Celebrating student success

Recognizing student excellence at the 2017 Spring Student Awards

Twice a year, Vancouver Community College (VCC) holds student awards ceremonies recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of talented and deserving students enrolled in the vast range of programs offered at VCC.

On Friday, June 9, the spring awards ceremony took place at VCC’s Broadway campus where the VCC Foundation awarded in excess of $138,000 in scholarships and awards. VCC’s scholarships and awards are established to recognize academic excellence and to acknowledge students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom or in their community. Many award recipients have overcome significant obstacles and financial barriers to pursue their studies. These awards help encourage and support students in their journey to academic and career success.

Each time VCC hosts student award ceremonies, one award is selected to video profile. It is difficult to single out one generous donor, or one deserving student, as VCC is blessed with a wealth of deserving and amazing student and donor stories. This season, we profiled Eric Mendoza, a student in adult special education at VCC. His award comes from the family of Carol Thomson, and honours a student with learning disabilities. 

With many donor representatives in attendance, the awards ceremonies provide a special opportunity for donors to directly connect with the recipients of their awards and the chance for students—and VCC—to thank their donors in person.

For more information on VCC’s financial awards including bursaries, scholarships and financial aid, visit our Financial Aid and Awards page including our Online Awards Guide. To make a donation, email give@vcc.ca or visit our online Gift Catalogue at www.vcc.ca/catalogueofgifts

Visit the VCC Flickr site to view photos from the spring student awards ceremony.

Vancouver Community College updates college-wide sexual violence and misconduct policy

VCC has recently published an updated sexual violence and misconduct policy.

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is committed to the prevention of sexual violence and misconduct and the promotion of an environment where everyone is physically and emotionally safe and treated with respect. VCC is committed to providing education to the College community about the prevention of sexual violence and misconduct and to assisting and supporting those who have experienced sexual violence and misconduct.

VCC has been engaged in work to address the prevention of sexual violence on our campuses since 2013 and has recently published an updated sexual violence and misconduct policy to align with the expectations and procedures set forth in Bill 23 – 2016: Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act. A working group made up of representatives from across the College, including students and faculty, assisted in drafting a policy and the accompanying procedures. The resulting draft was carefully vetted by legal counsel, ensuring that the final policy addresses all relevant aspects of the legislative requirements. The feedback received as a result of this process has informed the final policy.

VCC’s commitment is to ensure our campuses are safe, that everyone knows their rights and responsibilities when comes to sexual violence and misconduct, and that support and resources are available for all.

For more information on the sexual violence and misconduct policy and procedures, please contact:

Surinder Aulakh
Director Safety/Security, Risk Management
Vancouver Community College
250 West Pender Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 1S9
T. 604.871.7000 ext 8645│ E. saulakh@vcc.ca

VCC and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2017

Check out VCC's music faculty and alumni at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

‌For over 40 years, the music department at Vancouver Community College (VCC) has helped hone the talent of musicians, composers, and bands; many of whom graduated from VCC to big and bright careers in the music industry. VCC is proud of the music alumni and faculty performing at this year's Vancouver International Jazz Festival, running from Thursday, June 22 to Wednesday, July 2 at multiple venues around Vancouver. 

See below the schedule of Jazz Fest performances involving VCC faculty and alumni (all events are free, unless noted otherwise): 

June 23 

Last Ark Out (with alumni Justin Gorrie, Colin Parker, James Huumo and Arthur Smith)
Noon, Granville Island, Public Market stage 

Dálava (with alumnus Tyson Naylor)
$30, 9:30 p.m., The Ironworks

June 24

Tim Sars Sextet (with alumni Tim Sars, Bryan Milks, Jen Lewin and Brendan Krieg)
Noon, Downtown, Robson stage

June 25

The Boom Booms (with alumnus Geordie Hart)
7:30 p.m., Downtown Jazz, Georgia stage

ReBop! A tribute to Lambert, Hendricks & Ross (with faculty Kate Hammett-Vaughn, Craig Scott)
$15, 8 p.m., Frankie’s Jazz Club

June 26

Sessions at the Patricia with Sharon Minemoto (with faculty Sharon Minemoto)
8 p.m., Pat’s Pub and Brewhouse

Broken Merchandise (with alumnus Kenton Loewen)
$15, 11 p.m., The China Cloud

June 27

Good Noise Gospel Band (with faculty Laurence Mollerup)
Noon, Jazz Vespers at St. Andrew’s

Luc Ex/Loewen/MacQuarrie/Zubot (with alumnus Kenton Loewen)
5 p.m., The Ironworks

Turning Point Ensemble meets Hollenbeck, Nachoff and Houle (with faculty François Houle)
$25, 8 p.m., SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Steelin’ in the Years (with alumni Talia Butler-Gray, Kerry Galloway)
$25, 8 p.m., The BlueShore at Cap

Sick Boss (with alumnus Jeremy Page)
$15, 11 p.m., the China Cloud

June 28

Geoff Claridge Quartet (with faculty Bernie Arai)
Noon, Granville Island, Public Market stage

Turning Point Ensemble meets Hollenbeck, Nachoff and Houle (with faculty François Houle)
$25, 8 p.m., SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

June 29

Laura Crema and Blue Shadows on the Trail (with alumni Laura Crema, John Sponarski)
Noon, Granville Island, Public Market stage

Angell/Brown/Capurso/Kallerdahl (with alumnus Ben Brown)
5 p.m., The Ironworks

June 30

Gordon Grdina Septet featuring Jon Irabagon (with alumnnus Kenton Loewen)
$21, midnight, The Ironworks

July 1

Coco Jafro (with current student Sangito Bigelow)
Noon, Roundhouse, David Lam Park Stage

Elisa Thorn’s Hue (with alumnus Justin Devries)
Noon & 1:10 p.m., Roundhouse, Exhibition Hall

Jen Hodge All Stars (with alumni Dave Taylor and Arnt Arntzen)
Noon, Granville Island, Ron Basford Park stage

Lan Tung’s Proliferasian featuring Xiaofen Min (with faculty Bernie Arai)
Noon, Granville Island, Performance Works

Ayelet Rose Gottlieb's Who Has Seen the Wind? (with faculty François Houle)
$10, 1:30 p.m., Roundhouse, Performance Centre

Sharon Minemoto Quartet (with faculty Sharon Minemoto, Bernie Arai)
2 p.m., Granville Island, Performance Works

Hyper+ featuring François Houle (with faculty François Houle)
3:45 p.m., Granville Island, Performance Works

