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Workshop to provide a guiding compass for social enterprises

Okanagan College Media Release

SoFun Workshop Hosts May 2017An upcoming workshop will equip those seeking real-world solutions to challenges in our communities with the essential business tools needed to set their social enterprise ideas in motion. 

On Thursday, May 25 the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence at Okanagan College and Purppl, a community enterprise accelerator, will join forces to lead the SoFun workshop, teaching social enterprise fundamentals. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College in room E103.

“Communities are struggling under the weight of chronic, persistent challenges like social justice, food and water security, accessible transportation, and economic empowerment,” says Andrew Greer, founder of Purppl. “The organizations tasked with solving these issues are struggling with unpredictable funding models.

“Using a social enterprise model can add predictable, sustainable, entrepreneurial revenue into these organizations which can be used to implement long-term solutions to community challenges. The SoFun workshop uses global entrepreneurial best practices and tools to help social entrepreneurs.”

Participants will examine the case study of Mission Possible (an organization which helps those affected by homelessness find meaningful work) through the global-standard Business Model Canvas tool. The model applies lean thinking, which aims to shorten the process from startup to implementation, therefore increasing efficiency and impact of the business idea. Participants will also be able to apply key learnings to their own business ideas and work on them while making the most of access to experts and resources in the room.

Increasing the sustainability of non-profit organizations has been one of the key directions of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence since it was established in 2014. Social enterprise is a tool that organizations can use to achieve a level of sustainability.

“Our research shows that lack of access, or simply not knowing where to find the information, is a big gap in the non-profit sector within the Okanagan,” explains Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Okanagan College School of Business professor and faculty researcher at the Centre. “This workshop is one way to put information in the hands of those ready to help make the changes that will benefit our community.”

Attendees will each receive a copy of the Business Model Canvas, will have an opportunity to work on their own social enterprise ideas, explore available business resources, connect with other like-minded individuals, and have access to learn with and from other social entrepreneurs. The workshop is suited for: leaders of non-profits, individuals working in existing organizations (non-profit and for profit) with social enterprise initiatives, entrepreneurs looking to solve a social problem in their community, government employees looking to implement impact initiatives, and students.

Myrah and Greer will be joined by OC business professor Kerry Rempel to lead the workshop. Giulio Piccioli, founder of One Big Table, will also present about his experience of building a social enterprise focused on access to local food and the lean startup approach he has applied.

Tickets are $45 (at www.socialfundamentals.eventbrite.ca) and include lunch, coffee, and tea.

 





Gift supports Kelowna General Hospital and Biology Co-op education program

Kelowna residents Colin and Lois Pritchard have long been recognized in the community for their outstanding contributions to advancing health care in the southern interior region.  On Thursday, the most recent of their foundation’s contributions was unveiled at Kelowna General Hospital.

Thanks to the generosity of The Colin and Lois Pritchard Foundation, the Larissa Yarr Medical Microbiology laboratory at KGH has new, sophisticated testing abilities with a real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) laboratory. These highly advanced diagnostic instruments allow laboratory staff to detect and identify specific antibiotic resistance gene mutations, bacteria and viruses faster than ever before.

Currently, most viral diagnostics must be sent to Vancouver for testing in a reference facility, with delays due to the transport required.  The new PCR instrumentation allows for significantly increased capacity to test for viral illnesses directly at KGH.  When time is of the essence, having immediate access to this kind of advanced technology can significantly impact the clinical course of a patient.

Biology Co-op education program

The gift also includes a generous provision to UBC Okanagan’s Department of Biology to support one microbiology student per year for the next five years.  The student will have the opportunity for a four-month co-op placement in the Microbiology Laboratory at KGH.

The gift has the dual purpose of supporting talented UBC Okanagan students in real-world learning while also building capacity for the lab to undertake research on the PCR.

Since being founded in 2007, The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation has made possible some incredibly unique acquisitions at KGH including; the Endoscopic Ultrasound in 2015, which allows highly detailed gastrointestinal imaging; the MALDI TOF analyzer in 2013 that speeds bacterial identification; and Telehealth and Video Conferencing in 2012, allowing for remote specialist consulting and diagnostic work to be done where people live.

The gifts are remarkable on a number of fronts, not the least of which is the Pritchards’ commitment to working in partnership with both KGH and UBC-O.  Each gift is intentionally structured to fill less obvious but still critical needs within the hospital, while providing research and learning opportunities for students.

