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Okanagan College Media Release
Four Okanagan College business students will be representing the interior at a B.C. Tourism Industry Conference competition in February, thanks to a victory at a regional competition this week in Kamloops that involved developing a full business plan for a luxury biking tour company.
Adrian Lemiski, Nicolas Gallant, Brooks Hewko and Merissa Hucul spent about 60 hours, with help from coaches Laura Thurnheer and Blair Baldwin (both professors in the Okanagan College School of Business), developing the plan for Pioneer Adventure. The fictitious company serves the Columbia and Western Rail Trail from Castlegar to Midway and the Kettle Valley Rail trail from Midway to Osoyoos.
One of the objectives of the plan was to promote rural economic development.
The students’ plan was submitted to four private-sector judges last Monday and they met with the judges privately on Thursday.
Afterward they had to present their plan to an audience of about 150 people, who were able to vote on their phones as part of the competition. The voting counted for 10 per cent of the students’ mark, while the presentation counted for another 30 per cent. Sixty per cent of the mark was based on the business plan itself.
“There is an incredible amount of work involved in preparing for this case competition,” explains Baldwin. “It’s almost as much work as a full semester’s course, but it provides the students a chance to test their knowledge and ideas against the expertise of private sector experts.”
“Stressful? A little,” admits Lemiski, “but definitely a great learning experience. The whole team really coalesced and we came up with a solid plan. And now we need to continue our prep for the provincial competition.”
The Tourism Industry Case competition is sponsored by Go2HR, an industry organization that promotes tourism careers, helps with labour market information and analysis and provides training and certification.
The four OC students will travel to Victoria in February to compete against regional winners from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Kootenays and from Northern B.C.
“I feel like I am in a great place to start my career,” says Wildeman, who is completing her first year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree bridging program at Okanagan College. “Between the College and UBC, there are so many opportunities for hands-on training in local hospitals. As a student, you feel very dialed into the industry from the beginning.”
The bridging program is a conduit that allows students to complete the first two years of the four-year BSN degree at the College before transitioning to UBC Okanagan to complete the final two years. Graduates earn a BSN degree from UBC.
“You get to start off in the College setting with small class sizes and lots of one-on-one instruction, which makes for a smooth transition out of high school. And then there is the excitement of knowing you are stepping into another really well-respected nursing school,” explains Wildeman.
Wildeman began her studies at the College in fall of last year. Next September, she will make the move to UBC to finish off her degree. She will do so with the knowledge that both programs were recently accredited by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), a national independent body which conducts rigorous evaluation of nursing schools across the country.
“Having an independent review of our program is valuable,” explains Yvonne Moritz, Dean Science, Technology and Health for Okanagan College. “It is a tremendous learning opportunity. It gives us the chance to see how we compare to national standards, and to better understand our strengths and opportunities for improvement.
“And as a relatively new program, we are with pleased the accreditation, and by the positive feedback that we received from CASN. That feedback, will guide the continuous improvement of the program.”
The Okanagan College BSN program years 1 and 2 is also approved by the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC), the body that oversees regulation of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and licensed graduate nurses in B.C.
The accreditation by CASN is another feather in the cap for the program, explains Moritz, and one that will hopefully continue to strengthen the reputation of the OC-UBCO collaborative partnership in the minds of students and prospective students.
“It gives our students confidence and affirms for them that we meet not only provincial but national benchmarks, the highest standards,” says Moritz.
Since the bridging program launched in 2011, 95 students have completed Years 1 and 2 at the College.
“It feels good knowing the program is accredited, especially from an employability standpoint, looking ahead to the future,” notes Wildeman.
She and her classmates have reason to be optimistic about their job prospects. According to B.C. government statistics, the province will need 25,000 nurses by 2022.
And while she may not have a final destination in mind for that future, the Kelowna student (who hails from Abbotsford) is excited about the flexibility offered by her chosen field.
“I would love to work locally, but the possibilities are endless in nursing. It’s a great feeling to know that my education can take me anywhere.”
Ground was broken at the Penticton campus today for the daycare facility by Penticton MLA Dan Ashton (representing Minister of Child and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux), Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS) Executive Director Tanya Behardien and Okanagan College Regional Dean Donna Lomas.
When the daycare is complete in mid-2017, it will be operated by PDCRS.
“This is great news for the local families,” says Ashton. “Adding 64 new child care spaces for Penticton-area families who need them demonstrates our government’s commitment to building stronger, healthier communities throughout the province.”
