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K-HUB at Career Fair to spark innovation
Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan’s first Makerspace Business Incubator, K-HUB, is looking for the people and ideas that will spark light-bulb types into creating, innovating and manufacturing new products and services and they’ll be on hand at Okanagan College on Sunday, Nov. 1 as part of the 34
th annual Career Fair.

“We are a one-stop-shop for individuals with business and product ideas and we are really looking forward to connecting with the community at the College’s Career Fair this weekend,” said Lisa Jeffrey, Assistant Executive Director at K-HUB. “The concept of a Makerspace is fairly new to this area and we are one of the first of our kind to spring up in B.C. so we want to let people know what we do, what we can offer and how they can utilize our space and expertise to help launch their ideas in a real way.”

K-HUB will officially open its doors in Kelowna in January. Those doors lead to 4,500 square-feet of office and shop space that is available for rent for anyone who is looking to test and develop their ideas or prototypes. The space includes access to high-end manufacturing equipment that ranges from woodworking tools to 3-D printers to CNC machines.

The company also offers “101-style” workshops and business services that range from marketing to branding, allowing innovators to take their ideas all the way from concept to product and delivery.

“We are really excited to be in Kelowna and at Career Fair to showcase who we are and what we do,” said Jeffrey. “It will provide us with access to a valuable and important part of our client base – students, instructors and members of the community. We’re looking forward to collaborating with them and telling them about who we are and how we can help launch their ideas. It’s also a great opportunity for us to listen and understand what the needs of our Maker community are.”

K-HUB is just one of more than 30 exhibitors who will be at Career Fair on Sunday connecting with the community, and in many cases, hiring.

Career Fair also provides the community with access to the College and its programs. Tours of the campus, Trades facilities, labs and kitchens will be offered throughout the event, which is free and runs from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Kelowna campus.

Anyone interested in finding out about career opportunities or learning more about the education and training needed to springboard into a new career should visit the campus.

A series of special presentations on financing your education, preparing to apply and strategies on finding a job are just a few of the highlights from exhibitors.

Anyone interested in applying for a program at Okanagan College can start the process while at Career Fair and will have the application fee waived. The College will also draw for a $500 tuition waiver for those who enter at the event.

Find out more online:
PCL helping Okanagan College build the future of trades training
Okanagan College Media Release

PCL Oct 2015The construction company overseeing the renovation and expansion of Okanagan College’s new trades training facilities has made a major donation to support the College’s efforts to elevate the learning environment for tradespeople.

PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. (PCL) has pledged $75,000 to the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign for the new Trades Training Complex at the College’s Kelowna campus.

“Okanagan College is a leader in producing qualified skilled tradespeople for our province and our country,” says Todd Craigen, PCL’s Vice President and District Manager for the B.C. Region. “These tradespeople are on the frontlines of jobsites everyday building the projects that PCL is renowned for across North America.”

“We continue to hear from government and from our industry partners that the province could be facing a significant skills shortage across the trades and technical sector over the next decade,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

“With more than 160,000 new job openings projected in the trades in B.C. by 2022, this new facility will allow us to continue to build the Okanagan as a hub for trades training, which is timely for the province and beneficial for our regional economy. More than 40 per cent of our trades students come from outside of the Okanagan.”

Over the past year, 1,926 full-time equivalent students enrolled in foundation or apprenticeship training at the Kelowna campus in 2014-15. The new complex will be able to accommodate more than 2,600 students per year.

This project marks the third major construction project that PCL has partnered with the College on since 2006, when construction began on the LEED Gold certified Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus.

Following that project, PCL completed The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at the Penticton campus in 2011. Since then, the building has received numerous accolades for its innovative design and construction, including being recognized earlier this year as the first building of its size in B.C. to achieve LEED Platinum certification. PCL made a $100,000 donation to the fundraising campaign for the project, along with a $10,000 gift in support of the College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology diploma program in Penticton.

The $75,000 pledge toward the Bright Horizons campaign brings the company’s total gift to the College to $185,000 to date. PCL is also a long-term sponsor of the Okanagan College Foundation’s annual Charity Golf Tournament, the proceeds of which benefit students.

