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New year brings new part-time viticulture courses to OC
Okanagan College Media Release

Vit Nov2017While wine lovers will have to wait months – if not years – to sip and savour 2018 Okanagan vintages, 2018 is poised to be a very good year right from the start for anyone looking to learn the art and science of grape growing in the region.

Three new part-time viticulture courses starting in January at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus will offer students a flexible way to gain the skills and knowledge needed to work in or manage a commercial vineyard. Previously, the courses have only been available to students enrolled in the full-time Viticulture Technician diploma program.

“By allowing students to take individual courses on a part-time basis, we aim to provide a more convenient means to explore this exciting field of study,” explains Jonathan Rouse, the College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “It will allow individuals, both experienced and new to viticulture, an opportunity to further develop a range of skills and knowledge that aligns with the needs of the wine industry.”

The courses will run Jan. 3 – April 26, 2018 and span three key cornerstones of viticulture – vineyard health and nutrition, irrigation and trellis systems and vineyard operations. Students can expect a blend of classroom instruction and practical experience at local vineyards.Vit Students Nov2017

“Beyond having an understanding of the scientific principles of grape growing, there is a great deal of practical knowledge up-and-coming viticulturists need to have to find employment and be an asset in the vineyard,” explains Rouse.

The courses were developed as part of the College’s new Viticulture Technician diploma program that launched in September. The two-year pilot program was made possible with funding from both the federal and provincial governments through labour market agreements, and developed in partnership with the B.C. Wine Grape Council.

“In designing these courses, we worked closely with local vineyard managers, winemakers and proprietors to better understand the talent they need to ensure we continue to produce quality grapes in the Okanagan."

In addition to budding grape growers and future winemakers, the coursework may also be an asset to professionals in other areas of the wine industry, notes Rouse.

“I can see these courses appealing to individuals working in wine sales and marketing,” he says. “Students will come away with a greater depth of knowledge of the entire process from grape to glass.”

More information about the courses is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/vittech

 


Penticton couple helps feed the minds of young learners
Okanagan College Media Release

A pair of former educators are supporting the next generation of students as they take their first steps into a formal learning environment.

Longtime advocates of Okanagan College, Allan and Evelyn Markin have pledged $2,500 to the new Little Learners Academy at the Penticton campus.Evelyn and Allan Markin Nov 2017

The need for the child care centre has been on the couple’s radar since Allan Markin was Campus Principal at the College more than 15 years ago.

“I was involved in some of the early conversations where we recognized there were mature students and College employees with children,” explains Markin. “The need for child care was acute and is still an obstacle for parents in the region.”

During his time working at the campus (1988-2003), Markin saw firsthand the sacrifices parents made for their children, often at the expense of pursuing their own educational goals.  

“It’s wonderful to see the centre develop from an idea to become a reality, and to see families in Penticton already benefitting from it,” he adds.

Little Learners opened in September and is operated through a partnership between Okanagan College and the Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS). Registration is open to College students and employees, as well as families in the South Okanagan, which the Markins see as part of the College’s broader role in the community.

“Affordable, accessible child care is essential to the educational system and a healthy society,” Markin notes. “Evelyn and I have always been big believers that we all have a responsibility to help build up our community to make it better.”

The Markins’ altruism doesn’t stop at the edge of the campus. Both are well known for championing many educational, fundraising and community-based initiatives in the Penticton area. Their soft spot for youth in need has also led them to support and fundraise for a children’s orphanage and art school in Russia, including travelling overseas to lend a hand in person.

According to Evelyn Markin, another passion of the couple’s is cooking, which inspired them to support one of the kitchen spaces at Little Learners. As a former elementary school teacher, she understands the influence nutrition and healthy eating has on a student’s ability to learn and process information.

“You need to feed the mind to learn well,” she remarks. “Nutrition has an impact on activity levels, social interaction and brain function, especially in early childhood development. The educational foundation Little Learners provides will help prepare children for success when they face more difficult work in elementary school and afterwards.”

The Markins’ spirit of philanthropy has spread through their family to their daughter Allison, who also contributed to the fundraising campaign earlier this year in honour of her parents.