“These days, philanthropy in health care is often focused on cancer or cardiac care,” notes Dr. Edith Blondel-Hill, KGH Medical Microbiologist who has worked directly with the Pritchards.  “Supporting the microbiology laboratory with new technology to improve the diagnosis of infections will ultimately result in better antibiotic use, to preserve these lifesaving medications for future generations. This donation demonstrates this family’s commitment to the present and future health of our community.”

“The Pritchards’ history of giving is really unique,” notes KGH Foundation CEO Doug Rankmore.  “Over the years, they have been exceptionally engaged with our specialty medical teams to determine where needs exist that might typically be overlooked because it’s not top of mind in the media or even within the general medical community. Their gifts have had an incredible impact in this hospital.”

UBC Okanagan microbiology student April Mahovlic is the recipient of the co-op funding for this year.

“Working with Dr. Wilmer at the Lab has been a tremendous learning opportunity for me,” she says.  “I will be forever grateful to the Pritchard family for this gift.  Because of them, I have the opportunity to work with some of the most advanced technology in Canada.”

Indeed, the support of advanced education in the medical fields has been a top priority for the Pritchards and has resulted in several gifts to UBC over the years including bursary support for Southern Medical Program (SMP) students, research opportunities for SMP students at the BC Cancer Agency, simulation equipment and ultrasound technology.

“Health is one of UBC’s top research priorities,” says Vice-Principal and Associate Vice-President of Research at UBC Philip Barker. “The Okanagan campus is uniquely positioned to provide transformative learning opportunities for the next generation of innovators and critical thinkers. We look forward to continuing our work with Interior Health and would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Pritchards for their generous and ongoing support of our mission.”

 

INFO SHEET – NEW PCR INSTRUMENT
AT KELOWNA GENERAL HOSPITAL

KGH DEPARTMENT OF MICROBIOLOGY

The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation’s gift supported the acquisition of a sophisticated piece of technology/ instrumentation that allows the microbiology lab at KGH to perform PCR, or amplify DNA, to detect and identify specific genome.

What is PCR and why is it important?

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. Performing PCR has many practical applications and benefits including the locating of specific gene mutations and the diagnoses of viruses including HIV, SARS, H5N1, bacteria analysis for resistant genes in real time. This means the bio-medical team at KGH is able to make diagnoses faster than ever before, which allows them to treat these illnesses with greater efficiency.

In addition to influenza and other respiratory viruses and bacteria, this system provides capacity to test for gastrointestinal pathogens, resistance factors in superbugs and much more. While the new PCR instrument improves the capacity and range of testing that can be done at KGH, it is significantly more cost effective to operate.

With this acquisition, the microbiology lab at KGH is considered to be one of the most advanced in Canada.

The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation

Colin Pritchard, a retired lawyer and UBC alumnus and his wife Lois, founded The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation in 2007. A snapshot of the Pritchard Foundation’s philanthropy over the past ten years reveals a commitment to working in partnership with multiple organizations to profoundly impact the delivery of health care in our community both for today and for generations to come.

Over past 10 years, The Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation has worked in partnership with KGH medical teams and medical faculties at UBC Okanagan to identify intersection points between the two institutions where provisions can be made for both the acquisition of state of the art equipment at KGH and learning and research opportunities for students.

 



UBC’s annual Think Tank supports a bright future for Osoyoos Secondary School

At this time last year, the fate of Osoyoos Secondary School was dire. Due to challenges with declining enrolment, the school was scheduled to close. However, the Rural Education Enhancement Fund provided funding and the school remains open.

A year later and things today look much brighter for the students of Osoyoos Secondary. The new flexible schedule was part of the focus at this week’s Small Secondary School Think Tank at UBC Okanagan.

Educators from across the province were invited to UBC Okanagan to participate in the fourth annual Think Tank, hosted by the Faculty of Education. The event supports rural education and the unique achievements and challenges faced by schools in small, often rural communities.

"Several years ago our staff committed to looking for new approaches to teaching and learning at Osoyoos secondary in response to declining enrolment and the new BC K-12 curriculum,” says Mike Safek, Osoyoos Secondary principal. “The outcome of the process, which was concluded before the school closure was announced, is a flexible schedule that has given our students more courses to choose from, more flexibility in personalizing their pathway to graduation, more ownership of their learning, and the ability to learn in high-interest areas."

