What's New at BC Colleges: July 22, 2010

Welcome to this month’s edition of “What’s New at BC Colleges”.  I’m happy to report that summer has finally arrived in BC.   I hope you get a chance to take a break and enjoy the many activities our province has to offer.

Traditionally, summer is a time to slow down and relax but this doesn’t seem to be the case for our 11 member colleges.  In fact, colleges throughout the province are ramping up for a busy fall semester.   Each year BC’s colleges review the needs and requirements of business, industry, local communities and, of course, students to determine what new programs are needed.  This process has been especially challenging in the past few years as the economic downturn has meant an increase in college enrolment coupled with flat budgets.  Additionally, the types of programs required have evolved as more people look to colleges for re-training.  I’m very pleased with how our colleges have met these challenges.

BC’s colleges continue to develop programs to meet the province’s changing market needs on a region-by-region basis and to prepare British Columbians for the jobs of the future.

Below you will read about a number of new programs including, Northwest Community College’s program designed to capitalize on the untapped potential of tourism via their new Coastal Eco-Adventure Tourism Program.  Starting in September 2010 at NWCC’s Terrace Campus, the program will provide valuable education and training for students interested in a career in tourism and help northwestern BC adapt to a changing economy.

Congratulations to Camosun College, one of the recipients for funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).  This funding is part of the PromoScience funding aimed at inspiring young people to choose careers in science and engineering.  Camosun will receive $18,000 in each of three years to develop a pilot program known as ANCEStor (Aboriginal youth awareNess of ComputEr Science.) ANCEStor teaches the concepts of computer programming by engaging Aboriginal youth in cultural story-telling.

Our colleges are always looking for interesting ways to partner with other organizations to expand programming. A great example of this is the partnership between The Canadian Forces (CF) and North Island College to provide accreditation for the Industrial Automation Technician program.  In this program NIC students are eligible to receive a salary with full benefits while they study.  Plus, Industrial Automation Technician graduates can gain advanced standing as a Naval Electronics Technician or a Naval Weapons Technician through the Canadian Forces.

These are just a few of the many examples of how BC’s colleges are working to develop excellent programs to educate and train British Columbians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.  I hope you will have a chance to review all of the following news highlights from our member colleges.  A full listing of news and media releases can be found on our website at “In the News”.

We welcome your feedback and would be happy to hear from you.  Please feel free to e-mail us at


Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges

Program promotes a new kind of tourism for the Northwest
Northwest Community College Media Release, July 19, 2010

As northwestern BC continues to adapt to what was once a thriving resource-based economy, one sector seen to have untapped potential is tourism.Northwest Community College (NWCC) has previously reacted to this potential with the creation of its Coastal Eco-Adventure Tourism program and now has added a second related program to begin this September.  The new Sustainable Tourism Certificate program provides valuable education and training for students interested in a career in tourism. The full-time, academic program is being offered at NWCC’s Terrace Campus from September 2010 through April 2011. Successful completion of first year will earn students a Sustainable Tourism Certificate. Second-year Diploma level courses are currently under development; all courses are slated for transferability to tourism degree programs offered at various BC universities.  “The Sustainable Tourism program is an opportunity for people in the Northwest to look beyond traditional resource-based economic development, and to expand on opportunities that exist to provide meaningful, sustainable and positive economic benefits to local communities, cultures and the environment,” says Seth Downs, the program’s coordinator/instructor. Read more.

New advanced certificate program at College aims to get the message across
Okanagan College Media Release, July 15, 2010

Okanagan College will offer a new program this fall to address a growing demand by employers and professionals for enhanced communication skills. Starting in September, the Advanced Certificate in Communication will help students develop professional writing and public relations skills, and offer education in management communication, writing for marketing, and visual communication.  An information night will be held at 7 p.m. July 27 at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus, (Rm. E202 in the Centre for Learning) to explain the program and address questions that prospective students might have.  “This will interest people who already have post-secondary credentials and who can appreciate the need to develop further communication skills to advance their careers or meet employer needs,” explains Sharon Josephson, Chair of Okanagan College’s Communications department. “At a time when our world is caught up in an ever-increasing number of communication channels and challenges, it’s important to build the skills to communicate through the clutter.” Read more.