“On behalf of Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation, I would like to thank PCL for making yet another significant investment in our students and in our infrastructure,” says Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler. “The fact that Okanagan College graduates are working for PCL on this very project, only steps from where they trained, makes PCL’s support for the campaign all the more meaningful.”

Helping the College advance learning environments for trades students was a natural fit, notes Craigen, given that PCL counts numerous Okanagan College graduates among the more than 10,000 tradespeople employed by its family of companies.

“These people are the backbone of our industry,” he says. “Without qualified skilled trades people, we would not have a successful business.”

The College has set ambitious goals for the Trades Training Complex: aiming to build one of the greenest buildings of its kind in North America by meeting LEED Platinum standards, net-zero energy usage, and carbon neutrality. Doors are slated to open next spring.

The Okanagan College Foundation launched the Bright Horizons fundraising campaign in October of last year with the goal of raising $7 million in capital and program/student support for the project, to top up the Provincial Government’s $28-million investment.

Conservationist provides rare look into the Great Bear Rainforest coastal waters
Okanagan College Media Release

The coastal waters of the Great Bear Rainforest
in British Columbia contain more than 1,000 uninhabited islands and are one of the planet’s most ecologically rich marine environments. Stretching 21 million acres from Vancouver Island to Southeast Alaska, the area includes the largest coastal temperate rainforest on earth and is globally renowned for its astonishing biodiversity.Ian McAllister Oct 2015

Based on his summer 2015 expedition, long-time Great Bear Rainforest resident Ian McAllister will describe his efforts to generate a more complete picture of the B.C coast from both below and above the water. This will be presented in a public talk,
Where the ocean meets the rainforest: exploring Canada's Great Bear Rainforest on Monday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre.

“British Columbia’s offshore world is as real as the mountains we climb and the rivers we swim in, but not nearly as familiar,” says the acclaimed photographer and co-founder and Executive Director of the wildlife conservation organization Pacific Wild.

Using advanced filming techniques, McAllister and his team have captured some of the lesser known stories of right whale dolphins, blue sharks, salmon sharks and studied their relationship to the waters of what is now known as the Great Bear Sea of the central and north coast of British Columbia. McAllister has described this experience as “the most spectacular display of aquatic ballet I could ever imagine,” and hopes through the sharing of spectacular photography, videography and storytelling, he can continue to inspire others to protect this precious region.

An award-winning photographer and author of six books including
Great Bear Wild, McAllister’s images have appeared in publications around the world. He has been honoured by the Globe & Mail as one of 133 highly accomplished Canadians, and he and his wife, Karen McAllister, were named by Time magazine as "Leaders of the 21st Century" for their efforts to protect British Columbia's endangered rainforest. He is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has won the North America Nature Photography Association's Vision Award and the Rainforest Action Network's Rainforest Hero award.

Where the ocean meets the rainforest
is presented in collaboration with Pacific Wild, and is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and the Okanagan College), which is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Cooper’s Foods, Starbucks Coffee, and the Vernon Morning Star.

Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information about the Science in Society Speaker Series, visit

Carson Air donation expands Okanagan College training fleet
Okanagan College Media Release

Kevin Hillierand Dale Keegstra Oct 2015A local aviation company has touched down with its second major donation to Okanagan College in as many months.

Carson Air has donated a Metroliner II aircraft to the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) M-License program; the company estimates the value of the aircraft at approximately $300,000. The aircraft landed at the Vernon Airport on October 16, welcomed by students, instructors, and Okanagan College employees outside the College’s Aerospace hangar adjacent to the runway.

“This aircraft has served Carson Air very well and we are proud to see it put to use as a training tool at Okanagan College,” says Carson Air’s Vice President of Operations Kevin Hillier. “We’ve hired numerous graduates of the College’s AME program over the years, so in a way, we are supporting the future of our industry and our company with this donation.”

Little more than a month ago, on September 19, Carson Air announced a donation of $125,000 to support the purchase of a flight simulator for the Commercial Aviation program in Kelowna.

“Support from industry plays a vital role in the College’s ability to provide high quality training experiences,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We sincerely appreciate Carson Air’s investment in our students, Canada’s future aircraft maintenance engineers and aviators, through these very generous donations.”

“A gift like this from Carson Air, a local employer of our graduates and mentor to our apprentices, speaks volumes to their commitment to education in the region.”

