Bartle and Gibson president and CEO Robert Whitty show Okanagan College dean of trades and apprenticeships Steve Moores around the companies new West Kelowna store.—Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

New store opening celebrated with donation to Okanagan College

Bartle and Gibson is giving OC $37,000, tools and products to help the electrician program

A leading Western Canadian company is celebrating the opening of its new store in West Kelowna with a $37,000 donation to Okanagan College’s electrician program.

The money, from plumbing, heating and electrical products distributor Bartle and Gibson, will support the tool room at the new Okanagan College trades training complex that serves the electrician program. The company is also pledging an in-kind donation to provide products, tools and equipment to electrical, plumbing and piping student.

“We feel this is a win-win situation for the industry and for Okanagan College,” said Bartle and Gibson president and CEO Robert Whitty Friday.

He said it’s important that industry work with institutions like Okanagan College because they train the people who will be working in the field in future.

The money from the company will be distributed through the Bright Horizon’s fundraising campaign, set up to raise $7 million towards the cost of the $35 million trades training centre that opened last year on the Kelowna campus.

The state-of-the-art complex, that mixed new construction with extensive renovations of some existing trades training facilities at the college, resulted in a complex that has won awards for both its architecture and it’s environmental innovations.

The Bright Horizons campaign has now surpassed the original $7 million goal and the college is now using money donated to the campaign to help fund its new trades training house on the Kelowna campus.

The electrician program at OC is the college’s largest program, with 700 students enrolled at OC’s four campuses in the Okanagan and Shuswap—Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and Salmon Arm. Okanagan College is the second largest trades trainer in the province after BCIT in Burnaby.

Steve Moores, dean of trades and apprenticeship the college welcomed the Bartle and Gibson donation, saying it shows the company, and by extension the industry, has confidence in the education OC students are getting.

Bartle and Gibson, a wholly owner Western Canadian company, that was started in 1944 and has 30 branches across the West. It’s first store in the Okanagan opened in West Kelowna in 1997 and that was followed that with a Kelowna store in 2007.

The new 35,000-square-foot West Kelowna store on Stevens Road opened Friday with a trade show featuring Bartle and Gibson suppliers.

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