KELOWNA – From automotive to plumbing to cooking, more than a thousand Okanagan College trades students are graduating this weekend, ready to put their new skills to work.
One of the trades convocation ceremonies was held Friday night at the Kelowna campus of the college.
The number of people enrolling in trades programs at the school has tripled in the last seven years as more students are looking to fill the skilled work force gap left by aging and retiring baby boomers.
But, Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton says there is one particular program that has seen the most growth, “We have a huge number of students applying for the Culinary Arts program. We are ramping up that and our tourism programs and taking it to a new level so we expect to see significant growth in that area.”
Linda Baird, who had a previous career in administrative work, just finished the 40 week program. “It was always a dream of min to go take Culinary Arts and when my husband passed away he made me promise to do it so I retired and here I am.”
Baird says next she will be taking the 40 week Pastry Arts course new to the culinary program this fall.
In total there will be 1500 students graduating from academic and trades programs at Okanagan college this weekend.