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College sign signals future success for Office Administration alumna
Okanagan College Media Release

Dana Ingram June 2019Dana Ingram wasn’t looking for a sign about her future, but when she spotted one at the Okanagan College Penticton campus, it changed her life.

The former barista from Penticton was driving to work one day when she saw the Channel Parkway sign announcing openings for the Office Administration Certificate program starting in a few weeks. That planted a seed in her mind that propelled her to pull into the parking lot.

“I stopped into the Penticton campus in late August just to see what I needed to get into the program. Once I did the research, I thought it sounded really interesting – and everyone was so helpful in getting me started,” Ingram recalls.

When she stepped into the classroom, Ingram says she met “the best instructor I ever had.”

“We had a really special bond. It made it easier to go to school every day, made it easier to ask questions if I needed and learn more,” she recalls.

The supportive pace of the program helped her grasp the material, which covered a wide range of business skills like communications, computers, office procedures, math and spreadsheets.

“English was so helpful with what I’m doing now. I have to go through so many reports and letters every day so the program helped me understand punctuation and sentence structure,” Ingram recalls. “Payroll accounting was really difficult because there were so many different things to consider. When I finally finished my project for payroll accounting, I felt so good.”

The program consists of a three-week practicum, which gives students hands-on experience to apply their learning. Ingram stepped into the Penticton Health Centre and was exposed to a variety of support roles for health care including public health, home support, kidney clinic, and more.

“It was great to see how many different departments there are. I found public health is where I felt most comfortable, answering the phone and booking immunization appointments,” she says.

“The Office Administration program is valuable for learners right out of high school as well as adults who are returning to class. It is very accessible for different learning styles,” says Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. “These skills are in high demand by employers in the community. Our grads go on to work in non-profits, government, legal offices and many businesses in the region in positions they wouldn’t have received without learning the fundamentals from this program.”

For Ingram, full-time employment came quickly from Interior Health. She is currently booking speech therapy appointments and the setting is inspiring additional possibilities for her future.

“Working at Interior Health has opened my mind to different areas. I’ve been thinking about going back to school later for nursing maybe. Seeing things behind the scenes and talking to nurses makes it easier to make decisions,” she says.

“I have a full-time job in health care. I love the area I’m working in, and I love the people. It was a great decision, and I hope other people take advantage of it.”