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Records 1 to 4 of 17
Pride and Prejudice and dinner at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only thing more fun than a Jane Austen work adapted for the stage is a Jane Austen work adapted for the stage that also includes fine dining.

Such is the message that Okanagan College’s own theatre troupe, the Red Dot Players, have for audiences this spring as they present Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice. The play will run for three evenings, from March 14-16 (curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m.) along with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.Red Dot Players Feb 2019

Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at kelownatickets.com or at the door.

Pride and Prejudice marks the tenth production for the Red Dot Players, founded in 2011. To celebrate the milestone, the troupe has decided to bring something special to the table: dinner theatre.

On Thursday, March 14 and Friday, March 15 attendees can combine a performance of Pride and Prejudice with a gourmet meal at Infusions Restaurant on the Kelowna campus, which is located just steps from the theatre. The meal will consist of a set appetizer, a choice of three main courses (including a vegetarian option), and a dessert. Seating for dinner will be at 5:30 p.m., giving diners plenty of time to savour their meal and anticipate the performance at 7:30.

The play’s Director, Jeremy Beaulne, who is also a professor in the English Department at OC, is excited to bring Hamill’s fun and fast-paced adaption to audiences in the Okanagan – with that treat for foodies thrown in.

“It’s going to be such a fun show. Kate Hamill – who is a young playwright from New York – really captures the spirit of Jane Austen’s novel and presents it in such an exciting and engaging way. There’s great comedic characters and a wonderful emotional arc. It’s fast-paced, it’s energetic, and overall, it’s just going to be a really enjoyable experience for the audience, I believe,” says Beaulne.

“And to make it all the more fun for audiences we’re doing something we’ve never done before in the dinner theatre offerings. So on top of great performances, beautiful costumes and some very impressive vintage furniture and set pieces – courtesy of Lois Lane in Kelowna – audience members can enjoy a great meal at Infusions before they take their seats.”

Tickets for dinner theatre are $50 for adults and $47 for students and seniors. Seating is limited so dinner theatre tickets are only available until March 10.

More information about the play, and the Red Dot Players, is available at
www.reddotplayers.com.

 

OC and UBC Okanagan researchers explore how to better support migrant workers in B.C.
Okanagan College Media Release

From urban farms to rural orchards and countless settings in between, a team of UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College researchers have spent three years and hundreds of hours speaking with migrant workers and their families about the challenges they face.

Dr. Susan Caxaj UBCO Feb 2019The project recently received a $147,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation to ensure their work can continue to bear fruit in raising awareness, and bringing positive change for some of B.C.’s most vulnerable workers.

Led by Susana Caxaj, assistant professor in the school of nursing at UBC’s Okanagan campus and Amy Cohen, professor of anthropology based out of Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, the project will use the new funding to delve further into the unique and evolving struggles faced by workers.

“Migrant agricultural workers in B.C. face complex challenges that impact their health and wellbeing. Workers may face precarious legal status, coercive workplace conditions, substandard housing, and health care access barriers. These things all ultimately impact their quality of life,” notes Caxaj. “Researchers across the country have documented some of these challenges. Yet we need to spend more time actually developing solutions on-the-ground that can address workers’ vulnerabilities and improve their access to justice.”

Caxaj adds that the grant will allow the team to test a multi-year social support model based on the guidance of migrant agricultural workers. She also expects to be able to coordinate the efforts of community organizations with those of researchers with expertise in healthcare, law, and advocacy.
Amy Cohen Research Feb 2019
The project will build on more than three years of research already undertaken.

Caxaj and Cohen – along with a team of research assistants from both institutions – have been working together since 2016. That year, their project, entitled The Public Life of Temporary Migrant Agricultural Workers: The Role of Social Support Systems, Policies and Practices, was sparked by an Insight Development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

“We set out to better understand and shed light on the challenges faced by workers and by organizations in our communities that are trying to help,” explains Cohen. “We also looked at the gaps that exist in the support systems and polices that allow this very far-reaching systemic social justice issue to persist.”

“We’ve taken a participatory action approach, meaning that it was critical to us that all the stakeholders – from the workers as well as the agencies that can support workers – were all involved at every step.”

One of the most positive aspects of the project so far, notes Cohen, is the way in which it has fostered communication among those stakeholders.

Amy Cohen in the orchardLast spring, the research team conducted workshops that saw participation by workers, health authorities, non-profit organizations and a host of agencies like the B.C. Federation of Labour, KCR – Community Resources, Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA), Sanctuary Health, Migrant Workers Centre and immigrant services agencies.

The next phase will help bring even more voices into the conversation, as Caxaj and Cohen continue to reach out to and engage more migrant workers, service providers and support groups.

It is estimated that there is now 70,000 people working under the Temporary Foreign Worker program in B.C, more than 7,570 of those in agricultural occupations labouring under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

“This research will help build local capacity to support migrant agricultural workers in the Okanagan, and the insights we gain will hopefully guide policy and practice far beyond the region and across the province,” adds Cohen.

“These workers play an important role in our economy and we see it as our responsibility to ensure they have equal access to rights and protections. Research like this has the potential to change the lives of people in our communities for the better. We’re grateful to the Vancouver Foundation, and to UBC and the College, and our community partners for supporting that aim.”

