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Spaghetti bridge contest support continues to grow – Faction-ally
MQN sets foundation for next generation of tradespeople
College to launch Indigenous-knowledge infused professional cook training
Okanagan College achieves second LEED Platinum award
Residential Insulator program helps keep Vernon SPCA dogs warm
OC Business students scoop podium spot at collegiate case competition
College’s finance curriculum receives international recognition
Gateway program gives students the tools they need to succeed in school and life
Making the connection: College offers emerging technology program
Seven Fallen Feathers author and journalist offering two presentations in the Okanagan
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Spaghetti bridge contest support continues to grow – Faction-ally
Okanagan College Media Release

Spaghetti Bridge 2018A new supporter has come aboard for Okanagan College’s 36
th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest.

Faction Projects Inc. is title sponsor for Okanagan College’s Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest in 2019. The company joins a host of other businesses and organizations that have stepped up to support the original, oldest, and best-known spaghetti bridge building competition in the world. There are other spaghetti bridge competitions: at last count approximately 34 globally, stretching from Buenos Aires to Budapest.

“This event looks like it’s about fun with pasta, but it’s so much more than that,” says Tim McLennan, Director of Design and Operations at Faction Projects. “It is a great way to introduce hundreds of students annually to the interplay between materials, physics and engineering. We need to invest in and support ways to interest the next generation of builders and doers in arts, science, technology, engineering and math – and if the mediums in use are pasta, glue and imagination, that works.”

“As an architect,” says McLennan, “I’ve been amazed over the years at how well some of the bridges have performed, but even more important to me is seeing the number of elementary, middle and high school students who participate. My son should take notes!”

The record at the OC Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest in the heavyweight competition was set a decade ago (2009) by two competitors from Hungary, Norbert Pozsonyi and Aliz Totivan of the Szechenyi Istvan University of Gyor: their bridge, weighing 982 grams, held 443.58 kilograms (975.88 pounds) before shattering. (The first Spaghetti Bridge competition was held in 1983 – the first heavyweight competition was held in 1988. By then, the College was describing itself as the “cradle of Spaghetti Bridge”).

The Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest runs March 1, at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus – the Heavyweight competition is expected to start around noon in the theatre. The team building competition starts at 9:30 a.m. and elementary school demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. The lightweight competition commences at about 10:30 a.m.

This year, 11 teams or individuals have registered for the heavyweight competition. Rules are strict and posted online. Heavyweight competitors have a chance at prizes that begin with a $1,500-cash prize for first place. It is open to college, university, and K-12 students Grade 7 and higher.

Other sponsors for the Spaghetti Bridge contest include the Applied Science, Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia, PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. the Okanagan College Students’ Union, Multi-Power Products, CTQ Consultants, Interior Testing Services and OPM (Okanagan Precision Machine).

 

MQN sets foundation for next generation of tradespeople
Okanagan College Media Release

For students stepping into trades training at Okanagan College, several new bursaries established by MQN Architecture and Interior Design will help provide a solid foundation.MQN Award Feb 2019

The MQN Architecture and Interior Design Awards for Vernon Trades will provide two annual $750 bursaries for any student entering a trades foundation program. A $1,000 bursary will be awarded annually to a woman entering a trades foundation program.

“We believe in mentoring and teaching the next generation of designers and trades people. When looking at how we could do more, we decided providing financial support was the missing piece,” says Dora Anderson, a partner at MQN. “Had we not been given a hand up or support when starting out in our careers, who knows, we may not be here today.”

MQN is one of the largest architectural firms in the B.C. interior, based in Vernon. The firm has a long history of working with the College, having been the architect for its Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus. Most recently, MQN was the architect for the College’s new Trades Training Centre in Vernon.

Anderson says their firm sees first-hand the need for more skilled trades people in the Okanagan, making the opportunity to work on the Vernon Trades Centre a special contribution to their community.

“For students to see that they can get trained and stay home and support their community is pretty exciting,” she says.

Anderson adds that creating a women in trades bursary was particularly significant for her and other female staff at MQN. When MQN started it was all male partners. Today the firm is managed by two male and two female partners.

“It’s a huge honour to give a hand up to another woman who aspires to push ahead in a field that is typically a male-dominated environment,” says Anderson. “With this bursary, we want women to know that there is a place for you in this industry and a place for you to excel.”

Samantha Cook, 24, from Enderby is the first female recipient of the MQN Architecture and Interior Design Award. She is currently enrolled in the Carpenter Foundation program. She says her goal is to help find solutions to the housing crisis affecting some Indigenous communities that lack infrastructure, or where aging buildings may contain mould and provide poor living conditions.

“I am so grateful to accept this award. This will help me focus on my studies right now, but it will also help my community after I graduate,” says Cook.

“We are thankful to MQN for their generous gift, which will support students and increase access to trades training in the North Okanagan,” says Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College President.

“Not only do we have a have leading-edge trades training facility in Vernon but a community of businesses and individuals who are investing in students’ futures.”

As a result of the recent fundraising campaign for the new Vernon Trades Training Centre, there is more than $200,000 available for student awards, bursaries and program support for students entering the trades at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.

The Trades Training Centre was recently recognized with an Award of Excellence for Best Institutional Project at the Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards.

 

College to launch Indigenous-knowledge infused professional cook training
Okanagan College Media Release

OC CulinaryOkanagan College is turning to Indigenous knowledge keepers, chefs and foragers to help incorporate traditional knowledge and practices into an intake of its professional cook training program this spring – and any interested future chefs can step into the College’s kitchen this week to learn more and have their questions answered.

The Culinary and Pastry Arts department will host an info session about the pilot program on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. in Infusions Restaurant. Advance registration is not necessary.

Attendees will have a chance to hear from OC’s Culinary Manager Chef Vincent Stufano and staff from the College’s Aboriginal Services department about what they can expect in the program.

“We’re taking the industry-proven professional cook training that we are known for at OC and building on it in a way we feel will be very meaningful and valuable for students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” notes Stufano. “Our chef instructors are excited and proud to be working with some chefs and knowledge keepers to infuse Indigenous culinary techniques and ingredients into the curriculum in this way. We think it’s going to make for a very rewarding experience for students.”

The program is 50 weeks in length and fires up on March 25. Students will train in the College’s teaching kitchens and labs at the Kelowna campus.

The pilot program – a first for OC’s Culinary Arts Certificate program – is a partnership between the College, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) BC and Okanagan Training and Development Council.

Andrew George, an Apprenticeship Advisor with the ITA and a Red Seal Chef, is one of those working with the College to create a rewarding training experience for students. George is a Hereditary Wing Chief for the Bear Clan in the traditional system of the Wet’suwet’en people. He is dedicated to helping Aboriginal youth access the tools they need to start successful culinary careers.

“Programs and collaborations like these are needed as they help bring Indigenous foods to the forefront. That in turn fosters understanding and respect, while showcasing the health benefits of Indigenous foods, and incorporating elements of history and important topics like food security,” says George.

“We’ve worked with bands across the region before to provide tailored culinary training to their members, but this is a little different,” notes Jonathan Rouse, the College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “This is an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to train together and engage with this unique program. The Okanagan is home to some truly remarkable Indigenous chefs, winemakers and other culinary artists, juxtaposed with a diversity of local ingredients, and so we hope to be able to continue to infuse more and more Indigenous perspectives into our food, wine and tourism training at the College.”

