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Okanagan College Media Release
A fresh addition to Okanagan College’s inventory of summer camps is cultivating wood-be carpenters among girls aged nine to 12.
Carpentry Projects for Girls is a camp that offers girls a chance to be creative in the woodworking shop at the College’s Kelowna campus, and gives them an introduction to trades.
“I was in the go-kart camp a couple of weeks ago, and on the last day of camp, I told my parents I wanted to come back,” says Malaika Dutta, a nine-year-old participant. “I really liked the idea of learning how to build things. I’ve never made anything like this before, but now I’m starting to think about things that I can make at home.”
The camp is led by Red Seal endorsed trades instructors, and Women in Trades Training (WITT) mentors have been stopping in to lend a helping hand.
“It’s fantastic to have the girls in here this young,” says Mary-Jaye Salmon, Red Seal Endorsed Carpenter and WITT mentor of 11 years. “They’re smart and in tune with health and safety. It’s great to show them the possibilities they have for their future. Maybe they won’t end up making a career choice of trades, but it definitely shows them that they can, and maybe sparks another interest of theirs that they will go on to pursue.”
This week, the girls have been building a number of small pieces including bird-shaped doorstops and planters, and will work together building oversized, outdoor games such as Jenga, dice, and corn hole.
“This camp is a great addition to CampOC,” says OC President Jim Hamilton. “Our WITT program does a tremendous job of providing opportunities for women to pursue a successful career in the trades, and this camp allows us to introduce these same possibilities to the next generation.”
This pilot project was funded by the Government of Canada's Union Training and Innovation Program – Women in Construction Fund, delivered through Industry Training Authority (ITA).
“This camp puts the tools in girls’ hands, letting them be creative in a fun, safe, and educational setting,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “They are able to explore their own skills and hopefully find their passion in the skilled trades.”
As the camp came to a close today, parents, ITA and OC staff joined the girls for a barbeque and an afternoon of playing the games they built.
With camps spanning from Revelstoke to the South Okanagan, CampOC offers a variety of camps each summer for students in Grades 2-12.
For more information on CampOC, visit campoc.ca.
More information about the College’s Women in Trades Training program is available at okanagan.bc.ca/witt.
A formal partnership between UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College has established a Green Construction Research and Training Centre (GCRTC) that will provide new research options and create hands-on practical training opportunities for students.
Professor Shahria Alam, with UBCO’s School of Engineering, has been appointed the first director of UBC’s newest research and training centre. Ashley Lubyk from Okanagan College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology program has been appointed as the co-director for the centre.
“Our goal is to create a hub where innovation in green construction is fostered,” explains Alam. “We are already starting to develop shared capstone projects for our students and establishing a speaker series that focuses on green construction and smart energy use.”
The GCRTC will generate and expand knowledge in the areas of green (environment-friendly) construction—including materials, structural components and systems, and construction management. The objectives are to create civil infrastructure that is safe, durable, energy-efficient and affordable through innovative technologies, he explains. Industry collaborations are already underway with anticipated spin-off companies creating a community that supports self-sustainability and local economic development.
“This centre ties in extremely well with our institutional focus on sustainability,” notes Andrew Hay, Okanagan College’s vice-president, education. “We are looking forward to furthering our collaboration with professor Alam, his colleagues and UBC Okanagan to advance the green building agenda.”
Alam’s research focuses on smart materials and their structural applications in infrastructure including seismic rehabilitation of structures and performance-based design. He is the chair of the Engineering Mechanics and Materials Division of Canadian Society of Civil Engineering and an associate editor of the Journal Bridge Engineering.
With more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, Alam stresses the importance of continuing to grow this sector in the Okanagan and its potential for a national and global impact.
“This joint initiative with Okanagan College will equip our students and researchers with the tools necessary to continue to innovate in the areas of green construction with a focus on sustainability,” he adds.
