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Tuesday, Oct. 18, marked Health Care Assistant Day in B.C. – a day for acknowledging the hard work and dedication of the province’s frontline care providers. It was a day that held special meaning for Stephanie Shuttleworth, a Kelowna resident who is poised to graduate from the College’s Health Care Assistant (HCA) certificate program early next year.
For Shuttleworth, walking across the stage will mean the chance to finally step into a career in health care she has dreamed about for years.
“I volunteered in hospitals a lot when I was younger, so this is a career I’ve always wanted,” explains Shuttleworth. “A number of my friends completed the program and got jobs right away, so I felt confident it was the right choice for my future.”
In addition to the strong job prospects, students like Shuttleworth have another reason to feel good about their choice to invest in an education in health care at Okanagan College. The HCA program recently received the highest accreditation possible by the province.
Earlier this year, the College’s HCA program received a full five-year recognition status from the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry (CACHWR), the provincial body that oversees registration of HCAs in B.C.
“The program already has a great reputation and so it feels good as a student knowing that we have this feather in our cap when we’re approaching employers,” notes Shuttleworth.
While registration with CACHWR is not mandatory for HCAs working in the private sector, registration is required for any HCA wishing to work in a public health care setting in B.C. It also gives graduates a competitive edge, says Angela Godler, Chair of the HCA program at the College.
“The registry itself is fairly new and this is the first time they have conducted a full examination of our program,” explains Godler. “We are very proud, although not entirely surprised, to receive the highest level of accreditation, given our close adherence to provincially-approved curriculum, our experienced instructors and our close consultation with industry. We are constantly speaking with local employers to stay attuned to their needs, and to trends in the field.”
And with an aging population and many current HCAs approaching retirement age, it is a field in need of replenishment. The B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, released in 2014, listed Health Care Assistants as one of the top priority health professions in need of new workers over the next decade.
“When choosing a program, it is very important to complete a recognized HCA program so that you can be registered to work as an HCA in B.C.,” says Godler. “This accreditation will make the registration process smooth for our graduates, so they can start working as soon as possible—great news for them given the demand for HCAs right now.”
The HCA program at Okanagan College is 25 weeks in length and includes a combination of theory classes and an eight-week clinical practicum, covering areas of complex care, home support/assisted living and dementia care, and acute care.
The program seems to be working for Okanagan College students.
According to recent B.C. Student Outcomes data, 92 per cent of graduates reported the program was very useful in getting a job, while 97 per cent were in the labour force making an average hourly wage of $19.
Last year, one of the College’s HCA graduates was honoured by W. Brett Wilson, well-known Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist and “Dragon Emeritus” from the CBC show Dragons' Den, for a project that saw her delivering art and music therapy to residents in complex care situations. Penticton’s Catherine Links was awarded the inaugural W. Brett Wilson Prize, a scholarship launched in Wilson’s name for Okanagan College students after the philanthropist gave a talk at College’s Kelowna campus in January 2015.
More information about the HCA program at Okanagan College is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca.
Andre Leroux has always been fascinated with taking things apart and putting them back together. His job is one of the most detail oriented imaginable. It is among the most in-demand occupations in the trades and technical world today. It’s also one of the many careers people can learn about when they visit one of the region’s longest-running career fairs next month.
“I get to work on some of the world’s most incredible aircraft, doing everything from routine checks to big conversions that would have blown my mind as a kid. It’s amazing.”
A few short years ago Penticton-born Leroux was honing his skills in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) Structures program at Okanagan College. Through the window of the College’s AME-S lab at the Kelowna airport, Leroux had a view to a hangar filled with multi-million-dollar aircraft he hoped to work on one day. That day came sooner than he ever expected.
The hangar through the window belongs to KF Aerospace, Kelowna’s largest private-sector employer. Leroux interviewed with the company shortly before graduation. Days later, certificate in hand, he joined KF Aerospace’s team of skilled AME-S technicians.
“I learned the theory and the hands-on skills of the trade, and then I stepped right into it and I’ve kept learning ever since. It’s a fast-paced job and there’s always a new skill to pick up along the way.”
Leroux has wasted no time putting his skills to work.
In August he participated in a Top Gun-style AME skills challenge in downtown Kelowna. Competitors completed three skill testing events from metal bending to riveting, all while racing against each other and the clock. Leroux placed third overall, outperforming technicians who boasted many more years in the industry.
His story is a testament to how quickly a new career can hit the stratosphere when passion, education and opportunity collide.
