What's New at BC Colleges: April 20, 2012

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

Spring is in the air and this month’s report is brimming with new announcements, programs, awards and donations.

Here’s a taste of what’s happening this Spring at our 11 member colleges:

I’d say we’re off to a good start this Spring. And, these are just a few of the many terrific achievements happening throughout the province at BC’s public colleges. For a full list of this month's news,  please check out  "In the News" on the BC Colleges website.

Below are some news highlights from each of our 11 member colleges. As always, I welcome your feedback, you can reach me by e-mail.

More skilled journeypersons entering the B.C. workforce than ever before
BC GovernmentMedia Release, April 19, 2012

A record-breaking number of skilled tradespersons have qualified as journeypersons this year, announced Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell while touring Camosun College's carpentry program. Nearly 8,760 Certificates of Qualification have been awarded by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for the 2011-12 year - more than ever before, at a time when B.C.'s economy needs them the most. This is the highest number of certificates awarded since the ITA was established in 2004, and represents a 20 per cent increase over 2010-11, when 7,318 certificates were awarded. Read more.

NLC and Peace Energy Cooperative sign MOU
Northern Lights College Media Release, April 17, 2012

Northern Lights College (NLC) and Peace Energy Cooperative are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. As a result of this agreement, Peace Energy and NLC will foster a long lasting and sustainable business relationship where they can seek, share and advance opportunities in renewable energy education and renewable energy development. “We’ve worked together informally on different projects together over the years, including NLC’s Energy House. To make it a formal relationship adds even more value to the work that each of us is doing,” said Valerie Gilson, Peace Energy Executive Director (Pro Tem). “It is exciting to think about the opportunities where we may be able to work together. It makes great economic sense when we are working towards the same type of goals.” Peace Energy is a renewable energy investment cooperative that promotes the development and adoption of renewable energy resources. Peace Energy is responsible for initiating the Bear Mountain Wind Park, British Columbia’s first wind energy facility 15 kilometres southeast of Dawson Creek. Over 400 members receive a return from investment in Peace Energy’s renewable energy development projects. Read more. 

Douglas College to adopt recommendations for Chinese partnerships
Douglas College Media Release, April 17, 2012

Douglas College will adopt all the recommendations provided in an independent external review of its two partnership programs with institutions in China. The 2012 review, by leading business-practices consultant Deloitte, followed up on a 2010 internal report by Douglas College faculty related to examination and grading practices at the college's partner institutions in Shanghai and Harbin. Deloitte noted that Douglas College has already addressed a number of the issues identified in their review. Further, the review found "no evidence of systemic or widespread irregularities related to the examination or grading practices of either partner institution."  Read more.

Camosun launches new Comics and Graphic Novels certificate: One-of-a-kind program starts September 2012
Camosun College Media Release, April 17, 2012

Building on the success of a popular Visual Storytelling course, Camosun College is pleased to introduce a new eight-month Comics and Graphic Novels certificate program. The only one of its kind in western Canada, this program is unique in its approach that blends drawing, creative writing and publishing into visual storytelling. Over the past five years, an average of 82 million copies of comic books and graphic novels were sold in North America, exceeding $420 million in annual sales. In 2010 alone, 45,000 web comics were published, ranging from traditional comic strips to graphic novels. "There has never been a more exciting time to be working in visual storytelling," says program leader Ken Steacy. "I'm absolutely thrilled to be working with students young and old, in this exciting new program!" Read more.

New Continuing Education courses for Spring!
College of the Rockies Media Release, April 16, 2012

The new spring/summer College of the Rockies' Continuing Education Guide will be in Cranbrook and Kimberley mail boxes any day now. It contains a wide variety of programs to enhance your professional portfolio or to simply discover new skills for fun. One of the courses being offered by the College of the Rockies’ Continuing Education department this spring is MarketSafe. This is of interest to anyone who makes, bakes or grows products to sell at BC Farmers’ Markets. Continuing Education Coordinator Danette Polzin also noted, “Our online business courses keep expanding and it seems we have something new to offer every Guide. These include advanced website strategies, business coaching certificate, business research certificate, media buying strategies, recruiting and retaining Gen X and Gen Y, and a supervisory and leadership certificate. We also continue to offer the popular social media and e-marketing courses. Most of these are available online and fit an entrepreneur’s busy schedule.” Read more.

