramatically reduces heating requirements,” says Csandl. “That’s in place in the Centre of Excellence in Penticton, the Centre for Learning and the Trades Complex in Kelowna, and the Child Care Centre in Penticton.”
A significant portion of the College’s largest campus – Kelowna – relies on an innovative heat-recovery system (drawing from the nearby City of Kelowna waste water treatment plant) for heat – that doesn’t require natural gas for much of the year.
“Over the past many years, our goal has been to reduce our carbon footprint, and we’ve certainly done that,” says St. Onge. He points to data that shows while the College’s physical footprint has grown 38.8 per cent since 2008, the overall natural gas consumption has decreased 32.2 per cent. On a per square metre basis, that means consumption of natural gas has dropped by more than half – 51.7 per cent – in a decade. (Electrical consumption, incidentally, dropped by 19 per cent per square metre in the same time period.)
“We are focused on conservation and energy savings as part of our commitment to sustainability,” explains Csandl, “And we will continue to look at ways that we can do that and incorporate the greenest possible building and renovation techniques to help move us toward a carbon-zero environment.”
It is not quite a house call, but Oliver residents will find health care training is being offered very close to home.
A special intake of Okanagan College’s Health Care Assistant program is scheduled to be held in February that will give students in the South Okanagan direct access to training for one of the most in-demand positions in the province.
“The South Okanagan is desperate for health care assistants. That need exists across the province, but there is a significant demand within health-care facilities and homes in this part of the region,” says Lisa Kraft, Associate Dean of Science Technology and Health for Okanagan College.
The College received $89,000 in one-time funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to support delivery of the program in Oliver, which will also enhance access for residents of nearby Osoyoos, Okanagan Falls and Keremeos.
According to WorkBC, health care assistants have been identified as a priority occupation for the B.C. Ministry of Health. Average employment growth rates in this field are forecasted at 13 per cent to 2022, with no sign of slowing down. This demand is anticipated to increase even more after the Government of B.C. announced funding to increase staffing levels in residential care homes for seniors, which aims to fund more than 900 health care assistants by 2021.
“Students will be making a living wage right out of school, in a profession that offers a variety of shifts, making it easy to find work that best fits their lives,” says Kraft. "Most importantly, health care assistants find their work extremely rewarding. Graduates often tell us how much they appreciate the opportunity to have a significant impact on the quality of life for people in care."
An information night for people to learn more about the Health Care Assistant program and field will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. at Southern Okanagan Secondary School, 6140 Gala St. in Oliver. The six-month intensive program runs for 26 weeks starting on Feb. 4, 2019, and will feature four months of classroom instruction and two months of hands-on practicum for students to learn within the health-care environment.
Applications can be submitted online. For information, call 250-492-4305, ext. 3203 or visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca.
“Please, sir, I want some more…time” may be the refrain heard from Grade 11, 12 and OC students across the valley at the upcoming 9th Annual 3-Hour Short Story Contest at Okanagan College.
Aspiring authors looking for a challenge will need to make careful use of the 180 minutes they’ll be given to craft a compelling original short story at the contest, which is held on Oct. 13 from 1 – 4 p.m. at each of the College’s campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm.
The clock won’t be the only obstacle during the competition. Students will also be required to work a mystery phrase into their story, revealed at the start of the contest. Participants in previous years had to incorporate phrases such as “frozen fish sticks,” “downy mustache,” “soggy bread” and “under the weather” into their story.
“The clock forces writers to not second guess themselves and trust their instincts while writing. Quite often they’ll produce a surprising result that undoubtedly helps to advance their artistic development and style,” says Dr. Sean Johnston, contest organizer and an English Professor at the College. “The pressure is liberating and I think that is why we see budding authors of all ages and levels enter the contest.”
Writers will be competing for funds they can apply toward tuition. A judging panel made up of members of the College’s English department will review stories and select four winners, one from each region. Each winner will receive a $250 tuition credit and an overall grand prize winner will take home an additional $500 tuition credit and have their story published in a limited fine-press edition by the Kalamalka Press – the College’s printing press located at the Vernon campus.
7,200 seconds and 919 words was all it took for last year’s winner, Hannah Stanley, to take home the top prize of $750 for her original story “The Best Years of Our Lives.”
“I woke up in the morning feeling very uninspired and I went into the contest without any prior story ideas or anything worked out in my head in advance,” says Stanley, a recent OC Associate of Arts graduate. “It wasn’t until the clock started and I heard the mystery phrase that I found inspiration and knew what I was going to write about.”
The contest is free to enter and registration is open until midnight on Friday, Oct. 12. For more details, contest rules and to register, please visit Okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting.
Learning about your future options could pay off, quite literally, at Okanagan College.
The College is hosting a variety of open houses and information nights in the coming month for potential students and parents to explore the possibilities for post-secondary.
For students considering an academic, apprenticeship or vocational program at Okanagan College, there is extra incentive to stop in: anyone who attends these on-campus sessions can be entered into a draw for a $5,000 tuition voucher.
Student Braeden Lambert was the Tuition Giveaway winner in 2017 after spending the day at an open house last year while researching the College’s Bachelor of Business degree program.
“It totally took me by surprise when I got the phone call telling me I won the tuition money – I felt like I won the lottery or something,” says Lambert. “It’s given me the freedom of time to focus on studying, and I can use that money on courses in the summer to get that extra foot in the door for the coming year.”
Anyone who takes an official tour, attends a recruitment event or connects with a recruitment team member will receive an entry to the contest. The winner will be chosen on May 16, 2019, and they will receive a voucher covering fall and winter semester tuition fees up to $5,000.
