School District 67 students in class at Okanagan College for the Tech Gateway program. photo: contributed

New tech training program at Okanagan College inspires high school students

High school students were able to learn about every day technologies

School District 67 students are pulling back the curtain on the electronic devices they use every day and learning about the technologies that makes them tick thanks to a new program at Okanagan College.

Funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, the Gateway to Technology pilot project is equipping 16 students in grades 10 to 12 with an enhanced understanding of how various technologies function.

“This generation was born and raised in tech. Their dream job will include innovations that we haven’t yet thought of. Tech today is all around us. It’s in our phones, electric cars and it runs the networks that get the latest clothes to your door from anywhere in the world,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

“We know tech-focused careers are shaping our future. So, we’re investing in programs that link students to their dream jobs in tech, encouraging them to think about how tech is changing our lives, communities and careers.”

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“There are not many high school programs out there right now that give much exposure to these technical topics,” said Troy Berg, professor of Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology at Okanagan College.

“With the creation of this course, we’re looking to inspire students to consider educational opportunities in the technical fields by giving them exposure now.”

Penticton Secondary and Princess Margaret Secondary School students in School District 67 are attending two evening classes each week at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College.

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“The students enrolled in the initial program have each displayed a passion in technology or computer science as a career path,” said Trevor Knowlton, Careers and Apprenticeship coordinator for School District 67.

“Feedback so far has been fantastic. The students are enthusiastic about what they are learning and I’ve also been contacted by others interested in applying for future programs.”

The program, which runs through mid-June, trains students on computers and career skills for entry level IT jobs, encourages learners to think about the ways these technologies can impact their lives and prepares them for transitions after graduation.

“We know technology plays a significant role in our lives and that will only continue to grow in the future,” said Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College.

“Equipping students with a meaningful skill set in this growing field is our goal. With a solid understanding of technology and computer programming, students can explore a range of career opportunities and contribute to the economic growth of our community.”

The training is divided into two sections – information technology essentials and programming – and combines lecture with hands-on lab learning.

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