In collaboration with various municipalities, provincial bodies, Infrastructure Canada, construction associations and a large team of faculty members (from a range of disciplines including structural engineering, materials science, robotics, mechanical and electrical engineering, management, environmental science, economics and sociology), the centre will seek to develop transformative, paradigm-changing research that will be strategically vital to the construction industry.
School of Engineering Executive Associate Dean Rehan Sadiq says the centre is well-positioned to address the needs of the construction industry.
“Bringing together the expertise of our research faculty along with our colleagues from Okanagan College, we are confident that the centre will have a long-lasting positive impact into the future,” he adds.
Both UBC and Okanagan College have existing trades and technology programs and projects related to design and construction of future buildings. According to Alam, the Green Construction Research & Training Centre will find synergies between the two institutions wherever possible.
“Sharing ideas and expertise will be at the forefront of our success moving forward,” says Alam.
The centre has already launched a speaker series. More information can be found at: ok-gcrtc.sites.olt.ubc.ca
These interesting landforms include Giant’s Head Mountain, just a stone’s throw from Penticton in the nearby town of Summerland. Now an extinct volcano, this hike and the accompanying view were a part of this morning’s field trip outing.
A visit to the cliffs that sit beneath the well-known Penticton sign is part of the itinerary too, along with a drive to the Naramata Bench and Skaha Lake to explore various types of rock and glacial sediments.
However, the most intriguing geoscience element that attracted attendees to the conference is in the wine that the region is so famous for. The local terroir is a focus of the conference, with a feature keynote held yesterday on the relationship between wine, geology and the soils of the sprawling vineyards of the south Okanagan.
“Wineries take the idea of terroir very seriously. It is a key consideration that most producers take into account when choosing a vineyard site,” says Redding.
While the conference kicked off Tuesday, it continues through until tomorrow. Held on campus to start, attendees had the opportunity to present research, teaching techniques, as well as undergraduate findings. The two days following include site visits mentioned previously as well as other outings, including a highly anticipated visit to a winery or two.
All of the field trip sites are within a short distance of the Penticton campus, and are locations that provide research and learning opportunities for Okanagan College students. As instructor of first- and second-year Physical Geography, Weather, Climate and Environmental Sciences courses, Redding takes his students on field trips regularly, noting the high value in learning about processes in the field.
Eric Corneau, Regional Dean for South Okanagan-Similkameen adds that “the NAGT conference coming to Penticton is a great opportunity for both our instructors and students to learn from and collaborate with world-class geoscientists.”
“The Okanagan region has a naturally convincing pull, and we hope that by hosting this conference, we’re able to share more about diverse geography and the work our Geography, Earth & Environmental Science department is doing in the field of education and research.”
While Redding’s classes are out for the summer, he still has two students volunteering at the conference. The sessions and field trips are educational and social at the same time – an opportunity for people to meet, learn and glean from each other. Attendees will be permitted to take photos and collect rocks at certain sites, taking them back to their respective institutions for case studies and examples for classroom teaching.
For more conference information, visit https://nagt2019penticton.weebly.com/ or contact Todd Redding at email@example.com.
Okanagan College Media Release
After a motor vehicle accident that left her paralyzed and with no memory of who she was, Kate Camire was told that she would never fully recover.
Fast forward 12 years to today where Camire will walk across the stage at Okanagan College’s Vernon campus after successfully completing her Medical Office Assistant certificate.
“I had a traumatic brain injury and was paralyzed on my right side,” explains Camire. “I had to relearn my name, how to read, how to spell, how to walk. After two years, I hadn’t improved much and the doctors said it was unlikely that I would make much more progress.”
But with determination, Camire relearned the skills she had lost, and worked hard to improve her memory.
“I graduated from high school that same year and went on to teach parent-tot and preschool gymnastics,” adds Camire. “I was walking with a cane at the time, but was able to get around and run if I needed to. After that, I decided I just needed to keep going and that I needed to do something with my life.”
Camire started taking first aid courses and coaching at Douglas College before eventually enrolling in OC’s Medical Office Assistant program (MOA).