“The addition of Indigenous content into this program builds on one of the College’s Key Directions, which is working with and learning from the Indigenous Community,” explains Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Manager for OC. “It’s also part of an even bigger, ongoing conversation and effort as the College continues to make strides to toward Indigenization. It’s about looking at how Indigenous knowledge can be interwoven into every aspect of what we do and how we serve students.”

As Stufano points out, Culinary Arts is a natural place for the intersection of knowledge and perspectives.
 

“Cooking is all about sharing ways of knowing and ways of doing. Every time you add another technique, another piece of knowledge, you’re contributing to your development as a Chef, which in turn hopefully you will pass on to others around you.

“In this instance, it is vitally important to us that we’re working with Indigenous experts to share traditional knowledge in a way that’s appropriate and authentic for all involved – from foraging an ingredient respectfully to the cooking and serving of it.”

“For both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike, this is a great chance to hone their technical skills and expand their knowledge-base as they engage with Indigenous knowledge and techniques in the classroom. It’s going to be an opportunity for dialogue and cultural exchange on multiple levels,” says Isaac.

More information about the College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts programs are available at okanagan.bc.ca/fwt.

 

Okanagan College achieves second LEED Platinum award

When it comes to green, Okanagan College is better than gold.

Okanagan College can now boast of having two of the 14 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Platinum-certified buildings in all of Canada’s post-secondary sector. The College learned this week that its new trades building in Kelowna has been certified by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). It is the second for OC – the first was the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus.kelowna trades frontage 450px

LEED Platinum certification is the highest standard awarded in the rating system which measures green building. The system is in use in more than 160 countries. In order to achieve platinum a building must measure up across an array of factors, from the incorporation of sustainable building materials to water and energy efficiency to human-factor behaviours like recycling programs housed within a building.

“You don’t have to look hard to find advances in sustainability across all the trades, from automotive to welding, so in expanding and re-invigorating our Kelowna trades training facilities, we set out to provide our students and employees with a world-class learning environment that would celebrate them, their chosen career paths and the future of the trades,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Our institution has a reputation as a leader in sustainable building. We are proud of being able to raise the bar in sustainability and wouldn’t have been able to create spaces such as this without the help of forward-thinking builders like PCL (PCL Constructors Westcoast Ltd.), our industry partners, and the incredible community support and donations that made the project possible.”

The provincial government contributed $28 million toward the $35 million, 10,000-square-metre Trades Complex project which involved new construction and extensive upgrades to existing facilities. The new building accounts for about 5,200 square metres of the overall project.

Feedback from the building’s most important critics – students and staff – has also been glowing.

“Students and staff have truly embraced the new building as their home from the moment it opened,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “I think it’s safe to say that the sustainability factor has contributed to their sense of pride in the space.”

Moores has also witnessed how the building’s design has inspired industry and other post-secondary institutions.

“We’ve had feedback from many people who have taken tours and asked about how we were able to incorporate certain technologies and sustainability features, and what it meant for the training environment. One of the other benefits of the building is that has already proved itself as a wonderful model for others in terms of what can be achieved.”

 

Residential Insulator program helps keep Vernon SPCA dogs warm

Students at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus are helping Fido stay warm in the winter weather with a donation of insulated doghouses to the local SCPA.vernon dog house web

Five large breed dogs adopted from the Vernon SPCA in the coming days will have the option of receiving one of the doghouses, ensuring they have a warm welcome in their new homes. The doghouses were built and insulated as a part of the hands-on training students are gaining in the Residential Insulator program.

The program, which piloted last year and is now in its second cohort, provides students with specialized training in the increasingly technical building science surrounding residential insulation. Five teams of students each built and insulated a doghouse as a part of their training. 

“We were looking for an alternate project for our program and loved the idea of building and insulating doghouses that would be comfortable for dogs as they are adopted into their new homes,” says instructor Luke Egely. “The students had a chance to bring their creativity to their projects and contribute to the community.”

An SPCA staff member and one of their adoptable dogs, Hawkin, were on-site at the College recently to check out the completed doghouses and meet the students who built them. 

“We are very excited to be able to offer extra care items to people who are adopting a dog. It’s a great incentive for anyone who might not already own all of the supplies they need to provide shelter for an outdoor dog,” says Chelsea Taylor, branch manager of the Vernon and District SPCA. 

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, developed the 25-week program to help meet industry demand and prepare skilled workers.

The program provides tuition-free training for eligible applicants with funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The program is geared toward helping students develop practical skills and provides safety certifications in the first 15 weeks of classroom instruction. Beginning in mid-April, the current cohort of students will spend 10 weeks in work placements with local employers, providing valuable work-related experience.

“After the pilot program last year, we have added more content to further develop the curriculum,” says Egely. “We’ve created a program that gives students a solid foundation in most of the applications seen in residential insulating and covers a broad range of topics to build the knowledge these students need.”

Anyone interested in adopting an animal can visit the SPCA website for a current listing of animals in care, see photos and read more about them. 
CAN-WorkBC-logo





 

OC Business students scoop podium spot at collegiate case competition

Scotiabank Canadian Case ChallengeOkanagan College business students are boasting bronze after capturing third place from a field of 30 student teams at the Scotiabank Canadian Case Challenge.

The competition, held at Vanier College in Montreal, melds business strategy, marketing and management into one of the most challenging collegiate competitions in the country. The first day, all 30 teams are sequestered in isolation as they wait to be given the business case. Once given the details, students have 3.5 hours to analyze the information given, put together recommendations and build a presentation to deliver to a panel of industry leaders.

“It’s a major competition, the judges are incredible and the entire experience is extremely intense,” explains Blair Baldwin, Okanagan School of Business professor who coached the team alongside Mark Ziebarth.

The students' first case was from a coffee company based on Prince Edward Island that was seeking recommendations that would grow their company, with a specific marketing budget in mind.

Nathan Ziebart, a third-year marketing student on the team, explained the team’s recommendation to expand wholesale distribution to similar clients in other regions was a challenge.

"Coming up with three good alternatives was quite difficult. The analysis was pretty straightforward, but because of the limited budget and being a business-to-business case, there were limited options that we could present,” Ziebart explains.

“In a competition like this we really get to apply all of the skills and knowledge that we learn in class and bring it out it to be tested. It adds a new level to the learning,” said Cooper Simson, a finance student also on the team.

Their approach worked, as the team found out Saturday night that they would advance to the final round on Sunday. That case featured a Calgary-based alternative fitness business specializing in parkour ninja warrior-style training, seeking expansion opportunities that would see them grow market share.

The team suggested changes to their business model to allow memberships and hourly rates for specific drop-in times, in addition to holding an accessible competition tailored to families, youth and non-competitors.

Once the finals were over, Baldwin recalls multiple people praising the OSB contingent’s performance.

“Our team put on a very creative presentation to the judges. So many students, presenters, coaches came up and shook their hands saying, ‘Okanagan School of Business keeps raising the bar,’” he says.