“It’s deeply inspiring to see the Markins’ dedication to helping children both in our region and across the globe,” says campaign chair Mary Ellen Heidt, who also sits on the College’s Regional Advisory Committee. “They have a long history of involvement with the campus and we thank them for this generous gift, and for continuing to be champions of education for learners of all ages.”

To make a donation or learn more about the innovative project, visit okanagan.bc.ca/give.

 


Jazz Aviation helps Okanagan College students’ careers take flight
Okanagan College Media Release

Miglani_Jazz Nov 2017Two Okanagan College students are getting a remarkable opportunity to jump start their careers as commercial pilots with major Canadian airline Jazz Aviation LP (Jazz).

Each year two students in the College’s Commercial Aviation program are recognized by Jazz for their educational achievements, safety and professionalism. The airline awards each winning student with a $3,000 scholarship and enrolment in the Jazz Aviation Pathways Program (Jazz APP) which guarantees the student an interview with the company upon graduation.

“Being part of Jazz APP is something I’ve been working toward since I started this program,” says Paawan Miglani, OC commercial aviation student. “I’m graduating soon and knowing I have an interview with such a renowned airline is huge. Also, the scholarship money is a big help because it’s going straight into my training with simulator sessions, flights and ground school.”

Miglani was presented with the Safety, Professionalism and Diversity award and his classmate Aimee Wintle received the Safety and Professionalism award. Both Miglani and Wintle excelled on their Transport Canada written exams and industry flight tests and have a high grade point average.

“It was a huge honour to win this award, it makes me feel like all of my hard work has paid off,” says Wintle. “The scholarship portion helps pay for tuition costs and whether I’m successful or not, the interview is one of the biggest benefits of this award.”Wintle_Jazz Nov 2017

Jazz has been collaborating with accredited colleges nationwide for a decade and takes a deep responsibility to mentor future generations of aviators and is dedicated to hiring Canada’s best and brightest youth.

“Jazz is committed to creating a strong future for the pilot profession in Canada and we’re proud to support the education of top aviation students like Aimee and Paawan,” said Peter Batten, Senior Chief Pilot, Line Operations for Jazz. “Safety and professionalism are paramount to success as a commercial pilot and it’s wonderful to see such deserving recipients from the College.”

Okanagan College is one of the first aviation schools in Western Canada to team up with the Jazz APP. Since the program launched at the College in early 2016, many graduating students have gone on to accept pilot positions at Jazz.

Last year OC student Chris McCann won the Jazz APP scholarship and upon graduation, successfully interviewed with the airline.

“Jazz flew me to Vancouver for an interview shortly after I graduated and then flew me to Toronto for a second interview,” says McCann. “I found out pretty quickly I was hired as a commercial pilot and I’ve already started training.”

McCann is currently in Toronto and just began a two-week training program. Upon completion, he will be sent to another city to complete an additional six weeks of training before being assigned a home base. 

 


Sheet metal career paths on display at open house
Okanagan College Media Release

The need for skilled Sheet Metal Workers locally and across B.C. has prompted Okanagan College to open the doors to one of its newest shops so potential students can test-drive the trade this fall.Sheet Metal Nov 2017

“There is a huge need for sheet metal workers right now,” says Brad Oliver, Chair of Mechanical Building Trades at the College. “We can’t train them fast enough to meet the demand locally, and our grads are finding work all over the province, Alberta and up north. We are constantly hearing from industry that they are struggling to find enough skilled workers.”

The College is hosting a free public information night on Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6-8 p.m. in the Atrium of the Trades Complex. Students will have a chance to explore the cutting-edge new Sheet Metal shop and can sign up to be a student for a day this fall.

“It’s a great opportunity for people who are considering the trade to understand how the training works and get a sense of what the job opportunities and career paths are like,” notes Oliver, who points out that sheet metal may appeal to potential students looking to stay in – or move to – the Okanagan.

“This trade sometimes flies under the radar in people’s minds, but sheet metal is everywhere you look – homes, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants – so there is endless work if you’re skilled in fabricating, installing or servicing ducts or anything with a sheet metal component.