“The same day I applied to the College, I had to go in and do a typing test before the program started that evening,” says Camire. “I live in Sorrento, my typing test was in Salmon Arm and my first class was at the Vernon campus,” she adds, laughing.
MOA is a 254-hour program that prepares students for employment in reception, clerical, or assisting positions in hospitals and medical offices. The program involves a lot of memorizing, as students learn medical terminology – another challenge that Camire was able to overcome.
“Medical terminology actually became one of my favourite courses,” says Camire. “Our instructor, Mag, was so great. There was always a lot of laughing in the class which made it a fun learning experience.”
“It was a pleasure having Kate in my class,” says Margaret Evans, Continuing Studies Instructor. “Kate has overcome tremendous obstacles. She has such a drive for success and a willingness to help her classmates. I am happy to have had the chance to get to know her.”
Today, Camire celebrates, along with 133 other Vernon students, the end of her program, another hurdle she was able to overcome.
“Today means so much to me. It means I pulled off another success I didn’t think I could. I am absolutely thrilled,” says Camire. “I’ve applied to Interior Health in Kamloops and I hope to be working in a regular clinic soon.”
As the graduates receive their credentials, they will also be addressed by Okanagan College President, Jim Hamilton.
“Regardless of their path, the graduates have one thing in common: they arrived at OC with aspirations about their future,” says Hamilton. “Now, as they cross the stage, we get a glimpse into the future of our society. These are the people that will transform the communities around us.”
By the end of this week, Okanagan College will have sent over 2,000 graduates into the working world this academic year.
The Vernon Convocation starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus. Those who cannot make the ceremony can watch the graduands receive their credentials on OC’s Facebook live stream.
Civil Engineering Technology graduate Keyvan Khadem has found that Okanagan College is helping him build the career and future that he’s seeking.
Khadem is one of more than 600 students who will be acknowledged at OC Convocation ceremonies this weekend.
He originally moved to Vancouver from Iran to pursue a career in medicine. After exploring that career path, he realized it wasn’t quite the right fit and decided to pursue his other passion, construction.
“I’ve always really enjoyed construction, and decided to start my own company,” says Khadem. “I knew I would be more respected in this field if I gained more knowledge in it, so I decided to enrol at Okanagan College. I love the lifestyle here so much that I’ve decided to move my company here.”
Khadem owns a construction and development company, Bosso Developments Ltd., that’s currently located in Vancouver and specializes in residential development.
This Saturday at the Kelowna campus, Khadem will graduate with distinction from OC’s Civil Engineering Technology Diploma program at the Spring Convocation. He is among students graduating from academic and vocational programs receiving certificates, diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor degrees.
An exemplary student, Khadem was selected as the student speaker to address the 2019 graduating class as they embark on their future endeavours.
“There’s so much happening around us in this chaotic world that the news portrays to us,” says Khadem. “It can be scary. You feel hopeless and wonder what you can do. The set of skills we learn at this institution are what will help us be better people. Institutions like this help shape the people who will assist in environmental issues, the people who will go into politics, and help the people who will help build your dream house.”
The journey to graduation can be different for each student. Khadem notes that it’s not always an easy one, and advises his peers to never lose sight of their goals.
“Being a student is hard work,” says Khadem. “There are so many different pressures that people experience whether it’s financial, or the stresses of having a family. The most important thing that I want to say to my peers is to not lose hope…hope for the future, hope for yourself.”
After completing his two-year diploma program at OC, Khadem has now chosen to bridge his education into a four-year degree and will attend the University of British Columbia Okanagan for Civil Engineering. (OC offers a bridging program specifically focused on allowing people to move from the diploma program into the UBC degree program.)
“I’m not the same person that I was two years ago,” says Khadem. “OC shaped me into a better version of myself. The way I speak, the way I carry myself, the way I present myself to people, and to my industry…I’m just so grateful for this experience.”
