Okanagan College making impact in Penticton

A vibrant college and university system bring major spinoffs to the entire South Okanagan

There had been a few amazing post-secondary achievements in the past few months in Penticton, some of which are of global interest.

Okanagan College has announced that the Penticton Centre of Excellence will be offering its sustainable construction management technology (SCMT) course starting this fall. The graduates of this course will be in demand all over the world as the demand for sustainable buildings is growing exponentially, with the number of technicians that actually know how to build these challenging buildings precious and few.

This program is a crown jewel of an amazing ride of the Penticton campus over the past 10 years. The college went from teaching in trailers that were condemned due to mould to today when they are teaching leading-edge sustainable building techniques in the state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence. The college was designed for maximum hands-on learning by the students so graduates of SCMT will intimately know solar, geothermal and passive systems.

The backdrop for the announcement of this program is people around the valley gasping about their rising power bills. High energy costs lead to a stronger business case for sustainable options in construction techniques. I feel grads of this three-year program will be scooped up the minute they finish.

Young people starting off a career or longtime contractors looking for the future will find this training equally gratifying. Don’t walk, run to sign up for this one.

Another amazing thing is that Jeanette Armstrong, from En’owkin Centre and UBCO, was awarded a Canadian research chair. This is a very prestigious appointment and it allows her five years to research, document, categorize and analyze Okanagan Sylix oral language literature. Her findings will deepen our appreciation of the Sylix cultures that originally called this beautiful place home.

Lastly, the Penticton campus of Okanagan College is now offering third-year business administration with the Okanagan School of Business. This is great news as it will save commuting for several students and broaden the college’s base.

These are the spinoffs of having a vibrant college and university system in this valley.

Brian Hughes

 

Penticton