“It’s a Red Seal trade, which means your ticket will be recognized across the country,” explains Oliver. “But what I think what is attractive about this trade for students is the potential to train here, and find stable work locally if they want to stay here.”

Upon completion of the 20-week Foundation program, students receive credit for Level 1 Technical Training and 350 work-based hours toward their apprenticeship. They can then choose to continue on to complete all four levels of their apprenticeship training in Kelowna, all while working and gaining on-the-job experience.

“The apprentice works in industry and attends school for six weeks each year,” explains Oliver. “If they complete all four levels, they’ll have the full spectrum of training required to become a qualified Sheet Metal Journeyperson.”

A recent labour market sweep by BC Business predicted there will be call for 900 more Sheet Metal Workers in B.C. over the next eight years. Sheet Metal Workers made the magazine’s list of 50 high paying jobs in the province, earning an average of $31/hr.

The next intake of the Sheet Metal Worker Foundation program starts in April. More information about the program and the Nov. 28 information night is available at Okanagan.bc.ca/mbt

 


Memorial Award helps fuel Okanagan College student’s education
Okanagan College Media Release

Chapman Memorial AwardLosing her husband and son to a tragic plane crash two years ago led Michaela Chapman to contemplate how she could honour their memory. Today, an Okanagan College student is completing his education with her help, thanks to a memorial award that Chapman established.

Pilot Brad Chapman and his eldest son, Florian, passed away in October 2015 when their Cessna 207 crashed on takeoff. In honour of her husband and son, Michaela Chapman established the Chapman Memorial Award which enables Okanagan College students in Vernon to reach their educational goals in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME-M) program.

“Okanagan College is virtually in our front yard and I thought it would be a good idea to support our region’s budding aviation professionals and help students carry forward in their education,” says Chapman. “Being married to a pilot and also knowing many pilots, I know how important it is for them to look after their airplanes and for the industry to have people with the know-how to take care of the machines.”

The award was recently given to Okanagan College's Deverick Clingwall, an AME-M student based out of Vernon. Clingwall is currently finishing the final 14 weeks of training at OC's partner college, Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.

“I was honoured to receive this award and am so deeply thankful for the Chapman family,” says Clingwall. “Being able to meet Mrs. Chapman and talk to her was very personal, it was a new level that I’ve never experienced before, we really connected.”

Like Brad and Florian, Clingwall has a passion and extensive history in aviation. From age two-and-a-half, he knew he wanted to become a pilot and since then has achieved both his private and glider pilot licenses as well as float endorsements – all before age 17. Clingwall is now currently working on his commercial pilot’s license while completing the AME-M program.

“My career goal is to be a commercial pilot, which is why I chose to enrol in the College’s AME-M diploma because like any vehicle or machine, if you’re going to be operating it, you should know what makes it tick,” says Clingwall.

Clingwall recently represented the College and placed fourth in the Aircraft Maintenance Competition at Skills BC. He is active in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, volunteers with the bi-annual Salmon Arm airshow and is involved in the Vernon and Salmon Arm flying clubs.

“He’s one of the top students we’ve ever put through the AME-M diploma,” says Dale Martell, Chair of the program. “Deverick is extremely dedicated to aviation and well deserving of this award.”

Every year the Okanagan College Foundation distributes awards to students like Clingwall. The Foundation will present 44 awards totaling $38,150 to students at the College’s Vernon campus in the upcoming Student Awards Reception ceremony on Nov. 15, 2017.

 

Coders take note: $4,000 tuition award up for grabs
Okanagan College Media Release

An internationally-recognized software development company based out of Kelowna is so anxious to find coding talent that it is putting its own money on the line in hopes of attracting students to a new College program.

Acro Media is one of North America’s premier users of Drupal, an open source content management system (CMS) that is at the heart of seven million websites globally. Okanagan College and Acro Media have worked together to develop a new Drupal Web Developer certificate that will be offered weekday evenings beginning Jan. 8.

To help draw out talent for the program, Acro Media is hosting a coding contest that will award one lucky applicant a $4,000 tuition award toward the program.

