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Valley-wide College 8th Annual Business Expo & Employment Fair brings career opportunities
Okanagan College Media Release

More than 55 businesses from the Okanagan and beyond will be participating in the eighth annual Business Expo and Employment Fair at Okanagan College on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at the Kelowna campus.

The good news for the students and others who choose to attend is that many of those businesses will be looking for new employees.

The Business Expo and Employment Fair is sponsored by Okanagan College’s School of Business and the Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre. It is held at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College in the atrium of the Centre of Learning Building from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will give students and community members the opportunity to speak and network with employers regarding career opportunities.

While the event will take place in Kelowna, organizer Jamie Morrow wants people to know there are a number of regional and national companies who are looking for staff throughout Canada. 

“There are three national banks recruiting at this event as well as a number of multinational organizations and we want to let people know that are opportunities for people across the region,” explained Morrow. 

“By bringing industry experts together with those seeking jobs and careers we are able to offer a direct line of communication and networking for job seekers,” Morrow says. “This fair is focused on providing people with career options and valuable information to help them find the job they want.”

A host of employers will be onsite with information booths set up to support job seekers. Pattison Sign Group, Natural Factors, Justice Institute of British Columbia, The City of Kelowna, Tolko Industries Ltd, Valley First Credit Union and Schlumberger are just a few of the participating employers.  

For more information, go online: for a full list of participating employers.
MacQuarrie Institute Lecture Series
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College will host the second lecture in its MacQuarrie Institute series when systems ecologist Barry Wilson presents, System Ecology: Holistic Planning for Today and Tomorrow at the Salmar Classic Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. 

Wilson will be joined by Dave Ramsay, Vice President of BC Tomorrow Society and teacher at Salmon Arm Secondary, in a presentation that will focus on a holistic approach to land use that encompasses a common vision for the future. 

Using recent examples such as the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, Wilson and Ramsay will provide an approach to land use that moves beyond confrontation and instead creates synergies and innovative solutions. 

Wilson and Ramsay will also share information about an initiative they are spearheading that will bring systems ecology education into classrooms across the province. 

The event is by donation and doors open at 6:30 p.m. Anyone who would like to guarantee a seat for the lecture can purchase a ticket at the College’s Salmon Arm campus or at Wearabouts. The cost is $2. 

BC Tomorrow is a not-for-profit society that is building an online landscape simulator that will enable students to engage in an interactive exploration of land use in local watersheds, develop critical thinking skills, and improve their understanding of system dynamics.
New classes of welders help address South Okanagan demand
Okanagan College Media Release

Two new classes of welding students being taught by Okanagan College should help address employer and student demand for the trade, according to South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Dean Donna Lomas.

“We’ve heard from employers – both those who have businesses in Penticton and the South Okanagan and those who are further afield – about the need for welders,” says Lomas. “With support from industry, and from the government, we’ve been able to organize two new intakes of students that start in February.”

There will be 16 students in each intake, adding 32 welders to the more than 110 the College has already taught in Penticton, since it started offering welding in 2007.

Penticton Fabricating President Brad Harder is among those industry representatives who see the need for welding programs in Penticton. Right now, he has about 17 welders working for him – many have come from the Okanagan College programs. 

“One of the major hurdles that we face is access to training for welders,” says Harder, who also sits on the College’s Program Advisory Committee for welding. “I know of several people who would like to become welders but are not able to leave Penticton to get the required training. It’s why news of these two classes is very welcome.”

Filling the classes isn’t a problem, says Lomas. 

“We’re already there, but we are anticipating more classes in the future, so if anyone is interested, they ought to visit our website and apply as new sections become available. 

And even if oil patch prospects have been dimmed by falling oil prices, there is still demand for welders, says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. 

“Whether it is ship-building, fabricating, or manufacturing, there is intense employer demand for welders,” he notes. “All you have to do is look at the demographics of the trades to see there is a silver tsunami of retirements on the horizon.”

Lomas, for one, is thankful that Okanagan College took a different approach to trades training after the change from OUC in 2005. It was then that the College started to disperse trades training to campuses other than Kelowna. 

“We have really benefitted in this area,” she says. “We’ve brought in programs in refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, welding, plumbing, residential construction, women in trades, gateway to the trades and electrical. We’ve also added a new three-year diploma program in Sustainable Construction Management Technology, a program that is unique in British Columbia.”