Built in 1980 in San Antonio Texas, the Metroliner II saw service with two US regional airlines before being imported to Canada in 1994 when it was converted to haul cargo.AME Oct 2015

Nearly 60 feet in length and with a wingspan to match, the 19-passenger, twin-engine turboprop has been part of Carson Air’s fleet since 1998.

The plane’s arrival in Vernon from Carson Air’s hangar in Kelowna marked the final flight for the aircraft, after more than 35,000 hours in the air over Canada and the U.S. (approximately 14,000 of which under Carson Air’s banner).

While the aircraft’s time in commercial service may be over, its utility as a teaching tool will go on for years, says AME Program Lead and Acting Chair Dale Martell.

“It will be utilized primarily for structures and electrical training,” says Martell. “Electrical is one of the most challenging areas facing AME students, and so the hands-on experience they can get by working on an aircraft of this complexity is invaluable.”

Also upping the excitement factor for students: the fact that the
aircraft was still in active service only days before it landed at the College.

“The more types of aircraft we work on, the greater depth of experience we gain,” says AME student Ashley LaPointe. “This gives us pure experience on an aircraft we’ll definitely encounter out in the industry, which is very beneficial.”

Earlier this month, the College also received a Jetstream 31 aircraft from the Swanberg family of Grande Prairie & Fort St. John; that aircraft was valued at nearly $700,000, putting the total in-kind value of aircraft received by the College in 2015 at approximately $1 million (estimated).

Through the AME M- and S-License programs offered in Kelowna and Vernon, the College instructs students on structures, electrical, and mechanical maintenance of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters and welcomes donations of aircraft and components.

More information about the AME program is available at
Audition call for College theatre troupe’s annual stage production
Okanagan College Media Release

Holy stage fright, Batman! Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players theatre troupe is seeking actors to perform in its sixth annual theatrical production, the comic book comedy
A.K.A. Fangirl. Auditions will be held Nov. 4, 6, and 8 at the Kelowna campus lecture theatre.AKA Fangirl

This will be the inaugural stage production of
A.K.A. Fangirl, which was written by playwright and Okanagan College English Professor Jeremy Beaulne. Uniquely, Beaulne will also direct the play.

“I'm a bit nervous about directing my own play. Ideally, a director should have some distance from the material being directed,” says Beaulne. “At the same time, I'm excited at the prospect of tackling some of the directorial challenges I built into the script.”

He points to an example on the first page of
A.K.A. Fangirl’s script, where a character levitates. “I'm looking forward to finding out how exactly we’ll achieve that effect!”

Blurring the lines between reality and a world of comic superheroes, the play focuses on protagonist Nichelle O’Neil, a high school student and aspiring comic book creator. During her adventures at Fanaconda Fest, a science fiction convention, her world is juxtaposed with the adventures of the Midnight Sentinels, the superhero characters she has conjured for the graphic novel she is writing.

The play is seeking nine actors: five men and four women, with most of the actors playing more than one role. For a detailed character list and an audition schedule, visit Evening and weekend rehearsals will commence in January 2016, and public performances will be in March. Actors must be a minimum of 17 years old, and roles are on a volunteer basis.

Those interested in auditioning can email Jeremy Beaulne at to book an audition time. Actors will not be required to memorize any material prior to their auditions.

In addition to seeking actors, the production is seeking volunteers for the crew, including a stage manager, a costume coordinator, a prop coordinator, a sound designer, and a set designer.

The Red Dot Players is a theatre troupe for Okanagan College students, alumni, employees and community members and is based at the Kelowna campus. Previous productions include
The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), The Government Inspector (2014), and The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (2015). This year’s production, A.K.A. Fangirl, won “Best Full-Length Play” in Theatre BC’s 2014 Provincial Playwriting Competition. 
Inspiring inquisitive minds: upcoming OC Speaker Series events in Penticton
Okanagan College Media Release

Currently underway, the Okanagan College Speakers Series in Penticton is piquing curious minds, encouraging public dialogue and highlighting research and innovation in our midst.

Penticton CampusFrom now through to December the public is invited to attend six scheduled talks. The presenting speakers will address a spectrum of interests including: uncovering the darkest corners of space, how GPS technology can help gauge sport performance even indoors, financial planning and the stock market, and demystifying the idea of a born criminal.