Since beginning the flexible schedule in September, there has been a steady increase in the number of honour roll students, more access for credit courses for those students on track to graduate and better opportunities for students to explore areas of interest, which aligns with BC’s new K-12 curriculum mandate.

Safek notes that although there is much more work to be done at Osoyoos secondary, he commends UBC’s Small Schools Think Tank for being a place to share ideas, and gather insights from educators who face similar challenges in smaller school communities.

"UBC’s Small Schools Think Tank is a powerful venue to support innovation and change. Working with educators from around the province who are either wanting to innovate, or are engaged in innovation, is energizing and motivating. The collective energy and contributions of the group raised possibilities for us that will help us move forward in our journey."

“UBC Okanagan is so pleased to host and facilitate the 4th annual Think Tank,” says Susan Crichton, associate dean in the Faculty of Education. “This annual Think Tank allows us to focus on the richness and opportunities smaller schools and celebrate their success and innovation.  Each case, presented during our Think Tanks has provoked important conversations and helped to form a rich community of educators.”

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Students hit the road to recruit future healthcare professionals

A diverse group of university students from across BC and Canada recently spent a week in rural BC to inspire high school students to pursue future careers in healthcare.

“The healthcare travelling roadshow is designed to help address rural healthcare shortages by reaching out to high school students,” says Leah Trippell, a first-year Southern Medical Program student at UBC Okanagan. “At the same time we provide education about the breadth of careers available and what type of careers are needed in rural communities.”

Nine students representing UBC medicine, midwifery and pharmacy along with licensed practical nursing (Vancouver Island University), respiratory therapy (Thompson Rivers University), and optometry (University of Waterloo) participated in this year’s week-long trek to Grand Forks, Trail and Nelson.

The roadshow is an eye-opening experience for countless high school students, who discovered that thumbs have pulses, and babies turn during birth. Many are surprised to learn about the existence of midwives and respiratory therapists and the scope of practice each profession represents.

In total, more than 600 students from Grand Forks Secondary School, JL Crowe secondary in Trail, and LV Rogers secondary in Nelson participated in the travelling exhibition.

“The roadshow was a fantastic experience for our students,” says Helen Argue, Student Services and Career Prep Coordinator at Grand Forks secondary. “The greatest testimony came from the students who thought it ‘would be a waste of time because they weren’t going to be doctors.’  After the session, these same students were raving about the presentation and the hands-on activities.”

As part of the trip, the university students had an opportunity to explore each community, tour local healthcare facilities to speak with rural practitioners, and connect with local mayors and councils.

“It was amazing to spend time becoming familiar with some of the communities in rural BC,” adds Trippell. “Each community welcomed us with open arms and was so excited to show us what makes their city unique and to highlight the benefits of living in smaller communities where the work-life balance is an appealing part of the lifestyle.”

The healthcare travelling roadshow was conceived and developed by Dr. Sean Maurice at the Northern Medical Program, based at the University of Northern BC. The provincial initiative is sustained by support from the Northern Medical Programs Trust, Rural Education Action Plan, Interior Health and UBC Southern Medical Program.

The program has grown to include three regional trips this year including Kootenay (Grand Forks, Trail, Nelson), Cariboo (Quesnel, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House) and Robson (McBride, Valemount, Clearwater and Barriere). Since its inception, the roadshow has connected with more than 7,000 teenagers in 32 communities throughout BC.

First-year UBC medical student Stephanie Schindler (middle) leads hands-on activity for students at LV Rogers Secondary in Nelson as part of the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow.

First-year UBC medical student Stephanie Schindler (middle) leads hands-on activity for students at LV Rogers Secondary in Nelson as part of the Healthcare Travelling Roadshow.

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Exercising can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease

Kathleen Martin Ginis is a professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Heath and Exercise Sciences.

Kathleen Martin Ginis is a professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Heath and Exercise Sciences.

The evidence is clear. Physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, says a panel of researchers and not-for-profit leaders, led by UBC’s Okanagan campus.

The researchers also confirmed that regular physical activity may improve the performance of daily activities for people afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Their conclusions may have significant implications for the 1.1 million Canadians affected directly or indirectly by dementia.