“There is definitely a need for this capacity,” explains Behardien, whose organization operates eight child care programs in the region, including three centres in Penticton. The PDCRS has more than 40 years of experience in early childhood programming and is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an organization this year.
“The new child care centre will benefit the community, but is also a major benefit to our students and staff,” explains Hamilton. “The survey that was part of the business case for the daycare clearly identified the need for this. We also know that even when our campus is less busy in the summer months, there will be demand for the daycare because of the increase in activity in the tourism and hospitality sector.”
The daycare will be located at the northern end of the campus, with access from Timmins Street.
Lomas, who is retiring in the next month, sees the daycare as a legacy project that fits into the College’s well-deserved reputation for partnerships, service to students and the community. It will also continue the College’s growing reputation for leadership in sustainable building.
The 372-square-metre (4,000 sq. ft.) daycare facility is being constructed to Passive House Design with the goal of being built to net-zero energy and LEED Platinum standards.
“This will be another example of how sustainable building technologies can be incorporated into comfortable learning and care space,” says Lomas.
In 2016, the campus’s Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence was recognized as the greenest building in Canada’s university and college environment. The design of the daycare has been aided by students from the College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology program, and students from the College’s Residential Construction program will help with the construction of the facility, which starts in February 2017.
Thor-Larsen learned she was one of about 100 recipients of a $5,000 Transfer Scholarship from the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society. She didn’t realize at the time that the honour would prove to be much more than a just financial reward.
The Society offers transfer scholarships to students who have completed one year or more at a public post-secondary institution in BC and are transferring to another degree-granting institution to complete their studies. Thor-Larsen completed a Business Administration Diploma and a year of general studies at Selkirk College before transferring to Okanagan College’s School of Business in September.
The $5,000 awards are granted on the basis of academic merit and involvement in their school or community. In addition to her good grades, Thor-Larsen was also actively involved in her community and volunteered for the Castlegar Minor Soccer Association, Relay for Life and Selkirk College.
“With the scholarship I don’t have to take out a student loan; it took off a lot of the financial burden,” says Thor-Larsen. The scholarship funds also allowed her the financial freedom to take a research assistant position for Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism over the summer.
“It was really nice to be able to do something I enjoyed and not have to worry about money for school,” explains Thor-Larsen. The position challenged her to step beyond her comfort zone and talk to business owners in the community, a skill she has already been applying in her classes at the College. “I’m more comfortable actively participating in class discussions and less nervous in presentations.”
Thor-Larsen completed her non-business electives before transferring to Okanagan College, allowing her the freedom to explore a greater range of courses than were available to her in Castlegar. Okanagan College’s Human Resources Management courses have piqued her interest and she is now considering declaring it as her degree specialization and pursuing workforce experience in the industry.
The Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society was developed in 2004 to help students obtain degrees while studying closer to home longer and at less cost. The Society’s namesake, Irving K. Barber, was a prominent entrepreneur in B.C.’s forestry industry. Known as an advocate of public education, Barber credited his own successes to a second chance he was given to pursue education and receive a post-secondary degree.
The Society continues to champion that legacy and has awarded over $13 million in awards and scholarships to thousands of B.C. students since 2006. In addition to transfer scholarships, international scholarships and aboriginal awards are given annually.
Thor-Larsen first heard about the scholarship opportunity from her older sister, Samantha, who was also a recipient of an Irving K. Barber Transfer Scholarship. Their mother encouraged Sawyer to apply after her sister’s positive experience. Samantha graduated from Okanagan College’s School of Business in Jan. 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, specializing in marketing.
“Okanagan College students have often received transfer scholarships and moved on to other degree-granting post secondary institutions,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, who is also a Director of the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society. “That is still the case, but it is great when we see students like Samantha and Sawyer come to us from other B.C. institutions to complete their education. I know that is what Ike Barber was hoping to support when he set up this scholarship.”
Thor-Larsen has been enjoying the switch to Okanagan College and the perks of living in a larger city centre haven’t compromised a sense of community at school. “I like that the teachers actually care about what you are doing. My favourite thing is they know you by name.”
Thor-Larsen will graduate in Dec. 2017 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and plans to go on to law school.
She admits that the scholarship application can be intimidating, but encourages other eligible students to apply.
“Definitely do it,” she says. “It looks like a lot of work, but it is worth it.”
The Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society also awarded transfer scholarships to Okanagan College students Duncan Gordon MacGregor, Teresa Oyer, Kelsi Layne Taron, Adia Van Buren, and Alisha Wozny. These six students transferred to complete their degrees at the University of British Columbia.
