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John E. Peller to keynote as Wine Talks returns to College
Okanagan College Media Release

Together with Liquidity Winery, Okanagan College is presenting the third installment of its popular
Wine Talks series on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the College’s Penticton campus.

The third event will feature a single keynote speaker whose recognition and distinction in the industry is notable.John Peller Sept 2017

John E. Peller, LLB, is the Chair and CEO of Andrew Peller Limited. His company’s brands include a growing number of Okanagan wineries, among them are Sandhill, Calona Vineyards and Red Rooster. Andrew Peller Limited made headlines this month when news broke of a $95-million-dollar deal to acquire three additional Okanagan wineries: Black Hills Estate, Gray Monk Estate and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards.

“The topic seems very timely,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “This event has been well attended by our community and has brought a lot of value to the industry and I expect to see that trend continue with our third event.”

Peller began his legal career in 1980 in Hamilton, Ontario where he practiced corporate and commercial law. He spent a year in France attending the L’institute de Touraine for six months and worked for six months with DeLuze, the wine subsidiary of Remy Martin. He spent the next four years in New Jersey working with Nabisco Brands Inc., first as Manager, Corporate Planning and Development and then as Regional Marketing Manager for the Grocery Products Division (North East Division).

He joined Andrew Peller Ltd. in 1989, assuming the role of Vice President, Sales and Marketing Planning. He was appointed to the Board of Directors in 1990 and to the position of Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing in 1991. He became President and Chief Operating Officer in 1992, then President and Chief Executive Officer in 1994. He is currently Chair and Chief Executive Officer.

“This is a unique opportunity to hear from a leader of the Canadian wine industry,” says Ian MacDonald, owner of Liquidity Winery. “John's bold vision continues to shape the future of this business.”

Wine Talks will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College (room PC 113, 583 Duncan Avenue West), from 7 to 9 p.m., including a coffee and wine break. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at


Wildfire 2017: causes, consequences and solutions to a wicked problem
Okanagan College Media Release

Lori Daniels Sept 2017As the smoke across the Okanagan barely begins to lift, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sparking a new season with a talk intended to keep wildfires top-of-mind for the public.

Since April the BC Wildfire Service has reported 1,275 fires across the province, representing a burning area of more than 1.212 million hectares. Currently 123 wildfires are active. The impact is undeniable.

“It’s important to recognize that despite the destruction, wildfire is also an essential process in forest ecosystems,” says Dr. Lori Daniels, professor of Forest Ecology and director of the Tree-Ring Lab at UBC in Vancouver. “In the wildland-urban interface though they can be incredibly destructive. What is imperative is the adaptation of individuals and communities learning how to live with wildfire.”

Kicking-off this year’s Science in Society Speaker Series on Wednesday, Oct. 4, the public is invited to hear Daniels present her long-term forest fire patterns research and hear her speak about forest resilience to climate change.

The presentation will take place at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus in the lecture theatre at 7:30 p.m.

“Wildfire is driven by climate, weather and fuels that vary among ecosystems and through time,” explains Daniels. “Combined, land-use change, fire exclusion and global warming have made many forests highly susceptible to intense fires that are difficult to control and spread to large sizes. Revolutionizing forest and fire management will improve ecosystem resilience to climate change, but we will not stop future fires from burning.”

Daniels’ research, published in leading academic journals, applies tree-ring analyses to investigate disturbance patterns and the impacts of climate and humans on forest dynamics. Given her interests in conservation and sustainable resource management, much of her research has practical application and is collaborative with non-governmental organizations, government agencies and private companies.

Admission to the lecture is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or purchase them online at To subscribe or obtain more information

Presented jointly by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre, the Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, Starbucks Coffee, Save on Foods, and the Vernon Morning Star.


Okanagan College sees fall student enrolment grow

Okanagan College student and logo

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.


Youth Exhibition Powwow returns for ninth year
Okanagan College Media Release

Aboriginal Hoop DancerThe cultural event of the fall season is back and about to kick off at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. Community members are invited to join in the celebration of Indigenous culture at the 9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the courtyard.

“Powwows are vibrant events and are full of excitement as it’s a time to come together and celebrate – celebrate our culture, celebrate Aboriginal youth and honour their educational journey,” says Anthony Isaac, Okanagan College Aboriginal Services Coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity to increase people’s understanding of our ways of knowing and doing and create a sense of belonging for all of our learners.”

Dancers and drummers from across the British Columbia interior will perform in a variety of dance categories at the Powwow including fancy, grass, chicken and jingle. The invited drum groups are crowd favourites, Birch Creek and The Cliffs.