“Students interested in post-secondary options tend to explore programs, chat with recruiters and advisors to have questions answered, and tour classrooms. Our information nights and open houses offer all of this, in addition to the opportunity to connect with College instructors,” says Inga Wheeler, Associate Registrar. “The entry for the Tuition Giveaway is icing on the cake.”
Conditions apply for the Tuition Giveaway draw, and are available online: okanagan.bc.ca/tuitiongiveaway.
For details about information nights and open houses, read below for the campus closest to you:
The annual Information Night is set for Tuesday, Nov. 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence (PC 113), Penticton campus, 583 Duncan Ave. West. Students and parents can learn the top 15 points they should know before starting post-secondary at the Freshman 15 Seminar. Topics will include terminology, accessing scholarships and bursaries, applying for student loans, the application process, and important student services. The seminar begins at 5 p.m. in the Ashnola Building Lecture Theatre (PL 107). For details, visit the event page.
Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Liana Swedahl at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-492-4305, ext. 3205.
The Salmon Arm Campus Open House runs Thursday, Nov. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. at 2552 10th Ave. NE, beside the Shaw Centre. For details, visit the event page.
Open house activities include:
“Learners of all ages are welcome to stop by the open house and investigate their options, whether they are considering returning to studies or thinking about upgrading. There is a lot happening at the Salmon Arm campus, and the doors are open for the community to explore educational opportunities,” says Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean Shuswap-Revelstoke.
Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Kristine Wickner at email@example.com or 250-832-2126, ext. 8259.
The Program Open House and Spotlight Sessions at the Vernon campus is set for Monday, Oct. 29, running from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Kal View Café of the Vernon campus, 7000 College Way. Spotlight Sessions include:
Anyone who applies during the Open House will have application fees waived.
An additional Vernon event offers a second opportunity to enter. Freshman 15 Seminar will be held Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (D310), walking students and parents through the top 15 points they should know before starting post-secondary. Topics will include terminology, accessing scholarships and bursaries, applying for student loans, the application process, and important student services. For details, visit the event page.
Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Tawnya Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-545-7291, ext. 2309.
The College’s 37th annual Career Fair is set for Nov. 4 at the Kelowna campus, offering high school and post-secondary students the opportunity to explore potential career paths and connect with employers.
Career Fair is one of the Interior’s longest-running fairs that attracts hundreds of prospective students every year. Attendees are treated to post-secondary preparatory seminars, tours, activities, program information and draw prizes.
The fair runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kelowna campus, 1000 KLO Rd. Students and parents can learn the top 15 points they should know before starting post-secondary at the Freshman 15 Seminar in the S104 Lecture Theatre at 1 p.m. Topics will include terminology, accessing scholarships and bursaries, applying for student loans, the application process, and important student services. For details, visit the event page.
Admission and parking are free for Career Fair. Those who cannot attend are welcome to book a campus tour or become a student for the day. For information or questions, contact Blake Edwards at email@example.com or 250-762-5445, ext. 4469.
Courtesy of a six-month Okanagan College training program in a field few people think much about, Clint Price has a full-time construction career.
Price finished his Residential Insulator program recently after 15 weeks in the classroom learning theory and safety related to insulation and then an additional 10 weeks in work placements with local employers.
The booming insulation industry, coupled with consumer interest in reducing environmental impact, has created a significant need for skilled workers. Okanagan College, in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Work BC, and local industry leaders, has brought a new program on board to help meet industry demand and prepare skilled workers.
The 25-week Residential Insulator program provides tuition-free specialized training for eligible applicants with funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The program develops practical skills and provides safety certifications in the first 15 weeks of classroom instruction. The remaining 10 weeks are spent in work placements with local employers providing valuable work-related experience.
The Okanagan construction industry is thriving and evolving, inspiring local developers to push the envelope and build more sustainable spaces. Insulation plays a big, and often overlooked, part in creating energy efficient buildings.
The OC training program proved beneficial for Price, a graduate of the first intake of the Residential Insulator program. “The classroom training allowed me to gain the skills required to commence work in the industry and be a valuable member of an insulation team. My 10 weeks of work placement with Grayhawk Industries has allowed me to apply that knowledge with onsite training and has given me the necessary tools to succeed in my new career path,” says Price. “I am now employed full time in the industry and could not be more grateful for the opportunity to have been involved with this program.”
“The Residential Insulator program was created in response to the local labour market challenges,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “Okanagan College, in conjunction with the Ministry, and with support from local industry, is responding to this need by providing skilled training opportunities through the newly developed Residential Insulator program.”
“With changing building codes, it is important to provide skilled training within the insulation industry to equip these workers with a firm grasp of building science knowledge and the variety of different materials available to them,” says Luke Egely, Residential Insulator program instructor.
“Developing this pilot program has been a joint effort on many fronts,” says Egely. We’ve created a program that covers a broad range of topics to build the knowledge these students need.”
Price, along with other graduates of the first intake of the course, have recently completed their work placements. The training has resulted in several offers of full-time employment.
“This group of students have excelled with their training and are driven to create new careers for themselves,” says Egely. “They are just beginning to see the opportunities this training could open up to them.”
The program has been well-received locally and has received government funding for a second intake, beginning Nov. 26. Egely has also fielded calls from others interested in this type of training from all across Canada and the U.S.
The Residential Insulator program was developed through extensive consultation with local employers, consultants and
suppliers in British Columbia and Alberta. Training takes place at the Okanagan College Trades training facility in Vernon. Find out more at okanagan.bc.ca/insulationinstaller.
