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After being out of school for years, Blake Lewis is now well on his way to a career in the classroom, thanks to a spark of inspiration at Okanagan College and a boost from the Irving K. Barber Scholarship Society.
“It is a huge help in moving to a new city and community, and I don’t have to worry about the financial aspect,” Lewis says.
The Shuswap native had been working in pest control for years, but always felt the desire to explore his options. Attending professional training at Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus inspired him to take action.
“I was hesitant about going back to school as a mature student. It was a big change, but ultimately, everyone at the Salmon Arm campus made it really easy for me,” he says. “I really enjoyed it, and have been trying to convince others to give it a go, too.”
He completed his Associate of Arts degree before transferring to Thompson Rivers University for this fall, in pursuit of a career in education. Lewis says the transition to university has been smooth academically and financially.
“College is a stepping stone on the path to success,” Lewis says. “For me, the scholarship also reinforced that the hard work I had invested into my education was paying off. It was a tough decision to go back to school, but this scholarship really showed me that the hard work was coming back to me.”
Lewis is one of 27 students from Okanagan College who received a $5,000 award from the Irving K. Barber Scholarship Society, which are awarded annually to undergraduate students who have completed at least one year at a public post-secondary institution in B.C. and are transferring to another degree-granting institution to complete their studies.
This year, Okanagan College had the highest number of students in the province to receive the transfer scholarships in pursuit of educational studies.
“Ike Barber’s legacy of supporting students to fulfill their goals through post-secondary education in the province grows every year,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We’re deeply grateful to the Irving K. Barber Society for this continued investment in students at Okanagan College and so many other institutions. These scholarships create flexibility, mobility, and for many students, a life-changing opportunity to carry on their education.”
Scholarship funds come from the returns on a $15 million endowment established by the province in 2006. The fund is named after philanthropist Irving K. Barber who had a long history of supporting public education and research projects in British Columbia before his death in 2012. This year, the fund supported 171 transfer scholarships in the province, totalling $855,000.
Okanagan College student recipients for 2018 are: Martina Nenasheff (Armstrong); Cristian Kwasnek (Coldstream); Ashley Stocker (Kaleden); Annaka Wojciechowska (Kelowna); Carson Mintram (Kelowna); Cora Withers (Kelowna); Gabrielle Mendler (Kelowna); Garrett Kehler (Kelowna); Hayden Hanson-Street (Kelowna); Jenna Swett (Kelowna); Joshua Clark (Kelowna); Marissa Meyer (Kelowna); Marissa Pineau (Kelowna); Morgan Mathison (Kelowna); Muhammas-Bilal Madani (Kelowna); Quinn Krahn (Kelowna); Ross St. George (Kelowna); Bailey Hillman (Keremeos); Jamie Long (Keremeos); Melissa Fenton (Peachland); Julia Hudson (Penticton); Austin Phillips (Salmon Arm); Blake Lewis (Salmon Arm); Caitlan Gau (Sicamous); Sandra Johnson (Sorrento); Samantha Theobald (Trail); and Shelby Krywonos (Vernon).
To find out more information about the Ike Barber Transfer Scholarships, visit www.ikbbc.ca.
Okanagan College professors are helping to turn a new page in the rising costs of post-secondary education, giving students free access to online textbooks.
An online solution to lower post-secondary students’ costs is spreading at Okanagan College. Open Educational Resources – also known as OER – are high-quality resources (notably in the form of open textbooks) that are available in digital formats and at a very low cost to print.
The latest provincial statistics show Okanagan College ranks sixth in the province for open textbook adoption. By fall 2018, the College reported 147 courses that have adopted open textbooks, helping 2,875 students to save $437,212 (those numbers are up from 95 courses using online texts, 1,673 students impacted and a savings of $248,522 only a year ago). Many professors have committed to continue using and expanding their use of online texts at each of the College’s campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm.
“It is fabulous to see initiatives like this become a reality,” says Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President, Education. “Student success is of the utmost importance to Okanagan College and the combination of better student learning with reduced costs is most welcome.”
Okanagan School of Business Professor Michael Orwick is one of many professors at the College who has introduced online textbooks to his classes and he can already speak to the educational benefits.