"What stood out for me was the countless hours — over 40 hours in training for five weeks — prior to going to Montreal. Their dedication to learning and representing the Okanagan School of Business was admirable. They knew they were entering a tough competition and wanted to compete at a high level."

"It's opportunities like this that really exemplify why the Okanagan School of Business is such a great place to study, getting to challenge ourselves and hone our abilities,” said Nico Dirksen, who is specializing in accounting.

A harrowing 90 minutes after they presented, the judges announced the winners, and Okanagan College took home the bronze.

“Podium finishes at a case competition of this calibre cannot be achieved without a great deal of preparation and work. I congratulate the students and the faculty for the incredible effort they put in and for representing the College so well,” says Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business.

 

College’s finance curriculum receives international recognition

Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree program has received high marks from the international organization overseeing the investment management profession.gillet and smith - web

The CFA Society Okanagan hosted a special reception event at Manteo Resort recently, where CFA Institute’s CEO Paul Smith recognized the College’s School of Business for its finance specialty programming.

“Okanagan College’s Business program has a long history of producing investment management leaders in the region, many of whom have gone on to achieve their CFA designation. University affiliate status is a strong signal to students and employers of the quality of the curriculum,” says Smith. “We welcome Okanagan College as the newest university affiliate, which is our third in British Columbia.”

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential is recognized internationally as the standard of certification for investment professionals, and the institute has more than 158,000 members worldwide who promote the highest standards of education, ethics, and professional excellence in the investment profession.

Okanagan College is one of 31 institutions in Canada that are affiliates of the CFA Institute. In addition to added prestige for the School of Business, the new affiliation also brings another benefit for students: scholarships.

Starting this year, up to nine scholarships will be provided to College students who pursue the CFA exams as part of the affiliation, to be administered by the Okanagan School of Business.

“Demonstrating knowledge and skills to prospective employers is valuable for new graduates, and the CFA designation can give those pursuing careers in the financial management industry an edge,” says William Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. “With Okanagan College now part of the CFA affiliate program, our finance students are getting a head-start in the investment management profession.”

 

Gateway program gives students the tools they need to succeed in school and life
Okanagan College Media Release

Desiree Tachit Jan 2019Last year, 19-year-old Desiree Tachit found herself struggling with anxiety, depression and unhealthy coping mechanisms. The idea of applying to or attending college was not something she could fathom at the time. A hands-on experience with tools and training by Okanagan College and Central School changed all that.

Now, a graduate of Gateway – a unique collaborative program designed to connect high school students with the skilled trades – Tachit has applied to not one but two programs at the College, Sheet Metal Worker and Heavy Mechanical Trades. Regardless of which path she ends up pursuing, she’ll have some help along the way. She was recently awarded four scholarships to help pay for her future education.

“This program inspires you to take life by the reins,” says Tachit, adding the program has given her new hope for the future.

Graduates of the Gateway program shared their personal journeys and success stories with the public at a special graduation ceremony at Okanagan College Jan. 25. The innovative program is a partnership between the College and Central School, which typically supports students who have challenges learning in a traditional school environment.

The 10-week course is open to students attending Central School and provides an introduction to various trades offered at Okanagan College. Students have an opportunity to try carpentry, electrical work, sheet metal and culinary arts. But the program is much broader than just an introduction to trades. Gateway focuses on the students' holistic growth and development by supporting youth in attending a wide array of social activities and community events.

“We believe a focus on community building enables the students to be succe
ssful,” explains Rob Law, Central Programs Gateway Coordinator.

“Gateway is about placing students in new experiences, highly supported, and allowing them to struggle, learn and grow.”

The students went canoeing, biking, hiking and read to Grade 3 students. The youth spent several days at Big While (courtesy of Big White) skiing, tubing, skating as well as a spaghetti dinner with firefighters at the Big White Fire Department.

For Clinton McIntyre, 16, who describes himself as someone who typically prefers to stay in his room and play video games, the program helped him make friends and step out of his comfort zone.

Alex Nitsch describes himself as in a slump and often skipping school prior to Gateway. During the program he had an opportunity to spend five days job shadowing on a construction site where he was given an opportunity to operate a rock truck. He loved it. He’s now applied to Heavy Mechanical Trades and hopes to complete a dual credit program, where he finishes his high school credentials at the College while also earning a trade certificate.

“Gateway taught me to just stick things out, and not give up,” says Nitsch.

Now in its eighth year, the Gateway grad ceremony also featured several students from years past who shared their success stories.
Gateway Grad Jan 2019
“I asked to speak today because I wanted to tell everyone how honoured I was to be part of this program,” says Brittany Hill, who describes herself as a troublemaker in high school, resulting in her not graduating with her friends.

“I am now in my Professional Cook Level 2 (at Okanagan College). Culinary has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I am no longer a failure going down my failing path. I am me, being my own person, heading towards a dream I’ve always dreamed of being.”

During the event, the two lead instructors for the program were given mugs with the printed phase ‘I’m a teacher, what’s your super power?’ as well as a heart-felt thank you from the students.

“It was fantastic to see the students build confidence,” says Kelly Brochu, a vocational instructor at Okanagan College who taught this year’s Gateway program.

“With a hands-on approach instead of just using their minds, the students were able to find success where they haven’t found success before. Once they find that success, the sky is the limit.”

The Gateway program runs each year from November to January and is funded by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.

Donors to the Okanagan College Foundation and community donors provided scholarships to support students who want to continue their studies at the College. Scholarships were provided by the Joyce Family Foundation, Dee Capozzi, Dr. Steve and Terry Tuck, Rotary Club of Kelowna and the Gary Bennett Family Fund, as well as other supporters.

 

Making the connection: College offers emerging technology program
Okanagan College Media Release

Ever wondered what health care and real estate have in common? Both are among the countless industries that will be impacted by an emerging technology called blockchain – and a new program at Okanagan College will soon help students tap into the know-how to ride this wave of change into new technology careers and frontiers.

Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department is launching a new certificate program centred on blockchain. It will offer an introduction to how it works, the technology, the networks and platforms it uses, as well as some of the applications that use blockchain technology.

“Blockchain is like a network of highways,” notes Wayne Van Damme, a technology expert and developer of the program, who will also be teaching the first session, which powers up in March.

Bitcoin, the decentralized cryptocurrency, uses blockchain to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions through this network. Currently, bitcoin is one of the only vehicles (applications) that travels on this roadway but others are expected to follow, explains Van Damme.

“This highway has potential to carry much more traffic and many types of vehicles. Right now, we have the opportunity to decide what kind of vehicles we want to design for the roadway,” says Van Damme. “Blockchain gives us a safe way to transfer information and now we can create the concepts that will influence business and social interactions in the years to come.”

The eight-week certificate program will be offered online, so students organize their own study schedules. To bring it to life, Okanagan College enlisted support from industry experts at BlocksEDU Learning Corporation, a Vancouver-based emerging technology education courseware training company. The certificate will explore the details of blockchain technology and open students up a range of possible career and business applications.

“Equipping students with just the right blend of technology theory and industry applications is our goal – that’s what we’re hearing employers calling for,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College.