A collaboration between Miller Electric Mfg LLC (Miller) and Okanagan College will continue to ensure that OC students have access to the latest welding technology, and on Oct. 9, the public will have a chance to ignite their imaginations by learning about today’s training opportunities and the equipment of tomorrow.
The Miller equipment trailer and Miller representatives will be on hand at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9 to provide live demonstrations of the latest welding and plasma cutting machines.
Those looking to spark a career in welding will also have a chance to drop in, speak with Okanagan College staff and instructors about the College’s welding offerings and tour the shop throughout the day.
One of the largest manufacturers of welding equipment in North America, Miller recently partnered with the College to continually rotate and refresh equipment in College shops.
“Technology is always changing and so this agreement is great news for our welding students and apprentices, and for our instructors,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at the College. “It means that every six to 12 months, some equipment will be swapped out of the shops and our students will get access to the latest, most high-tech equipment from Miller.”
“When they step out into industry, our students will already have trained on the newest and most advanced equipment they’ll encounter out on the jobsite,” says Moores. “That’s going to give our students confidence and benefit employers as well.”
“The welding industry is evolving and the new technology allows welders and businesses to be more efficient,” explains Dean Nutter, District Manager, Northern British Columbia for Miller.
“We view working with the College to put new technology in the hands of students as investing in the future of our industry and the communities we serve, as these students are obviously the future of our industry. We’re also looking forward to showcasing the latest Miller equipment to the community and to industry through this event,” adds Nutter. “We know from talking with the businesses we work with all over the country that the demand for welders is huge right now, so it’s a great time to get into the trade and this is a great way to help students learn on the latest and greatest technology.”
The College’s Kelowna campus has one of the most advanced and sustainable welding shops in the Province, having undergone an extensive renovation and refresh in 2016. The College also recently opened a new welding shop at its Penticton campus, to expand and enhance trades training opportunities in the South Okanagan. The new Vernon trades training centre has also been designed to be able to offer welding programs.
The Kelowna-based demo day is free and open to the public. Advanced registration is not required. For more information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/welding.
Okanagan College’s new Trades Training Centre in Vernon, which opened its doors to students last month, is already being recognized for its innovative construction.
The centre took home the Institutional Award at the 10th Annual Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards held on Thursday, Sept. 20 in Kelowna, presented by MNP LLP, RE/MAX Commercial and the Southern Interior Construction Association (SICA).
This year’s event saw a record-tying 37 finalists competing for honours in a host of categories including industrial, institutional, hospitality, retail, multi-family, mixed use and other types of buildings.
“We had three goals in mind when we set out to construct our new Trades facility in Vernon,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We knew we wanted to provide students with the highest-quality learning environment possible, to build a facility that will help meet the demand for skilled trades people in the North Okanagan and beyond, and, finally, to continue to raise the bar for ourselves in sustainability.
“On behalf of Okanagan College, thank you to SICA and to everyone who lends their time and expertise to these awards. We’re honoured to be recognized among such an impressive list of finalists and award recipients.”
The $6.2-million, 1,250 square-metre (13,450 square-foot) facility can accommodate approximately 150 students per year and features a dedicated welding shop and multi-use spaces in which the College can deliver training in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing and pipefitting. (The first class of students in the shop were a group of 18 Plumbing and Pipefitting Foundation students who helped to officially open the building on August 7.)
The centre also houses the College’s Women in Trades training program and the first class of students from that program to access the new building began this week.
MQN Architects and Interior Design of Vernon designed the building. Maple Reinders Construction of Kelowna served as the General Contractor.
The facility was constructed to meet the minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard, building on the College’s commitment to delivering sustainable facilities.
Of the $6.21-million total project cost, the Province of B.C. provided $2.88 million and the Government of Canada provided $2.66 million. Federal funding was made available through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.
The project was also buoyed by significant community support. The Okanagan College Foundation raised more than $1 million toward the College’s $673,000 capital construction commitment, as well as provide support for students and programming.
“The building was a true partnership between the architects, designers, the builder, the College and the community,” notes Jane Lister, Regional Dean for the North Okanagan. “We’re grateful to our students and staff for their patience during the construction period. The result has been worthwhile, as evidenced by this award and all the positive feedback we’re hearing from students and instructors so far.”
His career has been consumed by locally inspired ingredients and teaching, and Chef Vincent Stufano would have it no other way.
The new manager of Okanagan College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts program started this summer, and is looking ahead to infusing regional knowledge and products into the student experience.
“I wanted to teach here because when it comes down to what I am passionate about, the Okanagan is heaven. It has everything, from wine, farms, fruit, you name it,” he says. “The wine region is emerging, the farmers are getting better and better, and the artisans are making cheese. What better place could there be to teach young people who want to be chefs?”
Stufano was born in Montreal, raised by Italian and French family whose passion for fresh food, gardening, winemaking and locally sourced ingredients came second nature.
“A career in the culinary arts never occurred to me,” Stufano explains, adding that his education started early, following his father to specialty stores and farm stands to meet the people behind products. “Food has never been a trend for me, it was how our family shopped. You knew the farmers, growers, cheesemakers.”
After high school, the young Stufano struck out on his own to travel west, landing a position at the Coach & Four Restaurant, a long-time establishment in Victoria run by a Welsh owner.
“From there, I realized this is what I want to do for a living,” Stufano recalls.
