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The total number of students enrolled in programs at Okanagan College has climbed by more than four per cent compared to last year at the same time.
A snapshot of enrolment at mid-September shows that 8,463 students had registered in programs and courses, compared to 8,089 on the same date a year ago.
“All indicators suggest that Okanagan College is on track to exceed government enrolment targets for the 13th year in a row,” explains Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “That is an achievement unparalleled in the College sector in BC. The strong demand for our programming indicates we are providing relevant and valuable education for our communities, and that’s what is most important to us.”
In 2016-17, Okanagan College achieved 111 per cent of those government targets.
The mid-September numbers don’t tell the entire enrolment story. Okanagan College has many programs that start at various times of the academic year and a significant winter semester intake in January that will determine final annual enrolment numbers.
The Sept. 15 numbers show:
• Salmon Arm grew to 709 students from 563.
• Kelowna grew to 5,330 from 5,155.
• Penticton grew to 940 students from 884.
• Vernon’s headcount dropped to 970 from 1044 – partly as a consequence of a rotating practical nursing program that was in Vernon last year and is in Salmon Arm this year.
• The number of students taking distance education courses has risen to 513, from 443.
The number of international students attending Okanagan College this fall has grown significantly: 878 international students.
A new partnership between Okanagan College and School District No. 23 will give Grade 12 students a head start in post-secondary education as a certified Education Assistant.
For recent graduate Tiffany Walker, an early start in the Education Assistant certificate program has helped her realize a dream she’s long been chasing.
“I’ve always loved being with children and once I found out there was an established route to becoming an Education Assistant, I jumped on the opportunity – I’m very happy I did,” says Walker.
Like Walker, high school students who have excelled in their studies can apply to be a dual-credit student in their Grade 12 year. Once accepted, the program will allow students to split their final academic year, spending the first half completing their Grade 12 studies and the second half studying and working towards completion of an Education Assistant certificate from Okanagan College.
“An Education Assistant is someone that works with children with exceptionalities in cognitive abilities, physical challenges, behavioral challenges, autism and related disorders,” says Valerie Banks, Program Coordinator at Okanagan College. “EAs help children with everything from homework to behaviour.”
The four and a half-month, full-time program is offered at George Elliot Secondary School in Lake Country. It gives students the foundation, knowledge and experience to work in British Columbia school districts as well as with special needs adults in group homes and individual families who have children that need assistance.
“School District No. 23 approached us to form a dual-credit partnership and help bring forward the next generation of Education Assistants,” says Banks. “The demand for EAs is high within Kelowna’s school district, which requires all EAs to be certified.”
School District No. 23 is actively involved in the program and works closely with the College to connect students with practicums and educate them on career opportunities in the district.
“The manager of Human Resources from the School District hosts a workshop to talk to EA students about the hiring process. Each student knows exactly how to apply for jobs and how the process of working with the School District goes,” says Banks. “The School District also assists with assigning a month-long practicum to each student to ensure they get real experience and are ready for the workforce.”
“I did my practicum at AS Matheson and it was the best part about the entire program,” says Walker. “The way the program and practicum were laid out made me confident that I had a solid foundation to really do well in the practicum.”
The Education Assistant certificate program is currently accepting dual-credit applications until Sept. 29 for the Jan. 2018 intake. There are also seats available for the general public as well. To find out more information about the program and requirements, please visit okanagan.bc.ca/ea.
Okanagan College Media Release
A popular workshop for social entrepreneurs is returning to Okanagan College to equip those seeking real-world solutions to challenges in our communities with the essential business tools needed to set social enterprise ideas in motion.
Back for the second time since the project piloted in May, Okanagan College, the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence and Purppl, a social enterprise accelerator, are joining forces to lead the SoFun workshop. The one-day inclusive workshop is on Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College in room E102/103.
“The SoFun workshop uses global entrepreneurial best practices and tools to help social entrepreneurs build predictable, sustainable revenue models that can fund long-term solutions to our toughest community, social and environmental challenges,” says Andrew Greer, founder of Purppl and SoFun co-facilitator. “Communities are struggling under the weight of chronic challenges and organizations trying to solve these challenges are typically underfunded, under resourced and donor dependent.”
Participants will examine the case study of Mission Possible (an organization which helps those affected by homelessness find meaningful work) through the global-standard Business Model Canvas tool. The model applies lean thinking, which aims to shorten the process from startup to implementation, therefore increasing efficiency and impact of the business idea. Participants will also be able to apply key learnings to their own business ideas and work on them while making the most of access to experts and resources in the room.
“This workshop is one way to put information in the hands of those ready to help make changes that will benefit our community,” says Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College School of Business professor, faculty researcher at the Centre and SoFun co-facilitator.