“As there is no current cure for Alzheimer’s, there is an urgent need for interventions to reduce the risk of developing it and to help manage the symptoms,” says study first author Kathleen Martin Ginis, professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences. “After evaluating all the research available, our panel agrees that physical activity is a practical, economical and accessible intervention for both the prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”

Martin Ginis and her cohort reviewed data from more than 150 research articles about the impact of physical activity on people with Alzheimer’s. Some of the work explored how physical activity improves the patient’s quality of life and the others examined the risk of developing Alzheimer’s based on the amount of activity in which an individual participated.

The panel concluded that regular physical activity improves activities of daily living and mobility in older adults with Alzheimer’s and may improve general cognition and balance.  They also established that older adults not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s who are physically active were significantly less likely to develop the disease compared to people who were inactive.

“This is exciting work,” says Martin Ginis. “From here we were able to prepare a consensus statement and messaging which not only has community backing, but is also evidence-based. Now we have the tool to promote the protective benefit of physical activity to older adults. I’m hopeful this will move the needle on this major health concern.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, characterized by progressive neurodegeneration that results in severe cognitive impairment, compromised physical ability and loss of independence. The number of worldwide cases is expected to increase from 30.8 million in 2010 to more than 106 million in 2050.

The study, published in BMC Public Health, was supported by funding from the Ontario Brain Institute and the Alzheimer Society.

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Enactus Okanagan College takes nationals by storm

Okanagan College Media Release

Enactus Nationals 2017 Fin LitFive students from Okanagan College’s School of Business have proven a small group of people can transform a community and were recognized for their empowering work with youth through the CANSave program at the 2017 Enactus Canada National Exposition in Vancouver last week, where they won top honours and were part of a larger group from the College who amassed an impressive number of awards and accolades.

Okanagan College sent four teams to compete at the national event after placing first in three categories during the regional competition. By the time the national exposition was over, of the 60+ universities and colleges at the event, Okanagan College was the only institution to win first and second-place National Challenge titles.

OC was also awarded a trophy for the nation’s Top Campus Administration. Business student Cody Troutman was one of only 12 in the country to earn a $2,500 John Dobson founder’s bursary for his work in the area of leadership. And OC alumnus Drew Vincent was recognized with a national award as the Top Alumni Over 30. Vincent is currently the Team Leader at OYP Collective in Kelowna.

“I am extremely proud, but not surprised, by the results of Enactus Okanagan College at the national exposition,” says Jim Hamilton, president of Okanagan College. “I have had the pleasure of watching our students present and their knowledge, poise and confidence is truly remarkable. Even more remarkable though, is the impact of the work they are doing in our communities. They are living and breathing examples of how the College transforms lives and communities. I commend the team members and faculty on their performance and I know they will continue to do great things.”

Enactus Nationals 2017 YE

The most exciting moment of the competition came when Enactus OC won the Capital One Financial Education Challenge based on an impressive presentation that showcased the work they have done with the CANSave program. The project, which teaches financial literacy skills to elementary students, began in Kelowna last year and has since spread to 80 communities across the country. With support from Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, the program has now impacted more than 6,000 students across Canada. Team members included Julia Lalach, Cody Troutman, Bliss Ducharme and Rochelle Diaz. The team is coached by faculty mentor Devin Rubadeau.

Enactus Okanagan College finished second in the nation in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment challenge after presentingon the impact of CANSave and how it impacts youth to take control of their financial education. The Vernon-based team was made up of Mitchell Pepper, Christianne Edblad, and Anthony Peterson, who are all from Vernon and Gabby Edblad (Kelowna). The team was coached by professor Andrew Klingel. 

“This national competition was truly special, both for the achievements of our team, and also for the incredible support we continue to receive,” says Dr. Kyleen Myrah, faculty advisor with Enactus OC. “Having our entire institution truly behind us, in addition to the many community stakeholders and alumni who share their time and expertise with us, truly shows what a deep impact our Enactus team has accomplished.”

The College’s national team advanced through the first round into the semis but was stopped in its tracks by a dynamic team from Memorial University, who would go on to win the national event for the second year in a row. 

 



Talk—don’t text—in times of stress, says UBC research

Assoc. Prof. Susan Holtzman teaches at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Assoc. Prof. Susan Holtzman teaches at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

A UBC researcher suggests it’s best to stop texting and instead make face-to-face contact when someone reaches out in need of support.