For more information about programs being offered by the College in the South Okanagan and Similkameen, you can visit the campus’s webpage at
Local ingredients and students play lead roles in Infusions’ Wine and Dine menu
Okanagan College Media Release

Chefs in Training Jan 2015The commitment to support B.C.’s farmers, food industry and wineries shines through in this year’s Wine and Dine menu at Okanagan College’s Infusions Restaurant on the Kelowna Campus. 

Sustainably-sourced crab from the Coast is featured in the crispy crab spring roll starter, pears from Hazeldell Orchards in Kelowna make up a fruit sorbet intermezzo, Enderby pork stars in the entrée and butternut squash from Aldergrove makes an appearance in the dessert. 

The local flavour to the menu isn’t just about geography and consumers. It’s also – importantly – about the chefs in training, explains Chef Bernard Casavant, Okanagan College’s Culinary Manager. 

“For the students, working with local ingredients not only turns a page, but it opens up a whole new chapter in learning about the farm to table movement,” he said. “People come to the Okanagan for a taste of the Okanagan.”

While it’s more of a challenge during the winter, the College tries to source as many local ingredients as possible for use in its kitchens, including turning to the freshest seafood available from the Coast. 

This emphasis on gaining hands-on experience with a variety of local ingredients extends from the classroom kitchens to the restaurant. The College’s chef instructors regularly bring in items such as whole boars from the Okanagan and fresh octopus, sea urchin and rockfish from the Coast for the students to work with. 

With guidance from Okanagan College Chef Jim Armstrong, the Culinary Arts students do all the prep work in the Infusions Restaurant kitchen and offer their input on the plating of the dishes. 

Students also partake in wine tastings to learn about pairings. Each course on the Infusions’ menu for Wine and Dine Thompson/Okanagan (which runs from Jan. 23 to Feb. 11) comes with a local wine pairing at an additional charge.

Infusions Restaurant will offer its Wine and Dine menu Tuesdays through Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. until Feb. 11. Infusions is open to the public, staff and students most of the year over the lunch hour and in the evenings from Tuesday to Friday. To view the full menu or to make a reservation, visit
College half marathon set for March 29, registration now open
Okanagan College Media Release

Registration is now open for the 2015 Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race, with this year’s running events takingChristina Corral 2 place on Sunday, March 29 in Kelowna. 

The race has grown steadily over the past decade and has adapted to offer a variety of distances and fun events to encourage participation from every type of runner – from newbies to corporate challenge teams to competitive racers. 

The event, which raises money to support College students involved in recreation and athletics, has a long and proud history in the Okanagan thanks to the great support it has received from local runners and volunteers. 

“We have fine-tuned the race over the past few years and are pleased to offer a really great course with excellent support along the way,” said race director Christine Ulmer. “Every year I have runners tell me our volunteers make the race really special for them. I have to agree, we have the most enthusiastic crowds at our water stations and our course marshals are there every step of the way to keep runners on course and give them that extra boost of encouragement.” 

The races begin at 8 (10 K) and 8:15 a.m. (half marathon and relay) at the KLO Road campus of Okanagan College. 

The half marathon course will cover 21.1 kms of Kelowna pavement, taking runners along the Abbott corridor into City Park and will turn around atop the first hill on Knox Mountain. Runners will make their way back along the waterfront to Gyro Beach, across Lakeshore and finish back at the KLO campus.

For new runners or those looking for a shorter distance, the relay race covers the same course as the half marathon and allows up to five runners to participate in segments of approximately 4 km each. 

Back for a sixth year is the popular 10 km route, which will take runners along the same first and last portions of the half marathon course with a turnaround in City Park. 

Prize money will be offered to the top three finishers in the male and female division of the half marathon. On each side, first place will receive $250, second place will take $150 and the third place finisher will receive $100. Prizes will also be offered to winners of the 10 km and relay portion of the race. 

Any non-runners wishing to be involved with the race can lend their time as race volunteers or course marshals, explained Ulmer. 

“There’s no experience necessary, just some common sense, enthusiasm and a desire to help out.”

To register, find out more about the course or to view entry fee deadlines, visit:

To volunteer, contact Michelle Lowry at 250-762-5445 ext. 4649 or at
Okanagan College accounting students win international case competition
Okanagan College Media Release

ICBC Jan 2015Two Okanagan College Bachelor of Business Administration accounting students can boast of being the best in the country after claiming top spot at a prestigious international business competition.

Jessica Lenz and Daniel Yarmak, respectively third- and fourth-year business students, competed in the accounting category at Queen’s University Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) held this past weekend, Jan. 15 to 17.