Daphne Roubini and Black Gardenia (with alumnus Andrew Smith)
5 p.m., Granville Island, Ron Basford Park stage

Gabriel Palatchi Trio (with alumnus Kerry Galloway)
5:30 p.m., Granville Island, Railspur District stage

Tom Wherett’s Evil Three with Skye Brooks (with alumnus Sky Brooks)
6 p.m., Roundhouse, Exhibition Hall

Big EviL (with alumnus Elliot Langford)
7 p.m., Roundhouse, David Lam Park stage

July 2

Gavin Youngash Trio (with alumnus Skye Brooks)
Noon & 1:10 p.m., Roundhouse, Exhibition Hall

Malcolm Aiken & New Futures (with alumnus Malcolm Aiken)
1:45 p.m., Roundhouse, David Lam Park stage

Greasy G and the Poole Party featuring JAKITO! (with faculty Jack Duncan)
3 p.m. & 4:10 p.m., Roundhouse, Exhibition Hall

Gordon Grdina’s Haram (with faculty François Houle)
$35, 9 p.m., Performance Works


Stay connected with VCC's alumni newsletter! Hear about exciting news about VCC alumni, contests, and new partnerships. 

Interested in learning more about VCC’s music programs and opportunities for success in the music industry? Attend an info session to learn more about bachelordiploma and community music programs. 




Q&A with Experience VCC tuition winner Mildred Petate

The winner of our $500 grand prize shares her plans for a very meaningful career

News-Mildred-292-JPGIntroducing one of the luckiest attendees from last month’s Experience VCC open house! Mildred Petate won $500 towards VCC tuition after registering for the event and filling out our survey. We caught up with Mildred to find out what’s in store for her at VCC.

What do you do now?
I am currently working in a group home.

What program will you be enrolling in at VCC?
I am interested in the Renal Dialysis Technician program

Why did you choose this program?
I wanted to study again because I am a single parent and I welcome the idea of improving myself for my children and advancing in my career. It will be interesting to acquire the skills in this program. I’m also doing this for my father, who had kidney disease and was doing dialysis for many years.

How does it feel to win?
I am grateful to be part of this. It’s a real financial icebreaker for me to get started in this program. 


Missed Experience VCC? Stay tuned for details on our next open house in Fall 2017 or register now for an upcoming program-specific info session.

Robert’s story: sailing into hospitality success

From sea cadet to star student, one VCC hospitality grad shares his unique journey

News-Robert-Lin-292Robert Lin is enthusiastic and reliable, with a talent for business management and a passion for customer service. Voted “most likely to succeed” by his 2015 Bachelor of Hospitality Management graduating class at Vancouver Community College (VCC), he excelled in his practicum at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, and has now been accepted to numerous graduate programs in the United States.

Robert’s career choice wasn’t always obvious, however. In fact, his path to working in hospitality began in a rather inhospitable place: the Taiwanese Navy.

As in many countries around the world, Taiwan requires all men between the ages of 18 and 36 to serve in the military for one year. Robert first spent a year studying English literature at university, and then entered his military service, soon finding himself on a Taiwanese Navy vessel travelling the world.

“It was a challenging year,” he says, “but it really opened my eyes to the world beyond Taiwan.”

After Robert’s superior officers learned about his English studies, he was frequently called in to help with communications and translations. It was this experience supporting the greater organization that Robert says led him to conisder career options in business, customer service, and international travel.

Finally, a family trip to a luxury resort in Las Vegas solidified his decision to pursue hospitality management. “It’s just a special experience to be able to work in such beautiful surroundings, and ensure that tourists have a wonderful vacation,” he says.

A dream degree

Once his decision was made, Robert began researching hospitality management programs around the world. He says he chose VCC because of its international reputation and four-year degree option. During his time at VCC, Robert says he also really benefited from the hospitality program’s many industry connections, and especially the 500-hour work experience component.

Robert emphasizes that his success at VCC is also due in large part to the free tutoring in math, accounting, and English he received at the VCC Learning Centre. “The tutors taught me so many things ... I would especially like to thank Kari Karlsbjerg her support and help.”

Another major highlight for Robert was the multicultural environment he found on campus. “VCC gave me an invaluable understanding and appreciation of cultures from around the world,” he says.

As Vancouver’s hospitality industry continues to boom, so do job opportunities across the region. Robert, however, is looking further ahead. “I want to keep studying and try new things while I’m young,” he says. “A master’s degree has always been my dream. A great career will come next.”


Learn more about VCC’s unique blend of hands-on practical experience and academic courses in our hospitality management programs.

The VCC Learning Centre offers free, professional tutoring and career support to all registered VCC students 

Media Advisory: 11th Annual Fair in the Square

Join our neighbourhood celebration packed with live music, arts and crafts, a free BBQ lunch, and more

Fair in the Square logos

Vancouver, B.C.  Fair in the Square returns to downtown Vancouver for a neighbourhood celebration packed with live music, arts and crafts, a free BBQ lunch, and more. Join us in Victory Square Park at Hastings and Cambie on Sunday, May 28, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hosted by Central City Foundation in partnership with Vancouver Community College (VCC), this annual celebration of the neighbourhood will feature live music, dozens of community groups with information to share, thousands of burgers and cupcakes prepared by students from the Vancouver Community College culinary arts program, artists and artisans displaying and selling their wares, kids activities, contests, prizes, and more.

This past year has been challenging for Vancouverites struggling to overcome a devastating opioid crisis and the continued critical shortage of affordable housing. The Downtown Eastside has felt the losses and struggled valiantly in the face of these challenges. That’s why this year at Fair in the Square, we will offer a space of respite, of connection, and renewal for all our neighbours.

WHAT: Fair in the Square, a celebration with free food, music, arts market and more
WHEN: Sunday, May 28, 2017, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Victory Square Park, Hastings and Cambie in Downtown Vancouver
WHY: Neighbours celebrating with neighbours
WHO: Performers include folk/rock musicians Coldwater Road, the East Van Marimba All Stars, musical theatre from Project Limelight, and Aboriginal ensemble M’Girl.

About Central City Foundation: Central City Foundation has been bringing neighbours together to build hope in the inner city since 1907. By building housing and other capital projects, investing in social enterprises that create jobs and opportunities as well as funding hundreds of non-profit organizations, Central City Foundation has provided help and hope to our neighbours in the inner city community for 110 years.

About Vancouver Community College: VCC celebrates more than 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor's degrees, diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown, and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades, and music.


