Trades FAQs during COVID-19

Frequently asked questions from Trades and Apprenticeship students during COVID-19

Okanagan College's Trades and Apprenticeship team is working hard to ensure current and future students have the opportunity to learn and train in their chosen field during COVID-19, while protecting the safety of our students, instructors and learning community. We recognize scheduling and learning has been significantly impacted as a result of Provincial Health Office guidelines on physical distancing, and we appreciate your patience as we navigate this new landscape together.

Spring intake exams

I would normally write a Standardized Level Exam (SLE). Will I still be required to write the exam?

No, the ITA has advised that all Standardized Level Exams (SLEs) will be cancelled for classes starting prior to June 30, 2020.

I would normally write a non-progressive Certificate of Qualification (CofQ) or Inter Provincial (IP) exam. Will I still be required to write the exam?

Yes, you will still be required to write the exam. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Okanagan College has cancelled all face-to-face ITA exams scheduled to write between now and June 30, 2020. Please see the list of options below that are available regarding rescheduling your ITA exam. Updates regarding rescheduling will be posted on www.itabc.ca/covid-19

  • Contact the ITA at customerservice@itabc.ca to schedule an exam write at your local Service BC Centre. Please be sure to reference the exam and Event number (if one) in your email.
  • Contact our office at 1-800-621-3038 or apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca and we can add you to a potential exam date. Please note that we will only add you to a potential future ITA exam date that is scheduled after June 30, 2020.

I would normally write a progressive Certificate of Qualification exam. Will I still be required to write the exam?

Any apprentice enrolled in an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship class impacted by Covid-19 , ending after March 17 or with a start date between March 17 to June 30, 2020 will not be required to write a CofQ exam that is required to progress to the next level. The CofQ exams being waived include AST L1, AST L2, AST L3, PC L1 and PC l2. Any final certification exams (CofQ and IP) that are required to complete an apprenticeship will still be required.

Any final level certification exams (CofQ and IPs) that are required to complete out an apprenticeship will still be required.

Summer and fall intake exams

If my class starts after June 30, 2020 will I need to write an exam at Okanagan College?

Yes you will be required to write an exam and exams will be held on campus at Okanagan College. The College will adhere to social distancing requirements as set out by the ITA and the Public Health Officer.

Online learning

My intake has been moved online and I require assistance with online learning. Whom can I contact for help?

Please visit the OC Online Resource Centre  for information on technical assistance, loaner laptops and support for Moodle and Collaborate. You may also contact Kate Sidlar (250-762-5445, ext. 4427 or ksidlar@okanagan.bc.ca) and Alex Hanna (250-762-5445, ext. 4946 or shanna@okanagan.bc.ca) who are assisting in the Trades Student Success Centre over the summer. 

 

Apprenticeship intakes originally scheduled to start between April 1 and June 30, 2020

My Apprenticeship intake was originally scheduled to start between April 1 and June 30, 2020 and has been postponed. What is my next step?

Once the postponed intakes are rescheduled or seats identified in other available intakes, we will contact you regarding your available options. At this time, we ask that you please wait to reschedule until you are contacted regarding your available options.

I would like to withdraw from my postponed Apprenticeship intake now instead of waiting for available options.

Should you wish to withdraw from your postponed intake, we will refund any tuition paid without penalty.

My Apprenticeship intake was scheduled to start in June 2020 and my tuition deposit is due. Am I still required to pay my tuition deposit by the previously specified deadline?

Your tuition deposit deadline will be suspended. Once the new dates for your postponed intake are confirmed, you will contacted regarding a new tuition deposit deadline.

My Apprenticeship intake was scheduled to start in June 2020 and I have already paid my tuition deposit. What happens to my tuition payment now that the intake is postponed?

If you have already paid your tuition deposit for a June 2020 intake and have questions regarding your payment, please contact our office at 1-800-621-3038 or apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca

I recently accepted an open seat in a postponed Apprenticeship intake that was scheduled to start prior to June 2020 and have not yet paid my tuition deposit. Am I still required to pay my tuition deposit by the previously specified deadline?

