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Records 1 to 4 of 11
Business students prepare to head east for prominent case competition
Okanagan College Media Release

Jessica Lenz Nov 2015Jessica Lenz is hopeful that she can once again help her team bring home a gold medal from the prestigious Queen’s University Inter-Collegiate Business Competition (I.C.B.C.) when she heads to Kingston, Ont., in January with seven fellow Okanagan College School of Business students.

Lenz, a fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration Honours student, and her teammate Karen Vandergaag, have earned a finalist spot in the finance division of the longest-running Canadian undergraduate case competition. Okanagan College teams also qualified in the debate, management of information systems, and marketing disciplines. Last year, Lenz’s accounting team earned the top spot.

“Whether it’s your first time, or second or third, ultimately, you are representing your school,” said Lenz. “Making it twice to the competition I think is proof of the quality of education I’ve received at Okanagan College. It distinctly shows that I didn’t just memorize and pass exams; it’s a demonstration of how the knowledge we gain is applicable to the real world.”

Having the previous year’s experience is a competitive advantage in knowing what to expect in terms of time management pressures, judging format, and the types of questions that could be asked.

At the finals, students will be given five hours to review the complex business case within their designated field and prepare a 15-minute presentation for the judging panel, which is comprised of Queen’s professors and senior management professionals from Canada’s largest corporations. No electronic resources are allowed, however, teams can use all the textbooks they had the foresight to bring with them.

“My suitcase is going to be 90 per cent textbooks, it gets a bit heavy,” Lenz remarks.

“It will be different than last year; while accounting and finance are both numbers based, finance is a bit more of a grey area, relying on making a judgment call,” she said. “You have to make the decision and then be accountable in proving why that is the right financial decision to make.”

That’s where the training received from coach and Professor Derek Cook comes into play. In their Applied Corporate Finance class the students studied real life case examples to learn about capital decisions (to buy or not to buy), financing by debt or share issue, and mergers and acquisitions.

While the technical knowledge is important, Lenz is quick to point out that in her opinion the three most critical skills to success at the I.C.B.C. are: written and verbal communication to effectively present and get your point across to the judging panel, analysis to demonstrate understanding of what the numbers mean, and a big-picture outlook as to the impact the decision will have looking at the years ahead for the company and the effect on other corporate departments.

“I congratulate all the students who displayed tremendous effort during the preliminary round,” said Dr. Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “The competition at every stage is a wonderful learning experience for them to test their competency at a very sophisticated level. Our students have shown outstanding quality of knowledge, and we are very proud.”

In total 15 Okanagan College students competed in the preliminary round with seven teams submitting case analyses in a pool that included more than 100 teams from post-secondary institutions across Canada and the world. Okanagan College student teams competing in the I.C.B.C. finals on Jan. 14-16 at Queen’s University are:
  • · Finance: Jessica Lenz and Karen Vandergaag (professor coach Derek Cook)
  • · Marketing: Megan Whittingham and Nicole Arbuthnot (professor coach Alan Rice)
  • · Management of Information Systems: Ariel Richards and Jesse Tate (professor coach Glen Coulthard)
  • · Debate: Two additional students (professor coach David Cram)

For more information about the competition, visit

Horizon Electric lights up Okanagan College with trades complex donation

Horizon Electric photo, releaseThe future looks bright for the next generation of electricians in the Okanagan thanks to a major boost from a local contractor that will help the College amp up a cutting edge lab for trades training.

Staff from Horizon Electric joined students and employees of Okanagan College to celebrate the announcement of the company’s donation of $100,000 toward the new Trades Training Complex under construction at the Kelowna campus.

“Having a state-of-the-art facility like this in our own backyard is so beneficial to our industry and our community,” says Horizon Electric President Jerry Pasitney.

“This new complex will attract people to the region, keep jobs local and provide the skilled workers needed in the Okanagan and throughout the province. As a local family-owned company we are very proud to be able to support that.”

Students in the Electrician program will have access to three new electrical controls labs when the complex opens in the spring of 2016; both will feature the latest equipment, technology, and workstations specifically geared for electricians.

“From top to bottom our new trades training facilities are being designed, built, and outfitted with a great deal of input from our industry partners,” says Okanagan College’s Vice President Education Dr. Andrew Hay. “We are very grateful to Horizon Electric for supporting our vision to create a dynamic, new learning environment for trades students.”

Launched in 2006, the Electrician program is the largest program in the College’s Trades portfolio with more than 500 FTE (full-time equivalent) enrolments in 2014-15, and is one of the fastest growing trades programs in the province.