The pair successfully reached the finals by beating out 31 other teams. In the final round they outshone competitors from Simon Fraser University, McGill University, the University of Toronto, Lakehead University and the University of Regina to take first place.

“We are extremely proud of our five student teams who competed in the finals at this year’s I.C.B.C. events, and especially of Jessica and Daniel’s accomplishment,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “I have attended this event in the past and witnessed the impressive calibre of the competitors. Having so many teams progressing to the finals and one team achieving first place demonstrates that our students, professors, and educational programs can compete with the best educational institutions in Canada and beyond.”

“It is rewarding to have received top honours after so many months of hard work,” says Yarmak. Both he and Lenz maintained a full course workload during the preparation. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of our coaches and professors. I was especially grateful to have taken the Applied Corporate Finance course at the College: it included learning about valuation, which ended up being the focus of our simulation case. Gaining a cross-discipline education these past four years with Okanagan College made this win possible.”

The annual I.C.B.C. is recognized as Canada’s longest-running undergraduate case competition with eight events spanning accounting, business policy, ethics, debating, finance, human resources, marketing and management of information systems disciplines. Students are given five and a half hours to review the complex business-problem case within their designated field and prepare a 15-minute presentation for the judging panel comprised of esteemed Queen’s professors and industry professionals.

More than 140 teams competed in the preliminary round, with only 48 teams advancing to the finals. Okanagan College sent the second largest number of students to the event, 10 students—two shy of the leading representation by the University of Calgary.

Following success at the initial preliminary round the students worked with College professors Randy Newton and Margery Heuser as coaches to best prepare for the competition. As part of what turned out to be a winning strategy, the coaches engaged the broader Okanagan College community, inviting alumni who had competed previously to provide practice-round judging simulations. 

“The experience only helps me feel even more prepared for the start of my career,” says Lenz, who hopes to continue on to earn a CPA designation. “From the practices to the actual case, it was very similar to how you would present to a potential client. In practice, one of the alumni told us to remember our audience and that while we are presenting on accounting, it’s not just about numbers. That really helped and we were able to present a qualitative analysis that resonated strongly with the judges.”

“Our excellent team of professors have shown the depth of their commitment to furthering our students’ education,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business, who is also the Vice-Chair of the CGA B.C. Board. “Both Randy and Margery generously gave their time on weekends and over the holidays to support these students, imparting knowledge, giving feedback, and providing positive reinforcement to set them up for success.”
Salt family donation a heavy-duty boost for Okanagan College trades complex campaign
Okanagan College Media Release

A respected auto industry pioneer and family man from the Vernon area has made a heavy duty gift to the campaign to renovate and expand the Trades Training Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus.Art Salt Donation Jan 2015

Art Salt, owner for almost 40 years of Coldstream Auto Wreckers, has donated a Caterpillar ITI8F front-end loader to the College. The loader is worth approximately $60,000 and will provide students in the Heavy Duty Mechanics program with hands-on training experience on a common piece of equipment in the industry. 

When Salt learned that the trades training complex was undergoing a significant expansion, and that the College was searching for equipment to enhance these new shop spaces, he threw his support behind the campaign for the $33-million project. His motivation for donating the loader was simple: he believes the community needs to support up and coming tradespeople.

“These are the next generation of mechanics, right here,” explains Salt, motioning to students at work in the College’s bustling Heavy Duty Mechanics shop, during a recent tour. “We need to help get them going, get them started in their careers.”

“The new trades training complex at our Kelowna campus will elevate the Central Okanagan as a hub for trades education in BC,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Our objective is to get students job-ready by providing state-of-the-art training, equipment, and technology. Mr. Salt’s generous donation supports that mission and will benefit many students for years to come.”

Over the past 20 years, Salt and his family have donated other parts and vehicles, including a Freightliner highway tractor. Salt also gave Okanagan College a front-end loader that required significant amounts of repair, which students then restored as a training experience using parts supplied by Salt; the students returned the loader to him in perfect working order.

“The equipment we’ve been fortunate to receive from donors like Mr. Salt is immensely valuable to our programs,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “It enhances the experience for our foundation students and apprentices, and gives them confidence working with a variety of equipment.”

Salt’s automotive career began in the late 1940s when he purchased a taxi business in Lumby. He then worked as a salesman for Capital Motors before founding Coldstream Auto Wreckers in 1957, specializing in the salvage of light and heavy truck parts. The business became Coldstream Truck Parts in 1994 when Salt sold it to the current owner, his son-in-law Bruce Davies. Davies joined Salt on a recent visit to the Kelowna campus to tour the trades classrooms and shops and to learn more about the plans to expand these spaces, including the building of a new three-story tower that will house more than 2,400 trades students and staff each year. 