We will contact you directly regarding your new tuition deposit deadline.

I have already applied for WorkBC supports and Employment Insurance (EI) for my postponed Apprenticeship intake. What are my next steps?

Once you have been contacted regarding your available options, you will need to reapply to WorkBC and EI. We have advised Financial Aid and WorkBC of postponed intakes and they have advised:

“Students should complete the WorkBC apprentice application with the new dates provided. Also, have them complete the Service Canada EI application with the new dates. WorkBC will pay financial supports for the period of time that they are attending class, so a delay is start date will push the supports to the period.”

I have already applied for a Canada Apprentice Loan for my postponed Apprenticeship intake. What are my next steps?

Please contact the Okanagan College Financial Aid and Awards office, financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca to receive assistance in your individual situation. For specific information regarding Canada Apprentice Loan please visit their website https://pca-cal.ca/en/Home

 

Foundation intakes originally scheduled to start between April 1 and June 30, 2020

My Foundation intake was originally scheduled to start between now and June 30, 2020 and has been postponed. What is my next step?

Once the postponed intakes are rescheduled or seats identified in other available intakes, we will contact you regarding your available options. At this time, we ask that you please wait to reschedule until you are contacted regarding your available options.

I would like to withdraw from my postponed Foundation intake now instead of waiting for available options.

At this time, should you wish to withdraw from your postponed intake, we will refund any tuition paid without penalty. Please contact Registrar’s Office, registration@okanagan.bc.ca

My Foundation intake was scheduled to start June 2020. Am I still required to pay my seat deposits and/or tuition by the previously specified deadline?

Second deposits are due 3 months prior to the start of program and full fees are due 3 weeks prior to start.  These deadlines will move forward with any changes in start dates.

My Foundation intake was scheduled to start in June 2020 and I have already paid my seat deposits and/or tuition. What happens to my payment(s) now that the intake is postponed?

If your intake moves into the next term, we will have the Finance Department move all deposits and fees to that term.  If your intake is later than then next term, we will give you the option to get a refund cheque (less the deposit to hold your seat).

I recently accepted an open seat in the postponed Foundation intake that was scheduled to start prior to June 2020 and have not yet paid my seat deposits and/or tuition. Am I still required to pay by the previously specified deadline?

Your first deposit is needed to save your seat no matter how far ahead. But the second deposit and tuition due dates will move forward.

Intakes for summer 2020

My class has been rescheduled to start in June, July or August 2020. Will I be attending class in person on campus?

Classes will be a combination of online and in person practical training. You will receive more information regarding the schedule of your class prior to the start of class.

How many days will I need to be on campus?

A detailed schedule will be sent to you prior to class start that will indicate the days you are required to be on campus for the practical training.

How can I purchase books for my class?

Please note that the bookstores on campus are currently closed at this time. You are able to order the required textbooks online via https://okanagan.bookware3000.ca/home

Will there be food service on campus?

At this time there will be no food service on campus and there will be no access to microwaves or water fountains.

Will there be housing available on campus for the summer term?

The on-campus student housing is not accepting applications at this time. If you are traveling to attend technical training at Okanagan College, we have local rental opportunities posted on the following link:

https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/Programs/Areas_of_Study/trades/accommodation.html

Will I need to pay for my tool kit for Plumbing and Welding prior to being on campus for the practical training?

Toolroom attendants will confirm with each student if they are purchasing a toolbox from Okanagan College. For those students who are purchasing a toolbox, the appropriate charges will be applied to your account. Payment can then be made over the phone with a credit card by calling the Apprenticeship office at 1-800-621-3038 or through online banking. Online banking is completed through your bank’s personal website. Okanagan College will need to be added as a Payee and your student number is the account number used.

Will I need a laptop or special equipment for the online portion of my class? If so can I get one from Okanagan College? Is the software compatible with the computer I already have?

If you require any equipment or have any questions about software, please refer to the OC Online Resource Centre

How do I find out where to meet my class on campus?