He began working in several kitchens across B.C., apprenticing at Big White at the age of 23. After graduating, he found himself in Vancouver at the time of Expo 86 standing in front of Canada Place, inspired to cook in the city. He managed to talk his way into a meeting with the head chef of the Five Sails at the Pan Pacific Hotel, who brought him on as chef de partie.
He was certified under the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks in 1989/90, and embraced pastry while working at the Delta hotel in Whistler. That brought him to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, where he worked for 18 years and ultimately became the executive chef.
Stufano’s skills have been seen at culinary competitions around the world, including Singapore and Chicago for Team B.C., and representing Canada in Germany and Switzerland.
He found himself consulting, helping organizations develop and build their kitchens and menus throughout the province, and joined the El Dorado in 2017 and most recently Kelowna Yacht Club.
"I really enjoyed passing on information. I love history, and I need to understand the foundations of everything, how things have evolved,” Stufano says, adding that sharing knowledge has always been part of his philosophy in the kitchen.
“As a chef, if you are not naturally a teacher, a coach, a mentor, then I don’t know if you can succeed. You can come up with a concept, but if you can’t explain it to your team and have them understand and replicate it, then you fail."
Stufano says he views his position as an important link between students and the greater community of professional chefs who are connected to the land and region’s bounty.
“My role is to build the new programs to attract young inspired culinary students to us, and promote an environment of learning. I would like us to get to the point of bringing in chefs from across the region, so students are exposed to local ingredients from their point of view,” he says. “I have connections in the industry and culinary schools across the country, and I think we have what it takes here to rival every one of those programs.”
Enrolments at the College’s four campuses this fall have increased about 13.3 per cent over the same time last year, suggesting that the institution will likely exceed 2018-19 government enrolment targets. (It would be the 14th year that Okanagan College has done so – the best record among B.C.’s Colleges. Last year, OC achieved 113 per cent of those targets, based on full-time equivalent enrolments.)
Fall enrolment numbers are a snapshot of the College’s activity. Because the College has programs that start at various times of the year, the student numbers won’t be finalized until the end of the fiscal year (March 31, 2019).
When the enrolment period for this fall semester ended in mid-September, Okanagan College had 9,570 students registered, compared to 8,446 students a year ago.
“The numbers are encouraging,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, “but what’s really significant is that they tell us and the community that we are helping more students pursue higher education.”
“The latest B.C. labour market projections show that by 2028, there will be 903,000 job openings that need to be filled in B.C.,” Hamilton noted. “Eighty per cent of those jobs will require some form of higher education. That’s where we come in.”
Kelowna’s campus enrolment grew to 6,126 this fall compared to 5,330 last year, while Vernon’s student headcount climbed to 1,088 from 970. Penticton enrolment grew to 1,025 from 940 and Salmon Arm’s student numbers increased to 721 from 692. Students registered in distance education courses grew to 610 from 514.
(Those numbers include students in all levels of programming – from new first-year students, to students enrolled in the fourth year of their degree programs.)
While international student numbers have grown at the College (1,393 this fall, compared to 876 last fall), so too have domestic student enrolments: there are 590 more students from Canada this fall than in the fall of 2017.
Everything is adding up for Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree, which has received a stamp of approval for its finance curriculum from the CFA Institute.
The institute, with investment professional members totalling 150,000 across the globe, administers the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential – recognized internationally as the standard of certification for investment professionals.
In September, the College’s Bachelor of Business Administration – Finance Speciality was accepted for the university affiliation program, meaning the College’s curriculum is closely tied to the practice of investment management that is helpful for students preparing for CFA designation exams.
“Having the CFA designation is a requirement in this day and age for certain jobs, as finance positions are becoming even more competitive,” says Elena Mitropolsky, the Okanagan College professor of finance who worked on articulating the program’s curriculum to CFA requirements. “People often consider whether they want to pursue an MBA or CFA, and while graduate schools can differ in terms of quality of program, the CFA designation is a signal to employers that the individual has met international standards.”
Okanagan College is now one of 32 institutions in Canada that are affiliates of the CFA Institute, and the third in B.C. to be accepted into the program.
The CFA credential covers academic theory, current industry practice as well as ethical and professional standards to provide a strong foundation of advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio-management skills. In order to qualify for the university affiliate program, the College had to submit course outlines for a variety of finance topics: statistics, economics, ethics, derivatives, investments and investment management, to name a few.
Up to nine scholarships will also be provided to College students who pursue the CFA exams, with the financial award administered by the Okanagan School of Business.
“This seal of approval from the CFA Institute is another marker of excellence for the BBA program at Okanagan College. It also is an excellent example of what our professors do to help students advance in their chosen profession,” says William Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. “Dedicated bursaries will also support those who choose to pursue their professional CFA credential, which is another great opportunity for our students.”
A former Okanagan College instructor and nationally-acclaimed artist has donated one of his works to the College to acknowledge and celebrate the dedication of students and employees.
Bryan Ryley, who taught Fine Arts at the College from 1978 to 2005, was at the Kelowna campus on Sept. 20 to unveil his work entitled “PASSAGE,” an 84” x 120” acrylic on canvas painting that will be displayed in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning.
“As an educator, it was wonderful to be a part of Okanagan College, to witness the commitment of the institution and the sense of family among students and staff that was fostered,” said Ryley. “I’m really pleased to see this attitude and approach to education continues under the leadership of President Jim Hamilton, and a wonderful staff and student body that is so enthusiastic.”
“The title of the work is meant to capture the notion that we are always on a journey and always in a state of passage – which, I think, is particularly apt for students,” added the artist.
A photo gallery from the unveiling can be viewed here.