Ujjal Dosanjh Named 2010 Langara Outstanding Alumni
Langara Media Release, July 13, 2010

Vancouver, BC - The Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh (P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.B) was awarded the 2010 Langara College Outstanding Alumni Award for Public Service. This annual award celebrates the contribution of exceptional individuals who have enhanced the reputation of the College through their inspirational career, public service, community service, athletic, arts and culture, or academic achievements. The award was presented at Langara's Annual Awards Luncheon held on June 23, 2010.Dosanjh, who began his post-secondary education in the Arts and Science program at Langara College, has served the people of British Columbia for over 35 years. He is a lawyer and a vocal advocate for immigrant and workers' rights. Over the years, he has worked and volunteered with organizations such as the Farm Workers' Legal Information Service (later known as the Canadian Farm Workers' Union), BC Civil Liberties Association, Vancouver Multicultural Society, Labour Advocacy Research Association, MOSAIC Immigrant Services Centre, and South Vancouver Neighbourhood House. Read more.

Greater health education access for northern B.C.
Northern Lights College Media Release, July 9, 2010

The Province of British Columbia is investing $48,000 at Northern Lights College to expand its Health Care Assistant program, announced Pat Pimm, MLA for Peace River North. “This is exciting news for Fort St. John and Dawson Creek. Students who study in rural communities are more likely to start their careers in those communities,” said Pimm. “We are helping to build a strong northern health care sector by supporting health education programs like this one at Northern Lights College.”  This one-time funding will support six additional spaces in the health care assistant programs at Northern Lights College’s Fort St. John and Dawson Creek campuses in 2010-11. Health care assistant graduates will provide health care in a variety of institutional and community settings, including both home support agencies and residential care facilities. Read more.

Camosun receives $54,000 for Aboriginal youth computer science project: NSERC grant provides $18,000 in each of three years to support developmentof ANCEStor project
Camosun College Media Release, July 8, 2010

Camosun College is one of 51 organizations across Canada to receive funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), as part of the PromoScience funding aimed at inspiring young people to choose careers in science and engineering.  Camosun will receive $18,000 in each of three years to develop a pilot program known as ANCEStor (Aboriginal youth awareNess of ComputEr Science.) ANCEStor teaches the concepts of computer programming by engaging Aboriginal youth in cultural story-telling.  “The value of story-telling as a teaching tool is well recognized,” says Dr. Marla Weston, computer science instructor and one of the project leaders. “Telling a story gives value and significance to events that have meaning in their lives. Students will learn more if they feel empowered as participants, rather than being passive recipients of knowledge.”  Read more.

Construction tender awarded for Quesnel campus
College of New Caledonia Media Release, July 7, 2010

PCL Constructors Inc. is the successful bidder for the Phase 2 expansion of the North Cariboo Community Campus project. The Kelowna-based company will likely begin mobilization of equipment in mid-July, for the $9.8-million expansion of CNC’s Quesnel campus.  “There are still a few details that need to be worked out,” said Jim Hoyer, CNC director of facilities services.  The 24,000 square feet (2,223 square metres) building will accommodate a variety of trades and technical programs, including: welding, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, power engineer, agro-forestry, horticulture and animal science.  In April 2009, CNC received almost $30 million from the federal and provincial governments to build and renovate buildings at its campuses in Prince George and Quesnel. Read more.

Get Paid to Learn at NIC
North Island College Media Release, July 7, 2010

The Canadian Forces (CF) has accredited North Island College’s Industrial Automation Technician program, making NIC students eligible to receive a salary with full benefits while they study. Industrial Automation Technician graduates can gain advanced standing as a Naval Electronics Technician or Naval Weapons Technician through the Canadian Forces – Non- Commissioned Member Subsidized Education Plan (NCM-SEP). The Plan pays all education and training costs for a CF-approved college program like NIC’s, provides a salary while you go to school, an annual vacation, and guarantees you a job upon graduation. This partnership between the Canadian Forces and Canadian Colleges originated three years ago from a goal to improve the cost effectiveness of occupational training for the Forces, explained Paul Toupin, Manager Canadian Partnership Programs with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, but it is only recently that it has really caught on. “Until last year, the money set aside for the SEP was never fully utilized. This past year we met the targets in just 9 months,” Toupin said. “As a result, the Canadian Forces have reduced their budget for recruitment but increased the funding for the SEP. This speaks volumes about the quality of training and education being delivered by the colleges.”  Read more.