 

OC Board re-elects Chair, Vice Chair
Okanagan College Media Release

Chris Derickson Feb 2019Two prominent First Nations leaders have been reelected to their positions as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors.

Chris Derickson, a councillor with the Westbank First Nation and a five-year veteran of the Board, was elected at the Board’s January meeting as chair. Gloria Morgan, a former Chief of the Splatsin Indian Band and an Enderby resident, was elected as vice chair.

Derickson is a partner in Alderhill Planning Inc., which works with government and First Nations communities
and lectures at the Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business and is on faculty with the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona. He has served on the Westbank First Nation Council since 2012. He was named one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 individuals in 2017.Gloria Morgan Feb 2019

Morgan
was a Chief of the Splatsin Indian Band from 2001 to 2005 and has been an RCMP officer, a general practice lawyer as well as a Crown Prosecutor. She was the President of the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce, and member of the RCMP's E Division Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and served on the board of the Provincial Community Co-ordination for Women's Safety. In November, she was appointed to the board of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT).

Morgan has been on the Board of Governors since 2016.

She was the recipient of the Community Leader Awards - Community Builder award 2016, North Okanagan.

Other members of the Okanagan College Board of Governors are Shelley Cook, Juliette Cunningham, Blake Edwards, Charity Gerbrandt, Tina Lee, Robert McGowan, Christopher Newitt, David Porteous, Devin Rubadeau, Shakti Shekhar Singh and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

 

OC and AO power up new lunch and learn series
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College and Accelerate Okanagan are joining forces to launch a series of free lunch and learn workshops starting this month. Topics run the gamut from how to relieve stress to ways to improve communication in the tech workplace to shifting workplace rules and culture around the legalization of cannabis.

“Ongoing learning plays such an important role in fostering community and the growth of talent,” says Alex Goodhew, Accelerate Okanagan’s Community Manager. “Our long-time partnership with the College comes from our shared passion for supporting entrepreneurs, building talent and supporting economic growth and this series is a chance for us to create even more opportunity for growth and connection.”

Geared towards entrepreneurs, members of the business community and anyone interested in building a new skill set, these sessions are intended to share knowledge on timely and relevant topics and build connections.

“We’re constantly looking for new ways to share knowledge and spark dialogue within community businesses and organizations in the Okanagan, and so co-hosting with Accelerate Okanagan – which does so much to foster growth in the tech sector in the region – and using their fantastic space downtown made great sense for this series,” explains Dennis Silvestrone, the College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “We look forward to some thought-provoking discussions that hopefully will be very valuable for those who attend.”

The free workshops will take place at noon on the last Thursday of the month from February to April at Accelerate Okanagan’s office, located at the Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna. Participants should bring their own lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided.

For more information about the seminars and to register, click on the Eventbrite links below.

Feb 28: Stress Less at Work
Slow down: let go. Feel renewed and empowered with this stress management workshop, where you will learn techniques that will help you let go of your tension and focus better on your work.
https://stresslessatwork.eventbrite.ca

March 28: Cannabis in the Workplace
Explore the impact of this cultural shift in the workplace. How have things changed? What are some of your rights as an employee? Find out during this short and informative workshop.
https://cannabisintheworkplace.eventbrite.ca

April 25: Communication in Tech
There are some particular challenges in the Tech workplace. You can only control you. What can you do to react better to those challenges? We can help you with that.
https://communicationintech.eventbrite.ca

 

A tale of tree planters and taping – why Colleges matter

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 has been proclaimed B.C. Colleges Day by the provincial government. Below is a letter from Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton on the important role colleges play in our society, and on some of the unique ways in which OC continues to transform lives and communities. Read more about BC Colleges Day in the media release from the province.

 bc colleges day banner

Across Canada, there are hundreds of tree planters who have reason to be thankful for Okanagan College and the research of one of its therapy assistant program professors, Darrel Skinner.

And while the tree-planters might not know – and may not even care about such things – today (Feb. 26) is B.C. Colleges Day, proclaimed by the provincial government and celebrated in Victoria at the Legislature.

Where does tree-planting intersect with provincial proclamations? At the point where Colleges contribute to the economic, cultural and social fabric of this province and country.

Darrell’s story is a great example of how Okanagan Colleges and the other Colleges of Canada contribute in ways that might go generally unrecognized.tree planting cm

In summer 2017, Darrell – aware of the many injuries (especially tendonitis) suffered by tree planters - undertook research (funded by Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, one of the three major research granting councils in this country) that looked at what could be done to prevent or treat those injuries.

The outcomes were positive, although tree-planting business owners have used much more enthusiastic descriptors: “revolutionized injury management” and “game-changing” are two of the phrases that we’ve heard.

To put Darrell’s applied research in a nutshell, the taping techniques he developed, with a partner firm in Houston, British Columbia, and a tree planting company in Smithers, have reduced initial injuries among planters, shortened the recovery time of those who are injured, and have yielded increased income for planters, and improved productivity for businesses.

The initial research grant was $23,000.