The arrival of the new electrical labs next spring will be timely for the College and for students, given the projected demand for electricians in the region.

Over the next seven years, it is expected that the Thompson Okanagan will need more than 1,000 new electricians. Provincially, the government has identified electricians as one of the top trades-sector jobs over the next decade, along with heavy duty mechanics.

The 10,000 sq. metre $33-million renovation project includes a new three-storey tower along K.L.O. Road, along with upgrades to existing shops. Overall, the College has set the goal of meeting LEED Platinum standards for the new trades facilities. Earlier this year The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus became the first building of its size in the Okanagan to become LEED Platinum Certified.

As an added benefit of the new space and facilities, the College will also be able to bring back to campus more than 700 students currently training at leased facilities on Acland and Penno Road.

“When the new complex opens it will allow us to bring our Kelowna trades students together in a world-class facility,” explains Hay.

“Community support, as we are witnessing here today from Horizon Electric, is helping us strengthen the bond of community among our students; this is yet another way our donors and industry partners are helping the College build for the future.”

The Okanagan College Foundation is endeavouring to raise $7 million – including $5 million for capital construction costs and $2 million for program and student support – to top up the Provincial Government’s $28-million investment.

More information about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to support students is available at

Horizon Electric is a family-run electrical contractor based in Kelowna employing more than 100 people locally. The company has worked on numerous large scale commercial and residential projects, including recent renovations and expansions for Interior Health, and provides services to many small businesses and individual home owners.

College graduates answer school district’s needs
Okanagan College Media Release

North Okanagan Shuswap School District #83 is anticipating a significant number of retirements in the next couple of years, and graduates of Okanagan College’s Education Assistant (EA) program will be ready to meet the community’s needs.

“We’re at a point in time now where we have a significant percentage of our support staff at retirement age,” says Nora Kennett, District Administrator – Student Services SD #83. “Of course, we can never predict exactly when people will choose to retire – as each employee’s situation and choices are different – but it is safe to say that we will be looking to fill this gap in the next couple years.”

Kennett should know – she not only organizes practicums for students with the school district, but also sits on the College’s program advisory committee and is an instructor.

“I really value the link between Okanagan College and the school district,” says Kennett. “This connection allows the College and the District to dialogue around important course content and what practical experiences these students should have to be successful in the role they will play in schools. The students are learning what they need to be successful graduates and the school district is ultimately able to hire employees who have the knowledge and skill set to support our most vulnerable learners.”

Okanagan College’s Education Assistant certificate prepares graduates to work in the classroom with children with diverse and unique learning needs, including physical, cognitive and/or behavioural challenges. The program is a total of nine months and includes a 120-hour practicum, during which time students are each placed in a school where they work alongside CEAs (Certified Education Assistants), teachers and learning resource teachers to practice and hone their skills.

“The practicum is as important as the classroom content,” says Kennett. “Students have an opportunity to see the actual workings of a school and learn precisely what the role of a CEA is.”

This experience gives the College students the opportunity to put into action what they have been learning in the classroom and allows students to practice two main themes of the program: reflection and teamwork.

“During the practicum, students are encouraged to reflect – to examine whether or not certain strategies worked and develop thoughts on how they could do things differently next time,” says Kennett. “A school is a dynamic place and practicum students need to have the ability to be flexible and to quickly shift and change directions when needed, all within a team context.”

Kennett says that although most Education Assistant graduates do go on to jobs within the school system, others have found employment within community agencies, such as the Shuswap Children’s Association. With graduates eligible to apply for their Early Childhood Educator Assistant license
, some have chosen to take on roles in daycare and preschool settings. And others choose to work as behavioural interventionists focusing on supporting children on the autism spectrum.

“What’s interesting,” says Kennett, “is that in every class I teach – without fail – students remark on how the learning from this course about supporting and caring for others would be spectacular for everybody to know. Many tell me that they take home what they’ve learned and reflect on how to use the strategies with their own kids and family.”

Okanagan College’s Education Assistant certificate program is now accepting applications for a program start date of Jan. 5, 2016 at the Salmon Arm campus. For more information, call 250-804-8888, email or go online to
College brings its renowned Culinary program to Revelstoke
Okanagan College Media Release

Casavant and Maw Nov. 2015Aggressive growth in the tourism and hospitality sector has created a demand for skilled workers in Revelstoke’s culinary industry, as a result, Okanagan College will offer its Professional Cook Level One program in February to prepare the chefs of tomorrow for the in-demand jobs of today.