The high-energy, family-friendly event continues to draw large crowds each year.

“The Powwow has always been well-attended, we had approximately 1,000 people join the event last year and we anticipate even more this year,” says Isaac.

More than 600 students from various private band and public schools from across the interior have been invited to attend the exhibition and members of the general public are also welcome.

Attendees will have a chance to taste a variety of traditional Indigenous food and peruse offerings from craft vendors selling artwork, carvings, beadwork and more. Additionally, there will be a 50/50 draw with proceeds going to financial awards for Indigenous students.

“The Powwow is intended to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members from across the region and is a place of cross-cultural learning for everyone,” says Isaac. “It highlights the richness of our culture and how Okanagan College is committed to fostering a learning environment that encourages students to embrace their heritage as they pursue their educational goals.”

The College has one of the fastest growing rates of Aboriginal student participation of any post-secondary institution in B.C. In 2016 the College delivered educational programming to almost 1,700 Aboriginal students, which is nearly 200 more than last year.

Richard Jackson of the Lower Nicola Indian Band is returning as Master of Ceremony and is once again joined by Arena Director Noel Ferguson. Jackson will also be presenting at a pre-powwow seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 19 from 2 - 3 p.m. in the Student Services building at the Kelowna campus. The seminar is free to attend and aims to teach the meaning behind powwow dances, songs and protocols before the main powwow event on Thursday.

The 9th Annual Youth Exhibition Powwow festivities run from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 in the Kelowna campus courtyard. Attendance is free and open to the public. For those who cannot attend, Okanagan College is streaming the event live


New pilot project at Okanagan College promotes student wellness
Okanagan College Media Release

A new wellness pilot project is underway at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus and has set out to help students thrive in their studies and personal lives by teaching skills and tools to manage and promote positive mental health.Flourish Sept 2017

“Flourish is a series of workshops held on campus that model and teach students different ways of managing stress, anxiety and depression so that when they experience those overwhelming feelings they have a well-rounded toolbox of healthy ways to regulate them,” says Sarah Lefebure, Counsellor at Okanagan College and co-creator of Flourish.

The workshop series will offer activities, resources and support to help students combat stress. Additionally, guest speakers will help open up the conversation about mental health and work to break down stigmas of mental illness and the challenges students encounter in daily life.

“This project was developed very organically,” says Paula Faragher, Accessibility Services Coordinator at Okanagan College and co-creator of Flourish. “Sarah and I recognized gaps in services in terms of working with students who were experiencing really high levels of stress and anxiety while going to school.”

The project is based on a model of mental wellbeing that suggests everyone experiences times where they are flourishing, languishing or somewhere in between. Mental health care is not only for those diagnosed with a mental illness – everyone can benefit.

“We always believed that healthy campuses equaled healthy minds but it wasn’t until we saw statistics from a campus-wide mental health survey that Flourish really grew into the project it is,” says Faragher.

Last winter, OC Human Kinetics Professor Wendy Wheeler and her class conducted a mental health survey at the Penticton campus. It was found that in the past 12 months 49 per cent of students felt so depressed it was difficult for them to function, 57 per cent have felt overwhelming anxiety and 74 per cent have felt very sad.

“As a counsellor, our goal is to create and maintain a positive climate for students to succeed, both academically and in their personal lives, and a major part of doing that is promoting positive mental health,” says Lefebure.

Flourish was created and received full support from Okanagan College, which awarded the project with an Innovation Fund grant (the College’s internal grant for innovative new programs and initiatives).

“At Okanagan College, we are committed to expanding awareness of mental health issues and providing resources for those students in need of wellness supports,” says Charlotte Kushner Vice President, Students. “We are delighted to support Flourish.”

“The link between student wellness and academic success is well documented and the most recent studies suggest there is a need to improve mental health supports for post-secondary students who are facing an increasingly complex world,” says Kushner. “Students and student success are at the heart of everything we do at Okanagan College and we are committed to expanding awareness of mental health and providing resources for those students in need of wellness supports.”

The first workshop took place this week and looked into the physical, mental and emotional effects stress has on the body. The drop-in workshops are held bi-weekly on Mondays from 2:30-3:45 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in the Community Hall (PC 113). Flourish is open to all students and is free to attend. For more information on Flourish including workshop dates, please visit


Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends award South Okanagan students
Okanagan College Media Release

Thorpe Awards Sept 2017Six students will jump-start their educational dreams at Okanagan College this fall after receiving financial awards through the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends scholarship.