“Generally, the first mid-term grades in the Intro to Marketing classes I teach average 57 to 61 per cent,” explains Orwick. “This year, my first mid-term just averaged 73 per cent and I heard from students who said they felt the annotated textbook was a major reason for improved scores.”
Orwick has supplemented the text he is using – Principles of Marketing – with his own notes that provide students with additional insights into the subject matter.
“The textbook change for this class alone means a savings of $6,000 and every student is guaranteed to be able to get the textbook,” says Orwick. “There are four sections of this class running this term, so that adds up to $24,000 in savings just for this course. Next semester there may be 12 sections running which amounts to $72,000.”
The savings fit with the Province’s and the College’s agenda, as well as the Okanagan College Students’ Union, which presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finances and Government on Sept. 27 about the very issue.
“The high cost of textbooks has become a serious obstacle to accessing post-secondary education in B.C.,” says Jennifer Meyer, 2017-18 OCSU Board Member. “Textbook prices rose by 82 per cent between 2002-12 and now typically cost more than $200 per book. For the many students and families already struggling to afford education and the cost of living, this unpredictable expense can be a huge burden, causing students to take on additional debt or work longer hours for their required books.”
OC student Andre Dominguez is enrolled in Orwick’s Marketing class and has experienced the financial help that comes with the advent of online textbooks.
“The e-textbook has been a real asset because I can access it anywhere I go, both on mobile or on my laptop, and the fact that it was free is extremely helpful,” says Dominguez. “Expenses accumulate for college and it takes a toll on your bank account which brings unwanted stress that affects your personal and academic life.”
Not only do e-texts bring serious savings they also offer a custom approach to teaching and learning. Professors can annotate the online texts, leaving detailed notes, highlights, comments and provide specialized information. Students can choose to access the text online or can choose to have it printed from the College’s bookstore.
“It’s such an incredible bonus that my textbook is annotated by my professor,” explains Dominguez. “There is more retention when reading and I know I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am and learning as much if it wasn’t annotated. If every teacher had annotated textbooks, it would help students out very much.”
Health-care careers are calling, and Vernon residents considering change in the new year can dial in their options in early 2019.
An extra intake of Okanagan College’s Health Care Assistant program is scheduled for February, giving students in the North Okanagan direct access to training for one of the most in-demand positions in B.C.
“Now is a great time to become a health care assistant. The need for health care assistants within the Interior Health region is growing. There are many opportunities for individuals who have this training and one can choose to work in a team environment in long-term care or one-on-one with clients in home support. It is a great career choice for those who enjoy working closely with others, and those who like making a positive impact on the lives of others,” says Shalan Hundal, Health Care Assistant Recruitment and Marketing Project Lead, Interior Health.
The HCA program is also being offered as a dual credit opportunity with School District 22.
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.
“We’re hearing from our industry partners that employers in the Okanagan are desperate for health care assistants. 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 Lisa Kraft, Associate Dean of Science Technology and Health for Okanagan College. “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.”
The College received $66,000 in one-time funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to support delivery of the program in Vernon, which will also enhance access for residents of nearby Armstrong, Enderby, Salmon Arm and Sicamous.
An information night for people to learn more about the Health Care Assistant program and field will be held on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. in Room D343 of the Vernon campus, 7000 College Way. 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 250-545-7291, ext. 2309 or visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca.
A class of 13 Grade 10-12 students from School District 23 were the first to contribute to the project, honing their framing and other carpentry skills recently in the space, which is under construction at Kelowna Christian Academy School located on Hollywood Road South.
That class is the first of its kind in the province – an all-female gateway to trades opportunity that is modelled on the Industry Training Authority (ITA) Youth Explore Trades Sampler program for high school students. The 19-week program (a collaboration between the ITA, school district and the college) provides youth an experience in various trades to help students identify their passion before continuing on to an apprenticeship.
Mackenzie Pachal is one of the students working on the project.
“We get to learn a lot about using different tools and about the different trades. It’s much different than school. It’s cool to be working on something that someone else will be appreciating,” she notes.