The 20-week program, which is currently accepting applications, will be offered in partnership with School District 19 and the City of Revelstoke. Senior Secondary school students and mature students, or anyone who is 19 years of age or has been out of Secondary school for at least one year, are eligible to enrol. Secondary students who take the program will acquire Level One technical training credit, as well as credit that counts toward their Grade 12 graduation.  

“Our community has experienced a significant increase in the number of tourists who visit us each year,” said Alan Mason, Director of Community Economic Development for the Revelstoke area. “We have seen hotel room revenues increase by 35 per cent since 2008 and we estimate the tourism sector has grown to make up 16 per cent of the city’s base employment income. We need to ensure we have the skilled work force we need to accommodate this growth and one area where we anticipate strong demand for employment is in the culinary sector.”

Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts program begins with Professional Cook Level One, which is the first of three apprenticeship training levels required to become a Red Seal Chef. 

“We are really excited to bring our Culinary Arts program to Revelstoke in the New Year,” said Chef Bernard Casavant, Culinary Manager at Okanagan College. “It’s a great opportunity for anyone with a passion and interest for food to learn from our skilled instructor without having to travel to another community for a professional culinary education. I know first-hand the value of a certified Red Seal trade and have benefitted from a rewarding and challenging career as an executive chef.”

Okanagan College’s Professional Cook One program will begin on Feb. 1 and will run for 20 weeks from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Revelstoke Community Centre.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the program, entrance requirements or application process can attend a free information night on Monday, Nov. 23 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Revelstoke Community Centre. 

College hosts session on combining construction program and green building project

Res Con 7Would-be builders and carpenters have a chance on Nov. 23 to find out more about a course next spring that will take them onto the jobsite of tomorrow as Okanagan College instructors and students help to construct one of the most energy efficient homes in the region.
The College’s Trades Department is hosting an information session at 5 p.m. on the evening of Nov. 23 to showcase a Residential Construction program that will see students working side-by-side with a local homebuilder to construct two homes in the Wilden subdivision in Kelowna.
Students who sign up for the College’s Residential Construction program in February will have a unique opportunity to hone their skills through a unique research project designed to study how new building technologies can translate to energy savings for homeowners.
The 26-week course will introduce students to all aspects of the construction trades, including familiarization with the latest building materials and installation techniques. Graduates will receive Level 1 technical training credit and credit for 450 work-based hours toward completion of the Carpenter Level 1 apprenticeship program.
As part of the building project, two single-family “Living Laboratory” homes will be constructed on lots provided by Wilden developer Blenk Development Corporation. The first home will be built to current building code, while the second will be designed and built to push the envelope and achieve next-level energy efficiency through the use of a number of emerging sustainable building technologies.
Students from the Residential Construction program will work with local builder AuthenTech Homes to install the latest energy efficient technologies into the second home. Researchers from UBCO’s School of Engineering will then monitor and compare the energy use of both homes over the next three years and report their findings.
“We are very excited to see the contributions the students will make, both on the construction side and the technology side,” says Scott Tyerman, President of AuthenTech Homes. “At the end of the day, there is potential to gain some major insights into how homebuilders and homeowners can get the most out of these new technologies.”
“These students are the future of our industry,” adds Russ Foster, President of Blenk Development Corporation and Wilden’s Project Manager. “We feel it is important to work with the College and UBCO to ensure that students have meaningful opportunities to build their skills and put their knowledge to work.”
While the technology involved may be new, the project builds on over a decade of community partnerships for Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program.

To date, students have contributed to nearly 50 building projects like this throughout the valley, with the College’s Trades Department always on the lookout for new opportunities for students to gain practical experience in the construction workplace.
“This project is exciting because it will give our students the hands-on training of building homes, as well as the chance to explore and implement the latest green building technologies and techniques,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.
“The practical experience of being on the jobsite for a very high-end build like this, and receiving mentorship from a builder like AuthenTech homes, is so valuable for students. We are very grateful to the builder and the developer for giving our students this opportunity.”
The info session will take place on Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. in room T137, Okanagan College Kelowna Campus, 1000 KLO Road. Space is limited and those interested are asked to RSVP to Nancy Ankerstein, Program Administrator for Trades and Apprenticeship by email:
Design and preparation for the build is underway. Construction on the homes is expected to begin next spring.
The Residential Construction program is offered at the College’s Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm campuses.