Media contacts:

Abby Wiseman
Central City Foundation
P: 778-828-2311

Danielle Libonati
Vancouver Community College
P: 604-871-7000, ext. 7531

Media Release: ESL Pathways program recognized with national award

VCC-led innovation in ESL curriculum wins Gold award from Colleges and Institutes Canada

News-ESL-Pathways-Award-292VANCOUVER – In a ceremony held in Ottawa on May 1, Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) innovative ESL Pathways program was recognized as the Gold recipient of the Program Excellence Award from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

The ESL Pathways program is the result of a Government of British Columbia curriculum development project aimed at overcoming the known language and cultural barriers newcomers to Canada face in accessing sustainable employment and post-secondary education.

In contrast with traditional English as a Second Language (ESL) curricula focusing on English literature and grammar, ESL Pathways was created as a practical, culturally sensitive alternative targeting real-world scenarios such as job interviews, informal conversations, and public speaking. The new curriculum is also fully aligned with the Canadian Language Benchmarks, providing a common standard of assessment and eliminating the need for re-testing in many other educational and professional settings in Canada. 

This new curriculum was researched, developed and tested over the course of five years by VCC’s English as an Additional Language department. To ensure provincial scope, VCC seconded faculty from seven other B.C. institutions, and convened a panel of experts specializing in assessment standards, intercultural communications, and applied linguistics. 

VCC officially launched ESL Pathways in 2015 with 100 students and the program has grown remarkably since then. Currently in its third year, ESL Pathways now serves approximately 600 students at VCC and further growth is anticipated. Additionally, several other B.C. institutions have begun the licensing process for adopting the ESL Pathways curriculum. 

The CICan Awards of Excellence provide national recognition for initiatives and programs by colleges, institutes and polytechnics that support Canada’s social, economic, and cultural development.



“Vancouver Community College is often the first place newcomers go when they arrive in British Columbia, so I am especially proud of this truly innovative way of teaching ESL— not only for its impact on our students and their confidence, but also for its positive contribution to society.”

- Dr. Peter Nunoda, President and CEO
Vancouver Community College

“The Pathways program is more than an English course. It covers a diverse range of topics, including usual life, academic study and the cultural workplace. The course content reflects the challenges every immigrant faces in a new country.”

- Atousa Eskandari
ESL Pathways student, Fall 2016

“Vancouver Community College is seen by ASTTBC as an eminently capable and comprehensive provider of critical language and communication skills for BC’s immigrant workforce … VCC has provided leadership throughout the ESL community for well over a decade, and its programs and courses are seen as models of best practice, emulated by many of the immigrant service provider groups which themselves provide ESL training throughout BC.”

- Geoff Sale, Manager,
Internationally Trained Professionals, Applied Science Technologists & Technicians of BC (ASTTBC)




Media can contact:

Carolyn Hornell
Marketing and Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
t: 604.871.7000, ext. 7133
e: chornell@vcc.ca




Media Release: VCC partners with IndiGenius & Associates

A partnership to develop and deliver a Gladue report writing program

VANCOUVER – Vancouver Community College (VCC) and IndiGenius & Associates Inc (IAI) have entered into a partnership to develop and deliver a VCC Gladue Report Writing program, the first of its kind offered at a post-secondary college in Western Canada.

A Gladue report is a pre-sentencing or bail hearing report, usually prepared at the request of the judge, defense counsel or crown attorney. The program will be designed for Indigenous community members, law students, lawyers, advocates, judges, Native Court Workers and anyone else interested in writing Gladue reports.

“At VCC, we are committed to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, as well as to fulfilling our commitment to the Indigenous Education Protocol through our existing services and the development of unique programs,” says Tami Pierce, director of Indigenous Education and Community Engagement. “We are grateful to have the support and guidance of individuals who are dedicated to addressing the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in our court systems involved in the development of this program.”

The program advisory committee overseeing the design and development of this program includes representation from Legal Services Society of BC, Gladue Writers Association of BC, Probation, Ministry of Children & Families, Mediation Services, Indigenous Faculty and Indigenous Elders.

Gladue is also a sentencing principle that recognizes the racism and systemic discrimination Aboriginal peoples face in and out of the criminal law system. It instructs judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders.

-- 30 --

VCC is committed to making Aboriginal education a priority through the signing of the Indigenous Education Protocol. The Indigenous Education and Community Engagement department leads the indigenization efforts on campus, and partners with Aboriginal communities and internal and external stakeholders to ensure Aboriginal students have access to educational programs and on-going support throughout their post-secondary journey. 

IndiGenius & Associates was born of the passion to help Indigenous people and encourage a positive change in the justice system possessed by its founder, Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow. Mark and his team have extensive experience working with Indigenous people and communities in a range of justice and justice-related contexts. Mark has several staff that work closely with him using a multi-disciplinary team approach to ensure Gladue Reports are done effectively and efficiently and delivered to the courts in a timely fashion. In addition, Mark has secured many community partnerships across Canada and works closely with others who share a similar interest in Indigenous justice. 

Media can contact: 

Tami Pierce, Director 
Director, Indigenous Education and Community Engagement 
Vancouver Community College 
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7288
E: tpierce@vcc.ca

Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow
Founder, IndiGenius & Associates 
T: 1-(613) 366-2268 
Toll Free: 1-(866) 406-5865 

VCC and CUPE reach tentative agreement

‌‌Vancouver Community College and support staff union (CUPE) local 4627 have reached a tentative agreement

‌‌Vancouver Community College and the VCC’s support staff union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 4627, have reached a tentative agreement under the Province's Economic Stability Mandate.

This tentative agreement covers more than 600 support staff who work in a variety of positions to assist the college and its students.

Ratification of the agreement by both CUPE membership and the VCC Board of Governors is expected in the coming weeks.


Media can contact:

Karen Wilson
Interim Director, Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7429
E: kwilson@vcc.ca <mailto:kwilson@vcc.ca>

Sewing camps let kids explore fashion side

VCC alumna's North Vancouver sewing studio a hit with "fearless" kids

Christine Hambleton started sewing when she was 10 years old.

Her mom showed her how to use a sewing machine and she started making clothes for her little sister's dolls. By high school she was making clothes for herself.

After working as a paralegal at a law firm for several years, her interest in fashion and sewing drew her back to school and she completed the Fashion Arts program at Vancouver Community College. She then worked with a local fashion designer for three years before deciding to start her own business about two years ago.

