What's New at BC Colleges: November 16, 2011

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

It's a busy time of year for BC Colleges.  A number of our members are on the Trade Mission to China with Premier Christy Clark, many are preparing for the shipbuilding boom and all of our institutions are ramping up to educate the job-ready workforce needed to fill the more than 1 million job opening during the coming decade - 75% of which will require some form of post-secondary education.  And, BC Colleges is preparing to work with the provincial government to help facilitate regional workforce tables as outlined in the Premier's recent BC Jobs Plan. These workforce tables are being established to help identify the education and training requirements for regional labour markets.

Additionally, many of our colleges are completing and opening facilities funded by the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP). Many of you may not be aware of the huge impact that KIP has made on education in BC. In British Columbia, the Knowledge Infrastructure Program funded 42 projects with $237,411,500 coming from federal sources and another $296,502,769 coming from provincial and other funding sources. Of these 42 projects, 17 were at BC’s 11 public colleges.

Highlights from the program include, capital improvements at all 11 of BC's colleges. Additionally there were some significant capital investments made through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program that positively impact colleges’ ability to provide the advanced skills and training necessary to meet the job demands of the future. Some examples of these investments include:

At the College of New Caledonia the Knowledge Infrastructure Program helped to fund the construction of two new buildings, one in Quesnel and the other in Prince George. At the Quesnel campus, the new building will help to expand and diversify skilled trades programs including: welding, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, power engineer, agro-forestry, horticulture and animal science. Additionally, the new building uses geothermal technology to heat and cool the buildings. In Prince George, the $19.7-million Technical Education Centre (TEC) accommodates 800 student spaces annually and houses Red Seal trades and other technical programs including: welding, machinist, industrial mechanic/millwright, auto collision repair, plumbing, engineering technology, mining technician, and others. The Prince George TEC building has eight shops, 11 classrooms four computer labs, communal student lounge as well as garden and courtyard landscaping. The building uses solar technology to heat the domestic hot water and features one of the first green landscaped roofs in northern BC.

Northern Lights College where the Prime Minister was recently on hand to open the new Centre of Excellence for Clean Energy Technology funded through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The new Centre will enable the college to train additional students in the fields of healthcare and clean energy. This will help to address the growing national demand for nurses and provide trained professionals to help drive Canada’s burgeoning clean energy industry.

At Okanagan College's Penticton campus, a new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation has been opened thanks to the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and is known as one of the world's greenest buildings. The innovative features of the building will be used as a teaching tool to help train the next generation of tradespeople in green construction practices, with the goal to nurture a growing high-tech, green focused industry for the South Okanagan-Similkameen region.

The Smithers campus of Northwest Community College received over $8 million in funding from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program plus an additional $8 million from the provincial government for campus renewal and expansion. This investment will allow the college to address trades shortages in the region by providing more efficient and functional facilities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions via its LEED Platinum certification and enhancing the overall learning environment for all students.

At North Island College a new Skills Development and Trades Training Facility was built with support from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. As the first LEED certified building in the region, the new Trades Training Centre will provide training and retraining for displaced resource industry workers in the mid-island.

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program, while providing significant short-term economic stimulus to communities across the country, has allowed BC’s colleges to make much needed capital improvements and in some cases significant capital investments in new or improved training facilities. These investments are critical for BC’s colleges to ensure future labour market demands are met. With investment from both the federal and provincial governments, BC’s colleges can continue to provide students with the advanced skills and education that employers and the labour market demand both now and in the future. This investment pays dividends for communities across our province and the rest of Canada.

Read on to learn more about the projects, collaborations and announcements from our 11 member colleges. For a full list of this month's news please check out  "In the News" at the BC Colleges website. As always, I welcome your feedback, you can reach me by e-mail.

Jim Reed President, BC Colleges

North Island College Formalizes Partnership in China
North Island College Media Release, November 10, 2011

North Island College President Jan Lindsay finalized a General Agreement of Cooperation (GAC) with the Foundation College of China Scholarship Council (FCCSC) at a formal signing ceremony in Beijing, China on Wednesday, Nov. 9 while participating in the Premier’s mission to China. The GAC develops joint programming, promotes and expands international understanding, development, and friendship as well as stimulates and supports educational, professional, and intercultural activities and projects among students and staff of the two institutions and their respective communities. Read more.

Camp exposes career opportunities and learning to high schoolers
Northwest Community College Media Release, November 10, 2011

Every fall, the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) puts on Natural Resource Management Career Awareness Camps to encourage students in grades 10-12 to consider forestry-related careers. Staged this year near Telkwa, Northwest Community College’s (NWCC) Rick Budhwa and Regina Saimoto provided workshops related to fisheries and archaeology to approximately 40 high school students from Houston, Smithers and Hazelton. This is the eighth time in the last nine years NWCC has participated in the annual event. The camp represents an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn about a range of careers related to forestry and natural resource management by participating in hands-on workshops delivered by local experts. Students get to try out equipment, collect data, identify fish, and talk to professionals in the industry to see what it takes to work in forestry. It also provides an excellent opportunity for post-secondary institutions to talk about the value of post-secondary education. Read more.

Douglas College joins B.C. premier on Asian trade mission
Douglas College Media Release, November 8, 2011

Douglas College is paving the way for more post-secondary students from China to study in B.C., with three agreements being signed this week as the college’s associate vice president of international, Guangwei Ouyang, joins the premier’s Jobs and Trade Mission to China and India.On Wednesday, Douglas will sign an agreement with Beijing Union University (BUU) that creates opportunities for BUU students to do one semester of studies at Douglas College. The agreement also allows for faculty exchanges and joint research opportunities between the two institutions, particularly in the areas of urban heritage and sustainability. The agreement is in concert with B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s plan to increase the number of international students at B.C. colleges and universities by 50 percent over the next four years. Read more.