Attendees will each receive a copy of the Business Model Canvas, will have an opportunity to work on their own social enterprise ideas, explore available business resources, connect with other like-minded individuals and have access to learn with and from other social entrepreneurs.
“We saw a really rich diversity of entrepreneurs at the first workshop. From beginner to experienced, there was a real excitement and interest in understanding the complexity of social enterprises,” says Greer.
The workshop is suited for: leaders of non-profits, individuals working in existing organizations (non-profit and for-profit) with social enterprise initiatives, entrepreneurs looking to solve a social problem in their community, government employees looking to implement impact initiatives and students.
Myrah and Greer will be joined by OC business professor Kerry Rempel to lead the workshop. Local social entrepreneur, Jaye Coward from the award-winning Farm Bound will also join the presentation team as the luncheon speaker.
Tickets are $45 at www.sofun-vernon.eventbrite.ca and include lunch, coffee and tea.
Approaching retirement can be a stressful proposition even for those who report feeling well-prepared for their next chapter – a finding that has prompted an Okanagan College instructor to launch two new courses aimed at allaying worries and smoothing the transition for baby boomers in the region.
“Even when retirement is something we’ve looked forward to all our working lives, actually leaving the workforce is complicated,” says Kathy Fahey, a certified retirement coach and one of the instructors for the two new courses that will launch this fall at the College’s Kelowna and Penticton campuses.
A six-week course entitled Launching Your Encore Career will offer soon-to-be retirees insights into how they can fulfil the dream of being their own boss, embarking on second career or using their experience and knowledge to give back to the community.
For those searching for a quick introduction to common retirement pitfalls – and ways of sidestepping them – the College is also offering a four-hour workshop entitled Am I Ready to Retire? How to navigate a smooth transition from the workforce. This shorter offering is designed to help participants gauge their level of readiness to retire, explore their options and develop a plan to make the transition easier.
“Navigating a smooth transition from the workforce can be tricky,” says Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies at Okanagan College. “Ensuring you have the financial means to support yourself is only one of the many factors to consider before picking your retirement date.”
As a coach who has worked with scores of retirees from different sectors and economic situations, Fahey says there are many factors influencing boomers to stay in the workforce – from longer and healthier life expectancies to financial concerns, reduced pension benefits and higher personal debt.
Fahey is also quick to point out another factor she sees in many boomers’ desire to remain in the workforce.
“For many of the current generation approaching retirement age, there is a strong sense of identity and purpose tied to their job, and the desire to continue to contribute.”
“With the expectation of increased longevity and good health, Canadian Baby Boomers could spend more years in retirement than they did working,” says Fahey. “Along with those longer life expectancies, come concerns about being able to support themselves financially and how they will fill their time.”
Launching Your Encore Career starts on Sept. 13 at the College’s Penticton campus and on Sept. 26 at the Kelowna campus. Am I Ready to Retire? workshop runs Sept. 12 and Sept. 14, and Nov. 4 in Penticton and on Nov. 7 and Nov. 9 in Kelowna.
Learn more at okanagan.bc.ca/cs.
As the federal government pursues the legalization of the recreational cannabis industry under the proposed Cannabis Act, a group of Okanagan College School of Business students will seize the opportunity to learn about the regulatory process and business impacts in a new course offered this fall.
“Our third- and fourth-year students will have an unprecedented chance to monitor the regulatory and legislative process of a new sector as it unfolds,” says David Cram, the course’s instructor and a 26-year veteran Okanagan College professor. “The reality is students are hearing and reading about this topic and can relate to it. Our goal is to join the conversation by providing them with an unbiased research-based perspective.”
Topics covered in the Bachelor of Business Administration degree elective course titled The Emerging Marijuana Industry will include: regulation requirements, legal and legislative frameworks, pricing issues and risk assessments, impact on auxiliary industries (such as tourism, health, agriculture, law enforcement), and business ethics. The course is intended to provide an objective perspective and will not include manufacturing or technical operational content.
“There is great benefit in preparing a business community to know more about the cannabis industry that is clearly shaping up to be an important part of Canada’s growing economy,” says Cram. “One way to mitigate industry challenges is to promote and advance research. The more we know, the more oversight and accountability, the better and safer people will be.”
A CIBC World Markets report published last year estimated the national recreational cannabis industry is valued at $5-10 billion. Medicinal use is legal and has been a popular treatment for some ailments and pain managements including for arthritis and cancer. The course will also discuss the legitimate medicinal side of the industry.
“As educators, we have a responsibility to prepare students for the world ahead by providing a thought-provoking learning environment,” says William Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business. “Our special topic courses, such as this one, are relevant to the changing and emerging business environment students will face upon graduation.”