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An Okanagan College student’s class project is turning out to be a valuable resource for B.C.’s estheticians and spa owners.
“She was just amazing and her manual went far beyond what we initially expected,” says Stewart. “Faye and I will be presenting the manual at our convention in February in Vancouver and will be giving all the members an electronic copy.”
That convention draws about 5,000 people.
Hughes was able to draw on her own working experience as she prepared the manual: before returning to school at Okanagan College, she was certified as a hairstylist and worked in the industry for a year and a half.
“When I saw this on the list of potential projects we could undertake as part of our course, I thought immediately ‘this was tailor-made for me.’”
And from Stewart’s description of how the project bloomed under Hughes’ efforts, it was destiny at work. “She trained as a hairstylist, she worked in a spa, she knows the industry. Faye really went above and beyond. The scope and depth of material covered in her manual was beyond what we had initially envisioned.”
“Amazing” is a word that Stewart uses frequently in the conversation about the project. “She is a young woman who takes initiative, communicates well, uses technology to bridge a broad geography and connect with a diverse board.”
The manual is focused on helping the owners of small- and medium-sized businesses understand and implement good human resources practices, explains Stewart. Already, there is interest from a college in the Lower Mainland to use the manual in its esthetician training program. And Leading Spas of Canada – the national organization of spa owners – is reviewing it for distribution as well, reports Stewart.
For Hughes, the project is memorable for a whole host of reasons. It was satisfying to work with a professional organization with well-defined needs and being able to address those, she reports. But more than that “it was incredible how everything I’ve learned over the past four years in business at Okanagan College in human resources and other courses came into play with my experience on this.”
“Each year there are several of these success stories coming out of our student projects,” explains OC Business Administration Professor Dr. Kyleen Myrah. “Since we started offering this course in 2007, students have completed more than 200 projects with approximately 125 different organizations. It’s testament to the outreach of our program, but more than that, it is a testament to the quality of our students and what they are able to achieve as a consequence of their education.”
Hughes is set to graduate in June with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
Mentors give back to the College in a big way
Inspired by their experience mentoring trades students nearly a decade ago, two long-time Okanagan College donors have come forward with a major gift to support the training of the Valley’s future carpenters.
Jim and Yvonne Lamb, owners of Vintage Design Ltd., recently donated $32,000 to assist the College with renovations to the carpentry shop at the Kelowna campus.
“I didn’t get here by myself,” says Jim Lamb. “I was able to learn my trade and build a business because people supported me and helped me learn along the way. And now I’m a firm believer that we need to invest in the next generation and ensure they know how to build it right the first time.”
Lamb has been helping students get hands-on training at the College since 2007, when he invited classes from the Residential Construction program to work alongside experienced tradespeople in the construction of two “Home for Learning” projects in the Village of Kettle Valley.
Students in the program worked under the supervision of their instructors and were mentored by Lamb, who served as the general contractor for the projects. Once the homes were complete, they were sold and the proceeds – more than $225,000 – were donated to the College and the Village of Kettle Valley to create awards for students entering the building trades.
Over the past decade, the Vintage Design fund has provided $17,400 in tuition credits to 10 students starting the Residential Construction, Plumbing, and Electrician programs.
“We are very grateful to Jim and Yvonne Lamb for their long-time support of students over the years and now for this generous donation toward the new carpentry shop,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at Okanagan College.
“In addition to the financial support, the time and knowledge they have invested as mentors through the Home for Learning projects are deeply appreciated.”
When the Lambs learned that the College was seeking support to upgrade its decades-old carpentry shop, they decided to roll the remainder of their award fund, more than $30,000, into a one-time gift that could have a big impact.
“Supporting higher education is so important in general but particularly in this industry, says Yvonne Lamb. “We hope this gift will remind and inspire others to keep passing on their knowledge and support to tradespeople-in-training.”
The College is currently upgrading several existing shops at the Kelowna campus to match the same goals for sustainability as the new Trades Training Complex going up along KLO Road, which is being built to achieve LEED Platinum standards, net-zero energy usage, and carbon neutrality. Updated Welding and Heavy Duty Mechanical shops are already in operation.