Assoc. Prof. Susan Holtzman recently published research comparing both the social and emotional impact of support provided by text messaging versus in-person support. Holtzman, who teaches psychology at UBC’s Okanagan campus, believes the two separate experiments are the first randomized controlled studies about texting during stressful situations.

“It was fairly clear that even though people may be connected socially through a device, it may not be the best way to communicate during a stressful experience,” Holtzman says. “In both experiments, respondents’ positive mood was significantly higher after receiving in-person support, compared to those who received support through text messages.”

Study participants were given a stressful task and then randomly assigned to receive emotional support either in person, via text messaging, or to receive no support at all.

“Social support has been identified as one of the most powerful predictors of well-being, particularly during times of stress,” she says. “Our results suggest that there may be costs to an increasing reliance on digital forms of communication, such as text messaging, to connect and exchange support with our social networks.”

Holtzman reports that digitally-mediated communication lacks a number of visual and auditory cues—signals that have important implications for human well-being. For example, research has shown that viewing photographs of a loved one's face or hearing a mother's voice can have stress-cushioning effects. Text communication, she says, is also more likely to be misinterpreted, thereby reducing the effectiveness of support attempts.

Participants in her study, aged between 18 and 25, are part of a cultural context where text messaging is a valued source of connection, she explains. This is important to note because when a close friend provided emotional support during the study, either in-person or by text message, satisfaction was virtually identical. So even though text messaging doesn’t appear to be as effective at boosting mood, it may remain a popular method of seeking support because of that sense of connection it offers people in that age group.

Holtzman also notes a growing trend for some crisis lines to use text messaging and online chat services to respond to calls for help.

“We don’t want to say that texting is good or bad as there are definite benefits when it comes to using text messages to communicate—especially when people don’t feel comfortable making a phone call or reaching out face-to-face,” she says. “But we still have a long way to go in understanding how to best support people through text messages and other forms of digital communication.”

Holtzman’s research was recently published in Computers in Human Behaviour and was funded by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the University of British Columbia.

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ENHANCE Happiness and Well-Being study opens to new participants

Two UBC psychology professors are combining their areas of expertise to open the ENHANCE trial, now in its second year, to a new group of Okanagan residents.

ENHANCE (Enduring Happiness and Continued Self-Enhancement) is a randomized clinical trial created by Lesley Lutes, director of Clinical Training, and Derrick Wirtz, director of Psychological Science. Introduced in 2016, ENHANCE is aimed at determining whether people can increase their sense of well-being in the short- and long-term by using principles supported by years of research.

“People often view happiness as an essential ingredient to living a good life and would like to experience greater well-being than they currently do,” Wirtz says. “We are excited to bring an evidence-based program to the Okanagan that can help people do this.”

“Last year, when we began the ENHANCE study, the interest we received from the community was remarkable, which is why we are pleased to be offering the chance to a new group of people to participate in the study,” adds Lutes.

The six-month study will compare two evidence-based programs to improve a person’s well-being, happiness and mindfulness. It is among the first of its kind, says Wirtz, noting that psychological scientists are increasingly investigating positive states, their causes and their consequences. Developed in collaboration with one of the pioneers of the study of human happiness, the ENHANCE trial is an effort to explore the benefits of positive feelings.

“The first phase of the ENHANCE trial showed us that people can increase their happiness and satisfaction with life,” Lutes says. “In its second year, the study focuses on exploring how and why those positive changes occur.”

Experiencing greater well-being is also important, according to research.

“Feeling happy and satisfied with life is rewarding, but the rewards don’t end there," adds Wirtz. People who enjoy greater well-being also have better health and social relationships.”

Participants in the trial will receive a three-month research-based program for increasing well-being and mindfulness, three additional months of follow-up, and a program workbook and materials. At the end of the study, participants will be entered into a raffle to receive a $100 VISA gift card.

To inquire about the ENHANCE trial, email [email protected]

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Camp OC offers summer fun and learning for youth throughout the region

 

From Revelstoke to the South Okanagan, youth will have an even better selection of summer camp opportunities to choose from this year with Okanagan College’s Camp OC returning for another year. camp oc 2017 web

Camp OC, coordinated by the College’s Continuing Studies department, offers week-long educational day camps full of interactive experiences, fun and adventure for youth.