Darrell is surprised by how far and fast the research outcomes have pervaded the industry and how quickly firms across Canada have picked up on the techniques. One of Canada’s largest treeplanting firms made the taping mandatory for first- and second-year treeplanters.

Darrell’s story is not unique.

The record of the School of Business, its professors and students contributing to significant community projects extends throughout the Okanagan and Shuswap valleys. Witness the recent Economic Scorecard developed for Kelowna – Dr. Heather Banham, a retired OC Dean of Business, and Dr. Lynn Sparling, the current chair of OC’s Business Administration department, were engines helping drive development of that tool.

Whether it is in teaching budgeting and financial literacy to thousands of elementary students or helping launch entrepreneurial efforts in the Shuswap, the records of achievement and accomplishment are pervasive.

The same is true of our Trades and Apprenticeship department, whether it is OC’s leading-edge Women in Trades program, support for building social housing, helping companies such as KF Aerospace meet their need for skilled workers, or engaging in research projects that demonstrate the value of the latest green building techniques and materials.

Cultural contributions abound, whether it is nationally-recognized novels written by our English professors or plays produced by the College’s Red Dot Players.

The list goes on and on, and changes from year to year. It is a continuum of contributions that dates to 1963 when the federal and provincial governments established OC’s predecessor, the British Columbia Vocational School.

Okanagan College is bigger than ever today, serving more local students with more programs and bringing more people from outside our region to our campuses and centres to learn and contribute to our economy and culture.

Our staff and our students are engaged in building our communities in ways that are impossible to track but are worth noting when they come to our attention.

Ask the treeplanters and their employers.

And take a minute today to celebrate B.C. Colleges Day.

- Jim Hamilton
President, Okanagan College

 

Olympic athletes, sports mentors gear up to inspire girls at Penticton campus
Okanagan College Media Release

The need for speed should not be defined by gender.

Approximately 100 girls between eight and 13 years will be descending on the Penticton campus of Okanagan College on March 10 to take part in Fast and Female, a free event celebrating female participation in sport and exercise.

“Our goal is for these girls to see that participating in sport and physical activity helps lead to greater confidence and life-long joy,” says Laura Harp, President of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association (PACA) that is sponsoring the event.

Fast and Female began in 2005 by Chandra Crawford, a ski racer from Canmore, Alta., who was inspired by Emily, a girl she babysat. During a conversation between the pair, Emily indicated she wasn’t happy being a girl, because girls didn’t get to do fun things like skateboarding and, instead, have to worry about their appearance all the time.Kikkan Randall

Crawford teamed up with four-time Olympic athlete and fellow skier Kikkan Randall, to form Fast and Female, which holds activities across Canada and the United States designed to connect girls with female mentors in sport, and have fun. More than 50 events are held in North America each year with ambassadors from 25 different sports, and to date, the non-profit has reached more than 3,000 girls up to 18 years old.

“We are so excited to bring a Fast and Female Champ Chat to Penticton. As a 12-year veteran of Fast and Female, I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact we can have on the girls in our community by introducing them to different sports activities and, most importantly, connecting them with their female athlete heroes,” Randall says. “We know that every girl will benefit from her participation in sports and we want to empower every girl to stay involved in sports for life. I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of the great facilities and expertise at Okanagan College to host this first Penticton event.”

Okanagan College Human Kinetics professor Louise Blais says a visit by Randall to her sports psychology class last fall sparked the idea of bringing the College’s human kinetics curriculum to the community, by connecting female students with the Olympian, local leaders and sports mentors.

“What we teach in human kinetics is about physical activity and health, and a lot of our courses recognize gender differences in these activities,” Blais explains, adding that studies have shown participation numbers of teenage girls in sports decline at a rate six times that of boys at the same age. “Coaches, teachers and other athletes have the opportunity to have an effect on those participation numbers. As they coach females, our goal is that our students will learn the value of life-long exercise for themselves but also other females in their lives."

Invites have gone out to school district staff to encourage registrations, and girls who are in leadership roles or those who perhaps are at-risk of leaving sport are being encouraged to take part.

The day will feature students divided into five groups, which will circulate through a variety of stations designed to showcase the fun of sports: dance, yoga, strength, roller skis and discussions with sports experts, local leaders and high-performance athletes like Randall and Ashley Wiles, three-time Ironman triathlete and founder of Sole Girls.

“Our mission is not to create Olympic athletes out of them, but encourage them to stay in sports and continue with physical activity,” Blais explains.

For information about Fast and Female, check out the non-profit’s website at www.fastandfemale.com.

 

Spaghetti bridge contest support continues to grow – Faction-ally
Okanagan College Media Release

Spaghetti Bridge 2018A new supporter has come aboard for Okanagan College’s 36
th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest.

Faction Projects Inc. is title sponsor for Okanagan College’s Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest in 2019. The company joins a host of other businesses and organizations that have stepped up to support the original, oldest, and best-known spaghetti bridge building competition in the world. There are other spaghetti bridge competitions: at last count approximately 34 globally, stretching from Buenos Aires to Budapest.

“This event looks like it’s about fun with pasta, but it’s so much more than that,” says Tim McLennan, Director of Design and Operations at Faction Projects. “It is a great way to introduce hundreds of students annually to the interplay between materials, physics and engineering. We need to invest in and support ways to interest the next generation of builders and doers in arts, science, technology, engineering and math – and if the mediums in use are pasta, glue and imagination, that works.”