Globally, Boeing predicts an industry demand for 609,000 aircraft maintenance technicians over the next 20 years, making it the most in-demand occupation in the aviation industry. And locally the demand remains steady. In the last four years, KF Aerospace has hired more than 30 of Okanagan College’s AME-S graduates (including the entire 2014 class), representing more than a quarter of the company’s AME-S technician labour force.
Those interested in learning more about the AME-S program at Okanagan College can view a video here and attend an info night on Nov. 9, from 6 - 7:30 p.m. at 5650 Aerospace Drive at the Kelowna Airport. Participants can meet instructors and tour KF Aerospace.
KF Aerospace is just one of more than 35 exhibitors who will be at the 35th annual Career Fair hosted by Okanagan College on Sunday, Nov. 6., connecting with the community, and in many cases, looking to add to their workforce.
Career Fair also provides would-be students a closer look at Okanagan College and its programs – from aviation to welding, business to nursing, and everything in between. Tours of the newly renovated and expanded Trades Complex – one of the most sustainable buildings of its kind anywhere in the world – will be offered throughout the event which 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 achieve lift off in a new career should visit the campus.
New for 2016: the Freshman 15 is a special information session that will cover the top 15 points that parents and students should know before starting post-secondary. The free session begins at 1 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (S building) and will include time for questions and answers afterward.
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: www.okanagan.bc.ca/careerfair.
Okanagan College students who are helping the area’s senior citizens come to grips with computer technology are getting a helping hand from Odlum Brown Limited.
The Kelowna branch of the investment firm has given Enactus Okanagan College $3,500 to allow the student organization to take their pilot program to the next level.
“When I heard about the College students volunteering their time to work with the senior citizens to answer questions and allay fears about technology, I thought it was a marvelous program to support,” explains Doug Chambers, Kelowna Branch Manager for Odlum Brown Limited. “The students are well-organized, dedicated and since they started to pilot this program last year, the demand for their help has grown.”
College students Sam Jamieson, Rebecca Alfred, Daniel Alfred, and Meaghan Barnard created Silver Surfers in response to the growing isolation experienced by seniors. Using step-by-step booklets created by the students, seniors are now learning how to use iPads to connect with loved ones through e-mail, Facebook, and Skype.
Professor and Faculty Advisor, Devin Rubadeau, sees these kinds of partnerships between local businesses and the Enactus team as a critical component of community development.
“The students have created a wonderful program that positively impacts the lives of seniors and families,” he said. “With Odlum Brown’s assistance, the Enactus team can focus on delivering Silver Surfers to more seniors, and expanding their reach to the campuses of Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm.”
“Odlum Brown’s support is really appreciated,” says Barnard, co-creator of Silver Surfers. “Not just for the iPads it allowed us to purchase, but for the vote of confidence it represents. All of our volunteers know from their experience how rewarding this program is, but when organizations such as Odlum Brown step forward with their support, it imbues all of us with confidence that we are doing something that is valued.
“Right now we’re working with senior citizens in Lakeshore Place and in November, we will start at Sandalwood Retirement Resort,” she says.
Judging by past experience, the student volunteers are going to be welcomed when they step through the doors.
“I really enjoyed working with the students,” says Agnes Shewring, one of the seniors who benefitted from the Silver Surfers’ explanations and demonstrations of iPad technology this past month. “Their knowledge and passing on that knowledge to me and to others is just incredible. I can now talk to my grandkids over video, something I never thought I’d be able to accomplish in my life!”
The biennial awards go to Canadian organizations demonstrating best practices, impact and innovation in social enterprise.
“In short, a social enterprise is an organization endeavouring to solve a social problem through a business approach,” explains Rempel, who has consulted for social enterprises and non-profit clients in B.C. and Alberta. She designed an innovative Non-profit Management course at Okanagan College, which pairs students with local non-profit staff and volunteers in the classroom.
The Okanagan College researchers partnered with Mission Possible, a Vancouver-based non-profit that helps people challenged by homeless and poverty find meaningful work. The hope is that the detailed case study of Mission Possible’s social enterprise model will aid other organizations looking to do the same.
“We are thrilled to be working with Mission Possible and really grateful for the support from the Trico Charitable Foundation,” says Myrah. “For Kerry and I, our teaching and passion lie in social enterprise, so the fit could not be better. It provides us with a real-world example to share with students.”
The social entrepreneurship course Myrah teaches has led to over 200 community based student projects since 2007 and incorporates real cases, such as this one, into the curriculum.
