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A plane representing a lifelong passion for flying from one of Vernon’s most successful entrepreneurs will find new wings as a training tool at Okanagan College.
Robert Foord along with family members, donated Tom Foord’s plane to the College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) program during a small ceremony at its Vernon Aerospace campus today.
Tom was the co-founder of Kal Tire, which grew from a small tire shop in Vernon to an international business.
“My dad loved flying and he loved this community,” says Robert, Kal Tire President and one of Tom’s five children.
“He also put enormous value on education and hands-on training and would be proud that his plane has been donated to the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer students for that very purpose.”
The keys to the Cessna 210G – Centurion plane were turned over to Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Helen Jackman.
Hamilton thanked the Foord family and explained how the aircraft will provide new training opportunities while inspiring students.
“We know how important hands-on training is for students to solidify their learning and this plane will provide that. This Cessna also demonstrates to our students that the community supports their education. Tom Foord exemplified hard work, determination and community spirit. We hope his legacy of reaching for the sky inspires students,” says Hamilton.
“I want to express Okanagan College’s sincere gratitude to the Foord family for their continued support of trades training in the North Okanagan.”
In addition to the plane, Kal Tire donated $250,000 to Okanagan College’s Trades Training Centre in Vernon, which opened one year ago.
A decal in memory of Tom was placed on the plane and a plaque sharing his story will be on display in the training hangar.
Okanagan College Media Release
New bursaries established by BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) will provide nearly a full scholarship for aspiring Health Care Assistants (HCA) at Okanagan College.
The non-profit that represents non-government operators of long-term care, assisted living and independent home care and support, is allotting $25,000 this year to set up eight student awards at the College valued at $3,125 each. The awards almost completely pay the tuition for the 6-month HCA Certificate program, which costs $3,300.
"Health-care assistants play a significant role in our health system by providing day-to-day care to seniors and people with disabilities," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
“These positions are in demand throughout the province and these bursaries will provide people with an opportunity to enter into a rewarding career that makes a real difference in peoples’ everyday lives."
In total, BCCPA is committing $100,000 to bursaries at post-secondary institutions across the province over the next three years.
The Okanagan College bursaries will give preference to Aboriginal students and anyone with past experience working or volunteering in health care.
“We want to attract more people to meaningful careers in seniors care,” says Aly Devji, BCCPA board chair.
“These bursaries will make it possible for anyone, regardless of financial ability, to become an HCA. We’re excited to be able to launch more people into rewarding careers working with seniors.”
The $25,000 gift will support Okanagan College’s $5-million fundraising campaign for a new Health Sciences Centre on its Kelowna campus. In addition to raising funds for the modern Centre, the fundraising campaign aims to create new student awards to encourage more people to enter high-demand health care careers.
BCCPA is deeply aware of the staffing shortages for health care professionals in the province, and especially the Okanagan. In 2018, BCCPA released a paper highlighting the issue called “The Perfect Storm: A Health Human Resource Crisis in Seniors Care.”
The paper outlines how an aging workforce, low-recruitment rates, high incidence of worker burnout and injury, funding challenges, and the increasing acuity level of seniors in care, are all factors that have contributed to create a perfect storm.
The report also recommends a number of solutions to address the issue, including attracting a younger generation of workers by providing tuition relief and bursaries for students.
“We’re very grateful to BC Care Providers for providing such significant support for students,” says Yvonne Moritz, Okanagan College Dean of Science, Technology and Health.
"Many mature students and single parents are attracted to the HCA program because of its short duration and the good paying jobs available, but for many, the cost of the program is a barrier. These awards will provide a significant stepping stone into a gratifying career.”
Teresa Wyman (right) knows first-hand the importance of awards for HCA students. Wyman, 51, was working at Superstore for 20 years when she decided to follow her passion for caregiving and enrol in the HCA program at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.
Wyman took out student loans to pay for her tuition and received several student awards that helped her pay for the costs of the education. She says the new awards will go a long way in helping attract more students.
“I think it’s a great idea as there is a need among students in the program,” says Wyman, who adds she feels grateful to be following her dream.
“I go home on the weekend and can’t wait to go back to school on Monday. When I graduate I get to go out and help people, which is so nice.”
Okanagan College Media Release
A fresh addition to Okanagan College’s inventory of summer camps is cultivating wood-be carpenters among girls aged nine to 12.
Carpentry Projects for Girls is a camp that offers girls a chance to be creative in the woodworking shop at the College’s Kelowna campus, and gives them an introduction to trades.