For more information on Irving K. Barber scholarship and 2016 recipients visit www.ikbbc.ca
The next deadline for scholarship applicants is early 2017.
A $50,000 donation from FortisBC assisted in the construction and outfitting of a new natural gas lab, located in the plumbing shop of the renovated and expanded Kelowna Trades Complex that officially opened last month. An additional $25,000 gift from the company will also help the College enhance the delivery of curriculum for construction carpenters and technologists in the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program.
“FortisBC sees giving back as an important part of our efforts to create a sustainable future for British Columbians,” explains Barry Smithson, Director Operations, FortisBC. “This partnership is a great fit for FortisBC, as Okanagan College trains students that could one day become our employees.”
The new lab will be utilized by students across the piping trades, and will allow the College to deliver all four levels of its new Steamfitter/Pipefitter apprenticeship program. Demand is mounting for Steamfitter/Pipefitters in B.C. (more than 1,100 openings are projected over the next eight years), and the arrival of LNG projects could spell even greater need. The first class of students recently completed Level 1 and the first offering of Level 2 began on Oct. 3.
“We are deeply grateful to FortisBC for this generous support,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “This donation is already having a direct impact on students. The new lab provides us with a state-of-the-art space to deliver the latest training.”
Over the past five years alone, Okanagan College has trained more than 1,200 Foundation and Apprenticeship students in the Plumbing/Pipefitting and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic programs.
As part of the $50,000 donation, FortisBC contributed equipment for the lab – including state-of-the-art gas meters – and stepped in to assist local company Kal West Mechanical with the installation. The installation provided a chance for hands-on learning for Okanagan College students.
Tammy Rudrum is one of those students. A recent graduate of the Sheet Metal Foundation program and the Women in Trades Training program, Rudrum and about a dozen of her classmates helped put in furnaces which will serve as training tools in the new lab.
“I definitely learned some great practical skills that you can’t get from a book,” says Rudrum. “Hands-on experience is better. Everyone's furnace units are different, so it was interesting to see how things can be adapted.”
On top of the $50,000 for the new lab, FortisBC’s additional donation of $25,000 will soon generate further hands-on training opportunities for students.
Among other teaching tools, the funds will allow the College to purchase two calibrated blower doors to be used for training and testing. The doors demonstrate to students how different wall assemblies and construction techniques can reduce energy consumption by preventing air leakage. The resources will benefit students in the Carpentry and Sustainable Construction Management Technology programs.
“It is very positive for our students to see a major employer like FortisBC investing in their education,” explains Moores. “It shows them the industry need is real. It validates their choice to learn here and to pursue a career in the trades.”
Okanagan College’s new Trades Complex opened its doors to students in April and was officially opened by Premier Christy Clark and Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson on Sept. 22.
The three-year renovation and expansion project began with a $28-million investment from the province and has also seen strong support from donors in the community. 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 at www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.
Lewis, co-owner of Penticton's Bad Tattoo Brewing, will be leading Beer Appreciation – an evening of craft beer tastings and beer education offered by Okanagan College. Delivering basic beer knowledge, the course is designed to help students make the best of any beer tasting experience – in particular, at festivals.
The tastings will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the B.C. Wine Information Society Sensory Centre, a state-of-the-art classroom-style laboratory at the College’s Penticton campus. The facility was created for the sensory discovery and evaluation of wine and food and opened in 2014. This will be the second beer course offered in the Centre by Okanagan College and the first craft beer appreciation course.
“The lab is a great venue for people to come in and learn something about the food and beverage culture that is going on in the Okanagan,” says Lewis. “It’s a phenomenal facility in an easy, central location.”
Lewis, a Red Seal chef, will pair the beer tastings with festival-inspired culinary creations he prepares in the Centre’s kitchen. Participants will explore diverse styles of beers and gain an understanding of their palate range and preferences. The course will also delve into new and emerging beer trends, such as barrel-aged beers, beers with innovative ingredients and ancient beer styles coming back into popularity.
Known for its wine education programming, the College recognized the growing interest in craft brewing in the region and the popularity of local events, such as Fest of Ale.
“Our programming reflects what the community expresses an interest in,” says Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development. “Our Viticulture and Wine Program was a response to the region’s thriving wine industry, and now our Beer Appreciation course acknowledges the growing enthusiasm for beer literacy in the Okanagan. And given the number of beer and wine experts on hand in the valley, it was very important to us to engage top caliber instruction for these programs.”