“There aren’t a lot of role models out there for organizations looking to enact change,” notes Rempel. “This research is exciting in that hopefully it will provide a road map for others.”
Another benefit of the research lies in its capacity to inspire students, as Rempel explains.
“It has been one of the most uplifting experiences because it has re-affirmed that what we teach in the classroom is real. Hopefully what we learn will inspire students and show other organizations in Canada and around the world that social enterprises can be sustainable and effective in driving change.”
The case will be published and shared extensively by the Trico Charitable Foundation in the coming months.
For Myrah, the award marks the second time being recognized by the Foundation. In 2014, her case study was among four Social EnterPrize studies supported by the Foundation. Myrah was lead researcher on a project with local business consultant Elvia Picco; the pair wrote about the YWCA Metro Vancouver Social Enterprise Hotel. That case study can be found online here.
Both Myrah and Rempel are quick to point out the importance of having a student perspective on the Mission Possible project. That perspective comes from Cassandra McColman, a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree student and research assistant in the social enterprise arena. McColman recently joined Myrah and Rempel in touring Mission Possible’s Vancouver office.
“Having the opportunity to bring our research to life while visiting Mission Possible's staff and clients allowed me to experience firsthand how impactful this organization is in their community,” says McColman. “Working with them and getting to be a part of that impact has been incredibly rewarding.”
More information about the Trico Charitable Foundation’s Social EnterPrize can be found at tricofoundation.ca/social-enterprize/.
The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program launches on November 28 at the College’s Salmon Arm campus. It will include a practicum with a local community/human service work employer.
“This program is the product of extensive consultation with bands throughout the Interior of B.C. as well as a number of community entities that serve Aboriginal peoples in the region,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “We learned there was a need for training that enables community support workers to gain a deeper knowledge of the specific challenges facing Aboriginal individuals and families.”
The College worked closely with members of the Aboriginal community to develop the curriculum and to ensure it was built on a strong foundation of traditional Aboriginal knowledge and culture. Jennifer Leason is one of the scholars who is helping guide the process and make the program a reality.
The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate says it all in its name,” notes Leason, a highly regarded Anishina-kwe scholar and PhD candidate who teaches Women’s Studies at Okanagan College. “The program is about transformative learning and providing culturally safe, relevant and meaningful support when working with Indigenous peoples, families and communities.”
Leason is no stranger when it comes to advancing Indigenous knowledge in the post-secondary sector. She also recently piloted a new course at the College on Canadian Indigenous Women's Perspectives, Indigenous Feminism, Oppression and Resistance. Her research focuses on Indigenous women’s maternal and reproductive health in Canada.
The course includes workshops featuring local Aboriginal knowledge and culture, Elders and other guest speakers from local bands. It is designed for students of all backgrounds (Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal heritage) who are interested in working with the Aboriginal community, notes Leason.
“The approach to designing and delivering the program has been based on collaborative relationships, respectful dialogue and meaningful engagement,” she says. “The course engages students in a process of decolonization and encourages them to work together towards reconciliation. It is truly an innovative and exciting program."
The College is currently looking for organizations in the health and human service work field who are interested in accepting students for practicum placements.
More information about the Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program is available atwww.okanagan.bc.ca/acsw.
A local fire protection and safety services company is showing its support for the recently opened Trades Complex at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, and the company’s gift carries an important message to students about health and safety.
Nutech Safety has pledged $30,000 toward the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign. The support will help outfit the first aid room in the new building.
“As a company we feel strongly about supporting students,” says Bob Dieno, President of Nutech Safety. “We want to ensure the next wave of tradespeople knows business is behind them. And given our company’s focus, we obviously want them to know that safety while they are in school, and when they step out into the workforce, is very important.”
With offices in Kelowna and Kamloops, Nutech is one of the region’s key suppliers of fire protection, first aid and safety gear. The company also works with organizations of all size to create fire safety plans and other training resources.
The College’s new Trades Complex was officially opened on Sept. 22 by Premier Christy Clark, B.C. Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson, Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. The new complex blends 10,000 sq. metres (over 100,000 sq. feet) of renovated facilities and new construction, including an all-new three-storey tower along KLO Road.
“Safety is critical in the trades,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Having a local industry leader like Nutech step up and support our campus serves as a reminder to students about the importance of safety measures on every jobsite, and while they are training. We deeply appreciate Nutech’s support.”