Acclaimed biologist promotes public appreciation for insects

Jeremy McNeilHave little critters been giving you the creepy crawlies? In an effort to shift your perspective towards insects, Dr. Jeremy McNeil, Biology Professor at Western University, will make the case about their crucial role in the planet’s ecosystem when he visits Okanagan College’s Vernon campus later this month.

McNeil encountered the knee-jerk fear reaction towards insects first hand when he showed his neighbours’ seven-year-old son a hornworm caterpillar from his garden. The young boy stared for a minute and then squashed it in the palm of his hand. When McNeil asked why he did that, the boy replied "Insects are not nice.”

This interaction sparked nearly four decades of public outreach, where McNeil has attempted not only to educate the public about insects (and hopefully reduce insecticide use) but also to instill a real appreciation for the natural world around us.  

Part of the Science in Society Speaker Series, his public talk titled Are humans really smarter than insects? will take place on Tuesday Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre.  

In this talk, McNeil will draw comparisons between insects and humans to establish the fascinating common ground we share, such as making paper, building solar panels, as well as how both species apply the same physics principles used in snorkeling and scuba diving.

With a teaching career spanning over 40 years, McNeil alongside students and collaborators has published more than 180 papers in primary international journals and more than 10 book chapters. He has received many national and international awards (including the prestigious Humboldt Prize), is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and this year he was named to the Order of Canada for his work in studying the reproductive biology in insects and for his dedication to increasing public appreciation of science.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, please call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. For more information, visit

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Cooper’s Food, and the Vernon Morning Star.

College’s Vernon Aerospace Campus hosts open house

AircraftThose interested in learning more about careers in aviation will have a chance on Nov. 14 to tour Okanagan College’s Vernon Aerospace Campus and speak with instructors and students about program opportunities and two big new additions to the College’s fleet.
Okanagan College recently received two donated aircraft for training purposes in Vernon – a Jetstream 31 from the Swanberg family of Alberta and a Metroliner II from Carson Air in Kelowna. Guests of the open house will have an opportunity to tour the aircraft and learn more about how they will be utilized in the program.
The College offers a 62-week Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) M-License apprenticeship program in partnership with Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.
The program is designed to take a student with little or no previous experience in the aircraft maintenance trade and supply him/her with the necessary skills to seek employment in that industry as an apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.
“Having recently received about $1 million in aircraft for training purposes it’s a very exciting time for our program and this campus,” says Dale Martell, Chair of the AME program. “We know the aviation industry is facing a very real shortage of AMEs in the coming years, similar to the shortage predicted for commercial pilots, so this is a great time to be stepping into this career.”
Guests will also have an opportunity to learn about the College’s two-year Commercial Aviation diploma program, offered through Okanagan College’s School of Business, which conducts pilot training out of the Southern Interior Flight Center at the Kelowna Airport.
Globally, Boeing has projected there will be call for 584,000 maintenance technicians over the next 20 years, making it one of the most in-demand occupations in the aviation industry, just ahead of the estimated need for 533,000 commercial pilots in the same time period.
“The open house will be a chance for anyone interested in becoming an AME to learn about how the program is delivered through the College and how they can get started,” adds Martell.
The open house will take place on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. until noon at the Vernon Aerospace Campus, 6225 Okanagan Landing Rd. in Vernon. The event is free and no RVSP is necessary. For more information, please contact Dale Martell, AME program Chair,

Donor hopes new trades building will inspire students to think green
Okanagan College Media Release

Patrick Waunch Rambow Nov 2015A local business leader and volunteer for the Okanagan College Foundation’s Bright Horizons Building for Skills campaign is supporting the College’s efforts to go green with its new trades training facilities.

Rambow Mechanical Ltd., led by President Patrick Waunch, has donated $50,000 to support the construction of a
classroom in the new $33-million, 10,000 sq. metre complex currently under renovation and expansion along KLO Road.

Waunch began volunteering his time in support of the fundraising campaign long before its official launch last October, and feels strongly that local industry should support the College’s efforts to train the next wave of tradespeople in B.C.

“I believe it’s incredibly important that we invest in the skilled tradespeople of tomorrow,” says Waunch, whose company currently employs five Okanagan College-trained apprentices. “The future of the construction industry looks extremely positive over the next 15 years, so training new apprentices to fill the workforce is going to be imperative.

“This new facility is going to be a great asset to students who want to make a future for themselves in this industry.”

With a skills shortage among trades and technical workers that could see call for 160,000 new skilled workers in the province by 2022, the College set out last year to proactively upgrade its facilities. Support from local business has been encouraging.