There will be limited access to the campus at this time. All trades students (except Electrical apprenticeship) should enter via the compound gate on West Campus Road and information will be posted at the gate. Electrical apprenticeship students should enter via the main entrance to the Trades Building and information will be posted at the door. You will also receive information on where to meet as part of your scheduling letter and instructors will provide further details via Moodle. Please ensure your email preference is up to date in your MyOkanagan account.

Are classes being delivered at full capacity?

No, most classes are running with 12 students rather than 16, with some classes  organized into larger groups for online or smaller groups for hands-on work in the labs and shops. The Trades building and area will have approximately 30-40% of the number of students on a given day, compared to a typical summer.

What if I am not comfortable with attending on-campus at this time?

Students may withdraw from Apprenticeship classes without penalty up to 2 weeks before their program starts and request a refund or tuition transfer to an available seat in a later intake.

What safety measures are being taken for Covid-19?

Each trade program has prepared a plan for their specific health and safety requirements. Students will be divided into smaller groups while on campus, where required, and physical distancing and other safety measures will be in place and communicated to students, including enhanced cleaning of tools, equipment and common spaces. Okanagan College will follow direction and controls specified by the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Ministry of Health, the Provincial Health Officer and Interior Health.

Will I need a parking pass for my class?

A: No daily or monthly parking passes are required for the Summer (June 15 - August 15) session. Please ensure that you park in the designated Student Parking on the Kelowna campus (Lots 5, 6, 11 and 17).

International students

I am an international student in the trades program, what do changes in program start and end dates, changes to my co-op term, or moving to online mean for me?

International students should contact the International Education Office to discuss potential visa and other implications. Email:inted@okanagan.bc.ca   Phone: 1-250-862-5443; Phone Toll Free: 1-877-755-2266

I have applied for a BC Student Loan. What happens if Okanagan College suspends operations (e.g. school closes, exchange program students recalled, etc.) as a result of COVID 19?

An interruption of study of up to four weeks will have no impact on student eligibility for financial assistance or disbursement of funding if students recommence intakes at the end of interruption. If Okanagan College extends the study period in response to an interruption, students are encouraged to contact the Okanagan College Financial Aid and Awards office, financialaid@okanagan.bc.ca. Financial Aid and Awards staff can assist students wanting to request a reassessment from Student Aid BC to receive additional funding with the process.

Program requirements

I have applied to a Foundation Intake that has not yet been postponed and am required to write the ABLE Math and/or English tests. What are my options?

We can provide conditional offers of admission and will move the deadlines for testing ahead up until the week prior to the program starting. Okanagan College will accept Duolingo as an option for the English tests and is available at: www.englishtext.duolingo.com.

General information

I have already paid for my parking pass and my intake is now postponed. What are my next steps?

If your program has not yet started, once the campus is reopened for in-person service, you can bring your pass to the Registrar’s office and be issued a new pass for revised dates of your program OR return the pass for full refund. Once the new dates of your intake are confirmed, the parking pass can be returned or exchanged.

I have a question that is not listed above. How do I contact the Trades and Apprenticeship office during this time?

In order to ensure the health of our staff and students, the Trades and Apprenticeship office is closed for in-person service until June 15. We can still be contacted between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm by phone at 1-800-621-3038 or email apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca.

Are Okanagan College campuses currently open to students and the public?

No, our campuses are currently closed to the public and students, and in-person counter service is not available. As of June 15, we will be open for physically distanced service, where required, for students with classes in session. Students are encouraged to utilize phone and email service and online payment, wherever possible.

I have documentation that needs to be returned to the Trades and Apprenticeship office. What should I do?

Please email the documentation to apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca or fax to 250-862-5457.

How do I receive information regarding the College’s status during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For regular updates, please subscribe to the College's email distribution list on the COVID-19 page.

For more information please contact the Trades and Apprenticeship office at 1-800-621-3038 or apprenticeship@okanagan.bc.ca.