“On behalf of Okanagan College, I’d like to extend our deepest thanks to Bryan for this heartfelt gift,” said Hamilton. “It will be displayed in a place of honour in the Centre for Learning, for all to enjoy. Given the title, I couldn’t think of a more fitting or meaningful place for it to reside.”
Ryley retired in 2016 as an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC Okanagan. His work is shown nationally and internationally and can be found in many private, corporate and public collections including: the Canadian Consulate, Paris, France; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Pratt Institute, New York; BC Arts Collection, Victoria; Kelowna Art Gallery; Vernon Public Art Gallery; Art Gallery of the South Okanagan, Penticton; (corporate) Nordstrom, Canadian Pacific, Petro-Canada, Enbridge, Encana, Cenovus, Sun Life Financial, Brookfield Properties and others.
The Kiwanis Club of Kelowna is donating $125,000 to Okanagan College to support students who will graduate and work with children and youth in the community.
The major gift establishes the Kiwanis Kelowna 2018 Legacy Education Endowment, which will provide two annual $2,000 scholarships to a student in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Human Service Work (HSW) programs.
“Both early childhood educators and human service workers play a major role in supporting the well-being of children and youth,” says Bob Bissell, President of the Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society.
“We wanted to help ease some of the financial burden on these students so they can better focus on their studies, which ultimately benefits our community’s children and youth.”
Students, College representatives and children from Little Scholars child care took part in applauding the announcement at Okanagan College this morning.
“We’re thankful to the Kiwanis Club of Kelowna, which has worked for more than 40 years to make a difference in the lives of children and seniors in our community,” says Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College President.
“With the establishment of this significant endowment, Kiwanis is helping students today and tomorrow. In turn, these students will enhance the quality of life for children and youth in our community for decades to come.”
Second year ECE student Jo-Dee Lebrun spoke at the event, sharing her experience in the program.
“At first, starting a new chapter in my life felt really overwhelming but with the guidance from our instructors a passion was lit inside me for not only this career but advocating for children and other early childhood educators,” says Lebrun.
“This program has taught us to not only be better educators but better human beings.”
Kiwanis is well known in the Central Okanagan for their support of activities for children, including the Kiwanis Music Festival and breakfast clubs at several elementary schools.
The funds for the endowment came from the sale of the Kiwanis Tower, located at the corner of Lawrence and Gordon. The high rise was designed to provide affordable housing to low-income seniors and was managed by the Kiwanis Clubs of Kelowna for over 40 years until the sale in 2016.
Central Okanagan Kiwanis Community Service Society is using the funds from the sale to support children and youth locally and has donated to a number of charities.
Bissell says Kiwanis chose Okanagan College because it has an excellent reputation and the programs to ensure the investment is well utilized beyond the foreseeable future.
The donation will support the College’s Caring Starts Here campaign, which aims to raise money for the $18.9-million Health Sciences Centre located on the Kelowna campus, as well as student scholarships and bursaries.
Okanagan College will host its 10th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 20, once again bringing hundreds of dancers to the Kelowna campus for a celebration of Indigenous culture.
To mark the ten-year milestone, this year’s event will also feature a special ceremony honouring two Indigenous community members who have played integral roles in its success over the past decade.
Elder Richard Jackson Jr. of the Lower Nicola Indian Band and Noel Ferguson of the Canoe Creek First Nation and Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society will reprise their roles this year as Master of Ceremony and Arena Director, roles they’ve held for the past 10 years.
In acknowledgement of their long-time involvement, College officials will honour Jackson and Ferguson during a special blanket ceremony that morning. Jackson and Ferguson will be wrapped in traditional Pendleton blankets as a physical and spiritual symbol of respect.
“Working with and learning from the Indigenous community is one of our key directions at Okanagan College,” says College President Jim Hamilton. “The Powwow has been and continues to be a very meaningful and significant opportunity to strengthen relationships and celebrate Indigenous knowledge and culture on campus.
“On behalf of Okanagan College, I’d like to extend our deepest thanks to Richard and Noel for their leadership, energy and input over the years – and to everyone who has helped to make this event such a vibrant and well-attended celebration.”
The blanket ceremony isn’t the only special ceremony to take place at the event.
Shortly after Jackson and Ferguson are wrapped, the duo will present Okanagan College with an Eagle Staff as a symbol of respect and to recognize the College’s continued efforts to embrace Aboriginal culture and values and support the educational journey of Aboriginal learners.
The Annual Exhibition Powwow is a high-energy, family-friendly event that draws participants from across the British Columbia interior. Dancers and accompanying drummers perform in a variety of dance categories including grass, fancy, chicken, jingle and traditional. This year the invited drum groups include Birch Creek, The Northern Tribes and Red Spotted Horse.
Attendees will be treated to a fan-favourite lunch of Deconstructed Indian Tacos – prepared and served by the College’s Culinary Arts team – and enjoy shopping at the many vendors on location selling jewelry, artwork, soaps, moccasins, jams, lotions and more. Additionally, there will be a 50/50 and a raffle draw available with the proceeds going to financial awards for Indigenous students at OC.
Last year approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff along with members of the general community enjoyed this high-profile event that showcases Aboriginal culture and dance. This year, more than 600 students from various private band and public schools from across the interior have been invited to attend the exhibition.
The College has one of the fastest growing rates of Aboriginal student participation of any post-secondary institution in B.C. In 2017, the College provided educational programming to more than 1,745 Aboriginal students.