Saturday’s ceremonies mark the fourth and fifth of eight convocation ceremonies that the College will host this year. The ceremony is split into two celebrations. The first begins at 10:30 a.m. and will honour students from arts, health, technologies, science and computer science programs. The afternoon ceremony will start at 1:30 p.m. and will recognize students from the Okanagan College School of Business.
Students attending the morning ceremony will hear from Robert Louie, who will formally be announced as one of OC’s 2019 Honorary Fellows. After being recognized with the Distinguished Service Award at the afternoon ceremony, retired Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business, Dr. Heather Banham, will address the next wave of business leaders.
“My advice to the 2019 graduands is to see the value and importance in lifelong learning,” says OC’s President Jim Hamilton. “If they keep learning and keep applying what they’ve learned, they’ll transform their own lives and the communities around them.”
Both of the ceremonies on Saturday will be livestreamed on the College’s Facebook page and viewers can tune in from across Canada. If you don’t have the opportunity to attend, be sure to follow along on our Facebook page.
For more information on convocation and upcoming ceremonies, visit okanagan.bc.ca/convocation.
They’re blending marketing and data analytics and using the results to tailor their special offers, the websites you see and their recommendations for your next purchase.
Okanagan College will be offering a new program this fall that speaks to the growing role of marketing and big data in our lives, and the increasing demand for people whose skills and education position them at the intersection of the two areas. The Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Marketing and Data Analytics will combine courses from mathematics, statistics, business and data science to provide students (who already have Bachelor degrees in business or science) with the knowledge to carve a career in the growing field.
“It’s difficult to think of an area of our lives that hasn’t been affected by the growth in data being collected and the marketing it drives,” notes Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “While some people are rightfully concerned about the privacy implications of all that data, it’s an undeniable reality that the data begs for analysis and application. Companies, organizations, and governments all recognize the value of the insights that are possible. This program is an example of our institution again responding to employer needs and career opportunities for students.”
The program, which was developed by the Math & Statistics department at Okanagan College, with support from the Business department, was approved by the Board of Governors in late April.
“We know that there’s a growing appetite for the people who can mine all the data that is collected these days, and translate it into applicable marketing tactics and strategies,” explains Yvonne Moritz, the College’s Dean of Science, Technology and Health. “There are employers throughout the Okanagan who are looking for the skill set that this program can provide students.”
“Forestry manufacturing companies, like Tolko Industries, rely on big data and analysts to provide proactive business information and financial and operational analyses in achieving the optimal investment return for Tolko,” confirms Pino Pucci, Tolko Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Logistics. “Our business analysts use data to evaluate product placement, channel strategies, benchmarking (customer and competitor), and logistic and strategic capital investment analyses. The demand for this expertise within the industry is increasing and we’re fortunate to have our local college offer this program.”
When they graduate from the four-semester program, students will be able to:
“The development, interpretation and use of data today informs all fields of business and commerce. But as the quantity of data has grown exponentially in recent years, the skill set and knowledge required to take full advantage of that information have changed,” notes Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business. “Our program recognizes that.”
For more information on the Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Marketing and Data Analytics, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/pbmda
Okanagan College Media Release
Today marks an important step toward a new career path for close to 90 students in various Okanagan College trades programs, who will cross the stage at the Trades Commencement ceremony at the Kelowna campus.
For one Collision Repair and Refinishing Prep Technician student, Jessica de Groot, commencement serves as the start to a second career that blends her passion for creative pursuits with technical capability.
“There has been so much to learn and process,” says de Groot. “I’m excited to complete this program and honour that completion, as well as move forward into the workforce.”
After spending the last six years working at a craft beer brewery in media and graphic design, de Groot decided to take her artistic abilities from the computer screen and apply them in the collision repair shop.
“I felt I had made it as far as I could in my position, and wanted something more for myself,” says de Groot. “I started to research the trades and quickly found that auto refinishing really appealed to my artistic sense.”