On Oct. 26 Rob St. Onge, the College’s Energy Manager will present “Living Building Challenge – Lessons Learned.”

Earlier this year the College’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at the Penticton campus was awarded the prestigious LEED Platinum designation from the Canada Green Building Council. The next step is the Living Building Challenge standard, which is based not only on construction but also the ongoing green-energy performance of the building.

St. Onge will discuss the victories, and challenges, the College is experiencing as it continues to grow and how the institution is using the Living Building Challenge standards as a guide in its quest towards sustainability.

The Speaker Series takes place on Monday evenings at the Penticton campus lecture theatre from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Admission is by donation, benefitting the College’s Emergency Student Bursary program. Parking on campus is complimentary for the events.

Upcoming speaker series events:
  • Oct. 19: Dr. Sheilagh Seaton, Business Professor at Okanagan College, “The Canadian Centre for Business Growth – C2BG – on the Penticton Campus”
  • Oct. 26: Rob St. Onge, Energy Manager at Okanagan College, “Living Building Challenge – Lessons Learned”
  • Nov. 2: Dr. Ken Tapping, Astronomer at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, “Puzzling Pluto”
  • Nov. 16: Scott McMillan, CEO of XCo, “Wearables: Indoor GPS and the Future of Health Care and Sport Technology”
  • Nov. 23: Jacinta Jay, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, “Take Stock in the Market”
  • Dec. 7: Jarkko Jalava, Criminology Professor at Okanagan College “The Myth of the Born Criminal”

For a complete list of speakers and detailed topic descriptions visit:

Keldon Electric gives OC Trades Complex campaign a boost, amps up new classroom
Okanagan College Media Release

With the demand for electricians projected to surge in Western Canada, a local electrical services contractor is helping Okanagan College power up a dynamic new classroom space.Keldon Electric Oct 2015

Keldon Electric and Data Ltd. has pledged $50,000 to the Bright Horizons fundraising campaign for the
Trades Training Complex under construction at the Kelowna campus. The donation will assist the College in constructing and outfitting a classroom geared towards training electricians and other skilled tradespeople.

“Keldon Electric and Data Ltd. feel privileged to support a facility where the majority of our workers are trained,” says Keldon Electric President Brian Yamaoka. “The College is a proven training facility that continually puts out skilled workers.”

Elevating the learning environment is part of the College’s thrust to continue to advance trades training in B.C., says Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores.

“New technologies and techniques are always emerging and so we adapt the training to reflect changes across the sector,” says Moores. “From top to bottom, the vision behind the new complex is to elevate trades training and provide students with learning environments that prepare them for the jobsites of tomorrow.”

Keldon Electric’s support of the project is timely. Last year, the Provincial Government released a report highlighting electrical trades as one of the key fields in the sector—along with heavy equipment operators and heavy duty equipment mechanics—that will require new skilled workers over the next seven years.

“With baby boomer retirements looming, it is anticipated there will be continued demand for electricians, and so we are excited to have a top-of-the-line new facility to train the next wave of skilled workers needed in the province,” adds Moores.

The College launched the Electrician program in 2006, which is now one of the fastest growing trades programs in the province. In the last five years alone, the College has graduated 2273 full-time equivalent foundation (pre-apprentice) and Red Seal apprentice electricians.

General Manager Jarret Yamaoka says having electrical trades training available locally has and will continue to help Keldon Electric attract new talent.

“We pride ourselves in having an above average workforce, and recognize that having a new state-of-the-art facility can only help in drawing outside talent to this region.”

Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler notes that donors in the community are playing a critical role in helping the Foundation raise the funds necessary to top up the Provincial Government’s $28-million commitment for the $33-million project.

“We are so grateful to Keldon Electric and all of the donors who have stepped forward to support the Bright Horizons campaign,” says Butler. “The investments being made in our students’ futures by industry and by individuals in the community are timely and are going to have an immense impact.”

The Foundation is aiming to raise $7 million, including $5 million for capital construction costs and $2 million for program and student support.

Overall, the new complex and upgrades to existing shops and classrooms represent a 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion. The College has set the goal of meeting LEED Platinum standards and achieving net zero energy usage for the project.