“As an architect,” says McLennan, “I’ve been amazed over the years at how well some of the bridges have performed, but even more important to me is seeing the number of elementary, middle and high school students who participate. My son should take notes!”

The record at the OC Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest in the heavyweight competition was set a decade ago (2009) by two competitors from Hungary, Norbert Pozsonyi and Aliz Totivan of the Szechenyi Istvan University of Gyor: their bridge, weighing 982 grams, held 443.58 kilograms (975.88 pounds) before shattering. (The first Spaghetti Bridge competition was held in 1983 – the first heavyweight competition was held in 1988. By then, the College was describing itself as the “cradle of Spaghetti Bridge”).

The Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest runs March 1, at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus – the Heavyweight competition is expected to start around noon in the theatre. The team building competition starts at 9:30 a.m. and elementary school demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. The lightweight competition commences at about 10:30 a.m.

This year, 11 teams or individuals have registered for the heavyweight competition. Rules are strict and posted online. Heavyweight competitors have a chance at prizes that begin with a $1,500-cash prize for first place. It is open to college, university, and K-12 students Grade 7 and higher.

Other sponsors for the Spaghetti Bridge contest include the Applied Science, Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia, PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. the Okanagan College Students’ Union, Multi-Power Products, CTQ Consultants, Interior Testing Services and OPM (Okanagan Precision Machine).

 

MQN sets foundation for next generation of tradespeople
Okanagan College Media Release

For students stepping into trades training at Okanagan College, several new bursaries established by MQN Architecture and Interior Design will help provide a solid foundation.MQN Award Feb 2019

The MQN Architecture and Interior Design Awards for Vernon Trades will provide two annual $750 bursaries for any student entering a trades foundation program. A $1,000 bursary will be awarded annually to a woman entering a trades foundation program.

“We believe in mentoring and teaching the next generation of designers and trades people. When looking at how we could do more, we decided providing financial support was the missing piece,” says Dora Anderson, a partner at MQN. “Had we not been given a hand up or support when starting out in our careers, who knows, we may not be here today.”

MQN is one of the largest architectural firms in the B.C. interior, based in Vernon. The firm has a long history of working with the College, having been the architect for its Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus. Most recently, MQN was the architect for the College’s new Trades Training Centre in Vernon.

Anderson says their firm sees first-hand the need for more skilled trades people in the Okanagan, making the opportunity to work on the Vernon Trades Centre a special contribution to their community.

“For students to see that they can get trained and stay home and support their community is pretty exciting,” she says.

Anderson adds that creating a women in trades bursary was particularly significant for her and other female staff at MQN. When MQN started it was all male partners. Today the firm is managed by two male and two female partners.

“It’s a huge honour to give a hand up to another woman who aspires to push ahead in a field that is typically a male-dominated environment,” says Anderson. “With this bursary, we want women to know that there is a place for you in this industry and a place for you to excel.”

Samantha Cook, 24, from Enderby is the first female recipient of the MQN Architecture and Interior Design Award. She is currently enrolled in the Carpenter Foundation program. She says her goal is to help find solutions to the housing crisis affecting some Indigenous communities that lack infrastructure, or where aging buildings may contain mould and provide poor living conditions.

“I am so grateful to accept this award. This will help me focus on my studies right now, but it will also help my community after I graduate,” says Cook.

“We are thankful to MQN for their generous gift, which will support students and increase access to trades training in the North Okanagan,” says Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College President.

“Not only do we have a have leading-edge trades training facility in Vernon but a community of businesses and individuals who are investing in students’ futures.”

As a result of the recent fundraising campaign for the new Vernon Trades Training Centre, there is more than $200,000 available for student awards, bursaries and program support for students entering the trades at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus.

The Trades Training Centre was recently recognized with an Award of Excellence for Best Institutional Project at the Thompson Okanagan Kootenay Commercial Building Awards.

 

College to launch Indigenous-knowledge infused professional cook training
Okanagan College Media Release

OC CulinaryOkanagan College is turning to Indigenous knowledge keepers, chefs and foragers to help incorporate traditional knowledge and practices into an intake of its professional cook training program this spring – and any interested future chefs can step into the College’s kitchen this week to learn more and have their questions answered.

The Culinary and Pastry Arts department will host an info session about the pilot program on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. in Infusions Restaurant. Advance registration is not necessary.

Attendees will have a chance to hear from OC’s Culinary Manager Chef Vincent Stufano and staff from the College’s Aboriginal Services department about what they can expect in the program.

“We’re taking the industry-proven professional cook training that we are known for at OC and building on it in a way we feel will be very meaningful and valuable for students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” notes Stufano. “Our chef instructors are excited and proud to be working with some chefs and knowledge keepers to infuse Indigenous culinary techniques and ingredients into the curriculum in this way. We think it’s going to make for a very rewarding experience for students.”

The program is 50 weeks in length and fires up on March 25. Students will train in the College’s teaching kitchens and labs at the Kelowna campus.