“This project is a great opportunity for these students to get some hands-on training and apply their skills out in the community,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “I expect they will take a great deal of pride in knowing their efforts are benefiting their fellow students. It’s a real win-win for everybody involved and our students and instructors jumped at the chance to be a part of it.”
“We’re very grateful to the Industry Training Authority and the school district for their support in helping us make this first all-female gateway program a reality – along with Tolko, Home Depot and several others who have provided support and materials. The school district approached us to get the ball rolling in an innovative way to engage an all-female cohort and we’re thrilled we were able to work collaboratively to make it happen.”
“Supporting women in trades is so important in building a sustainable and strong workforce in B.C.” says Shelley Gray, interim CEO, Industry Training Authority. “We’re so proud of the girls of School District 23 for trying their hands at skilled trades and contributing to their community and Okanagan College. Creating safe and welcoming environments for girls and women interested in exploring trades is a great way to get them started.”
Others from the College’s Trades and Apprenticeship department will also play a role in finishing off the project. Electrical, plumbing and carpentry/joinery students and instructors will rotate through in the coming days.
When completed (the College is aiming to have the project wrapped by the end of December) the space will boast locker rooms for both the men’s and women’s teams and a coach’s/meeting room.
The OC Coyotes will play their home openers at Immaculata Regional High School on Nov. 16. The games will mark their first official regular season play as part of the Pacific West (PACWEST) Conference.
“The OC Coyote men’s and women’s basketball programs are built on and dependent on local support and this is no exception with the entire project being constructed by OC Trades students,” explains Dino Gini, President of the Okanagan College Basketball Society.
“Supporting our community is our top priority because the community has supported us since our program’s inception. Working with the College Trades departments and their students is just another example of our program working with our future community leaders. We are looking forward to inviting the community in to join us to officially open the facility to the current and future players and coaches when the time comes.”
An Okanagan College research initiative involving two different Shuswap area companies is among more than 94 projects nation-wide that are being supported with $45 million from the federal government’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
The funding was outlined today at a press conference in Ontario, and work on the research projects in the Shuswap is already underway.
The Shuswap projects are focused on technology in agriculture and improving economic sustainability for existing businesses. $200,000 of federal grant money (over two years) is going to support:
The funding for the projects flows through the NSERC-administered College and Community Innovation Program.
“On campuses across the country, colleges are building exciting research opportunities and at the same time helping companies enhance their products and processes, bringing promising ideas to the marketplace,” noted federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, as she announced the projects publicly in Saint John. “With research areas ranging from advanced manufacturing to artificial intelligence, the projects being funded today will have real-life benefits for all Canadians.”
Okanagan College personnel involved in the Shuswap research include researcher Dr. Peter Janele and David Williams, who teaches in the Electronic Engineering Technology program.
“Local food security and a minimized carbon footprint is essential to resilient sustainability.” says Ernest Moniz, owner of HighCroft Farm in Sorrento. “Securing federal support and being able to work with an Okanagan College researcher and students to find ways to develop and operate geo-thermal year-round greenhouses is an exciting and valuable step in the right direction. We look forward to being part of creating low cost and small carbon footprint year-round food supplies for local communities in all areas of Canada.”
“Part of the challenge in operating a hydroponic farm is to manage the systems involved in the most efficient manner possible. The project we’re engaging in with Okanagan College researchers and students will help us develop an automated control system that ensures optimal air and water management for an indoor farm that is going to grow tomatoes, strawberries and lettuce commercially. Being able to tap into the College expertise with support through this grant is a real benefit for us.”
“This is research that demonstrates how Okanagan College can bring expertise and knowledge – and federal support – to bear on real world challenges and opportunities that will benefit business and impact the economic health of our region,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “I’m pleased this work is focused in the Shuswap and am looking forward to seeing what the results are. Important to us is the fact there are OC students involved, bolstering their education with research experience.”
The projects are projected to be complete within two years.
Good things come in small packages — made even better when powered by passive energy.
Dylan Roche and his family are excited to move into their newly built home, designed by Okanagan College students as they completed their Sustainable Construction Management Technology (SCMT) diploma.