Makeena Hartmann, Hailey Grunow and Mickella Di Lorenzo Biggs, recent graduates of Princess Margaret Secondary School in Penticton, along with Ericka Bidwell from Summerland Secondary, each received a $2,500 Scholarship for Secondary School Graduates.

Matthew Ironside of Penticton and Timothy Bey of Princeton were awarded with a $1,000 Entrance Award for Trades and Technology.

“It’s really nice to have help when you are going to school, because costs can be a barrier,” says Hartmann, who had a choice of post-secondary options with a 99.8 GPA. She chose to enrol in the Associate of Arts Degree program because she was impressed by the College’s reputation.

“It’s rewarding to see the effort I put into my studies is being recognized and appreciated through this scholarship,” she adds.

In addition to the high academic achievement of the recipients, the Thorpes look for students who are engaged with and contribute to their communities.

Grunow currently works two jobs and has been actively volunteering in Penticton to fundraise for dry grad, LGBTQ anti-bullying initiatives and the Penticton YES Project. She appreciates the scholarship doesn’t just open doors to her education, it will also provide opportunities for continued volunteerism.

“When I learned I received the scholarship I had tears of joy,” says Grunow, who is also entering the Associate of Arts Degree program. “Having the financial burden off my shoulders means I don’t need to work as much, and allows me to pay forward the Thorpe’s generosity by spending more time giving back through volunteering.”

The Thorpes have a long history of championing education in the South Okanagan, and have supported students at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan for more than a decade. Since the inception of the scholarship program in 2006, $102,250 has been awarded to 49 students entering Okanagan College.

“The contributions of Rick and Yasmin Thorpe impact our students in transformative ways as they begin their educational journey at the College,” says Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “We deeply appreciate their donations, and the support of our other donors in Penticton who provide life-changing opportunities for students.”

Each year the Thorpes make a point of presenting the scholarships in person to the recipients and their families.

“Meeting with students is very uplifting,” says Yasmin John-Thorpe. “They are enthusiastic and happily optimistic about their future.”

For the students, the level of donor interaction is a highlight.

“It's very heartwarming they take the time to get to know each of us,” adds Grunow. “It is so generous they choose to donate their hard-earned money to help students follow their dreams.”

Applications for the 2018 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarships open in early November 2017 and close in March 2018. Students are encouraged to review the application guidelines at for more information. 


High school students get a head start on post-secondary education
Okanagan College Media Release


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


Social entrepreneur workshop returns for second installment

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.SoFun Team Sept 2017

“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 and include lunch, coffee and tea.



Aircraft industry expansion creates new jobs for Okanagan College grads
Okanagan College Media Release

AME-S Sept 2017A large expansion in the local aircraft industry and national un-met staffing demands has fueled Okanagan College to offer an additional intake of its Aircraft Maintenance Engineering-Structures program this fall.

Starting on Nov. 14, the program will see up to 12 students step into KF Aerospace’s shop space at the Kelowna International Airport to begin training for one of the region’s most in-demand careers. Thanks to an accelerated 37-week program, students will be ready to enter the workforce by August.

“Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Structural Technicians (AME-S) have always been one of the most sought-after specialists in aviation,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship at Okanagan College. “With the industry growth and the number of retiring aircraft engineers, we knew it would only be a matter of time before the demand became a big obstacle for local and national employers.”

“In the last 10 years, we’ve built three new hangars in Kelowna and tripled the floor space and the number of aircrafts of which we can do heavy maintenance on,” says Grant Stevens, Director of Human Resources for KF Aerospace. “The number one staffing shortage we have is for AME-S – we just can’t hire trained technicians fast enough.”Grant Stevens Sept 2017

Not only is there a local demand there is also a nation-wide demand. Boeing, a major Canadian airline, predicts a global industry need for 609,000 aircraft maintenance technicians over the next 20 years, making it the most in-demand occupation in the aviation industry.

After searching for and hiring 60 AMEs from various trades schools throughout Canada, KF Aerospace still came up short on staffing and currently has 40 openings for Structural Technicians. Looking for a solution, KF Aerospace approached Okanagan College earlier this summer – setting the wheels in motion for launching the new class.

“KF is supporting this new intake of students through additional space in their hangars, tools, equipment, work benches, office space and more,” says Moores. “Over the past five years our partnership has been amazing and this just adds to it.”

“Our commitment to Okanagan College and the AME programs is to hire a minimum of half the graduating class, however the last three years straight we’ve hired every single graduating student,” says Stevens.