The pilot program – a first for OC’s Culinary Arts Certificate program – is a partnership between the College, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) BC and Okanagan Training and Development Council.

Andrew George, an Apprenticeship Advisor with the ITA and a Red Seal Chef, is one of those working with the College to create a rewarding training experience for students. George is a Hereditary Wing Chief for the Bear Clan in the traditional system of the Wet’suwet’en people. He is dedicated to helping Aboriginal youth access the tools they need to start successful culinary careers.

“Programs and collaborations like these are needed as they help bring Indigenous foods to the forefront. That in turn fosters understanding and respect, while showcasing the health benefits of Indigenous foods, and incorporating elements of history and important topics like food security,” says George.

“We’ve worked with bands across the region before to provide tailored culinary training to their members, but this is a little different,” notes Jonathan Rouse, the College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “This is an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to train together and engage with this unique program. The Okanagan is home to some truly remarkable Indigenous chefs, winemakers and other culinary artists, juxtaposed with a diversity of local ingredients, and so we hope to be able to continue to infuse more and more Indigenous perspectives into our food, wine and tourism training at the College.”

“The addition of Indigenous content into this program builds on one of the College’s Key Directions, which is working with and learning from the Indigenous Community,” explains Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Manager for OC. “It’s also part of an even bigger, ongoing conversation and effort as the College continues to make strides to toward Indigenization. It’s about looking at how Indigenous knowledge can be interwoven into every aspect of what we do and how we serve students.”

As Stufano points out, Culinary Arts is a natural place for the intersection of knowledge and perspectives.
 

“Cooking is all about sharing ways of knowing and ways of doing. Every time you add another technique, another piece of knowledge, you’re contributing to your development as a Chef, which in turn hopefully you will pass on to others around you.

“In this instance, it is vitally important to us that we’re working with Indigenous experts to share traditional knowledge in a way that’s appropriate and authentic for all involved – from foraging an ingredient respectfully to the cooking and serving of it.”

“For both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike, this is a great chance to hone their technical skills and expand their knowledge-base as they engage with Indigenous knowledge and techniques in the classroom. It’s going to be an opportunity for dialogue and cultural exchange on multiple levels,” says Isaac.

More information about the College’s Culinary and Pastry Arts programs are available at okanagan.bc.ca/fwt.

 

Okanagan College achieves second LEED Platinum award

When it comes to green, Okanagan College is better than gold.

Okanagan College can now boast of having two of the 14 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Platinum-certified buildings in all of Canada’s post-secondary sector. The College learned this week that its new trades building in Kelowna has been certified by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). It is the second for OC – the first was the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the College’s Penticton campus.kelowna trades frontage 450px

LEED Platinum certification is the highest standard awarded in the rating system which measures green building. The system is in use in more than 160 countries. In order to achieve platinum a building must measure up across an array of factors, from the incorporation of sustainable building materials to water and energy efficiency to human-factor behaviours like recycling programs housed within a building.

“You don’t have to look hard to find advances in sustainability across all the trades, from automotive to welding, so in expanding and re-invigorating our Kelowna trades training facilities, we set out to provide our students and employees with a world-class learning environment that would celebrate them, their chosen career paths and the future of the trades,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Our institution has a reputation as a leader in sustainable building. We are proud of being able to raise the bar in sustainability and wouldn’t have been able to create spaces such as this without the help of forward-thinking builders like PCL (PCL Constructors Westcoast Ltd.), our industry partners, and the incredible community support and donations that made the project possible.”

The provincial government contributed $28 million toward the $35 million, 10,000-square-metre Trades Complex project which involved new construction and extensive upgrades to existing facilities. The new building accounts for about 5,200 square metres of the overall project.

Feedback from the building’s most important critics – students and staff – has also been glowing.

“Students and staff have truly embraced the new building as their home from the moment it opened,” says Steve Moores, the College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “I think it’s safe to say that the sustainability factor has contributed to their sense of pride in the space.”

Moores has also witnessed how the building’s design has inspired industry and other post-secondary institutions.

“We’ve had feedback from many people who have taken tours and asked about how we were able to incorporate certain technologies and sustainability features, and what it meant for the training environment. One of the other benefits of the building is that has already proved itself as a wonderful model for others in terms of what can be achieved.”

 

Residential Insulator program helps keep Vernon SPCA dogs warm

Students at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus are helping Fido stay warm in the winter weather with a donation of insulated doghouses to the local SCPA.vernon dog house web

Five large breed dogs adopted from the Vernon SPCA in the coming days will have the option of receiving one of the doghouses, ensuring they have a warm welcome in their new homes. The doghouses were built and insulated as a part of the hands-on training students are gaining in the Residential Insulator program.

The program, which piloted last year and is now in its second cohort, provides students with specialized training in the increasingly technical building science surrounding residential insulation. Five teams of students each built and insulated a doghouse as a part of their training. 

“We were looking for an alternate project for our program and loved the idea of building and insulating doghouses that would be comfortable for dogs as they are adopted into their new homes,” says instructor Luke Egely. “The students had a chance to bring their creativity to their projects and contribute to the community.”

An SPCA staff member and one of their adoptable dogs, Hawkin, were on-site at the College recently to check out the completed doghouses and meet the students who built them. 