The certificate program explains blockchain technology and prepares learners to think about the variety of ways this technology could impact their businesses and their lives. Applications are possible within banking and payments, insurance, charity, voting and other government systems, health care and real estate, to name a few. The opportunity to use this technology to establish trackable supply chain management is also being explored by many industries – something that should be of interest to businesses and consumers alike.

“We know blockchain technology is an emerging area of interest, not only for those in the technology industries, but for anyone who is committed to building a skill set that will stay current with the changing technologies that will drive the new economies,” adds Silvestrone. “It’s knowledge that will benefit small business owners too, who are increasingly needing to serve as their own IT department and look after their own security and e-commerce solutions. There are many applications emerging.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the training can drop by an info session on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m., in Room E402 in the Centre for Learning on the Kelowna campus. 

 

Seven Fallen Feathers author and journalist offering two presentations in the Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

Tanya Talaga Feb 2019Award-winning author and journalist Tanya Talaga will delve into hard truths revealed in her critically acclaimed book,
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, during two presentations co-sponsored by Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.

In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called and four recommendations were made to prevent another tragedy. None of those recommendations were applied; and from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site,” explains Talaga.

Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, Talaga penned
Seven Fallen Feathers to bring light to the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.

“A critical element of reconciliation is uncovering and understanding what has happened. Tanya Talaga’s work sheds light on the past and her presentation creates the opportunity to initiate an important dialogue in the Okanagan. We encourage the community to take part,” says Jane Lister, Okanagan College Regional Dean North Okanagan.

For more than 20 years, Talaga has been a journalist at the Toronto Star, nominated five times for the Michener Award in public service journalism. She was also named the 2017-2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy.

Talaga is of Polish and Indigenous descent. Her great-grandmother, Liz Gauthier, was a residential school survivor. Her great-grandfather, Russell Bowen, was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer. Her grandmother is a member of Fort William First Nation. Her mother was raised in Raith and Graham, Ont. She lives in Toronto with her two teenage children.

“On behalf of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies UBC’s Okanagan campus, I am delighted to partner with our colleagues at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College to sponsor this exciting visit with Tanya Talaga. Her award-winning book,
Seven Fallen Feathers, should be required reading for anyone interested in settler-Canada’s meaningful and respectful engagement with Canada’s Indigenous communities today. We are looking forward to hosting Ms. Talaga and, in particular, I hope she is able to meet with UBC Okanagan’s Indigenous students, staff, and faculty members,” says Bryce Traister, Dean of UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

A portion of each sale of
Seven Fallen Feathers will go to the Dennis Franklin Cromarty Memorial Fund, set up in 1994 to financially assist Nishnawbe Aski Nation students’ studies in Thunder Bay and at post-secondary institutions.

Seven Fallen Feathers
has received national acclaim, winning the RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and First Nation Communities Read: Young Adult/Adult. The book was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction, and it was CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and a national bestseller.

Presented by Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, Talaga will have two presentations in the region. On Feb. 20, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Talaga will appear in the Lecture Theatre of Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, 7000 College Way, as part of the Signature Speakers Series. Tickets are available online
 for $15.

On Feb. 21, 2019 at 2:30 p.m., she will offer a presentation at UBC Okanagan’s Commons Building (COM 201), 3333 University Way. Tickets are available online
.

 

College’s 12th Annual Business Expo & Employment Fair brings employment opportunities

Okanagan College’s popular Business Expo & Employment Fair is back for its twelfth year, once again connecting students and community members with an abundance of local, provincial and national employment opportunities.business expo 450

 

The Okanagan College School of Business and OC’s Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre is presenting the Business Expo & Employment Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The event is happening in the Centre for Learning (E building) Atrium at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

 

“This event is for everyone from all different industries – not just business – and would appeal to anyone living in the Okanagan region” says Jamie Morrow, Okanagan School of Business Program and Event Coordinator. “It’s meant to connect those looking for work with those who do the direct hiring for their companies. Sometimes being in front of the right people at the right time is the edge you need in such a competitive job market.”

 

Participants will have the opportunity to network with more than 60 local, provincial and national employers and even apply for positions as many exhibitors are hiring. 

 

“We are always looking for individuals for our Member Service Advisor and Contact Centre Agent roles,” says Erika Nisbet, Human Resources Consultant with Interior Savings. “We also hire students for Teller roles as part of our co-op program. Students receive training during the summer months and then have the opportunity to work shifts that fit their schedule.”

 

Interior Savings, along with many other B.C. companies have attended the Business Expo consistently for years. 

 

“We’ve been attending for the past eight years,” explains Nisbet. “We go to hire, to educate participants about career opportunities that Interior Savings has to offer and to let people know about our organization and all we do in the communities we serve.”

 

Exhibitors from multiple industries – including municipalities, wine, law enforcement, hospitality, finance, construction, technologies, retail and more – will be present, ensuring there is something for everyone.

 

A full list of exhibitors and further information is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/businessexpo.

 

Broken leg sets in motion a love for physics
Okanagan College Media Release

It’s hard to imagine a broken leg being a good thing, but that’s exactly how Brandon Katerberg describes a longboarding accident that led him to Okanagan College.
 Brandon Katerberg Jan 2019

Prior to his accident, Katerberg, 20, was working at a painting shop and describes himself living day to day with little direction for where he wanted to go in life. When he learned that his broken leg would result in a permanent rod inside his left leg, he knew he wouldn’t be able to continue to work physical jobs for the long-term.

This got Katerberg thinking about going back to school and he soon began upgrading at Okanagan College Penticton campus, with the goal of continuing on to get an arts degree.

Katerberg describes his experience at OC as completely different than high-school.

“Okanagan College changed my perspective on what school was like, I used to hate school but at the College I felt at home,” says Katerberg, adding there is a mutual respect between professors and students that motivated him to try his best.

“It was a pleasant experience coming back.”

Upgrading also launched a new passion for Katerberg: physics and mathematics. In high-school Katerberg rarely showed up to classes so it wasn’t until the College that he discovered he was skilled in sciences. Seeing this potential, Katerberg quickly changed his focus to science where he is excelling. In his past term, he received a 99 per cent in calculus, and a 97 per cent in physics.

“Brandon’s a great success story,” says Ryan Ransom, a professor of Physics and Astronomy, adding Brandon’s a joy to teach.

“He has the aptitude but he doesn’t rely on it, he works really hard and he loves the material. His enthusiasm and curiosity also rubs off on his peers.”

Katerberg’s achievements have also amassed three student awards from the Okanagan College Foundation. Katerberg says these funds have been instrumental in helping pay for his first full semester, where he is taking six courses.

“It feels so great to have some financial relief. It’s also validation of my work, which feels good.”

In September, Katerberg is transferring to the University of Victoria where he is hoping to be accepted to their Physics Honours program.
 

“Breaking my leg was the best thing that ever happened to me. I feel a sense of purpose. I feel that the work I am doing will one day pay off to society in some way,” says Katerberg.

“I’m a happier, more focused person overall.”

 

Canadian Culinary Championships afford local talent big opportunities
Okanagan College Media Release

Chef Alex Chen and Siobhan Detkavich_2Eleven of Canada’s top chefs will be in Kelowna competing in the Canadian Culinary Championships this weekend. Aspiring chefs from Okanagan College will once again have the unique opportunity to cook alongside and learn from the best.