“It sends a powerful message to our students and to our surrounding communities when local employers invest in education,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “We are grateful to Rambow Mechanical for this generous donation and to Patrick Waunch personally, for championing the project in his sector.”

Rambow Mechanical is one of the contractors engaged in the complex’s construction. The company previously provided mechanical systems services for The Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus, the first building of its size in the region to achieve LEED Platinum certification (which the College is once again aiming for with this new facility).

Slated for a spring 2016 opening, the new complex in Kelowna is expected to accommodate more than 2,600 students per year. The added space of the new three-story tower will allow the College to bring students back to campus who are currently training at leased facilities off-campus.

“One of the most exciting aspects of this renovation and expansion project is the fact that it will allow the College to unite our trades students and provide them with a completely modern and sustainable facility,” explains Hamilton.

Waunch says he hopes the building’s sustainable design will inspire students to think about the role they will play in implementing and advancing new building technologies as future tradespeople.

“Our industry is based on new technology that is constantly changing and becoming more environmentally friendly. I couldn’t think of a better place than this innovative new facility to train the creative minds that will lead our industry into the future.”

The Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign is seeking to raise $7 million by next spring to support the College in completing the project. The provincial government has committed $28 million to the project.

To learn more about the campaign’s current needs and opportunities to get involved, please visit  
3-Hour writing contest underway this weekend
Okanagan College Media Release

Talk to any writer and they will tell you that the process of writing, editing and rewriting is one that is unique to every person. Some writers need absolute silence, an antique typewriter and a pair of perfectly worn-in and well-loved slippers on their feet before the prose can flow. Others seek out busy coffee shops, the newest MacBook Air and double espressos.

Okanagan College’s English department is challenging budding writers to cast aside the comfort of their own writing environments and test their focus and creativity in a 3-Hour Short Story contest taking place on Saturday, Nov. 7 at all four campuses.

The contest is
open to students in Grade 11 and 12, and those attending Okanagan College. Participating writers will not only be challenged with a time constraint all stories must be written in a designated location within a three-hour time period but they’ll also have to find a way to incorporate a “secret phrase” that won’t be revealed until the moment the contest begins.

For Joe Dermo, regional winner of the 2011 contest, the competition allowed him to develop his free writing skills and provided him with an introduction to the greater writing community. His story “Bank Robber” earned him first prize in the Kelowna contest and along with it, a $250 tuition credit to help him complete his Associate of Arts degree at the College.

“The 3-Hour Short Story competition was the first writing contest I had ever entered,” said Dermo. “It was really beneficial to me at that time because I can be a harsh critic on my own writing through my editing process. In the competition you don’t have time for editing and re-writing so it’s a great way to learn how to let whatever is in your mind spill out.”

Dermo says the contest pushed him outside of his comfort zone and exposed him to other writers.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for young writers to get involved in the writing community and it’s so important to put yourself out there and learn to be judged. Of course, for the winners, it’s extra special because of the prize, but that’s just a bonus.”

Dermo, who is now a player support representative and editorial contributor at Disney Interactive, isn’t the only former participant who sees value in the 3-Hour Short Story competition. Cole Mash participated in the contest when he was a creative writing student at Okanagan College and has taken when he learned with him in his master’s studies in creative writing.

“At the time I participated, I had taken writing classes and workshops but had never done anything like the Short Story Contest,” explains Mash. “It was great because there was no anxiety about editing, you just don’t have time. The contest allows you focus on just telling the story you are going to tell.”

Mash says writing in a different environment was also valuable.

“It was definitely a challenge to write in different space – no quill at your desk. It’s important though, just to get out in the community and engage with other writers.”

The 3-Hour Short Story Contest takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 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 material or anything online.

Four prizes of a $250 tuition credit will be handed out – one for each campus winner. The grand prize winner will be chosen from those four and receive an additional $250 tuition credit as well as have their story published in a limited fine-print edition by the Kalamalka Press.

This popular contest is free but can only accommodate a limited number of entrants, so interested scribes are encouraged to register early. Deadline for entry is 12 p.m. on Friday,
Nov. 6.

Visit to sign up.
Red Seal of approval – it’s Apprenticeship Recognition Week
Okanagan College Media Release

The B.C. government has proclaimed this as B.C. Apprenticeship Recognition Week and there are few places in the province where the role of apprentices is more obvious than at Okanagan College, B.C.’s second-largest trades training institution.

“This week we have 310 apprentices in class at the College,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Think about the impact they have and the role they play in our economy as they finish their studies and return to work.”