Made By Me Sewing Studio in North Vancouver is equipped with sewing machines, sergers, an industrial straight stitch machine, ironing stations, and a large cutting table, plus cutting shears, pins and other basic sewing gear. In this large, open sewing space, Hambleton offers a variety of classes, as well as private birthday parties and day camps. When she opened the business, Hambleton was surprised to discover more kids than adults signing up for instruction.

"It's been amazing. It’s super fun. They are so positive and energetic," she says of teaching kids.

Kids and teens are more willing to try new things and are generally "fearless" when it comes to learning new skills., she adds. "They inspire me to try new things and find new projects for them."

After a successful series of Spring Break camps, Hambleton is once again offering half- and full-day summer camps for boys and girls ages eight and older. Each camp has a different theme and is tailored to different age groups. In the beach-themed camp participants make beach-related items like a tote bag, a swimsuit cover-up, and a sunglasses case. In the sleepover-themed camp, kids learn how to make things like pajama shorts, a sleep mask, a toiletry pouch, and a stuffie.

Continue reading in the North Shore News


Learn more about fashion arts at VCC:

2017 BC Skills Competition

VCC brings home 12 awards

On Wednesday, April 5, top-performing students from across British Columbia put their trades skills to the test at the 23rd annual Skills Canada BC provincial competition.

Competing in areas ranging from automotive collision repair to hairdressing to culinary arts, VCC students impressed the judges as well as the crowds at the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (TRADEX) in Abbotsford. Gold medal winners will represent BC at the Skills Canada national competition in Winnipeg, MB May 31 - June 3.

Congratulations to all the winners, as well as the ACE-IT medalists from VCC-affiliated high schools.

Automotive Service

Silver - Dan Parisi, VCC


Gold - Angela Wu, VCC
Silver - Ray Anthony Caberoy, VCC

Gold - Shoshawna Patel, New Westminster Secondary (ACE-IT) 
Silver - Clarissa Roque, Eric Hamber Secondary (ACE-IT)
Bronze - Anurada Amarasekera, Fraser Heights Secondary (ACE-IT)

Culinary Arts

Silver - Leah Patitucci, VCC
Safety - Jade Sarmiento, VCC

Silver - Rayven Abbott-Hilliard, Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary (ACE-IT)

Fashion Technology

Bronze - Elham Safaei Chalaksaraei, VCC


Gold - Kai Khuan Teoh, VCC

Gold - Courtney Edwards, Samuel Robertson Technical (ACE-IT)


Update: our Skills Canada BC 2017 photo gallery is now online! 

Media Release: VCC partners with Emily Carr University of Art + Design

The best of both worlds

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Creative Art Pathway program provides students the best of both worlds. 

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Students with a passion for art and design and a wish to improve their English language skills will benefit from a new partnership between Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. The Creative Art Pathway (CAP) program, beginning this fall, provides international students the opportunity to strengthen English language skills while immersed in creative and critical studies at Emily Carr.

The innovative program allows students who have been conditionally admitted to Emily Carr complete English language proficiency requirements at VCC. Students will study at both institutions, which will be located within walking distance once Emily Carr University opens in its new location this fall.

The English components provided by VCC will include a customized course, English for Creative Practice, focused on the development of core foundational communication skills for creative and critical success. The program also includes up to four English for Academic Purposes classes.

"We are very excited about this partnership with Emily Carr" said Dr. Kathryn McNaughton, VCC's Vice President - Academic, Students & Research. "This initiative is the result of vision and hard work by many people at both partner institutions, and it will support students' success in important ways."

"Emily Carr is committed to supporting student success and we know that our international students are vital to our community" said Jennifer DeDominicis, Emily Carr University's Vice President, Enrolment and Student Services/Registrar. "Our partnership with VCC has been designed specifically to help English language learners develop a vocabulary to support their success in an art and design context."

Candidates who meet Emily Carr University's visual art portfolio and academic admissions requirement, but do not meet the minimum IELTS score and whose IELTS score is not lower than 5.5 in any skill area will receive a conditional offer of admission from Emily Carr University to attend the CAP program.

The CAP program will be offered in the fall and spring terms. Students may be required to take one or two terms depending on their skill level and academic progression through the program. 

- 30 –

VCC celebrates more than 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor's degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and music.

Founded as the Vancouver School of Art in 1925, Emily Carr University of Art + Design is the only specialized public post-secondary institution in British Columbia offering programs in visual arts, media arts and design exclusively - one of only four such institutions in Canada. Noted alumni include: artists Roy Arden, Douglas Coupland, Stan Douglas, Geoffrey Farmer, Brian Jungen, Terence Koh, Liz Magor, Jeremy Shaw, Stephen Shearer and Renee Van Halm; filmmakers Ann Aerie Fleming and Phillip Borsos, and many other renowned artists, designers, and media practitioners. A new campus for the University opens in September 2017.

Media can contact:

Karen Wilson
Director, Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7429
E: kwilson@vcc.ca

Carolyn Jack
Senior Project Manager, Communications
Emily Carr University
T: 604.970.3234
E: cjack@ecuad.ca

Gastown boutique partners with VCC fashion design

Students will showcase Coloure pieces for sale at One of a Few

Fashion coloure tops 292‌Via Vancouver Sun

Local fashion boutique One of a Few is giving Vancouver design students the chance to showcase their wares in its popular Gastown shop. 

Fashion students from Vancouver Community College Fashion Design and Production diploma program were given the opportunity to create two draped tops to be included in the store’s spring/summer offering. 

“It is important for me to support the students and their learning,” Michelle Rizzardo, the owner of One of a Few said in a news release. “But I needed to know that the tops would work for the look of my store and the selection I have coming in for spring.”

After the students completed the pattern for the tops in their first term, Rizzardo reportedly made style requests before they crafted the final results.

“Having Michelle as our partner was a special experience,” Concetta Sciaretta, a VCC instructor, said. “She was very giving of her time and is truly excited to support the students and see their work.”

Only two sizes of each style have been created, and proceeds from the sale of the tops will be donated to the Sally Hudson Fashion Scholarship fund. 


Learn more 

Gastown boutique partners with VCC design

VCC Students Launch Fashion Tops at Gastown’s One of a Few

VCC Fashion - program highlights 

Congratulations OHI Top 30 under 30 winner Taka Li

VCC culinary grad stands out in Ontario’s competitive food scene

News-Taka-Li-292Can a person be born to cook? The case could be made for Takayoshi Li, Vancouver Community College (VCC) culinary arts alumnus, Chef de Cuisine at Ontario’s historic Ancaster Mill restaurant, and new recipient of the 2017 Ontario Hostelry Institute’s (OHI) Top 30 Under 30 award. 