Today’s ceremony marks the completion of de Groot’s nine-month program. Her future plans are to move home to Invermere and work towards completing her ticket as a prep and paint apprentice.
“I really enjoyed the painting part of the program,” says de Groot. “The process of taking a car from the completed body repair to looking back to new is very satisfying for me.”
Trades Commencement is one of eight convocation and commencement ceremonies Okanagan College will host this year. By the end of June, the College will have sent more than 2,000 graduates into the world this academic year. All ceremonies will be live streamed on the Okanagan College Facebook page at www.facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.
“Today’s graduating class includes our future welders, chefs, electricians, plumbers, and heavy-duty mechanics, to name just a few,” says OC President Jim Hamilton. “These are the people who will construct our communities, advance sustainability and change the way we work, learn and live.”
Okanagan College is the second-largest trades training institution in the province, and the largest in B.C.’s Interior. For more information visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/trades.
From skiing and snowmobiling to mountain biking and hiking, Revelstoke is attractive to visitors for many reasons and tourism is important to the community’s economic health. To support this industry and people seeking careers in it, Okanagan College in Revelstoke is launching a new two-year Tourism Management Diploma and is receiving $40,000 in support from Columbia Basin Trust for a virtual classroom.
“This mobile lab is part of a new program that will help address the shortage of trained staff in the tourism industry, a sector that we heard is a priority for Revelstoke,” said Aimee Ambrosone, Columbia Basin Trust Director, Delivery of Benefits. “Kudos to the College for creating an innovative, collaborative learning environment that will provide access to training locally to help meet the workforce needs of local tourism-based businesses while supporting the economic well-being of the community as a whole.”
The funding will go toward setting up a high-tech lab equipped with digital equipment that will enable students to access blended-learning resources like online content and videoconferencing. Instruction will be flexible and up-to-date, will draw from the best resources and instructors, and will better represent today’s technology-based work environment.
The lab will also be mobile, meaning it can be set up at off-campus locations to meet a variety of training needs. Students will be able to learn at different job sites, while employers and community organizations will be able to receive on-site training customized to their needs.
“Launching this full-time program in Revelstoke will answer significant industry demand for managers in the tourism and hospitality industries,” said Joan Ragsdale, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for Shuswap Revelstoke. “Together with a donation from the Revelstoke Credit Union, the Trust’s contribution has made this mobile lab possible.”
Launching in fall 2019, the program will allow students to attend school in the tourism sector’s shoulder seasons and build work experience during the busier winter and summer months. Learn more about Revelstoke centre and the Tourism Management Diploma program.
Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1-800-505-8998.
It’s a challenge Newton knows well. Initially, she tried to work while going to school full time and raising her son. Juggling work, school and family landed her on academic probation.
Once she realized she could not manage work and her studies she turned to student loans, which didn’t fully cover the costs of attending school.
This spurred Newton to begin applying for student scholarships and bursaries, which were instrumental in helping her achieve her goals. During her four-year degree, she received $15,000 in student awards, a major support that still brings tears to Newton’s eyes when she thinks about complete strangers helping her achieve her dreams.
“I know the crunch of relying on student loans and worrying about money,” says Newton. “When I saw other people were willing to invest in me and my future, I said to myself that one day I would be in a position to do the same for another student.”
The Suzanne Newton Perseverance Inspires Success Award will be available to any student on the Penticton campus. Applicants will be asked, “What have you had to overcome to be here?”
“It’s heartening to see people who’ve benefited from student awards go on to help other students,” says Anne Kirkpatrick, Okanagan College Foundation Interim Executive Director.
“This award recognizes the important role a donor plays in helping students be successful and we’re grateful to Suzanne for paying it forward.”
Newton has advice for anyone questioning continuing school, which she acknowledges can be particularly difficult for mature students with families.
“Don’t just stop because you’ve hit a roadblock, very few students don’t hit roadblocks. Know that you can get through it and it will get better. I hope this award touches someone and gives them hope.”