This year will be no different as KF anticipates hiring the entire 12-person class. Conditional upon graduating, students will be interviewed and offered jobs in July 2018, a month before the program is even finished.

“Alongside OC, we hold open houses before each program intake to show prospective students what the workplace looks like, the type of work they’ll be doing, job openings, advancement opportunities as well as what benefit and salary structures look like – we’re very open with what OC graduates can expect from KF Aerospace,” says Stevens.

The next open house is on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at KF Aerospace’s location at the Kelowna Airport. It will equip prospective students with the knowledge and resources to enrol in the program and to make a successful career in the aviation industry. Attendance is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Structures program and upcoming open houses, please


The perfect play: education a game-winning tactic
Okanagan College Media Release

With a promising hockey career on the horizon,18-year-old Myles Mattila is laying the groundwork for a bright future—combining his passion for competitive hockey with a solid business education at Okanagan College.Myles Mattila Sept 2017

The right-winger joined the Kelowna Chiefs this season after making his mark with the Okanagan Rockets and Cariboo Cougars. He is just one of approximately 2,380 new students who began classes at one of Okanagan College’s four campuses last week.

“My goal definitely is to play hockey at the highest level possible,” says Mattila. “I can excel in hockey, but why not also with a degree in hand? You never know if an injury or other circumstances could sideline me.”

Finding a program that would not make him choose between hockey or education was key.

“With team practice mid-day I needed something that afforded me the scheduling flexibility to still play competitively,” explains the former Quesnel resident, who recently returned to Kelowna. “That’s why I chose Okanagan College; I was able to build my timetable with morning and evening classes.”

Mattila is confident that the community focus at Okanagan College will also enable him to pursue his other passion: championing mental health awareness. He’s already received wide-spread recognition for his efforts. In June he was bestowed the BC Hockey President’s Award for his dedication to the cause as the founder of, a website designed to educate the Cariboo Cougars hockey community about mental health. He even received a Twitter nod from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his efforts.

“The business program at the College has a reputation for community involvement and enabling students to give back,” says Mattila. “I’m confident that pursuing the management specialty will help me make connections to advance mental health awareness.”

Relatively new to Kelowna, Mattila has already been asked to represent the city at the International Conference on Youth Mental Health. He will travel to Dublin, Ireland in two weeks where he will collaborate with young leaders from around the world who are committed to creating positive changes in youth mental health.

As for long-term goals, even if a professional hockey career pans out: “I’d love to become a lawyer one day, but one thing at a time,” he says. “For now, I’ll just enjoy my first weeks as a college student.”


College looks inward to find its next Regional Dean with appointment of Phil Ashman
Okanagan College Media Release

Phil Ashman Sep 2017After conducting a national search, it turns out Okanagan College didn’t have to look very far to find a new Central Okanagan Regional Dean. Phil Ashman, a 15-year College veteran and current Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health, will take on the role later this month, bringing a wealth of internal experience and community connections to the position.

Ashman joined Okanagan College in 2002, first as a professor in Network and Telecommunications Engineering. He spent eight years in an instructional role before becoming department chair in 2010. Three years later Ashman joined the College’s leadership team as Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health, a position he has held for the last four years.

Prior to joining Okanagan College Ashman spent eight years working in Information Technology at the University of Northern British Columbia and the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.

He holds a Master of Science in IT Network Infrastructure and Design as well as a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.

“Phil has been an asset to Okanagan College in every role he has taken on during his progressive career,” says Charlotte Kushner, Vice President of Students at the College. “He was a valued and innovative professor and went on to do an impressive job as Chair of the department. When he moved into administration he was successful in providing leadership through relationship-building. Phil’s passion for the College and his ability to move projects forward through collaboration will be a huge asset in his new role.”

Outside of his position at Okanagan College Ashman has been actively involved in the Okanagan tech community. He represented the College as a Board member for the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre and spent three years as a technical lead on the Okanagan High-Speed Broadband Initiative. He has established strong working relationships with community and industry partners such as Accelerate Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, the Economic Development Commission as well as the Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) and has facilitated learning opportunities for students throughout the region.

“What interests me most about this new position is the opportunity to build on the successful partnerships Okanagan College has developed with so many valued community organizations in the Central Okanagan,” says Ashman. “I am excited to take on this new challenge and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with so many talented colleagues and to help manage the unprecedented growth in the Science, Technology and Health portfolio.”

Ashman will begin his new role as Regional Dean on Sept. 18, 2017. 


College courses offer boomers new perspectives on retirement

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


Budding course explores emerging big business
Okanagan College Media Release


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.”