Even though Taka grew up in the kitchen—both his grandparents and parents were restaurateurs—he says he never developed a desire to do much more than help out in his family’s Vancouver eatery. “I would wash dishes,” he remembers, “but I never really wanted to cook.”

When Taka was deciding what to do after high school, his father recommended the well-paying career of a diesel mechanic, so Taka enrolled in heavy mechanical trades at VCC. During his first class, however, Taka realized it just wasn’t for him.

“Everyone was talking about cars and engines, and none of it interested me at all,” he says. “I had started to like cooking with my dad as well, so I signed up for culinary arts the very next day.”

Thanks to his talent, curiosity, and previous restaurant experience, Taka was snatched up by Chef Frank Pabst of Vancouver’s Blue Water Cafe after only one year in VCC’s Professional Cook program.

Since then, Taka’s career has taken him from Vancouver to Ontario, where he’s honed his skills among Canada’s culinary elite like Alvin Leung (Master Chef, R&D), Tyler Shedden (Café Boloud), and Marc St. Jacques (Auberge du Pommier and Ancaster Mill).

All the OHI Top 30 Under 30 award winners are first nominated by their peers, and then selected by a panel of expert judges. Taka is pleased with his award but would rather avoid the spotlight. “I guess they were impressed with how far I’ve come in such a short time,” he says.

Alongside the cooking skills he learned at VCC, Taka says one instructor’s advice has really stuck with him over the years. “Always be humble.”

“I’m still learning from other people all the time,” he says. “Even the cooks working under me.” His advice for up-and-coming chefs follows the same theme. “Build good relationships and take every opportunity you see. It will always lead to something.”  


Cooks and chefs are in demand across Canada. Learn industry-ready skills from the best in VCC culinary arts.

Kathryn McNaughton wins Chair Academy Award

VCC’s Vice President Academic, Students and Research recognized for post-secondary leadership

News-Kathryn-McNaughton-award-292Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Kathryn McNaughton, Vice President Academic, Students and Research, has been selected as a recipient of The Chair Academy’s 2017 International Exemplary Leadership Award.

This award recognizes exceptional leadership by individuals or teams in post-secondary institutions, and is awarded by The Chair Academy, an international leadership development organization. The award will be presented at the Chair Academy’s 2017 conference March 28 – 31, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

McNaughton joined the college in August 2015, and quickly forged deep and productive relationships across the institution. “Kathryn, almost immediately upon her arrival, improved the atmosphere of the organization,” says Todd Rowlatt, department head, Library Public Services. “People trust her… she acknowledges everyone by name, and always takes the time for moments of human connection.”

With a CV that lists teaching and leadership positions across Canada, including Red River College, University College of the North, Thompson Rivers University, and University of Regina, McNaughton brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and insight to VCC.

Samples of her exemplary leadership at VCC thus far include contributing to VCC's Integrated College Plan development, ramping up applied research along with associated funding and infrastructure, redeveloping Culinary Arts programming, and serving on various B.C. Ministry of Education committees in order to ensure VCC is well-positioned in relation to provincial objectives.

Above all, it is McNaughton's openness to ideas and ability to listen, relate, and to bring the right people together that has earned her not only this leadership award, but also admiration and respect from all of us at VCC.



See all programs with space available

It's not too late to apply for great programs starting soon!

Do you want to start your career now? It's not too late to apply for these great programs with varying start dates. Attend an info session, speak to a program advisor about admission requirements, or apply online now. (Updated March 31, 2017)

Choose your new career: 

Adult Upgrading

Academic Upgrading - May 1, 2017

Applied Business Administrative Office Assistant - May and August, 2017

Professional Cook 1 - monthly

Professional Cook 2 - September, 2017


CAD & BIM Technologies, Steel Detailing Technician Certificate - September, 2017

Visual Communications Design Certificate - September, 2017

Visual Communications Design Diploma - September, 2017

English as an
Additional Language
ESL Pathways Certificate - September, 2017
Hair, Esthetics
+ Makeup

Hair Design - September, 2017

Skin and Body Therapy - September, 2017

Health Sciences

Access to Practical Nursing - September, 2017

Dental Reception Coordinator - September, 2017


Bachelor of Hospitality Management - September, 2017

Bachelor of Hospitality Managment, Executive Cohort - September, 2017

Instructor +
Teacher Training
TESOL Certificate - May and September, 2017
Sign Language Studies ASL and Deaf Studies - September, 2017
Transportation Trades

Automotive Service Technician - September, 2017

Automotive Collision Repair Technician - August, 2017

Automotive Refinishing Prep Technician - September, 2017

Samsung Tech Institute Grand Opening Contest

Help us celebrate the Grand Opening of VCC’s Samsung Tech Institute!

News-Samsung-Tech-Institute-Grand-Opening-contest-MOBILE-292‌Help us celebrate the Grand Opening of VCC’s Samsung Tech Institute

Visit VCC’s Facebook page starting Monday, February 20, 2017 to test your household appliance knowledge by answering a trivia question. All correct answers will be entered to win 1 of 2 Samsung Level Box Pro wireless speakers (approx. $200 value).


Contest closes Thursday, February 23, 2017. Two winners will be randomly selected from all correct responses on February 24, 2017 and notified via Facebook.

Full rules and regulations (PDF)

VCC Culinary Arts team wins Healthy Chef award

Venison loin sous vide dish claims Best Entrée at local gourmet dining competition

News-Health-Chef-Competition-2017-292A group chefs and students from VCC Culinary Arts Block 11 took home the prize for Best Entrée at the BC Produce Marketing Association's (BCPMA) 18th Annual Healthy Chef Competition held on March 22, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Vancouver. 

The winning dish was a venison loin sous vide.

Partnering with the BC Chef’s Association, the BCPMA hosted the evening of gourmet dining in which ten competing teams of chefs from the Lower Mainland’s most famous restaurants, hotels, and culinary centres offer up creative dishes featuring, of course, fruits and vegetables.

This year, Chef Alex Ritchie and his Block 11 students represented Vancouver Community College. The support team included Chef Malcolm Bain, Chef John Lewis, Chef Tom Cruise, Chef Chris Nielsen, and Chef Jie Wen, along with multiple student volunteers. A special thanks goes to Esther Kosa for helping the culinary students with their dessert course.