“The opportunities this nationally recognized event affords our students are huge,” says Vincent Stufano, OC Culinary and Pastry Arts Manager. “Students work side-by-side with the competing chefs, soak in their knowledge and more often than not are offered jobs from their competing chef.”

As one of those students – now an alumna cooking in one of the Okanagan’s most popular kitchens – can attest, the competition is more than just an opportunity to learn from the best for a weekend, it could be a springboard to working alongside them in their restaurants.

“Last year I worked with Chef Alex Chen who won the championship title and he offered me a job on the spot,” explains Siobhan Detkavich, OC Culinary Arts alumna, Level 3 Professional Cook. “He saw potential in me that I didn’t know I had and he wanted to showcase it and push me to discover what I’m capable of. He made it very clear he wanted me to work in his restaurant, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, in Vancouver.”

Detkavich started her culinary education at the College at age 16 as a dual credit high school student and is the program’s youngest graduate. She has participated in the Championship for three years in a row and has received job offers from all three chefs she worked alongside.

“This competition is a stupendous opportunity for young cooks and apprentices,” explains Detkavich. “Chef Chen saw the drive in me that he had as a young apprentice and wanted to shape me as he was, when he worked with renowned chefs like Anthony Bourdain. He has been and still is one of my biggest supporters.”

Detkavich moved to Vancouver temporarily to work and learn from Chef Chen and his team. She now works at RauDZ Regional Table in Kelowna.

“The learning experiences working with each chef reminded me why I’m in this industry and gave me a picture of what I can strive to achieve,” she notes. “To retain so much knowledge in one weekend is riveting and to see how these renowned chefs’ minds work to pair food, create dishes and work under pressure is an eye-opener.”

OC Culinary and Pastry Arts students will work closely with competing chefs throughout two of the three events that make up the Canadian Culinary Championships (CCC): the Mystery Wine Pairing Competition and the Grand Finale Competition at the Delta Grand Okanagan Hotel.

The College also plays host to the CCC’s second event, the Black Box Competition, which takes place in OC’s kitchens in the morning and afternoon on Saturday, Feb. 2. The competing chefs arrive at the College on Thursday, Jan. 31 to tour the culinary facilities prior to the challenge. The competition kicks off at the Delta Grand Hotel with the Mystery Wine Pairing Competition on Friday, Feb. 1 and finishes Saturday night with the Grand Finale Competition.

For more information on the Canadian Culinary Championships, visit www.greatkitchenparty.com/ca/culinary-championships/
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The Black Box Competition will stream live on Okanagan College’s YouTube channel:www.youtube.com/user/OkanaganCollege
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Tuition increasing at OC
Okanagan College Media Release

Tuition will be increasing at Okanagan College in the coming year.

In accordance with provincial policy limiting tuition increases, the College’s Board of Governors has approved a two per cent increase for domestic students in the coming year.

Adult Basic Education courses and English as a Second Language courses remain tuition free for domestic students.

“The increase in tuition is one way we have to keep pace with the impact of inflation on our budget and support existing and additional services,” says Okanagan College Board Chair Chris Derickson.

For a Canadian student taking a full semester of five university arts lectures, the increase will add $34.10, increasing the semester’s tuition to $1,738.83.

Okanagan College’s budget will be finalized in the coming months.

“The Okanagan College Students’ Union has articulated some ways that we might consider using the additional tuition revenue to provide improved services and administration is looking closely at how the College can address those,” says Derickson.

 

OC Business students rise to the top in international business case competition
Okanagan College Media Release

OC ICBC Jan 2019Okanagan College School of business students proved once again they are among the cream of the crop in Canada, cruising to a first-place finish and two runner-up finishes in the country’s oldest and most prestigious case competition over the weekend.

From Jan. 17-19, teams of students from business schools all across Canada, the United States and around the world converged upon Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, for the Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.).

The College fielded four teams of two in the Accounting, Ethics, Debate and Human Resources categories.

Competitors were given five and a half hours to prepare and present their solutions to a panel of judges, comprised of industry leaders. The top three teams from each category were announced during a wrap-up banquet on Saturday.

Rowan Nevard and Mark Fellhauer, who made up the College’s Accounting team, had the unique thrill of hearing their names called as winners in a category that boasted some strong competition.

“We felt really prepared going into the finals, which I think speaks to the quality of the education we receive at the College,” says Nevard. “We were calm and focused and so much of that is owing to the amazing effort put in by our coaches and professors who have given us such a strong education to draw from.”

The pair were coached by Adrian Fontenla and Mary Ann Knoll. They came out on top of teams from runner-up University of Calgary and third-place Concordia University.

Nevard and Fellhauer weren’t the only ones to experience the thrill of stepping onto the podium as the College notched one of its best-ever showings.

OC’s Ethics team, comprised of Ryan Buchanan and Jason Greaves, coached by Dr. Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean of the School of Business, took second place behind the University of Calgary. The team from Concordia University rounded out the top three.

“We definitely learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence from the whole process,” notes Buchanan.

“Ethics is a philosophical subject usually saved for the abstract. Competing – especially at this level – allowed us to apply it to real-world problems,” adds Greaves.

Mitchell Folk and Derek Monsen proved a dynamic duo in the debate category, notching a second-place showing also falling justOC Debate Team Jan 2019 short of the team from the University of Calgary. They came out on top of the team from host Queen’s University. The team was coached by Devin Rubadeau and Bob Groves.

The Human Resources team of Jennifer Van Aller and Mindy Strugnell, coached by Roger Wheeler and Bob Groves also put in a strong effort, although they failed to crack the top three in their category.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our students for their achievements and for the way in which they represented themselves, the School of Business and the College,” says Barry McGillivray.

“It’s certainly gratifying for our students to see their hard work and preparations rewarded, but it’s even more gratifying for us as coaches and educators to witness them seizing opportunities like this to put their skills into practice and show they’re on a level with the best up-and-coming business minds in the country.”

The path to the podium has not been a short one, notes McGillivray. The students and their coaches began prepping in September for the preliminary (qualifying) rounds in late October.

“Opportunities like this simply couldn’t happen without a whole lot of volunteered time and effort by our faculty,” says McGillivray. “Congratulations and thank you to all the coaches who were so deeply invested in supporting students as they prepared for the competition over the past few months.”

The Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) is Canada’s oldest and longest-running undergraduate business case competitions, founded in 1978 by Geoff Arnoldi. Now entering its 41st year, I.C.B.C. has grown to become an internationally recognized name that hosts over 100 competitors from the top business schools across Canada as well as the globe.

Full results and more information about the competition is available at https://icbcqueens.com
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Popular soup showdown is back on the menu
Okanagan College Media Release

Soup's OnCulinary teams from nine local restaurants have planned it, prepared it and tasted it. On Jan. 24, they’ll be ready for you to slurp it and rate it at the highly anticipated craft soup competition, Soup’s On.

The popular event is back and bringing competition to a boil for its third year in a row. Soup’s On gives participants a chance to satisfy their taste buds and help their community at the same time.