There is a serious need for software developers in the Okanagan region and Shae Inglis, CEO of Acro Media in Kelowna, is one of the people who knows first-hand the need for Drupal developers. In fact, he is guaranteeing everyone who successfully completes the Okanagan College certificate a job interview upon graduation.

“We need great candidates for interesting and exciting CMS work in Kelowna and are looking forward to hiring graduates from this program,” says Inglis. “In fact, Acro Media is going beyond just supporting the OC program. We are also sponsoring a contest to provide a $4,000 tuition award to a talented student who submits the best code sample before Dec. 15 (for the January intake of the course) and/or April 6 (for the May intake).” Contest details are available at okanagan.bc.ca/drupal.

“The Drupal Web Developer certificate will give students the knowledge, practice and experience to find great jobs and careers in the Okanagan,” says Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “This exciting Okanagan College and industry partnership has resulted in a program that will provide companies with highly qualified and work-ready graduates.”

Taught by industry experts, this 240-hour certificate will be offered at the Okanagan Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna Mondays through Thursdays from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Students applying for the Drupal Web Developer certificate are financial aid and student loan eligible.

For more information visit okanagan.bc.ca/drupal or call 1-888-638-0058 to learn more about qualifying for this certificate. You can also find out more by visiting Okanagan College’s Career Fair on Nov. 5 at the Kelowna campus – Acro Media and College representatives will be on hand to answer questions.

 

Generosity continues to flow for College’s Trades Complex
Okanagan College Media Release

Bartle & Gibson Donation Nov 2017A leading Western Canada company is giving a surge to trades students at Okanagan College.

Bartle & Gibson Co. Ltd. is contributing $37,500 to the Bright Horizons - Building for Skills fundraising campaign for the new trades complex on the Kelowna campus.

The Canadian-owned plumbing, heating and electrical products distributor announced the gift at the grand opening of their new location in West Kelowna on Nov. 3. Bartle & Gibson President Robert Whitty was in town to present the cheque to Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“Bartle & Gibson is proud to make an investment in the training and education of the industry’s future electricians and plumbers,” says Whitty.

The company’s contribution to the $35-million trades complex, which officially opened in Sept. 2016, is two-fold. A cash donation will support the tool room that serves the Electrician program’s three labs. The company has also pledged an in-kind donation to provide products, tools and equipment to electrical and plumbing and piping trades students.  

Launched in 2006, the College’s Electrician program is the most popular trades program in terms of enrolment, with approximately 700 full-time equivalent foundation and apprenticeship students per year, with training at all four campuses and through a partnership at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt.

“We are very grateful for this generous gift to our students, programs and facility,” explains Moores. “When a well-respected company like Bartle & Gibson makes the choice to invest in skills training, it instills confidence in our students knowing the industry supports their educational choices.”

Founded in 1944, Bartle & Gibson originally launched with stores in Vancouver and Victoria and has expanded to 30 branches. Their first Okanagan store opened in West Kelowna in 1997, followed by a Kelowna location in 2006. After more than 20 years in the region, their highly-anticipated new space combines the two branches into a single 35,000 square-foot building located at Hwy. 97 and Stevens Rd.

“Our customers, manufacturers and employees have helped us grow our footprint in the Okanagan,” adds Whitty. “Investing in the region is our way of thanking them and showing our commitment to the region today and well into the future through our partnership with the College.”  

 

The 8th Annual 3-Hour Short Story Contest returns
Okanagan College Media Release

To write, or not to write? That is the question Okanagan College students and Grade 11 and 12 secondary students across the valley will be asking themselves in anticipation of the 8th Annual 3-Hour Short Story Contest. Sean Johnston Nov 2017

Students will be spinning stories, telling tales and mastering metaphors in a timed short story writing contest on Nov. 18, presented by Okanagan College’s English department. Participants will be challenged to go out of their comfort zone to write and edit an original story in just three hours.

“The pressure of this contest is energizing and liberating for writers of all levels,” says Dr. Sean Johnston, contest organizer and English professor at the College. “It forces a writer to be free and uninhibited and quite often they produce surprising results that show them a way forward in their artistic development.”

Pitted against the clock, students will also be required to weave a mystery phrase into their story, revealed at the start of the contest. Participants in previous years were required to incorporate phrases such as “under the weather,” “downy mustache” and “soggy bread” into their story.

