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Okanagan teens take on booming tech industry at JABC TechWorks
Okanagan College Media Release

More than 200 teens from high schools throughout the Okanagan spent their Thursday on OC’s Kelowna campus for a full day learning about technology and innovation.JABC Techworks Feb 2020

Organized by Junior Achievement British Columbia (JABC), the day focused on introducing middle school-aged students to the vast variety of opportunities that permeate the tech world. The morning opened with a plenary, led by Andrew MacLean, co-founder of HighTech U, a learning community based out of the University of Victoria. Other speakers included Okanagan College Regional Dean Phil Ashman, Ashley Ramsay of Yeti Farm Creative, Ray Warren of RBC and Veronica Best from Dyspatch.

“To see this event go from a smaller theatre in Victoria all the way to Kelowna now has been fantastic,” says MacLean. “What JABC is doing with this program is really setting students up for success by showing them different pathways that then inspire and show them what they can do. Right now, there is still a perception that you can be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, or maybe a programmer, but people don’t realize just how many opportunities there are in tech in BC, let alone the rest of the world.”

Following lunch, students divided into breakout sessions, consisting of presentations and deep dives on various tech topics led by instructors. With five sessions to choose from, ranging from visual effects and animation to robotics and LED tech, students interacted with the presenters from Sony Pictures Imageworks, Best Buy, the Industry Training Authority and KF Aerospace and the College.

Held outside Vancouver for the first time since the event’s inception in 2016, the sessions offered a hands-on experience for students to test technology and ask questions. In the session led by Best Buy, students used iPads to code five-inch tall Star Wars BB8 robots, leading them through a maze on the ground.

“This event exposes kids to what their future might look like in terms of careers,” says Sheila Biggers, CEO of JABC. “Most careers, if not all, will be tech-enabled and our whole mission is to prepare students for lifelong success. The importance of today is that this really opens up young people’s minds to that idea and hopefully we give them information on how to prepare themselves so that they can benefit from the future they may graduate into.”

For a photo gallery from the event, click
here.