More than two years in construction, the Kelowna Trades Complex is one of the College’s most ambitious capital projects to date. It was launched by a $28-million investment from the province and has been bolstered by community support. The Okanagan College Foundation kicked off the Bright Horizons campaign in October 2014 with the goal of raising $5 million for capital construction and $2 million for student and program support to complete the project.
More information about the new Trades Complex and opportunities to support the campaign can be found atwww.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.
Okanagan College’s English department is once again inviting up-and-coming writers to step out of their comfort zones and into the frenzied creative world of the popular 3-Hour Short Story Contest, returning Saturday, Nov. 5 at all four campuses.
The contest is open to students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College. As in previous years, writers will not only be tested by a time constraint, they’ll also have to find a way to incorporate a “secret phrase” that won’t be revealed until the moment the contest begins.
“It’s an atmosphere unlike any other I’ve encountered as a writer,” says last year’s overall winner Daniel Greene, an Arts student at the College’s Penticton campus. “It challenged me, focused me and spurred me to take an idea for a story I had been turning over in my head and bring it to life.”
Greene’s winning story “Watercolours,” available online here, illustrates a moment of connection between grandmother and grandson. Despite the tight timeframe in which he had to craft the story, Greene was able to delve deeply, and explore in remarkable clarity, themes of love, loss and memory. He says the process helped him hone his craft.
“It definitely gave me confidence in myself and my abilities as a writer. I went from sharing stories with a few peers in class to having my work read by professors and other writers across the region. The feedback and affirmation I took away from that was helpful. It was the first time I thought to myself ‘Hey, I can do this. I can write.’ ”
Greene will graduate with an Associate of Arts Degree in December and plans to continue on to university to complete his Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology. He is currently at work on a number of short stories for publication and future competitions.
The 3-Hour Short Story Contest takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the College’s Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. Writers will work on College computers and will not be able to access any pre-written materials or outside sources – print or online.
Four prizes of a $250 tuition credit will be awarded, one for each campus winner. From the four campus winners, a grand prize winner will be chosen to receive an additional $250 tuition credit. The grand prize winner will also have their story published in a limited fine-print edition by the Kalamalka Press.
This contest is free but can only accommodate a limited number of entrants, so interested writers are encouraged to register online early. Deadline for entry is 12 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4.
Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting to sign up and to view works by previous years’ winners.
Okanagan College’s culinary students are making a significant splash in the world of Florida tomatoes.
At least that’s the take of the judges involved in the annual Top Tomato Recipe contest sponsored by the Florida Tomato Council.
Would-be chefs at OC captured first, second and third place honours in the 27th annual edition of the contest.
Annie Low, an international student from Britain studying Advanced Culinary Management at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, earned first place with her recipe for a Tomato Chili Jam recipe that incorporates fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers and fresh and dried chilies.
Second place went to student Morris Hsu, who developed a recipe for tomato iced tea. Hsu slow roasted tomatoes before they were strained and then infused them with mint, fennel leaves and ginger.
Third place belonged to Elizabeth Devereaux, who stacked a panko-crusted eggplant slice with tomato jam, mozzarella, a tomato slice, tomato mayonnaise and a fresh basil leaf.
“I was surprised to learn that I had won,” says Low. “I was even more surprised to learn that Okanagan College students had earned second and third place too.”
Low is interested in moving to Canada after she completes her studies.
The OC students were encouraged to enter the contest by their instructor, Chef Mike Barillaro.
“I’m impressed with the results, but not entirely surprised,” says Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “We have a top-notch group of chef instructors and passionate students who appreciate fresh ingredients – and love developing recipes that reflect different ways of thinking about them.”
This isn’t the first time that Okanagan College has reached across the continent to impress the tomato aficionados of Florida. In 2009, another Okanagan College culinary student, David Colombe (who originally hailed from Chicago) captured top spot in the contest. Colombe went on to write a couple of cookbooks, served as executive chef at a number of well-known area restaurants and, of late, hangs his hat in Sorrento where he is associated with Left Fields Farm and is a strong proponent of the farm-to-table movement.
According to the Florida Tomato Council’s press release on the contest, judges award prizes based on flavour, originality, use of fresh Florida tomatoes and ease of preparation.
“The contest was designed to help educate students about proper handling of fresh field-grown tomatoes, which are a staple in the foodservice industry,” says the release. “It also allows culinary instructors to reinforce recipe development and writing skills.”
According to the Council, the Florida tomato industry produces virtually all the fresh-market, field-grown tomatoes in the U.S. from October through June each year - currently amounting to nearly 900 million pounds - and accounts for about 50 per cent of all U.S.-grown fresh tomatoes.