“We are very excited to be able to offer extra care items to people who are adopting a dog. It’s a great incentive for anyone who might not already own all of the supplies they need to provide shelter for an outdoor dog,” says Chelsea Taylor, branch manager of the Vernon and District SPCA. 

The booming insulation industry, coupled with consumer interest in reducing environmental impact, has created a significant need for skilled workers. Okanagan College, in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Work BC, and local industry leaders, developed the 25-week program to help meet industry demand and prepare skilled workers.

The program provides tuition-free training for eligible applicants with funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The program is geared toward helping students develop practical skills and provides safety certifications in the first 15 weeks of classroom instruction. Beginning in mid-April, the current cohort of students will spend 10 weeks in work placements with local employers, providing valuable work-related experience.

“After the pilot program last year, we have added more content to further develop the curriculum,” says Egely. “We’ve created a program that gives students a solid foundation in most of the applications seen in residential insulating and covers a broad range of topics to build the knowledge these students need.”

Anyone interested in adopting an animal can visit the SPCA website for a current listing of animals in care, see photos and read more about them. 
CAN-WorkBC-logo





 

OC Business students scoop podium spot at collegiate case competition

Scotiabank Canadian Case ChallengeOkanagan College business students are boasting bronze after capturing third place from a field of 30 student teams at the Scotiabank Canadian Case Challenge.

The competition, held at Vanier College in Montreal, melds business strategy, marketing and management into one of the most challenging collegiate competitions in the country. The first day, all 30 teams are sequestered in isolation as they wait to be given the business case. Once given the details, students have 3.5 hours to analyze the information given, put together recommendations and build a presentation to deliver to a panel of industry leaders.

“It’s a major competition, the judges are incredible and the entire experience is extremely intense,” explains Blair Baldwin, Okanagan School of Business professor who coached the team alongside Mark Ziebarth.

The students' first case was from a coffee company based on Prince Edward Island that was seeking recommendations that would grow their company, with a specific marketing budget in mind.

Nathan Ziebart, a third-year marketing student on the team, explained the team’s recommendation to expand wholesale distribution to similar clients in other regions was a challenge.

"Coming up with three good alternatives was quite difficult. The analysis was pretty straightforward, but because of the limited budget and being a business-to-business case, there were limited options that we could present,” Ziebart explains.

“In a competition like this we really get to apply all of the skills and knowledge that we learn in class and bring it out it to be tested. It adds a new level to the learning,” said Cooper Simson, a finance student also on the team.

Their approach worked, as the team found out Saturday night that they would advance to the final round on Sunday. That case featured a Calgary-based alternative fitness business specializing in parkour ninja warrior-style training, seeking expansion opportunities that would see them grow market share.

The team suggested changes to their business model to allow memberships and hourly rates for specific drop-in times, in addition to holding an accessible competition tailored to families, youth and non-competitors.

Once the finals were over, Baldwin recalls multiple people praising the OSB contingent’s performance.

“Our team put on a very creative presentation to the judges. So many students, presenters, coaches came up and shook their hands saying, ‘Okanagan School of Business keeps raising the bar,’” he says.

"What stood out for me was the countless hours — over 40 hours in training for five weeks — prior to going to Montreal. Their dedication to learning and representing the Okanagan School of Business was admirable. They knew they were entering a tough competition and wanted to compete at a high level."

"It's opportunities like this that really exemplify why the Okanagan School of Business is such a great place to study, getting to challenge ourselves and hone our abilities,” said Nico Dirksen, who is specializing in accounting.

A harrowing 90 minutes after they presented, the judges announced the winners, and Okanagan College took home the bronze.

“Podium finishes at a case competition of this calibre cannot be achieved without a great deal of preparation and work. I congratulate the students and the faculty for the incredible effort they put in and for representing the College so well,” says Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business.

 

College’s finance curriculum receives international recognition

Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree program has received high marks from the international organization overseeing the investment management profession.gillet and smith - web

The CFA Society Okanagan hosted a special reception event at Manteo Resort recently, where CFA Institute’s CEO Paul Smith recognized the College’s School of Business for its finance specialty programming.

“Okanagan College’s Business program has a long history of producing investment management leaders in the region, many of whom have gone on to achieve their CFA designation. University affiliate status is a strong signal to students and employers of the quality of the curriculum,” says Smith. “We welcome Okanagan College as the newest university affiliate, which is our third in British Columbia.”

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credential is recognized internationally as the standard of certification for investment professionals, and the institute has more than 158,000 members worldwide who promote the highest standards of education, ethics, and professional excellence in the investment profession.

Okanagan College is one of 31 institutions in Canada that are affiliates of the CFA Institute. In addition to added prestige for the School of Business, the new affiliation also brings another benefit for students: scholarships.

Starting this year, up to nine scholarships will be provided to College students who pursue the CFA exams as part of the affiliation, to be administered by the Okanagan School of Business.

“Demonstrating knowledge and skills to prospective employers is valuable for new graduates, and the CFA designation can give those pursuing careers in the financial management industry an edge,” says William Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. “With Okanagan College now part of the CFA affiliate program, our finance students are getting a head-start in the investment management profession.”

