FortisBC donation fuels new Okanagan College teaching tools

Support from FortisBC is powering up a cutting-edge new trades training space at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College.

  • Nov. 19, 2016 1:00 p.m.

In photo are Neal Pobran

A $50,000 donation from FortisBC assisted in the construction and outfitting of a new natural gas lab, located in the plumbing shop of the renovated and expanded Okanagan College Kelowna Trades Complex that officially opened last month.

An additional $25,000 gift from the company will also help the College enhance the delivery of curriculum for construction carpenters and technologists in the sustainable construction management technology program.

“FortisBC sees giving back as an important part of our efforts to create a sustainable future for British Columbians,” explained Barry Smithson, drector operations, FortisBC. “This partnership is a great fit for FortisBC, as Okanagan College trains students that could one day become our employees.”

The new lab will be utilized by students across the piping trades, and will allow the college to deliver all four levels of its new Steamfitter/Pipefitter apprenticeship program. Demand is mounting for Steamfitter/Pipefitters in B.C. (more than 1,100 openings are projected over the next eight years), and the arrival of LNG projects could spell even greater need.

The first class of students recently completed Level 1 and the first offering of Level 2 began on Oct. 3.

“We are deeply grateful to FortisBC for this generous support,” said Steve Moores, the college’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

“This donation is already having a direct impact on students. The new lab provides us with a state-of-the-art space to deliver the latest training.”

Over the past five years alone, Okanagan College has trained more than 1,200 Foundation and Apprenticeship students in the pumbing/pipefitting and refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic programs.

As part of the $50,000 donation, FortisBC contributed equipment for the lab – including state-of-the-art gas meters – and stepped in to assist local company Kal West Mechanical with the installation.

The installation provided a chance for hands-on learning for Okanagan College students.

Tammy Rudrum is one of those students. A recent graduate of the Sheet Metal Foundation program and the Women in Trades Training program, Rudrum and about a dozen of her classmates helped put in furnaces which will serve as training tools in the new lab.

“I definitely learned some great practical skills that you can’t get from a book,” said  Rudrum. “Hands-on experience is better. Everyone’s furnace units are different, so it was interesting to see how things can be adapted.”

On top of the $50,000 for the new lab, FortisBC’s additional donation of $25,000 will soon generate further hands-on training opportunities for students.

Among other teaching tools, the funds will allow the college to purchase two calibrated blower doors to be used for training and testing. The doors demonstrate to students how different wall assemblies and construction techniques can reduce energy consumption by preventing air leakage.

The resources will benefit students in the Carpentry and Sustainable Construction Management Technology programs.

“It is very positive for our students to see a major employer like FortisBC investing in their education,” explained Moores.

“It shows them the industry need is real. It validates their choice to learn here and to pursue a career in the trades.”

More information about the new Trades Complex and opportunities to support the campaign can be found at www.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign.

 

Just Posted

JoeAnna’s House fundraising campaign reaches $4.5 million

Offering ‘home away from home’ for families of KGH patients

2014 murder case finally goes to trial

Steven Randy Pirko was charged with second-degree murder in 2016

Flood recovery work set to begin in Kelowna

The first phase of $5 million dollar flood recovery plan for Upper Vernon Creek will begin on Monday

Kelowna exhibition showcases nature of Haida Gwaii

The Kelowna Art Gallery is holding a reception for Gwaii Haanas – Islands and Sacred Sites Friday

Accused in Kelowna murder heads to court

Chad Alphonse is accused of killing Waylon Percy Junior Jackson, back in 2016

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

Public asked to report bat sightings

White nose syndrome leads to bats flying in winter or death.

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Song penned for Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Curling Time released to celebrate Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Most Read