One of the many places they are working is at the College itself. An example is Tyler Tetlock, a journeyman carpenter who is helping the College build for the future.

“Okanagan College helped prepare me for my career, so I’m very proud to help build a space where thousands of others will train towards a career in the trades,” explains Tetlock, who is an Assistant Superintendent for PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc., the company spearheading construction of the new Trades Training Complex at the Kelowna campus.

When doors open next spring, the new complex along KLO Road will provide room for more than 2,600 students to train each year—including the approximately 1,500 who will pursue Red Seal Apprentice-level training.

In addition to acknowledging current students and alumni, the College also wants to salute another key player in the apprenticeship process next week—employers. 

“The participation of employers is crucial to apprenticeship,” says the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “We are very grateful to all of the businesses and individuals that hire and endorse our apprentices and are supportive of the apprenticeship process.”


Another alumnus helping the College build for a bright future for trades in the Okanagan is fellow carpenter Chuck Cullen, a Project Manager for TEAM Construction. For several years now Cullen has delivered spotlight sessions at local high schools about career paths in the trades.

“My apprenticeship training at Okanagan College was very valuable,” says Cullen. “So I’m proud to share my positive experience with young people who are considering their options for trades training.”

Between now and 2024, the province forecasts job openings for 2,346 carpenters in the Thompson Okanagan region alone. The estimates suggest there will be job openings for nearly 2,200 cooks, chefs, and bakers in the region. Overall, there is call for more than 10,750 tradespeople in professions that Okanagan College teaches in the region in the same period.

Last year, the provincial government proclaimed Nov. 7 as B.C.’s inaugural Apprenticeship Recognition Day to help raise awareness of the importance of developing a highly trained and skilled workforce amid a projected labour shortage in the trades sector over the next decade.

The proclamation has been expanded this year, with the government calling for a full week (November 2-6) recognizing the positive impact that apprentices have on individuals, businesses, and the economy in B.C. Read the full proclamation

More information about the College’s Apprenticeship and Foundation (Pre-Apprenticeship) training programs is available at

Balancing campus life and sport no ordinary feat for Special Olympics athlete
Okanagan College Media Release

Janeka GreifWith 18 medals adorning her neck representing five years competing in provincial, national, and international track and field events, 21-year-old Kelowna resident Jeneka Greif has defied the odds. The latest in her hardware collection are a silver and a bronze earned at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles this summer.

Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a baby, doctors had prepared Greif’s parents for the probability that their daughter would never be able to walk, and likely never speak. Not one to give up, she has proven the contrary.

Like many students this fall Greif is back on campus with a focus on a career beyond competition. She is in the midst of earning a Preparing for Access to Careers and Education (PACE) certificate from Okanagan College’s Adult Special Education department.

“Right now, I want to focus on my education and on my future,” says Greif. “Definitely something in sports, maybe in personal training or in nutrition. I needed to bring focus to my life, and I was inspired to come to Okanagan College where I could be set on that path. Taking the PACE program is a first step.”

The PACE program aims to develop student success skills with a focus on career awareness and the development of appropriate workplace attitudes, values, and behaviours. Students like Greif develop communication, time management, stress management, and conflict resolution skills that will support them in the pursuit of jobs and continued education.

“Special Olympic athletes can compete right up into their senior years,” explains Greif. “The way I see it, taking a few years off right now to get an education, that’s most important. I started the sport five years ago, so I know that with the right training schedule I’ll be able to get back into it, but now is the time to build a career.”

Janeka Greif shot putTraining for the Special Olympics World Games had Greif in the gym six days a week, two hours a day. She describes competing on the international stage as an incredible experience and the chance of a lifetime. During the two weeks spent in L.A. as one of 114 Canadian athletes (22 on the track and field team) she also attended an L.A. Angels baseball game, walked in the opening and closing ceremonies, and met pop superstar Justin Bieber.

“What was most inspiring though was meeting the athletes from different countries,” she says. “It made me realize how fortunate we are in Canada for the resources we have available to us as athletes with special needs, from healthcare to equipment, that enable us to practice our sport.”

The silver Greif earned was in the 4x100m relay where she was the anchor, and she earned a bronze in shot put.

“These games were definitely more challenging, with more countries, and more levels to compete against. But what I’ve learned is that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve it.”

This is the same perspective Greif is applying to her studies at the College. After the PACE program, she hopes to continue on to obtain a Supported Access to Modified Education (SAME) certificate.