Bringing Selkirk College to the Community

With hundreds of courses to choose from, the Selkirk College Winter & Spring Calendar has now been delivered to the doors of residents throughout the West Kootenay-Boundary. Once again the Community Education & Workplace Training department has presented a broad range of offerings that will appeal to everyone in the region.

A wealth of Selkirk College Community Education & Workplace Training (CEWT) opportunities are currently arriving to mailboxes throughout the West Kootenay-Boundary region.

Creating educational experiences that inspire lifelong learning is an important part of the Selkirk College vision and the Winter & Spring Calendar is a cornerstone of making it happen. There are hundreds of courses available in the 112-page booklet that includes offerings between January and July.

“There is so much going on at Selkirk College,” says CEWT Manager Gregg Neelin. “When you flip through the calendar, the scope and depth of the programming that we offer is amazing. I think some people might be surprised to see just how much is in there.”

Michelle Colley is offering six different community courses in carpentry that focus on teaching women the skills they need to build confidence in home repair and projects. Colley is one of the many community education instructors that will be teaching Selkirk College Community Education & Workplace Training programs over the next seven months. The course offerings can be found in the new Winter & Spring Calendar that has been delivered to all households in the West Kootenay-Boundary region.

From learning to make fused glass jewelry to occupational first aid to ballroom dancing, the Winter & Spring Calendar is thick with courses that appeal to a variety of interests.

“We offer a mix of different programming for a whole range of learners in all of the communities that we serve,” says Neelin. “There are plenty of general interest courses, but the vocational job-related courses are substantial.”

Selkirk College works closely with local employers to ensure the workplace component of the course offerings match the skills required in today’s West Kootenay-Boundary economy.

“It’s a catalog of really important courses and certificate programs for people to get the skills they need to further advance their careers or to get an introduction to careers they have an interest in,” says Neelin.

Providing the Right Tools for Women

One of the community education instructors featured in the Winter & Spring Calendar is Michelle Colley. A journeyman carpenter, the Ymir resident first offered a series of introductory courses for women this past fall.

“I have been thinking about doing this for a very long time,” says Colley, who has been a carpenter for the last 10 years. “I kind of got tired hearing my girlfriends saying they couldn’t do things that they really wanted to. It seems like there is still this fear gap of actually taking on carpentry. Some of it might have to do with the fear of failing and the power tool side of it.”

Colley graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Calgary, but before diving into a new career took a year off to be a ski bum at Big White near Kelowna. In order to pay the bills, Colley applied to Big White and was offered a position in the maintenance department doing carpentry work.

With a newfound passion, Colley decided to pursue carpentry as a career. She moved to Ymir eight years ago and has since completed her Red Seal, taking some of the formal component of her education at Selkirk College in Nelson.

“When I got the job at Big White I realized how much I enjoyed being active and using my hands,” she says. “At the same time, the creativity of carpentry really fulfilled everything I was looking for.”

After a successful start to community education with Selkirk College last semester, Colley has expanded her courses and is now offering six different programs for women at both Nelson’s Silver King Campus and in Nakusp. Her courses offer basics for women, a project-based course which is more advanced and new this semester is Carpentry for Women (Basic) Mom & Daughter Skills Building which will run on May 9.

“An important part is building confidence,” says Colley. “What I encourage students to do is not be afraid to just try it. Sometimes when you want to do something new, there is that feeling that you will fail or do it wrong so you don’t do it. That is what I try to put out there, just try it and see what happens. Learning from your mistakes is what building a skill is all about.”

A Region-Wide Approach

Selkirk College has campuses and learning centres in Castlegar, the East Shore, Grand Forks, Kaslo, Nelson, Nakusp and Trail. With hundreds of community instructors offering their expertise, the course offerings are spread throughout the region and throughout the next seven months.

Have a look for the Selkirk College Winter & Spring Calendar in your mailbox, flip through it and keep it handy. The calendar is also available online.

“It’s a huge component of what Selkirk College does and we have a big reach into our region,” says Neelin.

The Winter & Spring Calendar has been delivered by mail to every household in the region, but if you did not receive the print edition it is available at any Selkirk College campus or learning centre in the region. The calendar is also available online.

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