VCC health care assistant program to add stream with focus on Aboriginal students
Vancouver Community College Media Release, June 7, 2010

Vancouver Community College's health care assistant program is expanding to include a stream for Aboriginal students, with the help of one-time funding from B.C.'s Ministry of Advanced Education.  Vancouver Community College is also partnering with the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology to train Aboriginal students as medical office assistants in 2010-11. VCC will help with delivery of the Aboriginal college's medical office assistant program and will also provide curriculum support and instructor mentorship to NVIT.  "Vancouver Community College is pleased to expand the health care assistant program with a focus on Aboriginal students," says VCC president Kathy Kinloch. "This program will integrate Aboriginal culture and issues throughout the curriculum, and the skills our Aboriginal students gain will be an invaluable asset to the communities they serve in British Columbia."  Read more.

Douglas College helps new Canadians fill health care gaps
Douglas College Media Release, July 2, 2010

Like many new immigrants, Mahshid G. and Hooman S. faced their share of challenges when they came to Canada from Iran in 2007.  They had no family or friends in their new country. And despite being medical doctors in their own countries, they had zero job prospects in Canada.  "It was hard to go from a high level in your society to a situation where you are jobless," says Mahshid. "It's worth it in the end, because it's a better life here for us."  Shortly after coming to Canada, the couple discovered the Training Group at Douglas College Skills Connect for Immigrants Program, which helps new Canadians find employment in their field of expertise.  Today, they are among 18 new Canadians who started medical residencies on July 1 through the Ministry of Health's International Medical Graduates of British Columbia Program. Hooman heads into a five year orthopedic surgery residency, while Mahshid is working in family medicine for two years.  "Skilled immigrants are a rich and untapped resource that can help fill important gaps in the labour market, particularly in important areas like health care," says Lois Taylor, who manages the Skills Connect for Immigrants Program at Douglas College. "These clients have devoted a great deal of time and energy to achieve their goals, as have the Douglas College Skills Connect Career Consultants who assisted them through the licensing process, so we're very proud of what they have achieved together."  Read more.

Not just for hippies anymore
College of the Rockies Media Release, June 30, 2010

Many people are rediscovering the advantages and benefits of building homes out of natural products such as straw bales, sand, and clay. The art of using these techniques has been updated and refined and being taught in a series of workshops in the Natural Building School at the Kimberley Campus ofCollege of the Rockies.  Running all summer long, these workshops provide hands-on instruction in a project-based learning environment from qualified professionals. A variety of techniques and applications are covered in each workshop which range from two days to a full week in length. Along with using natural building materials and solar energy systems, making natural plasters and post and beam construction are also covered.  From July 14 -- 21 you can take part in the Post and Beam for Natural Infills workshop which covers the basics of post and beam construction as important components of natural construction. The Earthen Building (adobe and cob) workshop takes place July 22 and 23 and covers basic design, foundations, testing clay, making bricks and creativity with earthen construction.  On August 3 and 4 the Introduction to Photovoltaics (solar energy) workshop takes place and introduces participants to PV system equipment, how the components interact, design principles of different PV systems, types of applications, site suitability, system mounting options and installation, and advances in PV technology and the PV industry in general. Read more.

Tenth Street residence goes for gold
Selkirk College Media Release, June 29, 2010

With sledge hammers and jack hammers in hand, workers are knocking out walls and breaking open new spaces during the demolition phase of Selkirk College’s Tenth Street residence project in Nelson. “You can pretty much see right through the building now,” explains Wildstone Construction and Engineering Project Manager Grant Rae. “This demolition process is very different than your typical method. We literally have marked each wall that has to be taken out and each wall that has to stay in place. This is part of our goal to create as little waste as possible and utilize the existing structural components of the building.”  The residence renovation project is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold level certification. Factors that will contribute to this rating include building re-use, improved energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality management, use of recycled and low emitting materials and reduced construction waste.  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 11 colleges offer a comprehensive range of programs from university studies and baccalaureate degrees to career, technical and trades education. All 11 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, visit our website.