More information about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to support students is available at
Foodies take note: Infusions ends corkage fee on Okanagan wines
Okanagan College Media Release

A new menu and a new feature are key ingredients in a revamped fine dining experience that awaits foodies eager to test the creations of the Okanagan’s next culinary stars.

Okanagan College’s Infusions Restaurant – open to the public during the day Tuesday to Friday for breakfast and lunch and evenings on Thursday and Friday – showcases the work of students in the Culinary Arts department, shepherded by Chef Stuart Klassen and the Culinary Arts Department Manager, Chef Bernard Casavant.

A new development for the restaurant, located in the heart of the Kelowna campus, is an end to corkage fees on Okanagan wines. That means diners can bring in their own bottle and not be charged.

“Our goal is to entice diners and provide our students with the opportunity to prepare and serve quality meals,” explains Jonathan Rouse, the College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “Okanagan wines are a focal point for our programs, and we thought that eliminating corkage fees on the area’s product would be a way to support the industry, while at the same time providing our patrons another reason to visit Infusions.”

Rouse is quick to point out that diners don’t have to bring their own wine. “We still have a growing list of Okanagan-area wines that are available for purchase.”

The fall menu is a mouth-watering temptation, from a range of appetizers that includes a smoked duck and confit crepinette ($8, which is accompanied by a plum chutney, farm greens, yam chips and a cherry gastrique) to main courses that run through meat, fish and vegetarian choices (contemplate a sterling spring chicken breast - $20 - that comes with cranberry sage sausage, fall squash risotto, a loose parsley pesto, roast beets and rainbow carrots).

Dessert? Consider a local apple tart ($6), that is built around a honey-thyme crust, served with vanilla pastry cream, caramel sauce, an apple gel and cinnamon-spiced mascarpone.

Reservations for Infusions are recommended – you can call
250-862-5455 or email
Debbie Robert joins Okanagan College Foundation Board
Okanagan College Media Release

The Okanagan College Foundation is pleased to announce that Debbie Robert has joined its board as a new director.

Robert now resides in Kelowna after calling Fort McMurray home for 32 years. She and her husband Leo are retired co-owners of L. Robert Enterprises Ltd., a heavy equipment rental/repair business based out of that region that employs more than 400 people.

Previously, Robert was appointed and served on the Keyano College Board of Governors for a six year term, and upon completion chaired the Keyano College Foundation Board of Directors for a further six years.

“Okanagan College plays such an important role in education and training throughout the valley. I look forward to joining the Foundation board to assist with current and future developments that will enhance the student experience,” says Robert.

Robert is an active supporter of Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation. She is currently serving as Northern Projects Sector Chair for the Foundation’s Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign which is seeking to raise $7 million for the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus.

Harding Award for Engineering motivates local student to reach for robotics career
Okanagan College Media Release

Matthew McCann was teaching English in Brazil when an unforgettable moment in the classroom inspired him to re-engineer his career path and trade the role of teacher for student.Matthew McCann Sept 2015

“Many of my students were engineers who were looking to improve their English,” McCann says. “One day, I was just struck by their passion for their work. I realized that the projects they were working on in their communities really appealed to me. Their energy sparked my journey into Engineering.”

Two years later, after completing the Electronic Engineering Technology Program (ELEN) at Okanagan College, McCann got another jolt of inspiration when he learned he had been selected to receive the Yvonne and Norman Harding Award for Engineering.

Valued at $5,000, the award is the largest given out annually by the Okanagan College Foundation and is intended to assist students bridging the ELEN program to a university Engineering Degree Program.

For McCann completing the ELEN program means he can enter the third year of Electrical Engineering at the University of Victoria. Receiving the award has meant that he can complete the year without having to worry about finances.

“This award definitely takes a big load off my mind,” he explains. “But even greater is the motivational factor—the fact that Yvonne and Norman Harding have made this incredible investment in my future is very validating for me. It will push me to work as hard as I can.

“I hope in future I can give back and change somebody’s life like these generous donors have changed mine.”

McCann must now choose which field of specialization within Electrical Engineering he will pursue, noting a strong pull towards robotics.

“I can definitely see myself working in that field,” he says. It’s exciting. There are new innovations every day and it’s something that has the potential to change the world.”