The event is jointly presented by Okanagan College’s Enactus team and the Vernon Upper Room Mission (VURM) and is sponsored by Prospera Credit Union. Soup’s On raises funds for VURM and to date, has raised $10,000. This year’s proceeds will go to revamping VURM’s community gardens.

“This year’s competition is going to be the toughest – and tastiest – yet.” says Abby Lagerquist, a fourth-year OC business student and Soup’s On Enactus Project Manager. “Many competitors have already begun preparing and testing their soups and last year’s winner, Intermezzo, is definitely looking to defend their title.”

At the event, participants are encouraged to taste each soup and vote on their favourite. The restaurant with the most votes will take home a ladle full of glory, prestige and the title of 2019 Soup’s On Champion.

“As a Soup’s On competitor, we were very impressed with the event last year,” said David Scarlatescu from The Fig Bistro. “It was great to see many businesses get together for a nice and healthy competition in our community. We can’t wait to be back again for this year’s Soup’s On event.”

The competing restaurants are The Fig Bistro, Basket Case Picnics & Catering, Intermezzo, The Kal, Little Tex, Jolly Good Spudz, Nature’s Fare, Eatology and Stumpy’s Phillys & Flats. The event will also feature live entertainment, door prizes, a silent auction and a cash bar.

Soup’s On is a 19+ event and tickets are $30 and include one complimentary drink ticket and soup samples from each restaurant. The event is hosted from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 at the College’s Vernon campus located at 7000 College Way.

Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite
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School life-changing experience for student
Okanagan College Media Release

When Jenna Tulak received her acceptance letter to Okanagan College Vernon campus, she remembers screaming for joy and calling everyone she knew to share the good news.Jenna Tulak Jan2019

Tulak, 31, had wanted to pursue higher education since graduating high school but a lack of funds and social anxiety kept her from pursuing her goal.

Instead of going to school, Tulak struggled to find a job, working a series of minimum wage roles for more than 10 years. The experience was difficult for Tulak, who says she often felt invisible. During this time, Tulak’s mother passed away. It was this major loss that emboldened her to start making changes in her life.

“I couldn’t take the stress of being insignificant anymore. I decided I was going to make my mother proud and I was going to go to school,” she recalls.

Tulak was nervous about starting school again, having been fearful of social situations in the past. However, her worries were quickly abated once she started attending classes.

“I started to love every moment of it. I started to make friends when I’d never had friends before and that was wonderful,” says Tulak. “After I finished my first year, I thought, ‘wow, this was the best decision I had ever made.’”

“I think coming back to school saved my life in many ways that I can’t even begin to fathom.”

Tulak also discovered what she wanted to specialize in, creative writing.

“I want to be a teacher and I want to come back and teach creative writing here because it was so powerful and I know I have to do that for the next generation to show them that they have a voice and we need their voices.”

Tulak has been funding her education mostly through student loans. She recently also received a student award from donors to the Okanagan College Foundation.

“The support of the donors has taken the load off and you can focus on your studies and allow yourself to excel rather than thinking are you going to be able to feed yourself,” says Tulak.

“Having the support of the donors has been amazing, the fact that they’ve helped and they’ve chosen me to be helped is more than words can express.”

Tulak is currently finishing her diploma in writing and publishing with plans to attend UBC Okanagan (UBCO) in the fall, where she will pursue a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing.

 

College welcomes Richards as new Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Okanagan College Media Release

Jason and Gillianne Richards Jan 2019Okanagan College business students have a new expert entrepreneur to turn to for insight and advice.

Jason Richards, who has been involved in a number of start-ups and who sold one of his first companies for $28 million to Procera Networks, has agreed to be the College’s next volunteer Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

“Jason is a natural fit for this role,” explains Okanagan School of Business Dean Bill Gillett. “He has hard-won insights on what it is like to envision, start, grow – and sell – a business.”

Richards, currently the CEO of a school-focused, Kelowna-based start-up called Minga, is the most recent in a growing line of respected individuals who have filled the role at the College, Gillett notes.

They include: Dave Krysko (one of the founders of Club Penguin), Raghwa Gopal (currently the CEO of Accelerate Okanagan), Mel Kotler (the founder of Fabricland), Doug Manning (the founder of Bridges Transitions), Ed Hall (CEO of Regency Retirement Resorts) and Bill Redmond (the CEO of HRI Supply and the College’s first entrepreneur in residence in 2007).

“The benefits to students and professors in having an Entrepreneur-in-Residence of Jason’s experience and calibre is obvious. His business interests and initiatives have taken him from California to Kelowna, have ranged from start-up to corporate success and yet he keeps coming back for more,” explains Gillett.

As Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Richards will have an office at Okanagan College and he will guest-lecture in classes, consult with students one-on-one or in small groups and will work with professors to brainstorm and strategize about modern, relevant business practices.

Richards identifies himself as someone who values innovative ideas and loves to work with creative, positive teams.

“As a kid, I would have rather spent six hours designing a robot to clean my room than the 20 minutes it would take me to do it myself,” he says. “One of the principles I’ve clung to is to go out of your way to help people be successful. I think this role is an expression of how I feel about young entrepreneurs, especially those OC students taking business administration.”

“The school has an amazing reputation for students who care about business and – more importantly – are willing to put their talents to work for their communities. I look forward to further enmeshing myself in that culture.”

 

Dine Around returns to Infusions at Okanagan College

Foodies, take note. Diners looking to sip Okanagan wines and savour locally-inspired dishes can once again pull up a chair and enjoy a new dinner menu from the creative minds of OC Culinary and Pastry Arts students and instructors.dine around 2019 web

Infusions restaurant at the Kelowna campus will be participating in Dine Around Thompson Okanagan which runs Jan. 16 - Feb. 3. Coordinated by the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association (BCRFA), the Dine Around Thompson Okanagan event is presented by Wines of British Columbia.

For $25, diners can enjoy a choice of starter, main and dessert, each with suggested local wine pairing (wine is extra). Infusions is open for dinner Tuesday to Friday, 5:30 – 8 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online through open table at okanagan.bc.ca/infusions.

Bites include beet and goat cheese napoleons or crab cakes to start, followed by New York striploin, prosciutto wrapped Ling Cod or wild mushroom shepherd’s pie for the main affair, capped off with Frangelico-infused crème brulee or a fresh lemon tart with torched meringue for dessert.

“The menu reflects the techniques and ingredients our students are working with right now, while tapping into their creative ideas and showcasing some of the flavours of the season in the Okanagan,” explains Culinary Manager Chef Vincent Stufano.

“Creating and cooking dishes for Infusions is an invaluable training opportunity for our students,” adds Stufano. “Opportunities like Dine Around pushes our students to step it up, and in turn gives us just occasion to showcase just how much energy, passion and talent our future chefs bring to the table.”

There is also no corkage fee at Infusions, so diners can bring their own BC VQA wine and have it opened at their table at no charge.

OC Culinary Arts students and staff will also be serving up small bites at the Dine Around launch party taking place at Okanagan College on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Tickets for that event are $40+ tax and available online at dinearound.ca. 

The Dine Around menu at Infusions will be offered until Wednesday, Jan. 30. From Thursday, Jan. 31 – Friday, Feb. 1, the restaurant will be closed for dinner to accommodate preparations for the Canadian Culinary Championships taking place on Feb. 1-2.