When doors open next spring, the new complex will provide room for more than 2,600 students to train each year—including approximately 260 FTE (full-time equivalent) Carpentry apprentices and foundation (pre-apprenticeship) students.
Local homebuilders and developers have shown strong support for the $7-million fundraising campaign. More than $435,000 has been committed from the construction sector, including donations of $100,000 from Wilden, more than $62,400 from Village of Kettle Valley, $50,000 from Team Construction Management Ltd., $10,000 from the Canadian Homebuilders Association – Okanagan, and others.
“It’s a great time to get into this trade and an important time for employers to support education so that we have a skilled work force going forward,” says Jim Lamb.
Demand for carpenters is expected to remain strong in the Okanagan in coming years. The province projects job openings for 2,346 carpenters in the region, placing the occupation at the top of the trades sector in terms of job openings, followed by Red Seal cooks, automotive service technicians, and electricians.
More information about the College’s new Trades Training Complex project and opportunities to support students is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.
Okanagan College News Release - Dec. 24, 2016
New OC Board Chair has strong resume
The incoming Chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has a distinguished history of leading educational organizations.
Connie Denesiuk, of Summerland, will assume responsibilities of the Chair on Jan. 1, following in the footsteps of Tom Styffe, who finishes six years of service on the Board (three as Board Chair).
Denesiuk will be joined on the executive by Doug Manning as Vice-Chair. (Manning has served on the Board since 2010.)
Denesiuk joined the College Board in 2012. Previously, she was Chair of the Okanagan Skaha School District for nine of the 19 years she served as a school trustee. She also served for three years as President of the B.C. School Trustees Association and a director of the Canada School Board Association. She is also the former chair of the Trail of the Okanagans
“Over the past decade, Okanagan College has become an incredible success story in the province and has earned national attention for its achievements,” notes Denesiuk. “There are incredible opportunities as we move forward, and I’m pleased to be picking up where Tom (Styffe, outgoing Board Chair) leaves us.”
“I have seen first-hand the contribution Okanagan College makes to the region, in terms of transforming lives and communities and I know that is going to continue and intensify in the years ahead. I’m also excited to be stepping into the role at a time when we have just adopted and are about to implement a new strategic plan.”
She and husband Bob have been partners in a Summerland-based construction business for the past 30 years.
“Connie’s extensive experience in leading boards and working at the provincial and federal level on behalf of education will serve Okanagan College and the post-secondary sector well,” notes Styffe. “I wrap up my tenure knowing that the Board has strong leadership and a tremendous membership.”
“Each year it is astonishing the scope of creativity and talent we see these budding authors showcase in such a short amount of time,” says Okanagan College English professor, contest judge and organizer Dr. Sean Johnston. “The outlook for the already thriving writers’ community in the valley looks very promising based on all the entries we read.”
In addition to Johnston, College Professors and authors Corinna Chong, Francie Greenslade, Jeremy Beaulne, Steve Weber, Dr. Shona Harrison, Jeremy Lanaway, and Hannah Calder judged the contest. All entries were anonymous, allowing the judging panel to review each story indiscriminately.
The winning stories can be read online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting.
Regional winners’ quotes and profiles:
Grade 11 King’s Christian School student Amy Nicholson is currently working on a medieval time-set novel in her spare time and credits it as an inspiration for her short story. “The Legend of Mr. Mustache” is a hero’s tale with elves, goblins and magic centered on a grandfather’s prophecy about a man with a downy mustache.
“It seemed like a difficult task, writing an entire story in three hours, but I wanted to stretch myself and give it a try,” said Nicholson. “I’ve been wondering whether to pursue writing as more than a hobby, and I think winning this helped confirm that there is something to pursue.”
Originally from South Africa, 57-year-old Marina Meyer who is studying Arts at the Penticton campus of the College says writing has always been a passion and she hopes to teach English as a second language throughout Africa after completing her studies. Her short story “Mother” is a melancholy narrative about two siblings, one a member of the South African military, who are juxtaposed in terms of the relationships they each have with their mother, and each other.
“Most of the time, the mere act of writing inspires me to write. Many of my stories are musings,” said Meyer. “For me, winning this contest means that some of my tuition is going to be paid because I spent three hours doing something I adore. What could be better than that?”