Norman Harding earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from UBC after serving in World War II. He enjoyed a long and successful career in Engineering, working with Bell Telephone in Montreal and Computing Devices of Canada in Ottawa; his wife Yvonne also worked for Bell and taught technology to adult students.

The Hardings retired to Penticton in 1994. They established the Harding Award for Engineering in 2007 through a donation of more than $100,000 to Okanagan College.

The creation of the award marked the first but not the last generous gift made by the Hardings in support of students at Okanagan College. In 2010, they gave $30,000 to support the creation of the Women's Resource Centre at The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Penticton. Yvonne passed away in 2010.

“It is always amazing to hear from recipients like Matthew about what they hope to achieve in the future and how this award will help them on their way,” says Norman Harding. “Yvonne would be very pleased that this award is making a difference in their lives.

“Our family is touched by the gratitude of the students. We are delighted that the award has always been thankfully received.”

“We are so appreciative of the generosity and the thoughtfulness shown by Yvonne and Norman Harding in establishing this award nearly a decade ago,” says Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler. “As we can see in in the case of this year’s recipient, Matthew McCann, it continues to inspire students to reach for the stars and get the most out of their education.”

More information about the ELEN program and the Yvonne and Norman Harding Award for Engineering is available on Okanagan College’s website
Single largest equipment donation in College’s history lands in Vernon
Okanagan College Media Release

Jetstream Donation Oct 2015A world-class aircraft donated to Okanagan College for training purposes was unveiled today during a ceremony at the Vernon Aerospace campus. The donation marks the most valuable gift of equipment the College has received in its 50-plus-year history.

The British Aerospace Model Jetstream 31, valued at nearly $700,000 was donated by the Swanberg family of Grande Prairie & Fort St. John, in memory of Sylvan and Dorothy Swanberg. Their son Loran was joined by family members to announce the donation in support of the College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) M-License program, which trains students in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

“Our family is very proud to be able to support the next generation of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers,” says Swanberg. “Continuous education and hands-on training is so important in the aviation industry.

“We are delighted that this aircraft, donated in honour of my parents, has found a wonderful home at Okanagan College, where it will inspire and enrich the learning experience for students for years to come.”

Swanberg presented the keys to the aircraft to Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, who noted that the value of the aircraft as a teaching tool far exceeded any dollar value that could be ascribed to the plane.

“This gift will enrich the training experience for our students for years to come,” said Hamilton. “On behalf of Okanagan College, I want to express our sincere gratitude to the Swanberg family for this support.”

In accordance with Transport Canada regulations, the Jetstream was disassembled in Calgary and shipped by truck to its new home at the College’s AME hangar in Vernon for reassembly. Students were included in the reassembly process and are already at work on maintenance projects on the aircraft.

With baby-boomer retirements looming and a serious shortage of aircraft mechanics on the horizon, Hamilton says the College is working with industry partners to be proactive in addressing skills shortages.

“We know we are facing a shortage of aircraft mechanics,” explains Hamilton. “Boeing has projected a need for 584,000 maintenance technicians globally over the next 20 years. Support like this gift plays an integral role in Okanagan College’s efforts to train the skilled workers our province and country needs.”

Sylvan Swanberg’s career in the transport industry spanned more than 50 years. He founded Swanberg Air in Grande Prairie, AB, in 2000. The company offered cargo, scheduled and charter passenger services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia for 11 years. A decision was made to cease operations after Swanberg passed away in April 2011; his wife Dorothy passed away in June 2012.Jetstream Donation Keys Oct 2015

The family has previously donated aircraft to three other post-secondary institutions in Canada, including Jetstream 31s to Red River College in Winnipeg, and Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, and a 601 Challenger to SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary.

There is another unique connection between the Jetstreams at Northern Lights and Okanagan College, notes Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“It’s all the more special that our students will have a chance to work on a Swanberg Jetstream here at the College, and they’ll see another when they head up to Dawson Creek to complete their training,” says Moores.

AME students train for 48 weeks at the College’s hangar in Vernon and then complete the final 14 weeks of the program at Northern Lights College.

“We hope that link resonates with the students,” adds Swanberg. “Our family is very excited about the legacy behind these aircraft and the connection between them. These donations are meant to celebrate and carry on my parents’ strong belief in higher education and lifelong learning.”

More information about the AME program is available at