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Jump into a job in tech

Are you ready to jump into a job in tech?

I was pretty shocked to learn that we have over 500 tech companies in the Kelowna area. 

One of the most surprising aspects of this is that the pace of growth for that sector in this area has outgrown our ability to educate the community to match the need. This is forcing our local tech companies to look further afield to fill the jobs. 

With our expanding tech scene, the need for new developers has created a bottleneck for further growth in the Okanagan.

To give you a better idea of the need, check out the Accelerate Okanagan job board

I want to introduce you to two local entrepreneurs, Shane Austin and Chris Gliddon, who plan to fill the gap. They have stepped into the ring, and partnered up with Lighthouse Labs to provide in-depth boot camp learning to get you trained for a whole new career in just six to eight weeks.

Would you like to learn more? Show up for their information session on Thursday:

When: Thursday, November 26 at 6 p.m.
Where: Co+Lab at #205 - 405 St Paul Street, Kelowna
Free pizza: YES!
Prize: Enter to win t-shirt

Please note: They will reserve one prize exclusively for folks who sign-up via my video.

Lighthouse Labs Okanagan Info Session


Other key dates:

Introduction to Web Development
Six weeks, start date January 25, 2016 

Full-Time Immersive Web Development Bootcamp
Eight weeks, start date March 28, 2016

You can find more information about the two courses here. 

“Having watched the tech growth in this community over the years, it became apparent to me that the need for talent has become an extremely high priority. This type of experiential learning is vital to those who desire to build technical coding skills and fast-track themselves into the industry.” says Shane Austin, Co-founder of co+Lab. “When I saw the rave reviews from their alumni, and companies who had hired from Lighthouse Labs, it became a no-brainer to bring them into our burgeoning tech community.”

The eight week Web Development Bootcamp boasts an unprecedented 100% employment rate for their job-seeking graduates, many of whom have little previous exposure to coding. The Intro to Web Development Course will give students a comprehensive introduction to software development.

The fundamental belief of Lighthouse Labs is that coding is a craft, and should be taught as a trade. The program boasts an agile curriculum that focuses on the most relevant skills with industry professionals as teachers. Classes are kept small, with a one-to-seven teacher-to-student ratio, using a hands-on approach in which students learn by building web applications.

“People go through school for a degree that doesn’t necessarily leave them with practical job applicable skills.” explained Chris Gliddon, Community Manager at Lighthouse Labs. “When students graduate from the Lighthouse Labs program, they have the hands-on experience needed to succeed and be employable as a developer. The program is all about outcomes and results.”

My interview with Shane Austin and Chris Gliddon:

Ryan Donn



Taste of Japan

In two weeks, the Kelowna Kasugai sister city association hosts their annual ‘Taste of Japan’ annual showcase event at Parkinson Recreation Centre.

Date: December 6
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.
Tickets: $2 per person or $5 per family

Activities include:

Tea Ceremony Japanese Cuisine Calligraphy and Origami Ikebana Display Japanese Children's Choir Gift Basket Raffle Yamabiko Taiko Drummers Japanse Games and Crafts Martial Arts Demonstrations Holiday Baking . . . and much more. 

A few months ago, an ‘aiming to provoke’ editorial in the local print paper questioned the value of the sister city relationship between Kelowna and Kasugai. I made a couple comments at council, but the column came to mind again today, as I started to write about the upcoming Taste of Japan.

Maybe before I go any further, let me clearly state my bias. I am the sister city association rep for council. I had a chance to go there in 2005 to perform at Kasuagai along with 60 other folks from Kelowna, my CD release shows incorporated Taiko, and I think that Kasugai Gardens are a hidden jewel in our community. 

Almost every week I find a unique way that our community is connecting with Kasugai. This week, the Kelowna Jaycees have a delegation in Japan for the 100th year anniversary of the Jaycees. 

A couple months ago, our Lady of the Lake led the largest parade in Kasugai. It was an honour bestowed on her as a representative of our partnership. Just the other week a number of Principals and top school district employees were warmly welcomed by the Mayor and Council of Kasugai. 

The numerous ways that this sister city relationship has weaved into the fabric of our communities is impressive. I trust you will find some time on December 6th to join me at the Taste of Japan. 


What's on November

This column was founded a few months after Breakout West came to Kelowna.

During three days in 2009, our city was filled with some of the best live music from around Canada. The energy was pretty inspiring, and it left a bit of a legacy of folks eager to support live music in our community.

A friend of mine, Jason Lane, started compiling a list of live music in town. He runs a blog locally called www.laner.ca

He also sends out a weekly email every week to which you can sign up: http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=912465f885e96e557dd9f5036&id=bc4c3029dc

Here is a listing of live music happening around the Kelowna area over the next few weekends:


Friday, November 13

Hank Stallion

Jon Bos
Kelowna Lake City Casino

O’Flannigans Pub

North of Here
Milkcrate Records

Steel Toad
Fleetwood Public House

The Ashley Hundred
Fernandos Pub

The Brothers Roepel
Sandhill Winery

The Goods
The Blue Gator

Patricia Dalgleish
Wine + Art


Saturday, November 14

Arsen Shomakhov
Mission Creek Golf Course

Kelowna Community Theatre

Bobby Van Grootheest hosts Karaoke
Fleetwood Public House

Frigg Off
Fernandos Pub

Hank Stallion

Jon Bos
Tonics Pub

Kman and The 45s
Doc Willoughby’s Pub

Lucy Blue
Minstrel Cafe

Monica Tracey
Wine & Art

The Goods
The Blue Gator

The Lion
Streaming Café

My pick: The Lion, at Streaming Cafe. Christopher Aruda has this enchanting, vocally-driven, soft acoustic folk style that will chill you out after a long week of work.