 

Gateway program gives students the tools they need to succeed in school and life
Okanagan College Media Release

Desiree Tachit Jan 2019Last year, 19-year-old Desiree Tachit found herself struggling with anxiety, depression and unhealthy coping mechanisms. The idea of applying to or attending college was not something she could fathom at the time. A hands-on experience with tools and training by Okanagan College and Central School changed all that.

Now, a graduate of Gateway – a unique collaborative program designed to connect high school students with the skilled trades – Tachit has applied to not one but two programs at the College, Sheet Metal Worker and Heavy Mechanical Trades. Regardless of which path she ends up pursuing, she’ll have some help along the way. She was recently awarded four scholarships to help pay for her future education.

“This program inspires you to take life by the reins,” says Tachit, adding the program has given her new hope for the future.

Graduates of the Gateway program shared their personal journeys and success stories with the public at a special graduation ceremony at Okanagan College Jan. 25. The innovative program is a partnership between the College and Central School, which typically supports students who have challenges learning in a traditional school environment.

The 10-week course is open to students attending Central School and provides an introduction to various trades offered at Okanagan College. Students have an opportunity to try carpentry, electrical work, sheet metal and culinary arts. But the program is much broader than just an introduction to trades. Gateway focuses on the students' holistic growth and development by supporting youth in attending a wide array of social activities and community events.

“We believe a focus on community building enables the students to be succe
ssful,” explains Rob Law, Central Programs Gateway Coordinator.

“Gateway is about placing students in new experiences, highly supported, and allowing them to struggle, learn and grow.”

The students went canoeing, biking, hiking and read to Grade 3 students. The youth spent several days at Big While (courtesy of Big White) skiing, tubing, skating as well as a spaghetti dinner with firefighters at the Big White Fire Department.

For Clinton McIntyre, 16, who describes himself as someone who typically prefers to stay in his room and play video games, the program helped him make friends and step out of his comfort zone.

Alex Nitsch describes himself as in a slump and often skipping school prior to Gateway. During the program he had an opportunity to spend five days job shadowing on a construction site where he was given an opportunity to operate a rock truck. He loved it. He’s now applied to Heavy Mechanical Trades and hopes to complete a dual credit program, where he finishes his high school credentials at the College while also earning a trade certificate.

“Gateway taught me to just stick things out, and not give up,” says Nitsch.

Now in its eighth year, the Gateway grad ceremony also featured several students from years past who shared their success stories.
Gateway Grad Jan 2019
“I asked to speak today because I wanted to tell everyone how honoured I was to be part of this program,” says Brittany Hill, who describes herself as a troublemaker in high school, resulting in her not graduating with her friends.

“I am now in my Professional Cook Level 2 (at Okanagan College). Culinary has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I am no longer a failure going down my failing path. I am me, being my own person, heading towards a dream I’ve always dreamed of being.”

During the event, the two lead instructors for the program were given mugs with the printed phase ‘I’m a teacher, what’s your super power?’ as well as a heart-felt thank you from the students.

“It was fantastic to see the students build confidence,” says Kelly Brochu, a vocational instructor at Okanagan College who taught this year’s Gateway program.

“With a hands-on approach instead of just using their minds, the students were able to find success where they haven’t found success before. Once they find that success, the sky is the limit.”

The Gateway program runs each year from November to January and is funded by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.

Donors to the Okanagan College Foundation and community donors provided scholarships to support students who want to continue their studies at the College. Scholarships were provided by the Joyce Family Foundation, Dee Capozzi, Dr. Steve and Terry Tuck, Rotary Club of Kelowna and the Gary Bennett Family Fund, as well as other supporters.

 

Making the connection: College offers emerging technology program
Okanagan College Media Release

Ever wondered what health care and real estate have in common? Both are among the countless industries that will be impacted by an emerging technology called blockchain – and a new program at Okanagan College will soon help students tap into the know-how to ride this wave of change into new technology careers and frontiers.

Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department is launching a new certificate program centred on blockchain. It will offer an introduction to how it works, the technology, the networks and platforms it uses, as well as some of the applications that use blockchain technology.

“Blockchain is like a network of highways,” notes Wayne Van Damme, a technology expert and developer of the program, who will also be teaching the first session, which powers up in March.

Bitcoin, the decentralized cryptocurrency, uses blockchain to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions through this network. Currently, bitcoin is one of the only vehicles (applications) that travels on this roadway but others are expected to follow, explains Van Damme.

“This highway has potential to carry much more traffic and many types of vehicles. Right now, we have the opportunity to decide what kind of vehicles we want to design for the roadway,” says Van Damme. “Blockchain gives us a safe way to transfer information and now we can create the concepts that will influence business and social interactions in the years to come.”

The eight-week certificate program will be offered online, so students organize their own study schedules. To bring it to life, Okanagan College enlisted support from industry experts at BlocksEDU Learning Corporation, a Vancouver-based emerging technology education courseware training company. The certificate will explore the details of blockchain technology and open students up a range of possible career and business applications.

“Equipping students with just the right blend of technology theory and industry applications is our goal – that’s what we’re hearing employers calling for,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College.