NIC Introduces Metal Jewellery Design program
North Island College Media Release, April 10, 2012

Ready for jewellery making to become more than just a hobby? NIC’s new Metal Jewellery Design program, starting September 2012 in Campbell River, will provide aspiring jewellery designers with the tools to do just that. The 28-week certificate program includes courses on jewellery history and design, Northwest Coast Aboriginal jewellery art, molding and casting, and gemmology, in addition to a course on business skills and commercial opportunities in jewellery design.   The program focuses on metal techniques and hands-on time in the studio.  Designed to stress the importance of individual creativity and artistic endeavor, the courses will provide students with the opportunity to conceptualize and create their own designs, with guidance from a variety of instructors, all of whom are skilled jewellery makers themselves. Read more.

VCC’s culinary talents hit the streets
Vancouver Community College Media Release, April 4, 2012

Four of VCC graduates from the culinary arts program have been awarded permits and locations to become street food vendors starting May 2012, the City of Vancouver announced April 2. Twelve new food vendors were chosen out of 25 applicants at a recent Street Food Taste Test. The 15-person impartial judging panel included local chefs, nutritionists, food media and members of the public. The dishes were evaluated on appearance, taste, innovation, and the wow factor.  Read more.

College’s new aircraft maintenance program spreads its wings
Okanagan College Media Release, April 03, 2012

Bruce Fossen, a 46-year-old cattle rancher from Rock Creek, is one of 16 students taking part in Okanagan College’s inaugural class of Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Structures (AME S) program. Fossen said a passion for aviation and the convenience of training in the Okanagan led him to the program. “I grew up with airplanes, both my father and brother are pilots, and I’ve always had a strong interest in the mechanical side of things,” said Fossen. “I love the idea of taking a flat piece of metal and turning it into something as elegant as an airplane. When I toured the facility at Kelowna Flightcraft I saw a Canadian Forces Twin Otter that had some damage to its nose gear. Just the other day I watched as it was ground-tested and it was amazing to see the transformation.” Okanagan College launched the program in February at its Aerospace facility located at the Kelowna airport. The addition of the AME S program positions Okanagan College as the region’s largest provider of aviation training. Programs in Commercial Aviation and AME Mechanics (AME M) are also available at the College. Read more.

Selkirk Cooking students tantalize taste buds in 2012 Top Chef showdown
Selkirk College Media Release, April 2, 2012

Selkirk College Hospitality and Tourism students invited the public into Mary Hall last week to sample a variety of taste delights from around the world, and then asked them to vote on whose food they thought was the best - as part of Selkirk's 2012 Top Chef competition. "Top Chef is an annual collaboration between between the Resort and Hotel Management Program and the First Year Cook Training Program that allows us to have our students get a real-life experience," explains harry Pringle, instructor in Selkirk College's Resort and Hotel Management Program. Read more.

College on track for balanced budget next year
College of New Caledonia Media Release, March 30, 2012

CNC’s Board of Governors learned Friday the college is well positioned to balance the budget for the 2012/13 fiscal year. The college had been projecting a $2.3-million budget shortfall for next year, if nothing was done to address rising expenses and declining revenues and funding.  CNC President John Bowman said there is still work to be done, but things are on track to present a balanced budget for the Board’s approval on April 27. Read more.

Endowment Creates Journalism Scholarships at Langara
Langara College Media Release, March 29, 2012

A $1.3-million gift made to Langara College by two prominent Vancouverites that will establish two $10,000 annual scholarships for journalism students, was announced today. The endowment was bequeathed to the College in the estate of Michael Mercer, who passed away in 2010, to honour the memory of his journalist wife Jeani Read, who herself passed away in 2007. Columnist Read began her career at Vancouver-based newspaper The Province in 1973, eventually moving on to become the publication’s first full-time rock critic and, later, a lifestyles reporter. Mercer was himself a playwright and screenwriter, with credits including cherished Canadian programming such as The Beachcombers and Wind at My Back. The endowment, the largest in the College’s history, has established the Jeani Read-Michael Mercer Scholarship for Journalism at Langara. Read more.

