Okanagan resident sharpens skills with Continuing Studies program

Vernon resident Keith Schmaltz spent most of his career working in the heavy-duty equipment industry. But after a nearly 40-year career, he decided he wanted to learn some new skills and continue that career in a related field.

Enter Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department, offering programs and courses to suit all different learning needs. Keith enrolled in the Professional Industry Driver program, offered by Okanagan College in collaboration with Taylor Pro Training and BC Forest Safety Council.

The program is funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia’s Project Based Labour Market Training initiative. It has allowed numerous  participants including Keith to find continuous and stable employment opportunities.

“This program has been a dream come true,” said Keith. “This is going to give me the opportunity to stay in the industry with continuous employment. The course provided me with the fundamental training I required and the ability to succeed in my endeavors to obtain a Class 1 license.”

The program is just one of many offered in the Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department at Okanagan College, which offers part-time programs that help people develop enhanced skills for their career. These range from courses where students can earn certificates to leadership and business-skills as well as many general interest courses.

The certificate and course offerings are detailed in the Continuing Studies Winter/Spring brochure, which is now available in communities around the Okanagan and Shuswap and is online for people to view course selections.

“We are continually working to provide training opportunities that are tailored to improving people’s skills and enhancing their careers and lives,” said Danelle Greebe, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at OC. “Our goal is to transform people’s lives and no matter the age or situation you find yourself in, we have a program that can help you. This could be either with your current career or if you are looking to pivot and move in a new direction and need new skills.”

The department also works in partnership with industry, communities, and government to provide training in areas and communities where there is demand.

For Keith, signing up for the program was one of the best decisions of his life.

“Thanks to Okanagan College and Taylor Pro Driving School for training me to become a professional driver,” he said.