The Roche family home on Penticton’s Upper Bench might look typical from the outside, but its design is the result of applied learning at its best — students incorporating international best practices in sustainable construction to save energy in the scaled-down house.
The project came about as Roche and his family began to establish roots in Penticton, seeking a more sustainable way of living.
“When we were looking around in the Okanagan, a lot of vineyards seemed to have small amount of land for the vineyard, but large houses. We were looking for the opposite,” explains Roche. “We liked the idea of building something affordable but comfortable, that was easy to heat and live in.”
Roche had a connection with Brian Rippy, a professor in the SCMT department with 15 years of experience in sustainable design and construction management. Rippy provided consultation services while Roche and his family designed their winery building, incorporating LEED principles into the design so that the upstart vintner could optimize operations from the get-go.
“It can take a lot of energy to maintain consistent temperatures in a winery,” Roche explains, adding one facility he worked at in Oliver had utility bills of $3,000 a month. “We got a primer with the winery such that when we started working on the house, we wanted to integrate a lot of those ideas.”
Rippy recommended that the family home become a SCMT Diploma Capstone project for students, who are required to complete a real-world project and demonstrate skills and knowledge they gain in the program. Each team-based project has the potential to contribute to the economic, environmental and social well-being of the community. Students have two terms to deliver: the first to design a project that meets their client’s requirements, with the second term involving construction project management.
For program alumnus Aaron Spohr, the capstone project was daunting.
“My classmates and I realized quite quickly we had actual deadlines and this affected real people. The stakes were a little higher, and it was a real eye opener,” Spohr recalls.
With the Roche project, Spohr and his classmates facilitated design and managed procurement of materials, trades and quotes, as the Roches had their own contractor to build the project.
Applying what they had learned about sustainable construction, the students incorporated many Passive House principles into their work. A building standard certification developed in Germany, Passive House design strives for energy efficient buildings that are comfortable and affordable, using existing sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery ventilation. This can result in energy consumption reductions up to 90 per cent compared to typical building stock.
“We take a building that you would normally have, but wrap it in a sleeping bag so it is super insulated and take additional measures to ensure the building is airtight,” explains Rippy, adding that a high-performance air barrier and thick layer of rigid insulation is continuous around the entire building and two small heat recovery ventilation systems are used to exchange air with minimal energy loss.
Another significant factor in Passive House design is situating the building in the optimum location to take advantage of energy from the sun.
“The site itself was pretty wide open and flat, so from an orientation perspective it was ideal. It allowed us to put a lot of the principles we had learned about into practice,” Spohr says. “We were able to take advantage of the southern orientation to accept solar energy in the winter and reject it in the summer. Our modelling worked.”
The student team working on the Roche project was initially asked to design a tiny house or other movable living structures on the site, given the restrictions around agricultural land. As the design process unfolded, however, the Roche family came back to the students with a twist: their family was growing, expecting another child.
“It was really interesting and cool. It was a real-world application, and gave me and my classmates a taste of what to expect,” Spohr explains. “Building is not an assignment, where you are given the parameters and they never change during the design process. We had a client whose needs were changing. That means some rework has to be done, adjustments had to be made, and you have to deal with it. It was the perfect illustration of what we could expect in industry.”
The home is approximately 800 square feet, with living and kitchen space in the middle taking advantage of natural light from south-facing windows. The interior spaces are open to maximize daylighting and connection to the outdoors. Other features include insulated concrete forms for the foundation, low-emission finishes, high-performance windows, low-flow water fixtures and Energy Star appliances. The building is also considered net-zero ready, in that future additions of solar panels have been planned, which would make the building reach net zero energy.
Spohr had the opportunity to walk through and admire the house during the final stage of construction.
“It looks great. It looks exactly as we had designed it. A lot of the things we had hoped would make it in are here,” he says. “It’s a small space but it feels like it is big and efficient.”
Information about the SCMT program is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/scmt.
Education? Check. Practical experience? Check. LinkedIn profile?
Okanagan College Co-op Employment Co-ordinator Tanya Tarlit is encouraging students and job seekers to set the right tone with their online presence, as employers shift from reviewing just resumes to combing the internet for candidate information.