Join our winning Culinary team! Come for a tour to find out why VCC is Canada’s top culinary school, training more chefs than any other school in the country.

VCC Outstanding Alumni Award winners 2016

The five distinguished recipients share their unique stories of success and dedication

‌Vancouver Community College (VCC) has named the latest round of winners of its prestigious 2016 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

The latest in a long line of VCC alumni that have made significant contributions to their industries and communities, honourees represent five distinct categories. Each winner has distinguished themselves with unique stories of success, inspiration, and dedication.

This year's award winners include:

Lloyd Arntzen (Honorary Alumnus)
Jazz musician, clarinetist, singer and saxophonist.
Lloyd has influenced traditional jazz musicians
and instructors for decades.









Rosemary,Bartram, Outstanding,Alumni,2016Rosemary Bartram (Changemaker)
Owner, Jewellery Designer, Era Design.
Rosemary specializes in custom wedding and
engagement jewellery using conflict-free diamonds.









Roshni,Kashyap_Outstanding_Alumni_2016Roshni Kashyap (Community Contribution)
Owner, Rosh's Chutneys.
Rosh is an entrepreneur and spokesperson for 
others with special needs.









scott,jaeger,outstanding,alumni,2016Scott Jaeger (Career Success)
Chef/Owner, The Pear Tree Restaurant.
Scott is a chef.mentor and peer-recognized
industry leader. 









Emily Upham outstanding alumni 2016Emily Upham (One to Watch)
Owner, When Pigs Fly Pastries.
Emily creates highly-innovative specialty
cakes and pastries.










The Outstanding Alumni Awards were established to recognize the outstanding achievements of our graduates and non-alumni who have made a significant contribution to VCC and/or the local community.‌

Media Release: VCC wins appeal on ground breaking trademark dispute

VCC has goodwill and reputation in its "VCC" name

Friday, January 27, 2017

VCC has goodwill and reputation in its "VCC" name

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Community College, B.C.'s oldest community college, was granted a significant judgment against Vancouver Career College over trademark and keyword advertising on January 27, 2017.

The B.C. Court of Appeal reversed an earlier trial judgment and ordered a permanent injunction restraining Vancouver Career College from using "VCC" and "VCCollege" in its internet advertising.

"This important decision validates the reputation that our institution has built over more than 50 years," said Dr. Peter Nunoda, VCC President and CEO. "VCC is more than a word; it's a brand that speaks to the hard work and success of our entire organization, including current and former students, faculty, staff and the businesses that benefit from our graduates."

The Court of Appeal concluded that Vancouver Community College has consistently used "VCC" as its trademark for many years, pointing to evidence that the Court said "powerfully supports" the conclusion that VCC has goodwill and reputation in its "VCC" name.

The Court also concluded that students are likely to be confused by the name VCCollege when searching for VCC on the internet. The Court granted judgment in favour of Vancouver Community College and sent the matter to the trial court to determine related damages and costs. 

- 30 –

VCC celebrates more than 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor's degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and music.

Media can contact:

Karen Wilson
Director, Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7429
E: kwilson@vcc.ca

Student T2202A tax forms are available online

Student tax forms (T2202A forms) are available online. To access your tax receipt, go to myVCC.

Student tax forms (T2202A forms) are available online. To access your tax receipt, go to myVCC

Enter your student ID number and your password. Then click on 'login' to proceed. For first-time users, your initial password has been set to your birthdate in the format MMDDYY. For example, if your birthdate is Jan. 25, 1975, your password would be 012575. If you have logged in to the system before you will have set up your own password. If you cannot remember your password, go to "Password Help" 

myVCC login box

If you need help accessing your tax receipt, please follow the steps described in the T2202A Frequently Asked Questions document‌. If you have any questions about your tax form please email T2202aHelp@vcc.ca with your question and student ID or call 604.871.7000, ext. 7002.

Japanese baker inspires mothers to pursue their dreams

It was a table that changed the life of pastry chef Hitomi Syvertsen

In a chat at her East Vancouver café with the Georgia Straight, Hitomi Syvertsen explains that after she became a mother, she began hosting her friends at her place because she was found it too challenging to go out with her children. When her friends praised her cooking, she became inspired to enroll in Vancouver Community College's culinary program.

After a decade of experience in the food industry, including stints at Pan Pacific Hotel, Four Seasons, Terminal City Club, and the Delta Hotel Burnaby, she collected all of her best recipes and began to think about opening her own business.

Then at an auction, she saw a table she fell in love with. She told herself that if she won the auction for the table, she would pursue her dream.

As the story would have it, she wound up opening Baker and Table Café and Bakery at 6414 Fraser Street on February 3.

If you haven't already guessed, the name comes from what she started with: herself (the baker) and the table (the—wait for it—table).

Her love for repurposing used or old items is reflected not only in her friendship with her faithful table companion (who was hired to support the cash register) but also in the décor, such as her collection of mismatched tables and chairs (which seat up to 16 people), and various household items on display that she collected over the years or brought from Japan.

With her 600-square-foot retail space (the total premises are 1,800 square feet), she's sought to create a homelike feel. She's been successful.

In fact, it's been so cozy that some people have been falling asleep when she puts on jazz music in the background. (She had to switch to putting on the radio.)

"That means people [feel] comfortable here, and they feel secure," she says. "It's so busy outside on Fraser. It's just people go-go-go but you come in here and it's different."

Syvertsen, who hails from Nagoya, Japan, but has lived in Canada for 15 years, offers a combination of Western and Japanese food and baked goods on her menu. With a special attention to ingredients, many of her items are vegan or gluten-free.

In fact, she uses balsamic vinegar instead of soy sauce because, she explains, soy sauce has wheat in it. How thoughtful!

Continue reading in the Georgia Straight


Learn more about baking and culinary arts at VCC:

New Awards of Achievement by VCC Continuing Studies

Introducing seven new industry-targeted recognition programs for employment and business success

‌VCC Continuing Studies is excited to introduce Awards of Achievement, a new recognition program designed to meet the rapidly changing needs of the marketplace. Each new Award of Achievement provides students with a specific skill set aimed at employment or business success. Most awards will be completed in a shorter time than a certificate or diploma. Some awards carry credits that are also transferable to a certificate or diploma program.


Awards of Achievement:

Running a Small Interior Design Business Award of Achievement
This program covers basic topics in running an interior design business. Participants learn about the financial and creative advantages and disadvantages of being self-employed, along with methods, tools and insights for achieving success as an interior design entrepreneur.