The industry has seen significant growth across the Pacific Northwest in the last decade. Many local restaurants and private liquor stores have jumped on the trend, offering more diverse beer selections from smaller, independent breweries.
According to Ken Beattie, Executive Director of the BC Craft Brewers Guild, the industry is undergoing unprecedented growth.
“In 2013, there were less than 50 craft breweries in the province. We now have over 125 breweries in 60 different communities that employ over 4500 people directly.”
The Okanagan now boasts 15 craft breweries, including four in Penticton. Lewis believes the industry is just gaining momentum and we can expect to see more breweries pop up in the region.
“The craft beer culture offers a tremendous amount of choice and flavours,” he says. “There is a tremendous energy in the industry and a camaraderie between brewers and the customers."
Lewis believes the course will yield for students a much more robust experience at future festivals or tastings.
“It’s easy to go to a beer festival and just stick your glass out,” he says. “After taking the course, students will be able to ask informed questions, relate concepts and understand how brewing applications affect flavour.”
Registration for Beer Appreciation is now open. Cost is $96 plus GST. Seating is limited. To register, call 250-492-4305 or visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/registerbeer. Visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/cs for more information.
CANsave, a financial literacy program designed in 2015 by college students for primary school students has caught the attention of teachers throughout British Columbia, and Valley First is stepping up to lend its support.
A supporter of CANsave since its pilot program launched in 2015, Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, initially pledged $25,000 to the program for the 2016 school year. However, upon seeing the immediate success and the overwhelming teacher demand for the program, the local credit union has doubled its support to $50,000 to help Enactus Okanagan College students expand the program to more BC schools.
In addition to this financial support, Valley First will be lending its expertise in the field, and staff will be volunteering as guest instructors in some of the local classrooms. Aimed at teaching primary school students critical lessons about debt and the importance of saving money, and giving to charity, CANsave offers students the opportunity to experience financial responsibility firsthand.
“This is an incredible commitment,” says Abbey Jones, a fourth-year Okanagan College Business Administration student, who is also one of the leaders of the CANsave program. “Valley First has been with us every step of the way since we launched our pilot program last year. Their latest donation will allow us to take CANsave out to all the teachers and schools who have expressed an interest in the program. This is a phenomenal opportunity for us to expand the program and enable more kids to learn about financial literacy.”
“We’ve all heard about the importance of teaching kids at a young age about money in order to set them up for financial success in the future,” explains Susan Ewanick, president of Valley First. “Our team at Valley First fully believes in the benefits of starting young and it’s been so rewarding to see the tremendous outcomes CANsave has achieved in one short year. The rapid pace at which BC teachers are adopting the program has been nothing short of amazing. We’re very proud to partner with the volunteers of Enactus and have the opportunity to help young people develop their financial savvy.”
The positive evaluation of the program is echoed by Kelsey Dawson, one of the teachers who experienced CANsave in her Grade 3 classroom last year. “It had a real impact on the students,” says Dawson. “It’s learning that will stick with them through their lives and it’s provided a good base in understanding personal and household finances. It also gave them a sense of what it means to think about others in the community.”
With help from Valley First and from the Central Okanagan Foundation, the Enactus OC students established a website over the summer that introduced the CANsave program to approximately 40 Central Okanagan teachers just before school recommenced this fall.
The response from the teachers was overwhelming. “Within three days, we were already exceeding the 40 classes we had planned. Somewhere between 10 and 15 of them are from outside the College region, extending into the Kootenays and Northern B.C.,” explains Devin Rubadeau, an OC Business Administration professor who has served as a mentor to the Enactus OC students involved in the project. “Now we are projecting that CANsave will be in 100 or more Central Okanagan classes this year.”
There’s no better time for the Valley First commitment, notes Rubadeau – November is officially financial literacy month.
CANsave was introduced into classrooms in School District 23, in 2015, and was created in response to changes in the BC Ministry of Education Curriculum that came into effect September 2016. The program includes lessons on topics young adults wished they had learned early on, including the advantages of having a savings account, critical lessons about debt, and the importance of saving money for themselves and for those in need. Teaching fundamental financial lessons through the use of a simulated economy, CANsave allows primary school students the opportunity to experience first-hand financial responsibility.