“Powwows are intended to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members together and highlight the richness of our culture,” says the College’s Aboriginal Services Coordinator Anthony Isaac. “We host many cultural events throughout the year and believe that the more we can do to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing, the more we create a sense of belonging and inclusiveness for current and future OC students.”
The festivities run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Kelowna campus courtyard, with the special ceremonies happening first thing in the morning. Attendance is free and open to the public.
For those who cannot attend, Okanagan College is livestreaming the event at www.facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.
Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will serve as the backdrop for a free public post-secondary information night on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Beginning at 7 p.m., attendees will have a chance to speak with representatives of Okanagan College and 13 other institutions in the atrium of the Centre for Learning (E-Building).
This is the second year running that PSI-BC (a collaborative of BC post-secondary institution recruitment offices working together as partners to support students, parents and high school counsellors) will host the event the College’s Kelowna campus. It is designed to help students access information directly from institutions as they look ahead to making decisions on which college or university program they might attend.
“While post-secondary reps have visited high schools in the Okanagan for many years, the school-hour schedule has traditionally made it difficult for parents to participate in the conversation. The format of the evening will allow parents and students to interact directly with representatives from all 14 institutions in attendance,” says Josh Keller, PSI-BC Administrative Co-ordinator.
The mandate of PSI-BC is to assist students and parents with finding both the institution and the program of study that best fits their personal strengths and career objectives. More information about PSI-BC is available at http://www.psibcinfo.com/.
Institutions expected to attend include Okanagan College, BCIT, Canadian Forces/RMC, Capilano University, College of the Rockies, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Quest University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University, Trinity Western University, University of British Columbia, and University of Victoria.
Learning isn’t just for little ones going back to school this fall. On Sept. 10, Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is launching a series of presentations designed to engage your grey matter.
“The OC Speaker Series is an opportunity for the community to come hear inspiring speakers talk about subjects they are very passionate about,” says Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen. “We want Okanagan College’s Penticton campus to be a home for lifelong learning and most importantly a place where the community comes together to learn.”
The lineup of experts and authorities will cover a wide range of topics, from astronomy and environmental initiatives in the region to B.C. cultural history, democratic systems, and debunking stereotypes about Chinese culture. The series includes:
Talks are 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (PL 107) of the Ashnola Building. The Okanagan College Penticton campus is located at 583 Duncan Ave. Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to support students in need.
Event information is available at https://ocspeakersseries.weebly.com/.
It’s the largest gift ever to support Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, and it will accelerate a centre of excellence in automotive training and open doors for students for years to come.
Muriel Jacobsen and her children Rhonda and Shayne are donating $1 million to support the Kelowna Trades Training Complex in honour of their late husband and father Ron Jacobsen. Ron owned and operated Jacobsen Pontiac Buick for more than 40 years.
“My dad always wanted to give back to the community that supported him,” says Rhonda Jacobsen-Lebedoff. “As someone who loved and valued the importance of learning and improving, he would be delighted to know his success is supporting future automotive leaders.”
The funding announcement was made in the courtyard of the new Trades building. In honour of the generous donation, Okanagan College is naming the bright study, gathering and corridor space used by so many students as the Ron Jacobsen Pathway to Excellence.
“This gift gets to the heart of what we set out to do in revitalizing and expanding our trades training facilities at the Kelowna campus – providing our students with a world-class learning environment, helping to address the skills gap and needs of employers, and elevating the skilled trades as a career path, something Ron championed through his leadership and commitment to excellence,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.
“On behalf of everyone at Okanagan College, I’d like to express our gratitude to the Jacobsen family for this remarkable support, which will help us continue to create access and advance training for the next generation of automotive trades people. There will be generations of students who walk along the corridor and appreciate the legacy of Ron, and – like him – will tread the pathway to excellence.”
The Jacobsen family hopes Ron’s legacy will live on with the funds contributing to the following key areas:
• Development of curriculum and purchase of start-up equipment for the College’s forthcoming automotive service technician diploma
• Development of training in alternate fuels and purchase of start-up equipment
• Purchase of state-of-the-art training equipment
• Refreshing the automotive facilities to more closely resemble the appearance of newer dealerships and service outlets
• Financial support for students
Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship, says the funds will help the College invest in equipment, education and infrastructure to ensure students are prepared to work on the hybrid and electric vehicles of today and tomorrow.
“We know from speaking with employers that as new technology emerges and becomes more mainstream, the sector will require technicians who are adept with hybrid and electric engines, alternative fuels and so on. This gift will help us to put in place the training, equipment and shop facilities to stay ahead of the curve,” says Moores.
Mark Bannister of Bannister Automotive Group says the announcement is amazing news for the College and the automotive industry.
“One of our biggest struggles is finding technicians, so to have this major investment in state-of-the-art training and student support is incredible for students and our local automotive sector,” says Bannister.
The gift announcement marks the close of the Okanagan College Foundation’s fundraising campaign for the Kelowna Trades Training Complex —a $33-million project that started in 2014.
The province invested $28-million into the project and the Okanagan College Foundation set its most ambitious fundraising goal to date: raise $7 million to complete the trades facility and provide life-changing program and student support. The campaign goal was not only met but exceeded by $1.5 million.
“Ron was a generous community builder, so it feels apt to have him close our campaign, which brought together industry leaders in the automotive, welding, construction, plumbing, mechanical and electrical sectors,” says Kathy Butler, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director.
“We are very grateful to the Jacobsen family and thank everyone who supported us in reaching this inspiring milestone.”
About Ron Jacobsen
Ron was born in Red Deer, Alta, and was an identical twin and youngest of nine children who grew up working on the family farm.