Seeing students hard at work in the trades training shops, Salt offered up praise and words of advice:

“The opportunities present themselves. Be open to them. Good breaks will come to you if you take it one step at a time.”

“Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver.”

Salt hopes many of the students will be able to find jobs in the Okanagan. “It takes a little luck. But you can do alright anywhere, as long as you work at it.”

The $7-million Bright Horizons, Building for Skills Campaign for the trades training complex expansion launched in October 2014. The campaign team is seeking monetary and in-kind (equipment, tools, etc.) donations to supplement the provincial government’s commitment of $28 million to the project.

When completed in spring of 2016, the new complex will be one of the largest, most sustainable trades training facilities in Western Canada. Okanagan College is currently the second largest trades training institution in BC. To learn more about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to get involved, please visit
Online gaming research leads Okanagan College team to Best Paper Award at international conference
Okanagan College Media Release

Khmelevesky_Alstad Jan 2015A research paper born of collaboration between students, professors, and industry has resulted in international accolades for Okanagan College. 

Exploring improvements into both speed and connectivity in the online gaming world, the paper titled Minecraft Computer Game Simulation and Network Performance Analysis received the Best Paper Award at the second International VisioGame 2014 conference in Bandung, Indonesia held this past November. It will also be published in an upcoming journal with the U.K. Wessex Institute of Technology WitPress.

The paper was authored by fourth-year Okanagan College Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree students Trevor Alstad and Riley Dunkin, and supervised by Professor Dr. Youry Khmelevsky. It was written in collaboration with WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett and CTO Alex Needham, as well as Universite Paris-Est Creteil professor Dr. Gaetan Hains.

“Our goal was to look at online games optimization, performance, and monitoring of Gamers Private Networks for faster gaming with better connections,” says Alstad. “In particular we analyzed specific gaming metrics that hadn’t been explored yet. You could consider our research as a foundation for improving gaming networks within the industry. As a student, having the opportunity to be a part of this project and receiving this award goes to show the caliber of the programs available at the College, and it reinforces my opinion that this program was the right choice to prepare me for success in my career.”

The team created a virtual network with automated game players to test varying degrees of play in a simulated environment. Gaming companies can use this research to help them determine the capacity of their games and overall server performance to enhance the end-user gamer’s experience.

“This research was presented in a highly competitive arena that included international university-academic, PhD students, and post-doctoral research,” explains Dr. Khmelevsky. “By teaching students what the tech industry needs and giving them co-op opportunities for applied research we provide them the tools they need to advance their studies and their careers.”

The six-month research project, from July to December 2014, was made possible by federal grant funding received from Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and additional in-kind contributions from Okanagan based technology company WTFast.

“At the College we aim to provide a learning environment that goes beyond the textbooks and theory,” says Dr. Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s Vice President Education. “We take pride in facilitating opportunities for the students to gain a broader, practical learning experience through collaborations with industry and global researchers.”  

The research further reinforces that Kelowna is quickly becoming known as a hot-bed for technology innovation and start-ups. A recent Accelerate Okanagan study estimates the tech sector in our region contributes $1 billion to our economy, and employs more than 6,500 residents.

“We’re seeing a real boom in Kelowna’s tech sector, and as such recruiting highly qualified and experienced candidates to join the workforce is a priority for us,” says WTFast CEO Robert Bartlett. “Supporting and collaborating with students helps us further their education and prepare them to join our industry.”

Okanagan College offers a four-year bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree and a two-year Computer Information Systems diploma that includes a broad selection of computing (software design and development, computer systems, or database systems), mathematics, business, and communications courses allowing graduates to function successfully in a variety of roles in the Information Technology field upon graduation. A co-op component is also available to provide industry experience that enables students to take the first steps in their IT career. 

For more information on the Computer Information Systems programs at the College, please visit:
Okanagan College professor remembered through creation of annual award
Okanagan College Media Release

On Oct. 31, 2014, the Okanagan College family lost a beloved and highly respected member when Professor Tom Santosham’s car slid off the road and into a lake near his home in Penticton. Dr. Santosham died in the accident.Santosham Award Jan 2015

Shortly after this tragic loss, the Santosham family decided that it would be fitting, given Dr. Santosham’s passion for teaching, to create an annual award that would support business students at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus where he taught courses in global marketing for 14 years. 