Back for its 13th year in Kelowna, camps will once again be offered for students in Grades 2-12. Parents can select from a range of camps including Minecraft programming, wood and metal fabrication camps, fashion and cooking camps, and go kart and flight academy camps, among others.

New in Kelowna, camp organizers are offering optional after camp care for students who will be entering Grades 2-6 this fall. With camps running 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, parents will now have the option of enrolling their child in week-long after camp care in which qualified staff will engage them in activities until 5 p.m. The cost ranges from $24-30 for the week.

Camps are available at the Penticton campus for students in Grades 4-9. Parents and their children can choose from a range of camps including junior passion for fashion, video game workshop, and mad scientist camps to name a few.

Returning for its second year in Revelstoke, Camp OC is open to students in Grades 2-9. Parents and their kids can select from offerings including Chef Academy and Teen Cuisine camps for the aspiring cooks, to French language Mad Scientist camps. New for this year in Revelstoke is a Mini Up-Cycle camp designed for students in Grades 2-4.

New this year for Vernon and area residents is an expanded age range. Camps are offered for students in Grade 3 right up to and including Grade 12. Parents can select from a range of offerings including Minecraft programming, wood and metal fabrication camps, fashion and spa camps and cooking camps, among others.

And the camps aren’t all just fun and games. For the high school set, they are designed to provide a taste of life as a College student – and to open students’ eyes to careers that are in high demand, like computer programming.

This year students in Grades 9-12 can tap into a special two-week camp offering the fundamentals of coding at the Vernon campus.

Last year more than 1,500 students took part in more than 100 different camps as part of Camp OC across the College’s campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Revelstoke. The program has seen incredible growth since it launched in the summer of 2004, then with only 70 kids enrolled in about 10 camps.

More information about Camp OC is available at www.campoc.ca

 



HOST program furthers hospitality, tourism skills

Okanagan College Media Release

As the busy summer tourism season approaches, the first students to complete the HOST certificate at Okanagan College are now wrapping up their practical work in hospitality, a booming sector in the Okanagan and across the province.

The Hospitality Service Training certificate (HOST) includes courses on customer service excellence, professional front desk training, and food and beverage operations, with comprehensive, occupation-specific instruction leading to entry-level employment in hospitality and tourism.

Jessica Soroka is one of the first students through the program. She is currently the Assistant Manager of Housekeeping at Predator Ridge. Her employer suggested she take the program to gain more insight and knowledge of industry trends.Jessica Soroka May 2017

“Food and beverage service is new to me, so I learned a lot of new information,” says Soroka. “It was also pretty cool to find out about environmental trends and hear stories and ideas from around the world from our instructor.”

Soroka says she would recommend the HOST certificate to anyone in hospitality, from newcomers looking to break into the industry, to those like herself who enter into the program with a wealth of previous experience.

“The program and the booklet are so packed with information, it was intense but a great experience,” says Soroka.

According to a BC Labour Market Report, tourism is a leading employer in the province, with more than 101,000 new job openings expected by 2020. With the Okanagan continuing to receive national and international recognition as a vibrant and diverse destination, job prospects are predicted to hold strong.

“These students took away some great insights that are difficult, if not impossible, to get from on-the-job training, where there can be disruptions inherent to the operational nature of a business such as a hotel,” says instructor Tania Rutt. “Being off-site in a classroom setting offers time to focus and encourages creative, out-of-the-box thinking.”

The Okanagan is an ideal location for the training, notes Rutt, given its four-season, multi-faceted tourism and hospitality sector, which creates opportunities for everyone from high school students seeking first jobs, to university students working part-time to fund their education, to retirees who enjoy working in hospitality, to tourism professionals in the midst of career development.

“Unlike many other centres, the Okanagan boasts such a wide array of hospitality and tourism employers – hotels, wineries, resorts, ski hills, golf courses and other attractions, says Rutt.”

Students in this intake were all currently employed in the sector, hailing from Vernon’s Sparkling Hill Resort and Predator Ridge Resort, and Kelowna’s Manteo Resort.

Both the Penticton and Kelowna campuses will be offering the HOST program this fall. Prior to admission, students must have both their Serving It Right and FOODSAFE certificates. HOST includes theory, demonstrations, and practical-skills training in various areas of the hospitality industry, with an emphasis on customer service and working together as a team.

Learn more at www.okanagan.bc.ca/host

 



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