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What do soccer-playing robots, spaghetti bridges and soaring aviators have in common?
Over the next month, Okanagan College will be opening its doors to elementary, middle and high school students to attend a series of events aimed at encouraging young people to step into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
“We want learners of all ages to hear the message that there has never been a better time to get into technology careers. There is a very real need for skilled workers in everything from animation to electronic, civil, network and telecommunications and water engineering. With advances in green building, there’s also strong demand for sustainable construction managers – which is a career some students may not have heard of or considered before,” says Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health for Okanagan College.
“There is also a huge push locally, nationally and internationally to encourage and support more women getting into engineering and technology careers. So, events like these are just one of many ways we are working to create entry points, moments of inspiration and pathways into technology education.”
14th Annual Western Canada RoboCup Junior
On Friday, Feb. 14, Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will be transformed into a high-energy learning arena as it hosts a day of epic robot battles. Teams of students from school districts around the Okanagan and as far away as Vancouver will bring along robots of their own making to compete in soccer and rescue challenges.
Students and staff from the College’s Electronic Engineering Technology (ELEN) program help to coordinate and judge the event, which is sponsored by ASTTBC, Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corp and Tekmar Control Systems.
More information is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/robocup.
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, more than 700 high school students from the Central Okanagan will converge on the College’s Kelowna campus to experience a brief taste of what it’s like to attend college. Students have the opportunity to attend three of their top choices from sessions covering more than 45 program areas, including tech programs such as Animation, Sustainable Construction Management Technology, along with OC’s Civil and Electronic Engineering programs. The event offers students a chance to test-drive possible education and career paths by chatting with instructors, learning about programs, exploring campus and having their questions answered.
On Thursday, Feb. 20, more than 200 teens from high schools throughout the Okanagan will be at OC’s Kelowna campus for a full day event organized by JA British Columbia (JABC) to learn about careers in the tech sector. This event has been held in Vancouver for the past four years, and Victoria for the past two. This marks the first time it will be held in the Okanagan.
Andrew MacLean, Co-founder, HighTechU, will serve as emcee for the morning plenary session. The Honourable Rob Fleming, Ministry of Education, will provide a video welcome. Students will then have a chance to hear from a number of B.C. business leaders, including Ashley Ramsay, President and CEO of Yeti Farm Creative, Ray Warren, Vice President Commercial Banking for the Okanagan and Kootenay Region for RBC and Veronica Best, Director of Product at Dyspatch.
Students will then step into breakout sessions including:
Students attending the Innovation in Aviation session will have a chance to hear from a number of OC alums who can speak to the benefits of technologies, trades and business training and career paths in the aviation industry.
37th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest
The 37th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest is happening at OC on Friday, March 6.
More than 250 students from elementary schools to post-secondary institutions all across B.C. trek annually to the Kelowna campus for a day of bridge building, testing and real-world, hands on learning about STEM concepts.
As of Wednesday, Feb. 12, there were 121 job opportunities on Accelerate Okanagan’s #OKGNtech online job board. The Okanagan is home to more than 200 animation, film and digital media firms, employing some 2,450 people – and this is just a fraction of the overall pool of skilled technology workers employed in the region.
Provincially there is expected to be more than 3,300 technology jobs created by 2025. There are more than 6,000 people currently working in the water and waste water engineering workforce, with more than 2,300 job openings expected in that sector over the next eight years.
Find more information and register online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/spaghettibridge.