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Records 1 to 4 of 13
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.