The following news release has been shared on behalf of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and Okanagan College.
KELOWNA – British Columbians looking for rewarding health-care careers now have access to a state-of-the-art learning environment with Okanagan College’s new Health Sciences Centre, which opened to students this semester.
“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s how essential health-care workers are to our province,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We know B.C. needs more health-care professionals, and were committed to training a new generation of the people who care for us when we need it. Okanagan College’s new Health Sciences Centre is a modern, new facility that will help set both students and our province up for success.”
Opened at the Kelowna campus in September 2021, the 2,822-square-metre (30,375-square- foot) facility includes student-centred labs, classrooms and office space for a wide array of health and social development programs. The cutting-edge learning environments have been equipped with the latest education technology and designed to reflect spaces students will encounter in industry. The building will support a total of 591 students in programs that train students for in-demand jobs such as certified dental assistant, health-care assistant, pharmacy technician and more.
“The new Health Sciences Centre at Okanagan College is helping meet the demand for employment growth and the health-care services people in the Southern Okanagan and B.C. Interior rely on every day,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This building is a showcase of our commitment to building learning spaces that meet the growing demand for services, while ensuring these structures reflect the best in sustainable building practices.”
Health-care professionals are in high demand in the province and across Canada. The 2019 BC Labour Market Outlook projected 117,100 job openings in health professions by 2029. Okanagan College students in programs ranging from its bachelor of science in nursing to health-care assistant, pharmacy technician and dental assistant will study in the new building.
“This new facility will provide Okanagan College students with a world-class learning environment that will only further enhance the already outstanding education and training they are receiving at the college,” said Neil Fassina, president, Okanagan College. “We are grateful to the Province and to the community donors and industry partners across the region who have stepped to help us open these doors at a time when well-trained health-care and social development professionals are needed more than ever.”
Aligned with the Province’s CleanBC goals for energy-efficient buildings, the building is one of 16 projects in the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Pilot Program, the results of which will help CaGBC refine the Zero Carbon Building Standard. The CaGBC is a not-for-profit founded in 2002 that works to advance green building and sustainable community development practices in Canada.