“LinkedIn is an easy way for employers to take a quick snapshot of you,” Tarlit explains. “Once they have your resume, they will search for you on LinkedIn to see if you have additional experience or, even better, recommendations on your page endorsing you for specific skills.”
Tarlit is one of several job-search experts scheduled to present on Nov. 4 during the 37th annual Career Fair, the yearly open house for current Okanagan College students to meet employers and gain important skills to make informed decisions about the future.
Her presentation will offer tips and tricks for creating an all-star LinkedIn profile, including pitfalls to avoid. “Make sure your profile is filled out, that you have done all the areas that need to be completed. If someone has a sparse profile, it can lead to questions about whether you have the experience listed on your resume,” she says.
“You need to make sure your picture is professional, and it is just you in the photo. Employers can’t tell you from a group of people.”
As a bonus, students who attend the workshops can have professional headshots taken before or after the presentation for free to add extra polish to your new LinkedIn profile. Photos will be first-come, first-served between 12-1 p.m. and 2-3 p.m. in the E Building 2nd floor lobby (outside E202).
According to B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook, the Thompson-Okanagan region will need 91,190 workers for new and replacement positions in the next 10 years, with over 16,000 required for the health-care sector between hospitals, nursing, residential care facilities and ambulatory health-care services. The Okanagan occupations with the largest number of job openings will be nurse assistants (2,800) and registered nurses/psychiatric nurses (2,320).
Those considering careers in health care would do well to start building online profiles. “LinkedIn is used in certain disciplines more than others. When I attend the Interior Health Authority’s information sessions, LinkedIn is one of the go-to’s that recruiters use when considering applicants,” she adds.
Career Fair gives students a chance to connect with employers and get an inkling about their direction, plus get set up for success with a series of valuable job-search workshops:
Admission and parking are free. The fair and sessions will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Centre for Learning (E Building) at the Kelowna campus, 1000 KLO Rd.
For details, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/careerfair.
Professional figure skater Nina Greschner arrived at Okanagan College last fall and traded in her skates for headphones and a mixing board as she stepped into a new career and launched a cutting-edge business focused on helping other athletes achieve their best.
Greschner has been immersed in the figure skating world for more than 30 years. She got her start at age four and was competitive for many years until she transformed her skills into a long-time career travelling abroad with Disney On Ice. After completing more than a decade with Disney, Greschner moved to coaching.
“One of the coach’s responsibilities is the music, which sets the tone for the performance,” explains Greschner. “Finding the right piece of music is no easy feat and I thought to myself, ‘why not create my own?’”
Armed with an original business idea in mind to produce custom music for athletes’ performances, Greschner enrolled in the College’s Audio Engineering and Music Production (AEMP) certificate course to get the necessary training to make her business idea happen.
“I envisioned a niche business helping coaches and choreographers eliminate the problem solving of music and focus their attention on the creation of the performance,” explains Greschner. “I knew I needed a better technical understanding of music editing and how to achieve the perfect tone and energy.”
Greschner experienced first-hand the benefits of small class sizes as she not only worked through the program with her instructors, they even took time to help her flush out her business, Composed Music Services, which she successfully launched in her hometown of Revelstoke this fall.
“One of the really unique things about the AEMP certificate was the wide array of students, each who had something different they wanted to do with their education,” she explained. “You’ve got this one educational program that is appealing to DJs, musicians, stage production workers and business owners – it was really neat to hear everyone’s plans.”
The AEMP program offers students hands-on education and prepares them for a rewarding career in the Music Production industry.
“This program gives students the unique experience of industry opportunities, hands-on training and a network of alumni who love what they do,” says Corey Bell, who has been the lead instructor of the program at Okanagan College since 2012. “It is focused on a learner-centered approach and I work with each student to help them identify and meet their goals within the training.”
The next intake of the AEMP certificate program begins Jan. 7 and those interested can attend an information session coming up at the Kelowna campus on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. in Room A138. Attendees will have a chance to check out equipment, software and other demos and talk with instructors, students and graduates of the program. To find out more information, visit okanagan.bc.ca/aemp or call 250-862-5480.
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.
“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.