On Dec. 5, two special memorial awards were presented by Dr. Santosham’s wife Penny, son Peter and nephew Vaz, to Kendall Ross and Nathan Milligan—both students of Dr. Santosham at the time of his death. Ross and Milligan reflected on the emotional loss of their professor and the personal significance of receiving the award in his memory.

“It was truly a privilege to have been educated by such a humble person who had an abundance of life and career experience,” says Milligan, who is currently completing his final semester as a Bachelor of Business Administration student. “Professor Santosham was a very kind, caring and knowledgeable professor. When he spoke, the students would listen intently because we all truly valued what he had to say.”

“He was a wonderful professor who was truly passionate about teaching, however, through his teachings it was also evident that his greatest pleasure in life was the success and wellbeing of his family and home life,” added Milligan. 

“This award could not have come at a better time,” says Ross, who completed her Bachelor of Business Administration in December. “Managing finances has been difficult throughout school and this has allowed me to start a savings account for my future, possibly to pursue a master’s degree.” 

Ross hopes to use her business training to launch a career in the tourism sector.

“Receiving the Thomas V. Santosham Memorial Award is a great honor,” noted Milligan. “I am very grateful for the kindness of the Santosham family in providing my fellow classmate and myself with this award. Their generosity will continue to aid future students in their educational endeavors for many years to come.” 

Working with the Okanagan College Foundation, and with donations from around the world, the Santosham family has established the Thomas V. Santosham Award in Business. The annual award of $1,000 will be open to domestic students continuing in the Business Administration program. Selection will be based on academic achievement and financial need. 

“Tom faced many educational challenges when he left India as a teenager to study in Scotland and then later in Canada,” says Penny. “Despite these obstacles, he always aimed high and told young people that with persistence, hard work and prayer they too could achieve academic success.” 

“The creation of this annual award by the Santosham family is a wonderful tribute to Tom’s memory and will serve as a reminder of his commitment to higher education, his passion for teaching and his dedication to students,” says Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “We miss him dearly, and this special award will continue to contribute to students as they pursue their educational goals.”

The Santosham family hopes that the annual award will not only provide Okanagan College staff and students with a lasting reminder of Dr. Santosham’s enthusiasm for teaching, but will also help students to reach their educational goals. 

Dr. Santosham earned degrees in Naval Architecture and Professional Engineering from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and a postdoctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering from UBC in Vancouver. His teaching career at Okanagan College began shortly after he retired from a successful career in International Trade Management, which took him to many parts of the world. In 2001, he was invited by Okanagan College to design and teach a course based on his business experiences. Throughout the years that followed, Dr. Santosham inspired many students with his remarkable depth of knowledge and passion for global marketing. 

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Thomas V. Santosham Award in Business can do so by contacting Anne Kirkpatrick, Development Officer, Okanagan College Foundation, or contributing online at The Santosham family wishes to thank everyone who has helped to create this award.
College graduates look to bring globally conscious business perspective to the Okanagan
Okangan College Media Release

Danielle Hofer Jan 2015_2In an increasingly connected and global world, companies are seeking candidates who understand that business today goes beyond borders. This resonates well with Okanagan College student Danielle Hofer, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in marketing this weekend. As part of her studies, she jumped at the chance to spend a semester studying abroad at sister school the Berlin School of Economics and Law with the College’s exchange program.

“I was seeking a well-rounded perspective to my education that I knew would serve me well in my career. Studying marketing, I was interested in participating in new and creative experiences to help broaden my horizon,” says Hofer. “Plus, I’ve always had a passion for travelling, and I wanted to make my last year of study truly unique.”

Globally-minded, Hofer was also a leader within the College’s Enactus program: over the course of her four years of study, she participated in three regional, and two national Enactus team competitions, and was also the project manager for InStill Life. This project involved the team going into local elementary schools to teach Grade five and six students about financial literacy skills, sustainability and global citizenship principles. They worked together on providing agricultural grants to developing countries’ communities through micro-loans with Kiva. 

Currently interviewing with a number of local marketing firms within the Okanagan, Hofer sees the global perspective she gained through her exchange and Enactus as a marketable skill. She is making a point of asking in interviews what companies’ corporate social responsibility policies are, and looking to see how her globally-minded skills can contribute to further these objectives. 

“Our exchange program and Enactus are just two examples of how we create opportunities for students to build a network to launch their careers and provide unique educational experiences that go beyond the classrooms, and in Danielle’s case beyond Canada,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Our Winter 2015 graduates have demonstrated high achievement, ambition, and strong foundational skills, making this a dynamic workforce entering our local industries.” 