Community Services Assistant Award of Achievement
This program enhances learners’ skills and knowledge in community service work with the aim of securing entry-level employment with community-based and non-profit organizations. Participants learn up-to-date computer and administrative skills aimed at supporting organizations by working in office settings, as well as methods of offering quality, client-centered services to diverse groups.

Business Readiness for New Canadians Award of Achievement
This program provides new Canadians with skills in many elements of business administration including human resource management, business ethics, team skills, computer skills and effective job search tactics. Participants learn alongside others new to Canadian business culture, together developing business communication skills and pursuing English for professional advancement. 

Media and Public Relations Award of Achievement
This program teaches essential skills for business interaction with public stakeholders and the media. Participants examine a variety of social media environments and will gain hands-on experience with many of the leading social media applications. Courses will appeal to members of non-profits and small businesses as well as larger organizations.

Web Design Award of Achievement
This program provides individual users, small business owners, and employees of large organizations with the skills and confidence to design and maintain small business or personal websites. Participants have the opportunity to pursue a broad range of web design topics including: HTML/CSS, Photoshop, WordPress, social media/web integration, SEO and Google Analytics.

Computerized Accounting for Small Business Award of Achievement
This program prepares students already taking Computerized Accounting courses to effectively manage the administration side of their business. Participants may be self-employed people seeking to supplement their business administration skills in the areas of business planning, marketing, finance, business writing, social media and more.

Design Software Award of Achievement
This program introduces many of today’s most highly used design software applications. Participants attend hands-on courses teaching effective and professional use of programs including Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, AutoCAD and SketchUP Make.

Samsung Tech Institute expands to Western Canada with VCC partnership

Educational initiative will provide unique appliance repair certification from Samsung Canada

VANCOUVER, B.C.  In partnership with Vancouver Community College (VCC), Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. today officially announced it is expanding the presence of the Samsung Tech Institute in Canada, to bring the innovative education initiative to Western Canada.

Following the successful opening in 2015 and ongoing success of the Samsung Tech Institute at Toronto’s Centennial College, this partnership between Samsung and VCC will provide students with practical hands-on training on how to operate, diagnose, and service select Samsung digital home appliances including refrigerators, gas and electric stovetops, microwaves, and washer-dryers. Graduates will be certified Samsung Home Appliance Technicians upon completion of the program, and will also receive an Award of Achievement from VCC, providing a distinct differentiation as they enter the workforce.

“It’s an exciting time for Samsung, VCC and students as we launch the next Samsung Tech Institute,” said Mark Childs, Chief Brand Officer, Samsung Canada. “We’re proud to help support the learning of this next generation of passionate Samsung repair technicians, trained here at VCC, to reach their full potential and confirm our steadfast Samsung commitment to education and exemplary customer service in Canada.”

With increased demand expected in trades, transportation and related occupations in British Columbia with approximately 123,000 job openings expected over the next ten years*, VCC’s Samsung Tech Institute aims to provide students with the skills to be first in line for these opportunities—particularly relevant as Samsung holds the position of #1 brand in Canadian Major Domestic Appliances for 2016**.   

“At VCC, we’re always looking for innovative ways to meet the needs of industry, and this partnership presented the perfect opportunity,” said Dr. Peter Nunoda, President and CEO, Vancouver Community College. “The exclusive framework of knowledge students will receive and first-hand exposure to the Samsung brand and technology will directly impact the careers of our graduates.”***

Two pathway programs will be available to students – a part-time professional pathway for those already in the appliance repair industry and a full-time entry pathway for those who are interested in a career in the appliance repair industry. As part of the partnership, Samsung has created a Branded Digital Services Lab at VCC, complete with the latest Samsung home appliances to allow innovative, hands-on training, and has also established three $1,000 entrance scholarships for students who demonstrate a commitment to innovation, dedication, and hard work.

The Samsung Tech Institute at Centennial College has reached maximum enrolment nearly every semester, with continued positive student and instructor feedback. VCC builds on that momentum with initial projections of full enrolment for the April 2017 semester.


About Samsung Electronics Canada, Inc.

Samsung Electronics Canada inspires Canadians to reach their full potential through a transformative ecosystem of products and services that deliver innovation and distinct design to every aspect of their connected lives. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, virtual reality and wearable devices, tablets, and digital appliances. In 2016, Samsung was ranked in the top 10 most reputable brands in Canada, based on a study by Leger. Dedicated to helping make a difference in the lives of Canadians, Samsung's award-winning Hope for Children corporate giving initiatives support public education, sustainability and health-related issues in communities across the country. To discover more, please visit www.samsung.com.


About Vancouver Community College

VCC celebrates more than 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor's degrees, diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades, and music.


* “British Columbia 2025: Labour Market Outlook” 

** Samsung is Canada’s No. 1 Home Appliance Brand for the 12 months ending December 2016. Reference to Home Appliances means major appliances (full-size refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, ovens, cook-tops, washing machines and clothes dryers) and is based on dollar sales between 2015-2016 in Canada as measured by The NPD Group, Retail Tracking Service in its retail tracking reports. 

*** Post-graduation employment or higher earnings not guaranteed


For further information please contact Paul Cartwright, North Strategic (for Samsung Canada) at paul.cartwright@northstrategic.com


Grand Opening event photo gallery
Hi-res Broadway campus 1
Hi-res Broadway campus 2

Order baked goods online

Go ahead. Satisfy your sweet tooth.

VCC's Downtown campus bakery, Seiffert Market, will accept online orders from March 1 - July 19 for a variety of fresh-baked products like cookies, tarts, pastries and sweet treats. 

As part of the program curriculum, baking and pastry arts students manage the bakery for a month. The online ordering system helps support the learning process.

Orders can be picked up at Seiffert Market on the third floor of the Downtown campus weekdays between noon and 5 p.m. Payment is accepted at the time of pick up.

ESL update for students

As a result of changes in funding for ESL programming, VCC will be suspending ESL (CPE, Outreach, ELS and PACE) delivery effective mid-December 2014.

ESL Update Students

VCC offers two streams of ESL classes – ELSA/LINC and our other ESL programming (CPE, Outreach, ELS and PACE).

As a result of changes in funding for ESL programming, VCC will be suspending ESL (CPE, Outreach, ELS and PACE) delivery effective mid-December 2014. This change will not affect our LINC classes.