During the curriculum development period for Grade 3 students, the Enactus team worked closely with teachers and community partners to ensure learning objectives could successfully be met in the classroom. In the spring of 2016, two Grade 1 teachers modified the curriculum to suit younger grades and ran the program twice in their classrooms with great success. The end results are the CANsave Early Primary and CANsave Late Primary programs. For more information about CANsave, visit http://cansaveoc.ca/.
Experience, knowledge, passion and family will be the fuel that drives a new Aboriginal Community Support Worker program being offered by Okanagan College.
Tina-Marie Christian and her daughter Holly Dalgleish, both of the Syilx Nation (Okanagan) and members of the Splatsin First Nation (Enderby) will be collaborating to teach a new certificate program being offered at Okanagan College this fall.
The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate (ACSW) is a full-time program that will be taught at the College’s Salmon Arm Campus beginning in late November this year. This program will see students immerse themselves in a five-month course that includes 375 hours of course work and a 70-hour practicum component that focuses on indigenous help.
With a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and a Bachelor’s degree in adult education, Christian brings a strong blend of experiences in community and personal development from her more than 35 years working in education, staff development, health and wellness within Aboriginal organizations. Dalgleish, who holds a Master’s in Clinical Social Work and has worked as a Child Protection Social Worker as well as youth counsellor and Family Support Worker, also has strong ties to the Aboriginal community in the Okanagan.
The women have been instrumental in bringing this new certificate program to fruition. They have been active members of the program’s curriculum development team, ensuring that the focus is targeted and has pervasive Indigenous content.
“The courses in this program will provide students with a holistic approach to Aboriginal community support, helping to prepare them for entry-level positions in a variety of fields,” explains Dalgleish. “It is designed to become part of the pathway to further studies such as the Human Service Work diploma, or a degree in Social Work while providing a foundation for community service work.”
“We are excited to be a part of this College initiative that will help to strengthen our Indigenous communities. Programs such as the ACSW program empower individuals to create a new future and an opportunity to contribute to the needs of their community,” notes Christian. “The certificate is ideal for students who have a strong compassion for helping individuals and families and will give them the core training required by community support workers.”
Students will finish the program with a practicum at a local community-based organization that works with Aboriginal individuals and families.
Students interested in finding out more about this program (which is eligible for student loans) are encouraged to contact: www.okanagan.bc.ca/acsw
Kelowna Grandmothers for Africa and the Okanagan Chefs Association are hosting the second annual evening of Discover Africa’s Culture and Cuisine in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus.
“This is a tremendous chance to taste the unique African inspired dishes prepared by the Culinary Arts students under the mentorship of distinguished Chefs of the Chef’s Association,” explains Doug Fraser of Kelowna Grandmothers for Africa.
The volunteer, non-profit organization of grandmothers and “grandothers” supports African grandmothers, in communities affected by the AIDS pandemic, as they care for the vulnerable children in their care. The group’s goal is to increase awareness and raise funds to help nurture and raise a healthy self-sufficient next generation.
The Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign provide targeted and accountable support for African grandmothers and orphans through healthcare, education initiatives and self-sufficiency programs such as microcredit grants and human rights support.
Last year this event showcasing African food and culture was a huge success, says Fraser.
“The Junior Chefs creations delighted our guests. People have been asking when the tickets are available for this year’s event.”
They’re $75, available now in limited numbers, and can be purchased by visiting bit.ly/GFAtickets.
“This (Discover Africa’s Culture and Cuisine) gives our students a real opportunity to explore a different food culture and stretch their culinary imaginations,” explains Okanagan College Chef instructor Reinhard Foerderer. “It also gives them the satisfaction of putting their talents to work for a worthy community initiative.”
Part of the proceeds for the evening go to the Okanagan Chefs Association to provide further educational opportunities for the community’s junior chefs.
Fraser notes that a host of area businesses and organizations have thrown their support behind the event, including the Jane Hoffman Group of Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty, Alison Oxtoby of Entrust Law, Baptist Housing, Brenda Fischer of Edward Jones, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Gorman Bros., Kelowna Mercedes-Benz, Vineyard Developments and Voyager RV.
Those in attendance on Nov. 19 will be entertained by the Nankama African Drum and Dance Group and will be able to participate in silent and live auctions.
Kelowna Grandmothers for Africa supports the Stephen Lewis Foundation and since the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign began in June 2006, grandmother groups across Canada have grown to 250 involving 10,000 Grandmothers and more than $25 million has been raised.
As many as 15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS. Grandmothers bury their own adult children and step in to care for the orphaned children and other children who have no other resource.
If you would like to help, donations can be made to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.