Scott Brost stepped into Okanagan College’s Water Engineering Technology program two and a half years ago looking to launch a new career that would help his community thrive.
On Jan. 12, he’ll pick up his diploma having already landed a full-time job with the City of West Kelowna.
At the college’s Winter Convocation ceremony on Saturday – the first of eight OC will hold this year – Brost will be recognized as one of the 482 graduating. Students from all four campuses will cross the stage at the Kelowna campus to receive their credentials. All told, the college will confer 61 Bachelor’s degrees, 34 Associate degrees, 271 diplomas and 116 certificates between the morning and afternoon ceremonies.
“It feels amazing to graduate, especially knowing that I’ve already got a full-time permanent position right out of the gates,” said Brost. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders and lets me know that all my hard work in the classroom and in my co-op terms paid off.”
The college’s WET diploma program combines theoretical with applied learning and includes three co-op terms. Students can choose from two streams of specialization, water and waste water technology and environmental monitoring.
“A lot of our students are able to find full-time jobs in their field before graduation or just shortly afterwards,” said Allison O’Neill, WET department chair and professor. “The WET program at Okanagan College, combined with three integrated co-op work terms, sets students up for success. It’s not uncommon to hear of co-op employers offering permanent positions to students.”
Brost was hired in his first year as a co-op student at the Regional District of Central Okanagan Waste Water Treatment Facilities. He spent his second co-op term at the City of West Kelowna’s (COWK) Powers Creek Plant and his last co-op term was in COWK’s Water Utilities department. He was offered a full-time position in the COWK’s Water Utilities department prior to graduation as a Public Works Utility Operator 1.
“This program is so aligned with regional employers’ needs and the co-op terms are absolutely fantastic,” said Brost. “I am fortunate to move forward with my career and hit the ground running with such an amazing employer who is doing a lot of innovative work in the industry right now – it’s an exciting place to be.”
The 2018 British Columbia Labour Market Outlooks predicts 903,000 job openings in the province between now and 2028, with nearly 80 per cent requiring workers with some form of post-secondary education.
This year, the college will see more than 21,000 learners attend – the equivalent of more than 8,745 full-time students – at its campuses from the Shuswap to the South Okanagan.
“I commend each of our graduates on their achievements,” said the college’s president Jim Hamilton. “I meet students everyday who tell me about their studies – with such passion – and how they want to use their skills and education to make our community more innovative, inclusive, stronger and environmentally-friendly. There’s really no end to what these students will achieve and I look forward to seeing how they will shape their communities.”
The morning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. and the afternoon ceremony at noon. Both ceremonies will stream live on the College’s Facebook page facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca.
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