The certificate program explains blockchain technology and prepares learners to think about the variety of ways this technology could impact their businesses and their lives. Applications are possible within banking and payments, insurance, charity, voting and other government systems, health care and real estate, to name a few. The opportunity to use this technology to establish trackable supply chain management is also being explored by many industries – something that should be of interest to businesses and consumers alike.

“We know blockchain technology is an emerging area of interest, not only for those in the technology industries, but for anyone who is committed to building a skill set that will stay current with the changing technologies that will drive the new economies,” adds Silvestrone. “It’s knowledge that will benefit small business owners too, who are increasingly needing to serve as their own IT department and look after their own security and e-commerce solutions. There are many applications emerging.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the training can drop by an info session on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m., in Room E402 in the Centre for Learning on the Kelowna campus. 

 

Seven Fallen Feathers author and journalist offering two presentations in the Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

Tanya Talaga Feb 2019Award-winning author and journalist Tanya Talaga will delve into hard truths revealed in her critically acclaimed book,
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, during two presentations co-sponsored by Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan.

In 1966, twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack froze to death on the railway tracks after running away from residential school. An inquest was called and four recommendations were made to prevent another tragedy. None of those recommendations were applied; and from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site,” explains Talaga.

Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, Talaga penned
Seven Fallen Feathers to bring light to the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.

“A critical element of reconciliation is uncovering and understanding what has happened. Tanya Talaga’s work sheds light on the past and her presentation creates the opportunity to initiate an important dialogue in the Okanagan. We encourage the community to take part,” says Jane Lister, Okanagan College Regional Dean North Okanagan.

For more than 20 years, Talaga has been a journalist at the Toronto Star, nominated five times for the Michener Award in public service journalism. She was also named the 2017-2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy.

Talaga is of Polish and Indigenous descent. Her great-grandmother, Liz Gauthier, was a residential school survivor. Her great-grandfather, Russell Bowen, was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer. Her grandmother is a member of Fort William First Nation. Her mother was raised in Raith and Graham, Ont. She lives in Toronto with her two teenage children.

“On behalf of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies UBC’s Okanagan campus, I am delighted to partner with our colleagues at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College to sponsor this exciting visit with Tanya Talaga. Her award-winning book,
Seven Fallen Feathers, should be required reading for anyone interested in settler-Canada’s meaningful and respectful engagement with Canada’s Indigenous communities today. We are looking forward to hosting Ms. Talaga and, in particular, I hope she is able to meet with UBC Okanagan’s Indigenous students, staff, and faculty members,” says Bryce Traister, Dean of UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

A portion of each sale of
Seven Fallen Feathers will go to the Dennis Franklin Cromarty Memorial Fund, set up in 1994 to financially assist Nishnawbe Aski Nation students’ studies in Thunder Bay and at post-secondary institutions.

Seven Fallen Feathers
has received national acclaim, winning the RBC Taylor Prize, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and First Nation Communities Read: Young Adult/Adult. The book was also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the BC National Award for Nonfiction, and it was CBC’s Nonfiction Book of the Year, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and a national bestseller.

Presented by Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, Talaga will have two presentations in the region. On Feb. 20, 2019 at 7:30 p.m., Talaga will appear in the Lecture Theatre of Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, 7000 College Way, as part of the Signature Speakers Series. Tickets are available online
 for $15.

On Feb. 21, 2019 at 2:30 p.m., she will offer a presentation at UBC Okanagan’s Commons Building (COM 201), 3333 University Way. Tickets are available online
.

 

College’s 12th Annual Business Expo & Employment Fair brings employment opportunities

Okanagan College’s popular Business Expo & Employment Fair is back for its twelfth year, once again connecting students and community members with an abundance of local, provincial and national employment opportunities.business expo 450

 

The Okanagan College School of Business and OC’s Student, Graduate and Co-op Employment Centre is presenting the Business Expo & Employment Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The event is happening in the Centre for Learning (E building) Atrium at the Kelowna campus from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

 

“This event is for everyone from all different industries – not just business – and would appeal to anyone living in the Okanagan region” says Jamie Morrow, Okanagan School of Business Program and Event Coordinator. “It’s meant to connect those looking for work with those who do the direct hiring for their companies. Sometimes being in front of the right people at the right time is the edge you need in such a competitive job market.”

 

Participants will have the opportunity to network with more than 60 local, provincial and national employers and even apply for positions as many exhibitors are hiring. 

 

“We are always looking for individuals for our Member Service Advisor and Contact Centre Agent roles,” says Erika Nisbet, Human Resources Consultant with Interior Savings. “We also hire students for Teller roles as part of our co-op program. Students receive training during the summer months and then have the opportunity to work shifts that fit their schedule.”

 

Interior Savings, along with many other B.C. companies have attended the Business Expo consistently for years. 

 

“We’ve been attending for the past eight years,” explains Nisbet. “We go to hire, to educate participants about career opportunities that Interior Savings has to offer and to let people know about our organization and all we do in the communities we serve.”

 

Exhibitors from multiple industries – including municipalities, wine, law enforcement, hospitality, finance, construction, technologies, retail and more – will be present, ensuring there is something for everyone.

 

A full list of exhibitors and further information is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/businessexpo.

 

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