Hundreds of high school students in the North Okanagan recently sampled some of the different career paths available to them during Experience OC.
The annual Okanagan College (OC) event helps students in Grade 10 decide which field suits them best in advance of the jump to post-secondary education. This year, Grade 11 students were invited to the Vernon campus as well, making up for the event’s cancellation last year due to the pandemic.
Tawnya Cameron, student recruiter and event coordinator at Okanagan College, said the attendance for Experience OC is always strong, and she’s witnessed the benefits of the program year after year.
“I have more students say that they chose an OC program or a course because they attended something like this in Grade 10 than any other thing we do, any other event,” she said.
The students had 30 sessions to choose from and could each pick three sessions to pre-register for and attend.
Down in the campus’ print shop, professor Jason Dewinetz gave the students a taste of the Writing and Publishing diploma program, demonstrating the old-fashioned presses used to teach students how ink moves on a page — a foundational concept to go along with lessons on digital publishing using Adobe Suite.
Meanwhile, biology professor Joel Urquhart walked students through a lesson on the electrical activity of the heart, using an electrocardiogram.
The spa training facility is unique to the OC’s Vernon campus. Testing out the aesthetics and nail tech program, students learned different techniques using high-quality products that require using lesser volumes of materials.
“The nice thing about this spa is they only use the best of the best products so that students learn proper quantities,” Cameron said.
It’s a popular program — among both students and staff members.
“For the staff it’s a treat because (the students) might need people to practice on. So every now and then staff can get a free facial or free manicure as part of their testing,” Cameron said.
Another session gave students a glimpse at OC’s early childhood education program, which involves students running their own daycare. Full-time instructor Michelle Erridge had the students taking part in several creative and open-ended activities designed to teach them how kids learn through play.
“It’s usually full with a waitlist,” she said of the program, adding that the B.C. government has made a strong push to expand child care services in the province.
Other sessions dived into programs such as civil engineering, practical nursing, social work, anthropology, physics, philosophy, commercial aviation and more.
OC student Kiana Casanova attended Experience OC in Kelowna when she was a high school student.
“I actually attended an aircraft maintenance session, which I thought I never would have been interested in … and it was really cool even just to see what I could possibly be learning about,” she said. “In the end I chose something else but it still was an interesting experience.”