Okanagan College’s kitchens will once again serve as the backdrop for the Black Box Competition – a fast-paced trial that will see 11 of Canada’s top chefs work their magic with a cornucopia of mystery ingredients. As in past years, OC Culinary Arts students will once again have the exciting opportunity to serve as sous chefs to the visiting competitors throughout the various events that make up the two-day competition.

 

From Olympians to thespians: OC Speaker Series presenters will inspire and delight

Kikkan RandallThis week, Okanagan College’s Penticton campus is launching a series of presentations designed to inspire the community to embrace its potential in 2019.

“The OC Speaker Series offers the community a chance to learn new things, and the lineup this term features a rich array of topics to motivate and engage people of all ages,” says Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan Similkameen. “We want Okanagan College’s Penticton campus to be home to lifelong learning and hope the seats are filled for these free presentations.”

The lineup of experts and authorities will cover a wide range of topics, from the performing arts to sockeye hatchery, vineyard management, politics and technology. A special highlight will be Kikkan Randall, U.S. Olympic cross-country skier who will discuss her journey to the Olympic podium and fight through cancer.

The series includes:

  • Jan. 14: History of the Dream Café and the Future of Live Music in Penticton, by Hazel Bennett
  • Jan. 21: Theatre is for Everyone – Come out and play with us! By Many Hats Theatre
  • Jan. 28: The Okanagan – beautiful? Illustrated ramblings on the nature of beauty and The Okanagan, by Howie Richardson
  • Feb. 4: Conquering Trails: As an Olympian, Mother and Cancer Fighter, by Kikkan Randall
  • Feb. 11: The Arts – Elite Pursuit or Community Builder? by Rosemary Thomson from the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra
  • Feb. 25: Penticton Sockeye Hatchery: How did it get here and what are they doing? By Norm Johnson of the Okanagan Nation Alliance
  • March 4: Alternative Vineyard Management Practices: water, nutrients and ground vegetation, by Mehdi Sharifi
  • March 11: Trump and the US(S) Titanic, by Dr. Rosalind Warner
  • March 18: Reconnecting: Keeping Human Connecting in a Technological Era, by Elad Milman
  • March 25: Defeating the German Army in 1918: the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and the Hundred Days Campaign from Amiens to Mons, by Howard Hisdal
  • April 1: The Digital Future of Health Care: Development of digital biomarkers to improve chronic disease management, treatment and therapies, by Scott McMillan.

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/.

 

 

Culinary Arts info night on the menu at Okanagan College on Monday

Okanagan College Media Release

Courtney WhalenWith many kitchens in the Okanagan and across the province on the hunt for cooks, the College is hosting an info session next week to open doors to culinary careers for the next generation of chefs.

“The industry is screaming for cooks,” says instructor Chef Mike Barillaro. “Over the summer, we heard from restaurants that had to cut back the days they could open because they didn’t have enough cooks. It’s an industry that really needs talented people, so we’re pushing hard to train enough cooks to fulfill the need.”

A new intake of Culinary Arts certificate program will step into the classroom and the teaching kitchen this month. The next round of the program starts in February. Those interested in stepping into the February class are invited to drop into Infusions restaurant at the Kelowna Campus next Monday, Jan. 14 at 5 p.m. to learn more about the program and have their questions answered. 

Jeremy Luypen, Executive Winery Chef at Summerhill Pyramid Winery and an alumnus of the program, has been working with the College to train new cooks for the better part of a decade. He visits the very kitchen in which he honed his craft as often as he can to pass on his experiences.

“The best part of being a Culinary instructor is going back and being able to share my experience with the students and showing them that the program does work. I’ve seen a lot of students go through the program, and I’ve hired many too,” he says.

Luypen is also quick to point out that the Okanagan makes an ideal training ground due to its bounty of local ingredients.

“One of the best parts of being a chef in the Okanagan is the food that we get to play with, and the wine that is at our fingertips or lips. It’s amazing what this valley produces. You are truly limited your own imagination and creativity.”

The latest labour market projections suggest that need isn’t going away any time soon. Between now and 2028, B.C. is going to need nearly 12,000 more cooks.

One of those newly minted culinary artists is Courtney Whalen, who will earn her Culinary Arts certificate at the College’s Winter Convocation on Saturday. Whalen will be among 482 graduates that day, spanning programs from Arts to Water Engineering Technology. 

Whalen, who is originally from Northern Alberta, will be celebrating two accomplishments on Saturday. She will pick up her credential having already landed a dream opportunity with a buzzing local restaurant.

Last year, through a co-op placement, she found work with Sunny’s Modern Diner. She’s since been hired on beyond that 10-week co-op experience.

“I worked in a bakery when I was younger and my dad went to culinary school but I basically stepped into the program with not a lot of culinary experience. You could say I launched a new career from scratch, basically. It’s been remarkable how quickly it all came together.”

Whalen says the program helped to kindle in her a new direction, after pondering a career in business.

“I discovered I love cooking and making people happy through food,” she says.

Her advice for future chefs-in-training?

“Take notes. One of the things I picked up from the program at the College was the need for constant learning. It never stops.”

“I keep a notebook on me at all times, and I’m always jotting down things the chefs say to me at my current job,” says Whalen. “It’s a very collaborative industry. I’m often getting feedback on my technique, learning more efficient ways to do certain things, and gathering inspiration for new flavours and new recipes.”

More information about the College’s Culinary Arts program is available at okanagan.bc.ca/fwt.

OC Water Engineering grad makes a splash with local municipality
Okanagan College Media Release

Scott Brost stepped into Okanagan College’s Water Engineering Technology program two-and-a-half-years ago looking to launch a new career that would help his community thrive. On Jan. 12, he’ll pick up his diploma having already landed a full-time job with the City of West Kelowna.Scott Brost Jan 2019

At the College’s Winter Convocation ceremony on Saturday – the first of eight OC will hold this year – Brost will be recognized as one of the 482 graduating. Students from all four campuses will cross the stage at the Kelowna campus to receive their credentials. All told, the College will confer 61 Bachelor’s degrees, 34 Associate degrees, 271 diplomas and 116 certificates between the morning and afternoon ceremonies.

“It feels amazing to graduate, especially knowing that I’ve already got a full-time permanent position right out of the gates,” says Brost. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders and lets me know that all my hard work in the classroom and in my co-op terms paid off.”

The College’s WET diploma program combines theoretical with applied learning and includes three co-op terms. Students can choose from two streams of specialization, water and waste water technology and environmental monitoring.

“A lot of our students are able to find full-time jobs in their field before graduation or just shortly afterwards,” says Allison O’Neill, WET Department Chair and Professor. “The WET program at Okanagan College, combined with three integrated co-op work terms, sets students up for success. It’s not uncommon to hear of co-op employers offering permanent positions to students.”

Brost was hired in his first year as a co-op student at the Regional District of Central Okanagan Waste Water Treatment Facilities. He spent his second co-op term at the City of West Kelowna’s (COWK) Powers Creek Plant and his last co-op term was in COWK’s Water Utilities department. He was offered a full-time position in the COWK’s Water Utilities department prior to graduation as a Public Works Utility Operator 1.