Ryan Donn

Friday, November 20


Daniel Wesley

DJ Blackout
Doc Willoughby’s Pub

Non-Prophet Society
Fleetwood Public House

Rann Berry
The Blue Gator

O’Flannigans Pub

Sherman Doucette
Kelowna Lake City Casino

Stephen Fearing
Kelowna Folk Club's House Concert

The Brothers Roepel and Sonder
Fernandos Pub


Saturday, November 21


Dan Mangan / Dralms
Kelowna Community Theatre

Fernandos Pub

Devon Coyote
Doc Willoughby’s Pub

Jon Bos
Tonics Pub

Rann Berry
The Blue Gator

The Regals
Minstrel Cafe

Towers and Trees
Streaming Café

My pick: Dan Mangan: I caught him a few years ago at Rifflandia. He is one of our most famous indie artists, and it's great to see him return to Kelowna for a gig. 

Ryan Donn

I also want to remind you that TEDx comes to Kelowna this Friday. Get your tickets here: http://www.tedxkelowna.com/details




'The Voice' of Strauss

Few folks know, but local Kelowna musician, Norm Strauss, played at the very first Parks Alive! show (which was at that time called Kelowna Pride). His singer/songwriter, folk music filled lifestyle has taken Norm on many adventures in life, but one of his recent experiences was being featured on the German version of ‘The Voice’. Part-time Dresden (Germany) / Kelowna resident, he has built a solid career as a house concert touring musician, and has weaved in and out of Kelowna's live music scene for a couple of decades. 

Check out his live performance and the positive response to it on the German ‘The Voice’: http://bit.ly/1k9EjME

I caught up with Norm this week to ask about the experience. Here’s our conversation: 

RD: Why did you audition?

NS: Normally there is quite a lengthy pre-audition process to get onto the show, involving at least 3 'pre-scout' auditions that take place in various cites in Germany. I had never heard of the show, and did not apply or take place in the pre-scouts. They contacted me by email in May, just out of the blue, and asked if I would consider taking part in the show. At first I actually thought it was a scam.

It took me a little while to investigate the show, and finally I agreed to meet with them in Berlin. I sang a couple songs in front of some Universal Music execs, and some other music industry people in a small room in Adlershof, Berlin.

Next thing I knew they handed me a huge contract to look over. Long story short, I ended up coming to Berlin after much agonizing over whether or not to be on this show. I even called past contestants to ask about their experience.

RD: What are your hopes with your involvement with the show?

NS: My final decision was based on the exposure I would get, and the fact that I represent a humanitarian project in Romania http://www.newhorizonromania.com/ which I talk about in all of my concerts. I thought this would be a great way to get the work of this project more widely known.

RD: How has the response been?

NS: The response has been immediate. When the show aired on Friday evening (German time), I happened to be sitting in front of my computer, logged into Facebook. It lit up like a Christmas tree, and hasn't stopped since. I tried to keep up to all the emails and FB messages, but at least on Friday, this was impossible. Monday I finally caught up. The messages still keep coming. 90%, of course, from Germany.

About 75% of my concerts in the last two years have been house concerts, which I love doing. I am in the Kelowna area now for the next few months and am available for some gigs. 

For more information about Norm Strauss: http://www.normstrauss.com/house-concerts

We have been listening to Norm's music for a long time at our house. His songs are the theme song for many and various moments in my life. Here is a video of my daughter’s favourite song, Unbreakable:

Ryan Donn Norm Strauss singing 'Unbreakable'

More What's On articles

About the Author

Ryan Donn
Singer/songwriter, event producer, digital creative, Councillor at the City of Kelowna

I love creating and connecting. For years I spent most of my time in Kelowna creating songs, and those songs have been used by the Terry Fox Run, Kelowna’s Centennial Celebration, or heard on various local radio stations. 

In the past few years I've focused on creating community events including Music in the Park, New York New Years, Castanet’s Free Family Skate, Talented Kids, Talented Kelowna, etc..

I use this column to connect some of our local creatives, events, unique local projects/non-profits, and occasionally a random column about our city. 

Originally from Scotland, I’ve lived in Kelowna for over 20 years. My wife, Kimberly, and our two daughters, Lyla and Bella, share our home with Tom (adult with diverse abilities).

In 2014 I was elected to Kelowna City Council. 

Opinions are my own and don't represent the City of Kelowna, Festivals Kelowna or Creative Okanagan. 

Connect with Ryan:

email: [email protected]
fb: https://www.facebook.com/ryandonn 
twitter: https://twitter.com/ryandonn
google + https://plus.google.com/107842460060589405881?rel=author

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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