Here’s Low’s award-winning recipe for the Florida Tomato Chili Jam:
3 pounds of fully-ripened fresh Florida tomatoes cored and chopped
2 red peppers, cooked in oven until blistered and starting to turn black, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 small red chili, seeded and chopped fine
YIELD: Approximately 3 pints*
* Remainder can be stored in glass container.
Discover An International Perspective on Winemaking with keynote speakers Karen MacNeil and Rob McMillan at the inaugural Wine Talks event at Okanagan College on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Presented by Liquidity Wines and Okanagan College, this special evening brings two of the world’s most renowned wine industry experts to B.C. to share their insight and international experience of wine marketing.
“We’re thrilled to welcome two huge players in the wine world to the Okanagan,” says Ian MacDonald, owner of Liquidity Wines. “We hope that initiatives such as this help to boost B.C. as a wine region on the world stage and bring the area the international recognition that it deserves.”
Author of best selling book The Wine Bible, Karen MacNeil has won every major wine award, including the Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year (James Beard Foundation) and the Global Wine Communicator of the Year (International Wine and Spirits Association). TIME Magazine called Karen “America’s Missionary of the Vine,” and she is renowned for her engaging wine presentations. Her firm, Karen MacNeil & Company, creates customized corporate events and wine tours around the world for companies such as Lexus, Disney, General Electric and Singapore Airlines. She also created and chairs the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley, which has been dubbed the Harvard of wine education.
Rob McMillan is the founder of Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division based in California. Growing it from start-up phase in 1992, his division is now regarded as the leading provider of financial services to the fine wine business on the West Coast. His banking career has spanned 30 years and 20 of those have been with Silicon Valley Bank in various roles, including a term on the managing committee. Today, Rob focuses on sharing his views on the macro factors impacting the fine wine business. He has also published reports of varied and emerging trends in the wine industry, including the Annual State of the Wine Industry Report, which is cited in international wine press.
“We are looking forward to hosting Karen MacNeil and Rob McMillan at our Penticton campus, which is in the heart of Okanagan wine country,” explained Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “Events like this offer the community a great opportunity to connect and share knowledge, which is really at the heart of what colleges do. It’s exciting to partner with Liquidity Wines to bring some of the industry’s most respected leaders in viticulture to the Okanagan.”
Join both speakers for An International Perspective on Wine Marketing at Wine Talks on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. The event will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Okanagan College Penticton Campus (Room PC 113, 583 Duncan Avenue West, Penticton, B.C.). Tickets cost $50 and can be purchased online.
Dr. Gail Anderson, SFU professor and forerunner in the field of forensic entomology (the application and study of insect biology to criminal matters), will uncover all the clues in a public talk at Okanagan College.
The presentation will take place in the lecture theatre of the College’s Vernon campus on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Anderson’s talk, entitled Murder and Maggots: The Use of Forensic Entomology in Criminal Investigations, is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series.
Anderson will explain how insects can be used to estimate elapsed time since death and other factors about a crime scene, such as position and presence of wounds, and whether a body has been moved or disturbed. She will also discuss the role of entomology in animal abuse and neglect cases.
In this presentation, Anderson will use real-world case histories to illustrate the underlying science. Warning: some of the images may be disturbing; this talk is not recommended for anyone under the age of 15 without parental permission.
Anderson is a Professor in the School of Criminology and the Co-Director of the Centre for Forensic Research at Simon Fraser University. She is a forensic entomology consultant to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and municipal police across Canada as well as the SPCA and Wildlife Enforcement. She has been analyzing forensic entomology cases since 1988, and has testified as an expert witness in court many times. Recently, her research was used to help convict Robert Pickton for the murder of dozens of Vancouver women.
Anderson’s work has been featured in numerous television programs. She was a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Award, the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Science and Technology, and the SFU Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award. She was listed in TIME magazine as one of the top five global innovators in the world, this century, in the field of Criminal Justice in 2001 (the only Canadian listed) and as one of the Leaders for the 21st Century by TIME Magazine in 1999. She was awarded the Derome Award—the most prestigious award the Canadian Society of Forensic Science (CSFS) bestows—in 2001 for “outstanding contributions to the field of forensic science.” She was listed as one of the 100 most Influential Women in British Columbia by the Vancouver Sun in 2010, received a Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence in 2014, and in 2015 was listed as one of the six most influential scientists in BC by the Vancouver Sun.
Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. To subscribe or obtain more information visit okanagansisss.wordpress.com.
The talk is presented by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre. The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.