His first job was at a sawmill while taking a correspondence course in accounting. Ron went on to become the accountant at Hub City Motors, a Volkswagen dealership in Prince George. He would later buy into the dealership.
In 1971, Ron sold his half of Hub City Motors and moved to Kelowna where he started Jacobsen Pontiac Buick. The company grew to more than 75 employees with a focus on hiring the right people, investing in modern equipment and creating a learning environment.
The auto dealership and body shop also adopted the trademark “Jacobsen Excellence.” Ron always encouraged employees to think about whether their actions were good enough or excellent and to aim for the latter.
While committed to his business, Ron was also passionate about his family, enjoying camping, boating and playing cards. He gave back to the community, volunteering with the Kelowna Rotary Club, and sponsoring sports teams, golf tournaments, and the Apple Triathlon.
The latest gift from the Jacobsen family builds on past contributions to Okanagan College from Ron. In 2009, Ron set up the Jacobsen Pontiac Lou Simonelli Achievement Award to recognize one of his longest serving automotive technicians. Ron and Muriel also previously donated to the Kelowna Trades Training Complex.
View the photo gallery from the announcement here. View recorded livestream on the College’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.
Okanagan College will host a regional event with global implications.
Building on Progress: Climate Action across Local, Regional and Global Levels will open the doors to dialogue in September, as a way of engaging the Okanagan region in sustainability discussions happening across the globe.
On Sept. 13 and 14, Building on Progress will showcase Okanagan projects that focus on climate action, especially healthy energy systems and sustainable communities, as an affiliate event to the Global Climate Action Summit to be held in San Francisco, Calif.
"The event is designed to build momentum achieved by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which calls on the world to communicate, educate, improve policies and strengthen resilience efforts," says Dr. Rosalind Warner, Okanagan College political science faculty member. "We are at a critical juncture in terms of adopting and implementing necessary policies to effect change.”
Okanagan College partnered with the Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan (GECCO) to organize the affiliate event, which will connect local participants with international Global Climate Action Summit discussion through live-streamed video. Panel discussions will also be held with regional experts in private, public and energy sectors. The community can also follow the dialogue on social media using hashtags #StepUp2018 and #GCAS2018.
The College locations will also serve as inspiration for participants: the Kelowna Trades Complex and Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton were both built to LEED Platinum standards. In 2016, the Centre of Excellence was named the greenest post-secondary building in Canada by Corporate Knights magazine.
“Okanagan College is a leader in sustainable construction technologies, evidenced through the quality of our programs and the innovation behind our physical spaces,” says Amy Vaillancourt, Chair of the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program. “Building on Progress is an opportunity to showcase for College students and the community to learn about the value of sustainable construction practices, and what small steps they can take to make a lasting difference.”
The event will run Sept. 13 in Kelowna and Sept. 14 in Penticton, with sessions running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. An expo will include exhibits from local businesses and organizations in the sustainability field. The event is free and no registration is required.
For more information, visit okanagan.bc.ca/gcas2018. Follow this event on Facebook.
As the emerging cannabis industry continues to spark growing interest and dialogue, Okanagan College has partnered with experts across the region and beyond to develop a diverse offering of courses – from greenhouse pest management techniques to business fundamentals and retail sales training.
“This is a fluid and dynamic field full of aspiring producers and investors,” says Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continues Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College. “The courses we have developed bring a unique educational experience to people interested in the sector. Our goal is to be ahead of the curve and find innovative ways to serve workers and employers in the Okanagan Shuswap as the industry gains momentum.”
As federal legislation regarding the usage of cannabis changes, so, too, are the attitudes surrounding the industry and those learning about and working in it. Initial interest in the offerings has been strong. The Growing Your Own Cannabis course has already filled to capacity, prompting the College to explore adding another intake this fall.
As Silvestrone points out, there is also a host of information, such as workplace policies, that employers will need to educate themselves on.
“There’s far more to cannabis training than the cultivation side of things,” he explains. “The implications around cannabis and the workplace, around facility practices and business fundamentals are vast and far-reaching and so we’re working to provide as diverse a programming array as possible to serve the community.”
With the region’s long growing season, agriculture has traditionally been a significant part of the local economy. So, it’s not surprising that the emerging cannabis industry would look to the Okanagan as an ideal environment for growth. The potential for licensed cannabis producers to set up businesses in the area means jobs for people in a growing industry and tax revenues for communities, much like the growth brought by the wine industry.
Jeff Thorne is Cultivation Manager at Sunniva, a medical cannabis company currently building a new greenhouse facility in Okanagan Falls. Thorne has years of experience in the cannabis industry and has been involved in the development of the course materials at the College.
“The cannabis training courses offered at Okanagan College are more than just theory,” says Thorne. “Created by veteran cannabis industry professionals, they give students tactile learning experiences. Individuals may have a background in the industry, but no idea on how to successfully commercialize their businesses. These courses are designed to help people understand the regulations and licensing requirements needed to meet current medical cannabis industry demands and take their production processes to the next level,” says Thorne.
The production process for medical grade marijuana is carefully regulated to maintain quality. “When you’re growing a product on a farm and delivering it to a pharmacy, you have to understand the quality assurance process. These courses will deliver that knowledge,” says Thorne.
Labour market predictions indicate the industry will see greatest demand for semi-skilled jobs in areas such as canopy maintenance, pest management, processing and extraction. Thorne notes that opportunities for on-the-job training do exist, and workers who take steps to build a foundation of industry knowledge will excel.