This Saturday, January 17, the College will confer 322 credentials, comprised of 70 bachelor’s degrees, 21 associate degrees, 161 diplomas, and 70 certificates, at the convocation ceremony. 

The morning ceremony starts at 10:30 a.m. and will see students from Arts, Business, Science, Engineering Technologies, Computer Science, Culinary Arts, and Health and Social Development programs receive their credentials.

This winter ceremony marks the first of six to be held in 2015. In June, the College will celebrate Trades Commencement, Spring Convocation, Vernon Convocation and Summer Convocation in separate events. 

In 2014 Okanagan College graduated more than 2,100 students from its programs.
Local non-profit organizations needed for survey: finding solutions to ‘conscious business’ challenges
Okanagan College Media Release

Throughout January the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence within Okanagan College’s School of Business is seeking participants from Central Okanagan non-profit organizations for a student-led research survey to identify gaps within the sector that are impacting growth opportunities.

“We know that social service non-profit organizations in our region have struggled with sustained business models and financial stability,” says Dr. Sheilagh Seaton, Okanagan College Business professor, and co-leader of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence. “This survey will help us pin-point the causing factors, and to find adaptable solutions to increase the longevity of these organizations in our communities, shifting towards a more sustainable model of operation.” 

Individuals in an Executive Director or Board of Director role within these organizations can participate by January 30 through the survey link on the Centre’s webpage: Following a review process, an analysis report will be released in mid-2015. 

Amanda Wright, Honours BBA student at Okanagan College, with the mentorship of Dr. Lynn Sparling, Okanagan College Business professor, is facilitating the survey that was developed following a series of interviews with industry experts in the non-profit field. Questions explore the non-profit organizational structure and capacity, finance, internal and external resources, and the capabilities of each organization.

“Leading this research gives me the opportunity to help define the sector in our region, as well as contribute to the sustainability of the non-profits that work to address some of our communities’ most challenging social issues,” says Wright. “It is rewarding to be able to support these conscious organizations while also applying principles that I have learned through the College’s curriculum and skilled faculty.” 

The College received a $100,000 donation from Scotiabank in April 2014 to create the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence, which has enabled this research. The aim of the Centre is to generate opportunities for non-profit organizations to access training, programs, students, and other support mechanisms that will assist in improving the state of the sector and positively impacting our community. 

“Until now, there has been very little research about the business of non-profit in the Okanagan region,” says Dr. Sparling, who is also a co-leader of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence. “Acquiring this data is a first step in gaining a better understanding of how the sector operates, how it can improve and what resources are needed to sustain its growth.”

More information is available on the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence website at
College to offer natural gas industry training program
Okanagan College Media Release 

A four-week natural gas sector training program with tuition and support available to eligible participants starts Feb. 2, 2015 at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus. 

The Workers in Natural Gas (WiNG) program will provide the specific skills and certifications required for those preparing to seek work in the thriving liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

“The College has joined six other B.C. post-secondary institutions to offer the energy literacy and certifications needed to help fill the projected demand for skilled and semi-skilled workers in the LNG sector,” said Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development at the College. 

“The province is currently estimating thousands of new positions will be created in direct and indirect jobs related to operating LNG plants,” said Silvestrone. “The WiNG program is a great opportunity for Okanagan College to build labour market skills and assist students interested in finding employment in an industry poised to have a positive impact on the provincial economy.”

WiNG program students will acquire nine industry certificates during the four weeks, including Occupational First Aid (OFA) Level 1, OFA Transportation Endorsement, H2S Alive, Petroleum Safety Training, General Safety Information, WHMIS, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, Fall Protection and Confined Space.

Natural gas industry specific training covers operating in natural gas, technology and communications, and career planning.  Sessions on resume writing and interview skills are included.

The program runs Feb. 2 – 27. Classes are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Funding for WiNG is provided by the Government of Canada through the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund. Eligible unemployed or underemployed participants must meet certain criteria, including being both legally entitled to work in Canada and a B.C. resident, and not enrolled as either a high school or post-secondary student.

For information on the program, additional details on participant eligibility or to apply, contact Heather Flood at

Okanagan College Continuing Studies offers a wide variety of professional development courses, certificate programs and industry-specific training at seven locations throughout the region. Oil and gas training is available through a comprehensive range of individual courses at all campuses throughout the year.