Writers will be competing for glory and prize money towards tuition. A judging panel, made up from the College’s English department, will review stories and select four regional winners. Each winner will receive a $250 tuition credit and an overall grand prize winner will take home an additional $250 tuition credit and have their story published in a limited fine-press edition by the Kalamalka Press.

“What we hope to see in the stories is something human and startling, something that makes us see a bit of our world in a new way,” says Johnston. “Each year it is astonishing to see the scope of creativity and talent in such a short amount of time.”

Registration is open until midnight on Friday, Nov. 17. The contest is free to enter and takes place from 1 – 4 p.m. at Okanagan College campuses in Salmon Arm, Penticton and Vernon. The Kelowna contest will be held at KSS. For more details, complete contest rules and registration, please visit okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting

 


Okanagan College deans educate on approaching digital revolution
Okanagan College Media Release

Two Okanagan College deans are combining their perspectives on preparing for the digital revolution at the upcoming Kelowna Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Bill Gillett Nov 2017Bill Gillett, the College’s new Dean of the Okanagan School of Business will present the keynote address to a chamber audience on Friday, Nov. 3, giving the community a glimpse of technologies to come and how to prepare for success.

“Change is afoot in the digital industry and all aspects of businesses, from human resources to operations, will be impacted,” says Gillett. “Students and businesses will need to prepare for a future where billions of people are connected with massive processing powers and have an even broader access to knowledge than they already do.”

Gillett will be joined by Phil Ashman, the College’s new Central Okanagan Regional Dean, who sees the disruptive shifts in today’s world akin to the industrial revolution.Phil Ashman Nov 2017

“More than 20,000 students attend the College each year and many graduates are hired by regional employers and local businesses,” says Ashman. “We are actively planning how we are going to meet the challenge of educating students with the skills and knowledge required in this increasingly digital age.”

The Preparing for Digital Revolution luncheon event quickly sold out and there is now a waiting list for tickets.

“We’re not surprised this event sold out so quickly, as many businesses in our organization are coming to grips with the reality of the emerging digital change,” says Dan Rogers, Executive Director of Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. “Okanagan College injects large numbers of qualified workers into the community and businesses are eager to hear how they’re going to address digitization.”

Those interested in attending can register to be added to the waitlist at kelownachamber.org.

 


College opens its doors to showcase high flying options at Career Fair
Okanagan College Media Release

A global shortage of commercial pilots, which made headlines in Kelowna earlier this month after local flights were cancelled, has created an even more urgent need for industry professionals to spread awareness of the opportunities that exist in aviation.

Southern Interior Flight Centre (SIFC) will be doing just that as one of more than 50 employers showcasing careers and educational pathways at Okanagan College’s Career Fair on Sunday, Nov. 5.OC Flight Simulator

Representatives from Southern Interior Flight Centre, Okanagan College's long term aviation training partner, will be at the College’s Kelowna campus all day on Sunday to spread their passion for aviation with would-be pilots.

“The need for commercial pilots has reached an unprecedented level—not just nationally, but globally,” says Marc Vanderaegen, Flight School Director. “We’ve been training pilots through the Okanagan College Commercial Aviation diploma program for more than 27 years and have certainly seen ebbs and flows but we have never witnessed a need as great as the demand that exists right now.”

Students who take the commercial aviation program, which is a partnership between SIFC and Okanagan College, earn a Transport Canada licence, making them highly sought-after around the world.

“There are far fewer barriers to becoming a commercial pilot these days,” says Vanderaegen. “A student who enters the program can reach a major airline as a junior first officer immediately after graduation, through various industry partnerships, a pathway which used to take closer to a decade in the previous labour market. There are also opportunities for students to access financial and employment awards which makes taking the training much more achievable.”

Vanderaegen encourages anyone who has an interest in pursuing a career in aviation to attend Career Fair on Sunday. The College’s campus facilities will be open, including the program’s flight simulator.

“Our staff will be at Career Fair and can answer questions, provide advice, and even help people make their first big landing in the flight simulator,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to find out whether or not the program is a fit.”