Okanagan College revs-up its Collision Repair program
Okanagan College Media Release, March 28, 2012

Training in Collision Repair is about to get an overhaul at Okanagan College. The College is in the final approval process with the province’s Industry Training Authority to offer a much more complex program for students, right from the start. The new Collision Repair Technician Certificate program comes in response to pressures being exerted on the industry, said John Haller, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship for Okanagan College. “Right now employers are reluctant to hire entry level employees because they find it difficult to release them later for the two additional five-week apprenticeship training sessions,” he said. “As a result some employers try to attract workers away from other shops, look outside the province, or even the country, to get workers with the skill level they need.” Read more.

$930,000 contribution towards NLC’s simulated well site facility
Northern Lights College Media Release, March 26, 2012

On March 23, Bob Zimmer, Member of Parliament for Prince George-Peace River, announced federal funding to support Northern Lights College’s Simulated Well Site Training Facility project that will help the College manage the installation of an oil rig structure, and convert it into a training facility. "This project is another example of our Government delivering on our jobs and growth agenda," said Zimmer, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "The oil and gas industry is a cornerstone of the Canadian economy, and our Government is seizing opportunities to ensure the next generation is trained and ready to prosper from the opportunities this industry has to offer." The oil and gas sector is one of the largest and fastest growing segments of the Canadian economy, generating more than $80 billion in revenue annually. It has been estimated that, due to industry growth and an aging workforce, the oil and gas industry will need to hire at least 39,000 new employees by 2020. This investment of $930,000 will support the establishment of a training facility that will simulate the environment and working conditions of a fully operational well site. Read more.

Northwest B.C. jobs plan roll out underway
Terrace Standard, March 21, 2012

The Province is spending more than $500,000 on the start of a plan to train people to work on industrial projects in the region. Provincial jobs minister Pat Bell said his ministry is spending $540,000 on determining what kind of employees companies need and then starting to train people to fill those needs. He described the effort as developing a top ten jobs list for the northwest. “Some of these will be evident, but what we’re really trying to do here is determine what jobs will be needed two, three, four years from now and then work to fill that demand,” said Bell. The minister expected that jobs list to be finished fairly quickly so the stage can then be set to prepare people for the work.“We’ll be using Northwest Community College to deliver those programs,” said Bell, adding some of the first may include everything from first aid to brushing up on math and reading skills. Read more.

Forklift training, part of VCC program to address B.C. skills shortage
Vancouver Community College, March 20, 2012

Vancouver Community College is helping address the ongoing demand for skilled workers in B.C. through a provincially-funded program called Employment Skills Access.Students in the ESA access to transportation trades certificate program develop skills like auto maintenance, forklift operation, basic operation of heavy-duty vehicles and safe work practices. Some graduates will find entry-level work while others use the program as a stepping stone for continuing education. Read more.

Northern Quebec's Inuit People hope to replicate NWCC School of Exploration & Mining
Northwest Community College Media Release, March 15, 2012

Northwest Community College's (NWCC) award-winning School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) is poised to share its training expertise with the Inuit People of Quebec’s far north as a result of presenting at a minerals exploration forum there last month. Tony Harris, SEM's Employment Advisor & Industry Liaison, attended the Nunavik Mineral Exploration Conference in Kuujjuaq from February 14 - 17. At the event, he talked about NWCC’s School of Exploration & Mining hands-on and culturally sensitive training techniques and in particular, its Workforce Exploration Skills Training (WEST) program."The presentation was met with enthusiasm from members of the Kativik Regional Government (KRG) the Village Elders, industry stakeholders and other conference attendees. They were impressed with the teaching model used by Northwest Community College and could visualize using it in the Nunavik region," said Harris. Read more.


BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving almost 200,000 students annually with campuses in close to 70 communities throughout British Columbia. BC’s colleges offer a comprehensive range of programs from university studies and baccalaureate degrees to career, technical and trades education. All of BC’s colleges offer programs that are designed to be accessible, affordable and responsive to the evolving needs of BC communities and industry. For more information, visit our website .