“I was in the go-kart camp a couple of weeks ago, and on the last day of camp, I told my parents I wanted to come back,” says Malaika Dutta, a nine-year-old participant. “I really liked the idea of learning how to build things. I’ve never made anything like this before, but now I’m starting to think about things that I can make at home.”
The camp is led by Red Seal endorsed trades instructors, and Women in Trades Training (WITT) mentors have been stopping in to lend a helping hand.
“It’s fantastic to have the girls in here this young,” says Mary-Jaye Salmon, Red Seal Endorsed Carpenter and WITT mentor of 11 years. “They’re smart and in tune with health and safety. It’s great to show them the possibilities they have for their future. Maybe they won’t end up making a career choice of trades, but it definitely shows them that they can, and maybe sparks another interest of theirs that they will go on to pursue.”
This week, the girls have been building a number of small pieces including bird-shaped doorstops and planters, and will work together building oversized, outdoor games such as Jenga, dice, and corn hole.
“This camp is a great addition to CampOC,” says OC President Jim Hamilton. “Our WITT program does a tremendous job of providing opportunities for women to pursue a successful career in the trades, and this camp allows us to introduce these same possibilities to the next generation.”
This pilot project was funded by the Government of Canada's Union Training and Innovation Program – Women in Construction Fund, delivered through Industry Training Authority (ITA).
“This camp puts the tools in girls’ hands, letting them be creative in a fun, safe, and educational setting,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “They are able to explore their own skills and hopefully find their passion in the skilled trades.”
As the camp came to a close today, parents, ITA and OC staff joined the girls for a barbeque and an afternoon of playing the games they built.
With camps spanning from Revelstoke to the South Okanagan, CampOC offers a variety of camps each summer for students in Grades 2-12.
For more information on CampOC, visit campoc.ca.
More information about the College’s Women in Trades Training program is available at okanagan.bc.ca/witt.
A formal partnership between UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College has established a Green Construction Research and Training Centre (GCRTC) that will provide new research options and create hands-on practical training opportunities for students.
Professor Shahria Alam, with UBCO’s School of Engineering, has been appointed the first director of UBC’s newest research and training centre. Ashley Lubyk from Okanagan College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology program has been appointed as the co-director for the centre.
“Our goal is to create a hub where innovation in green construction is fostered,” explains Alam. “We are already starting to develop shared capstone projects for our students and establishing a speaker series that focuses on green construction and smart energy use.”
The GCRTC will generate and expand knowledge in the areas of green (environment-friendly) construction—including materials, structural components and systems, and construction management. The objectives are to create civil infrastructure that is safe, durable, energy-efficient and affordable through innovative technologies, he explains. Industry collaborations are already underway with anticipated spin-off companies creating a community that supports self-sustainability and local economic development.
“This centre ties in extremely well with our institutional focus on sustainability,” notes Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s vice-president, education. “We are looking forward to furthering our collaboration with professor Alam, his colleagues and UBC Okanagan to advance the green building agenda.”
Alam’s research focuses on smart materials and their structural applications in infrastructure including seismic rehabilitation of structures and performance-based design. He is the chair of the Engineering Mechanics and Materials Division of Canadian Society of Civil Engineering and an associate editor of the Journal Bridge Engineering.
With more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, Alam stresses the importance of continuing to grow this sector in the Okanagan and its potential for a national and global impact.
“This joint initiative with Okanagan College will equip our students and researchers with the tools necessary to continue to innovate in the areas of green construction with a focus on sustainability,” he adds.
In collaboration with various municipalities, provincial bodies, Infrastructure Canada, construction associations and a large team of faculty members (from a range of disciplines including structural engineering, materials science, robotics, mechanical and electrical engineering, management, environmental science, economics and sociology), the centre will seek to develop transformative, paradigm-changing research that will be strategically vital to the construction industry.
School of Engineering Executive Associate Dean Rehan Sadiq says the centre is well-positioned to address the needs of the construction industry.
“Bringing together the expertise of our research faculty along with our colleagues from Okanagan College, we are confident that the centre will have a long-lasting positive impact into the future,” he adds.
Both UBC and Okanagan College have existing trades and technology programs and projects related to design and construction of future buildings. According to Alam, the Green Construction Research & Training Centre will find synergies between the two institutions wherever possible.
“Sharing ideas and expertise will be at the forefront of our success moving forward,” says Alam.
The centre has already launched a speaker series. More information can be found at: ok-gcrtc.sites.olt.ubc.ca