Okanagan College dives into cannabis courses

The college has adapted its programs in Kelowna

When it became clear that recreational marijuana was going to be legal in the not so distant future, the staff in charge of programming at Okanagan College had their interest piqued.

But when local business owners started to approach the school and ask whether they would offer courses on the commercial cultivation side, it became clear it was something they’d have to move on.

“We had meetings through early fall with people who had licences to produce through the Health Canada regime or who had applications underway,” said Dennis Silvestrone, director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College.

“Then early in the new year we formed an advisory committee that was with licensed producers from across the Okanagan and a couple companies working on the lab side… then we had a variety of folks come together around programming and discuss what programming would relevant to get on stream.”

READ MORE: Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

What they concluded is that policy change would create workforce demand and broader community demand,” said Dennis Silvestrone, director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College.

Silvestrone helped come up with the courses that would be offered. At first, they were more practical and addressed the business side of things. The first cannabis course at the college, for example, was pest management, which has a commercial application.

A grow-your-own course has also been offered and it links to legislation about growing.

An investing-in-cannabis class was also offered.

“That was all for the fall term, but then as you look into the winter were have more courses added, including commercial cultivation for people who want to come into the industry at an entry level,” he said.

The sky is basically the limit at this point.

“I’ve worked in higher education for 25 years… and changes in government legislation will trigger changes, so this is not without precedent.

But I’ve never seen anything on this scale,” he said. “No subject area I’ve been involved in has this level of interest, not from media and the general public… It has so many facets and they’re all emerging at the same time, from an educational perspective it’s an exciting time to explore the workplace to the social place we all occupy.”

READ MORE: Postal services ready for looming wave of legal cannabis deliveries

And you don’t have to take Silvestrone’s word for it.

When fall courses went up online mid summer and the 20 sections around marijuana were listed, they filled up right away.

“So we opened extra sections of courses this fall,” he said. “We put up an interest list for winter courses with commercial cultivation … Last I checked we had 160 names on that list.”

These courses are aimed at getting everyone on the same page so they can assist the local economy.

“For colleges like OC, it’s about serving local needs, be it the general public or companies … that’s the lens we’ve looked at this through … we’ve been trying to see what’s needed for the Okanagan and Shuswap and how can we program for that,” he said.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna artist featured on furniture

Shandra Smith’s work is now available on credenzas

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

Man pinned under metal tank in West Kelowna

Emergency personnel are on the scene

Mudslide sends debris into Highway

Highway 33 near Joe Rich had mud spilled on the highway from the slide

Kangaroo Creek Farm hops into season

Lake Country’s popular tourist site has opened its doors for the season

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Sock Hop aims to send dancers back to another time

Writers’ Festival fundraiser in Salmon Arm springs into step for another year

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Penticton SAR team helicopters injured climber to safety

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Kootnekoff: R v. Sidhu, was he asleep?

Driver in Humboldt crash wasn’t distracted at time of collision with bus,… Continue reading

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Most Read