The College made headlines last fall when it became one of the first in the sector in B.C. to implement a Cannabis course through its School of Business. The Emerging Marijuana Industry was the name of the course taught by David Cram, a 26-year veteran College business professor. It illuminated students to the regulatory process and emerging business impacts of legalization, in the context of the Canadian economy.
Intakes for the courses offered through the College’s Continuing Studies department begin in September. Course details, tuition and application information can be found online at okanagan.bc.ca/cannabistraining.
Way’. Bienvenue. Willkommen. Welcome.
No matter how you say it, Okanagan College wants students to walk away from Orientation Day at the Penticton campus on Sept. 4 feeling welcomed and set for success.
"Students are making one of the biggest transitions of their lives when they begin post-secondary studies, and social connections support students with navigating that shift," says Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen. “It is excellent that the community has come together with welcoming students this year, to help newcomers feel at home in their new city. Everyone at the College is very excited about the day and the start of the new academic year.”
Students can get a java jumpstart with free coffee during a Mix 'N Mingle starting at 10 a.m, when they can pick up a welcome bag of goodies. Therapy dogs from St. John Ambulance will also be on hand for students seeking furry relief from the bustle.
Just after an official welcome and First Nations territory acknowledgement on the Common Green, students can meet instructors and fellow students during department sessions at 11 a.m. as the first step to academic success.
At noon, the Kickoff Carnival begins with a free barbecue, campus tours and a photo booth to capture that important first day. Students looking to break the ice with new friends are invited to play Giant Jenga, Zorb Pool races, riding bull, dunk tank, corn hole, arcade bowling and ring toss.
This is also the first year that community organizations are part of Orientation Day activities. "Taste the Okanagan," from regional beverage providers will offer students the chance to sample local craft beers, craft ciders, wines, kombucha, soda and coffee. Over 10 vendors will be on hand at the Sunoka Building on the north-end of campus for the can’t-miss tasting event of the year.
Students can win donated swag from local merchants specializing in books, movies, art, climbing, restaurants and dining, health, chocolate, sweets and treats, shopping, outdoor activities and more.
There’s no better way to shake off those first-day jitters than a carnival.
Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus will welcome everyone Tuesday, Sept. 4 with Kick Off, a full-day of fun activities and treats to ease students back in to classes.
“Social connections are so critical for success at post-secondary. We want new and returning students to start the new semester on a positive note with their new campus community,” says Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean of Shuswap Revelstoke.
Coffee and muffins will be available at the Campus Cafe as students arrive. Workshops will help students become acquainted with:
Starting at 9 a.m., a series of orientations will be held, including opportunities for students to meet their program instructors and peers. A carnival-themed lunch for new and returning students will follow, in addition to a fair with games, prizes and giveaways. Photos for student ID cards will be taken between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
New and returning students are invited to take part in Prep for Success: Essential Skills for College on Aug. 29 and 30. These free workshops offer information on how to be an effective student, with topics like time management, learning strategies, essay writing, giving class presentations and dealing with stress. There is no requirement to be an Okanagan College student; all post-secondary students welcome.
More information is available online.
Lights! Camera! Action! Those looking to break into careers in B.C.’s booming film industry can explore new courses coming to Okanagan College this fall.
“We know visual content, from Netflix to YouTube and Facebook, is in high demand and that the region and the province is poised to continue to be a hub for development of that content,” explains Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at the College. “The Okanagan has long been a region with a strong and vibrant film industry, and so in developing these courses, our aim was to tap into the immense pool of expertise and talent here, and to offer courses that would help students seamlessly transition into in-demand roles in the industry.”
One of those industry experts consulted in the development of the courses was Okanagan Film Commissioner Jon Summerland.
“The industry keeps growing and we’re adding the infrastructure to attract projects that support more full-time employment opportunities in the area,” explains Summerland. “I have several projects we’re exploring right now, including opportunities for a film series, so it’s a very cool and exciting time to get into film.”
The recent addition of a purpose-built soundstage near the Kelowna airport brings opportunities for increased employment options, regional tax credits and infrastructure to support the industry.
“The Okanagan offers a diverse range of scenery, locations and seasons, and producers are finding that they can get great value from their budgets here. Every successful project breeds another,” says Summerland.
A unique complement of courses, from set etiquette to applicable first aid, offered at Okanagan College brings together a range of useful skills for anyone interested in building their training to enter the industry.
“The Motion Picture Industry Orientation (MPIO) and Background Set Etiquette training offers you the essential details you will need to begin working in the industry. You need basic training to get a film job and the more you get, the better off you are. From there, the sky’s the limit in this industry,” says Summerland.
Debra Sawarin – a 28-year film industry veteran, who holds make-up artist credits on projects such as Pathfinder, An Unfinished Life and many other films and television shows – will instruct the MPIO class offered at the College this fall. Sawarin is looking forward to passing on her experiences and deep industry knowledge with students.
“I’m going to teach the basic expectations and behaviours that will help students navigate their first job and be successful when they walk onto a set for the first time,” explains Sawarin. “Along with the MPIO course, the first aid and traffic safety courses cover all off the essentials that many newcomers to the industry might not even know they should have, but are crucial to working on any set.”
Sawarin is also quick to point out the need for strong communication and collaboration skills on set – skills students can expect to hone in the courses.
“The film industry is one that really embraces the concept of teamwork,” says Sawarin. “It combines people with diverse skills and talents all within one project. A make-up artist could be working next to someone who handles heavy equipment, each doing their jobs without getting in each other’s way.”
More information about the courses and how to register can be found at okanagan.bc.ca/filmindustry.