“This program is so aligned with regional employers’ needs and the co-op terms are absolutely fantastic,” explains Brost. “I am fortunate to move forward with my career and hit the ground running with such an amazing employer who is doing a lot of innovative work in the industry right now – it’s an exciting place to be.”

The 2018 British Columbia Labour Market Outlooks predicts 903,000 job openings in the province between now and 2028, with nearly 80 percent requiring workers with some form of post-secondary education.

This year, the College will see more than 21,000 learners attend – the equivalent of more than 8,745 full-time students – at its campuses from the Shuswap to the South Okanagan.

“I commend each of our graduates on their achievements,” says the College’s President Jim Hamilton. “I meet students everyday who tell me about their studies – with such passion – and how they want to use their skills and education to make our community more innovative, inclusive, stronger and environmentally-friendly. There’s really no end to what these students will achieve and I look forward to seeing how they will shape their communities.”

The morning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and the afternoon ceremony at noon. Both ceremonies will stream live on the College’s Facebook page: facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.

 

OC health care grad already making an impact in the field
Okanagan College Media Release

Zaynah Stewart Jan 2019When Zaynah Stewart crosses the stage to accept her Health Care Assistant certificate from Okanagan College on Jan. 12, she will do so with the satisfaction of already having a job firmly secured.

In fact, Stewart had three job offers to choose from after graduating from the six-month Health Care Assistant program, which provides the skills and training for people interested in providing direct client care to seniors and people with disabilities.

“It feels great to already have a position,” says Stewart. “The best part of my job is seeing how happy individuals are when I’m caring for them.”

Stewart, 25, began her career working in administrative positions but never lost sight of her lifelong dream to become a nurse. When she decided to follow her passion and go back to school, she discovered another health care career she’d never considered when she learned about the College’s Health Care Assistant program.

The program instantly appealed to her because of its short duration, which offered a chance to step into the health care field quickly.

“There are so many advancement opportunities in the health-care sector, and it’s a quick program to see if the health-care sector is right for you,” explains Stewart. “I would recommend the program to anyone interested in a health-care career. It’s provides a strong foundation in how to give good care.”

Stewart is one of 31 graduates from the College’s most recent intakes of the HCA program, which ran in Salmon Arm and Kelowna. She is one of 482 graduates who will earn credentials at the College’s two Winter Convocation ceremonies in Kelowna on Saturday.

The Winter Convocations are the first of the College’s eight ceremonies that take place this year. Students from all four campuses will cross the stage at the Kelowna campus to receive their credentials. The College will confer 61 Bachelor’s degrees, 34 Associate degrees, 271 diplomas and 116 certificates.

The morning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and the afternoon ceremony at noon. Both ceremonies will stream live on the College’s Facebook page: facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.

“There is a huge need for health care assistants across the province,” says Angela Godler, Chair of the Health Care Assistant program at Okanagan College.

“Not only is it an in-demand career, but the program offers opportunity for personal growth through the education process and a rewarding career as a caregiver, developing relationships with your clients while providing direct care.”

Okanagan College offers the Health Care Assistant program at all of its campuses with new programs starting in February in Oliver, February and October in Vernon, May in Salmon Arm and May and August in Kelowna.

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.

The health care assistant program is just one of eight health and social development programs that will be housed in the College’s new $18.9-million Health Sciences Centre, now under construction at the Kelowna campus. The modern Centre will provide technology-enhanced and student-centred labs and classrooms and is planned to open in fall 2020.

 

New year and career await with start of January classes
Okanagan College Media Release

At a time when many are making resolutions to hit the gym, a pair of Okanagan College students are sharing their thoughts on why hitting the books in January may be even more life-changing.

Okanagan College is preparing for another intake of new students for the winter semester starting in January, which often includes mature students and those returning from a break or travel abroad.

Last year, Connor Welsh was one of those students who seized the new year to kick-start his education as the timing would allow him to continue to lend a hand with the family business.

“I started in January because I found it worked better for my schedule,” explains Connor Welsh, whose family owns Country Camping Leisure Products and works long hours during the peak tourist season. “In the summer months, I’m often working the most during the year. That’s when I have the longest hours and am the busiest, so studying in the off-season is better.”

Fast forward to this January, and Welsh finds himself with just one course left to go. He says the College’s small class sizes and personal approach have been critical to his progress, and inspired him to consider additional business education as well.  

“From the moment I took a step through the doors, the staff were focused on what I needed to succeed and move forward,” Welsh explains. “It is such a friendly atmosphere, the quality of the education is great, the classroom experience is good because people want to be there, and the instructors care about your learning.”

This year, the College will see more than 21,000 learners attend – the equivalent of more than 8,745 full-time students – at its campuses from the Shuswap to the South Okanagan.

The 2018 British Columbia Labour Market Outlooks predicts 903,000 job openings in the province between now and 2028, with nearly 80 percent requiring workers with some form of post-secondary education.

Welsh also points that flexibility in being able to transfer his education was also a draw to start at the College – a statement echoed by one his peers at the Salmon Arm campus.

Blake Lewis, a recent Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship recipient working towards a bachelor’s degree in education, said starting in January helped him fast-track his academic studies.

“I started in the winter semester because I wanted to make up the time on my studies,” explains Blake Lewis. “It was a hard decision to switch from full-time employment and give up that certainty to become a student, but I think it was worth it.”

The College recently launched a new tool to help students more easily explore programs starting soon at OC campuses. Would-be students can learn more at www.okanagan.bc.ca/startnow.

 

Olympic hopeful gets lift from Okanagan College donors

Thanks to the generosity of donors to Okanagan College, students are able to gain an education and for some, pursue big dreams at the same time.hannah mehain 1

Hannah Mehain is one such student. At age 20, she's in her second year of science at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus with the goal of studying medicine or physiotherapy.

She is also an accomplished cross country skier, who just last week made the Canadian World Junior/U23 Championships team. She will be travelling to Finland in January to compete with the best in the world. After that, her eyes are on the 2022 Winter Olympics.

"If I did not have the financial support from the College I likely would not be able to compete in cross-country skiing at a high level while going to school," says Mehain.

"Having that support, I can devote my time and energy into doing very well at both. It makes a huge difference."

Mehain is one of 977 students who received scholarships and bursaries from Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation this year. In total, more than $1.1 million was given to students, with much of the funds made possible through the generous support of donors.

"I want to thank everyone who is helping make my dream and other students' dreams possible," says Mehain.

She adds that the College professors have been extremely supportive of her athletic endeavors, providing her with flexibility to complete her studies while attending competitions.

“I love going to school every day because I am interested in the material I am learning and because the professors are passionate and knowledgeable about the material they are teaching,” says Mehain.

In November, nearly $500,000 was handed out to students at three awards ceremonies in Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon. The fall award ceremonies provide a timely boost of support for students as the holidays approach. The ceremonies also play an important role in connecting students with the individuals and organizations behind the awards.

“Community support is a significant ingredient in the recipe for student success,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

“Whether it allows students to pursue their studies while chasing other goals or whether it just relieves some of the financial stress associated with their education that help means a great deal.”