Governments launch initiative to help students in trades succeed in business
Northern Lights Media Release, November 5, 2011

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of National Revenue, and British Columbia (B.C.) Finance Minister Kevin Falcon are pleased to announce the launch of the Trade School Initiative. This educational pilot project was developed to help students become informed tradespersons in the construction and renovation industry.  “Our government believes in equipping the entrepreneurs of tomorrow with the tools they need to succeed. This initiative will help them be fiscally responsible, adopting good business practices as they embark on their career in the trades,” said Minister Shea. “It is important to educate students on their tax entitlements and responsibilities, as well as the pitfalls of participating in the underground economy.” The initiative provides relevant information on tax credits and financial resources such as the tradesperson’s deduction for tools, the apprenticeship incentive grant, and the apprenticeship completion grant. The information and resource-based Web site also has links to career opportunities, bookkeeping, employee rights, and employer responsibilities. Read more.

CNC opens Med Rad lab, raises $71,000 for endowment fund
College of New Caledonia Media Release, November 3, 2011

CNC officially launched its endowment fund campaign Thursday for the Medical Radiography Technology program, by inviting the media to tour its new Med Rad Lab.The two-year MRT diploma program prepares students to become technologists, who provide images to specialists in hospitals and private imaging clinics.“Tuition for this program is one of our highest at close to $18,000 for the two years. To help our students ease the financial burden, CNC has created the Dr. Chong Lim Endowment fund, which will provide scholarships and bursaries for the life of the program,” said Randall Heidt, CNC Director of Communications and Development. “Dr. Lim has been the premier radiologist in northern B.C. for more than 46 years and we are delighted to be associated with such an impressive and prestigious doctor.” Dr. Lim started his solo practice as Director of Radiology at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in October 1965. The medical imaging area now has six full-time radiologists, two visiting radiologists and more than 40 technical and clerical staff.Read more.

Okanagan College Welding program buoys up Oliver
Okanagan College Media Release, November 01, 2011

Vancouver’s new shipbuilding contract is creating a pent-up demand for welders that will be felt province-wide and now job seekers living in the South Okanagan can get in on the picture, said the Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship for Okanagan College. “Any way you cut it, it’s looking good for welders,” said John Haller, as he makes preparations to bring the College’s welding program to Oliver for the first time this coming February. The College is hosting two information sessions on Thursday, Nov. 24. The first will be held at Southern Okanagan Secondary School at 2:30 p.m., and the second later that evening at 5:30 p.m. at Okanagan College’s Oliver Centre. The welding program gets underway Feb. 6, 2012. “For the last two to three months we’ve seen an increase in the number of employers calling and asking for students,” said Haller, adding the welding trade traditionally acts as a bellwether for the economy. Read more.

COTR students win scholarships
College of the Rockies Media Release, October 31, 2011

One hundred B.C. students will each receive a $5,000 Ike Barber Transfer Scholarship this year from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society. The scholarships are awarded annually to undergraduate students who have completed two years at a public post-secondary institution in B.C. and are transferring to another degree-granting institution in the province to complete their degrees.  They are funded from the returns on a $15 million endowment established by the province in 2006. The fund is named after the founder of Slocan Forest Products Ltd. who is a philanthropist who has donated generously to education and research projects in British Columbia. Read more.

Award for Developer of Langara’s Sustainable Heating and Cooling System
Langara College Media Release, October 31, 2011

The BC engineer who developed a groundbreaking heating and cooling system for Langara College has been recognized by a prestigious award for sustainability in construction. The first operating Thermenex System was installed in Langara’s newly renovated C Building, along with the Students’ Union, in 2009. The system was developed by engineer Jeff Weston and his team at Vancouver-based firm IMEC Mechanical. On October 19 IMEC was recognized with the Gold Award for Sustainable Construction and Innovation by the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA). Read more.

Camosun ready for shipbuilding industry
Camosun College Media Release, October 24, 2011

The recent $8 billion Federal shipbuilding contract landed by west coast-based Seaspan Marine Corp. is good news for Camosun College and its students. “Camosun has been working behind the scenes for many months preparing for this announcement,” says Tom Roemer, Camosun’s Vice President of Strategic Development. “We have a very close working relationship with the marine industry on the west coast. The marine industry employs a considerable number of our trades apprentices. They also hire co-op students and graduates from a number of our other programs including engineering and environmental technologies. Our close location to DND, Esquimalt Graving Dock, and Victoria Shipyards, makes us an ideal partner for training students.”Read more.

VCC offers new pathway for arts students to earn a degree
Vancouver Community College Media Release, October 18, 2011

Arts-minded students now have the option to begin their studies at VCC then apply to transfer to the university level to earn their Bachelor of Performing Arts. The degree-completion pathway is ideal for those who plan to earn or have already completed post-secondary credits in disciplines such as music and dance. Read more.

Selkirk College Hosts A Conversation On B.C. Forests
Selkirk College Media Release, November 14, 2011

Selkirk College and its School of Environment and Geomatics invites the public to attend a community dialogue on B.C. forest management as part of the Healthy Forests- Healthy Communities initiative on Thursday December 1 (9:00– 12:00 pm). Community dialogue sessions will be held across the province to constructively explore the expressed needs of concerned citizens, helping to determine if current management practices enable local forests to satisfy their public purpose. A wide range of knowledgeable forest leaders are raising concerns about the future of B.C.’s forests and the potential impact on families and communities. Read more.BCCP_VERT_RGB.jpg

BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving more than 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 .