University Transfer and combined skills classes will continue to be offered (HCA/ESL, culinary arts/ESL and baking and pastry arts/ESL).

Classes and schedules for ESL delivery from September to December will be finalized in the next few weeks. VCC will be offering CPE 099 in September so that students currently in CPE 098 will have the opportunity to complete their academic Grade 12 equivalency.

VCC continues to offer basic and intermediate level English training for adult newcomers to Canada (also known as Language Instructions for Newcomers to Canada or LINC). Please check with ELSA-Net for eligibility requirements for LINC classes.

There are also a range of alternative programs and courses available for students to access in the community (see ESL Resources for Students below).

VCC continues to explore options to determine if we may be able continue to offer ESL beyond December 2014. We will continue to post updates for students on myVCC and on this site.


ESL Resources for Students

Information about alternative ESL courses can be found here.


VSB Continuing Education English as a Second Language Courses

You may also contact settlement/integration agencies in your area such as the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. to inquire about language services that they offer.  

VCC also offers a range of additional programs, including programs designed for speakers of English as an additional language who wish to receive practical training:

Health Care Assistant – ESL (Home Support/RCA/ESL)

Cooking ESL

Baking and Pastry Arts ESL

VCC and the Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Numerous members of VCC's music faculty and alumni will be performing at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

vancouver international jazz festival-logo

For over 40 years, the music department at Vancouver Community College (VCC) has helped hone the natural talent of many musicians, composers and bands; many of who graduated from VCC to big and bright careers in the music industry. VCC is proud of the many music alumni and faculty who are performing at this years Vancouver International Jazz Festival, running from Thursday, June 18 to Wednesday, July 1 at multiple venues around Vancouver. 

Interested in learning more about VCC’s music programs, the talented faculty, and the opportunities for success in the music industry?  Attend an info session to learn more about the Bachelor, diploma and community programs VCC music offers. 

Schedule of TD International Jazz Festival performances involving VCC faculty and alumni (all events are free, unless noted otherwise):

Jared Burrows Sextet (with faculty member, John Korsud, trumpet)
Thursday, June 18, 3 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Georgia Stage

Tanga (with alumnus, Malcolm Aiken)
Thursday, June 18, 7:30 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Georgia Stage

Karin Plato Ensemble (with faculty member, Laurence Mollerup, bass)
Friday, June 19, 12 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Georgia Stage

SICK BOSS with Debra-Jean Creelman (with alumna, Debra-Jean Creelman, vocal, and Tyson Naylor, accordion)
Friday, June 19, 1 p.m. - Granville Island - Performance Works

Hugh Fraser (alumnus, trombonist) & VEJI
Friday, June, 19, 6 p.m. - Pat’s Pub ($20)

Pugs and Crows (with alumnus, Ben Brown, drums) and Tony Wilson
Friday, June 19, 9:30 p.m. - Innovation Series - Ironworks ($25)

Ben Henriques Quartet (with faculty member, Bernie Aral, drums)
Saturday, June 20, 1:30 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Robson Stage (free)

Tony Wilson Tribute to Jim Pepper (with alumnus, Ben Brown, drums)
Saturday, June 20, 3 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Robson Stage

John Korsud’s Latin Ensemble (with faculty member John Korsud, trumpet, and alumni, Niho Takase, keyboards, Chris Couto, timbales, Sangito Bigelow, congas, Ronnie Swirl, bass).
Saturday, June 20, 6:45 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Robson Stage

Tia Brazda (with faculty member, Sharon Minemoto, keyboards)
Sunday, June 21, 12:30 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Georgia Stage

Hugh Fraser (alumnus, trombonist) and VEJI
Sunday, June 21, 2:15 p.m. - Downtown Jazz - Georgia Stage

Benoit Delbecq with François Houle, Gordon Grdina and Kenton Loewen (with faculty member, Francois Houle, clarinet, and alumnus, Kenton Loewen, drums)
Sunday, June 21, 9:30 p.m. - Innovation Series - Ironworks ($25)

Official Jazz Jam - Phil Boniface Trio (with alumna, Sharon Minemoto)
Monday, June 22 / Tuesday, June 23 / Thursday, June 25 / Monday, June 29 / Tuesday, June 30, 8:30 p.m. - Pat’s Pub

Samuel Blaser and François Houle Duo (with faculty member, Francois Houle, clarinet)
Tuesday, June 23, 5 p.m. - Innovation Series - Ironworks

Tyson Naylor Trio
Tuesday, June 23, 6:30 p.m. - Libra Room

Alumnus, Tim Sars (baritone sax) and Friends
Tuesday, June 23, 9:30 p.m. - Libra Room

Alumnus, Tyson Naylor, keys, with Nils Berg, Russell Sholberg and Chris Cantillo
Thursday, June 25, 5 p.m. - Ironworks

Tim Sars Trio (with alumni, Tim Sars, baritone sax, Brendan Krieg, drums)
Friday, June 26, 12 p.m. - Granville Island - Public Market Stage

Peregrine Falls (with alumnus, Kenton Loewen, drums)
Friday, June 26, 11:30 p.m. - Innovation Series - Ironworks Late Night ($15)

Electric Miles (with alumus, Hugh Fraser, keyboards)
Saturday, June 27, 12 p.m. Roundhouse - David Lam Park Stage (free)

Mazacote (with alumni, Chris Couto, timbales, Niho Takase, keys, Robin Layne, congas)
Saturday, June 27, 3:30 p.m. - Roundhouse - David Lam Park Stage

Tiny Pyramids (with alumnus, Tyson Naylor, keys)
Saturday, June 27, 5:30 p.m. - Roundhouse - Exhibition Hall

Minemoto, Coon and Danderfer (with faculty member, Sharon Minemoto, keyboards and melodica)
Sunday, June 28, 1 p.m. - Granville Island - Performance WorksPerformance Works

Trio Boujou (with faculty member, François Houle, clarinet)
Wednesday, July 1, 5 p.m. - Granville Island - Ron Basford Park Stage

Alumnus, Brad Turner Quartet
Wednesday, July 1, 7:30 p.m. - Granville Island - Performance Works

Kate Hammett-Vaughan Quintent (with faculty member, Kate Hammett-Vaughan, vocals)
Wednesday, July 1, 9:30 p.m. - Granville Island - Performance Works

Company B Jazz Band  (with alumnus, Dave Taylor guitar)
Wednesday, July 1, 8 p.m. - Granville Island - Railspur District Stage

Daphne Roubini and Black Gardenia (with alumnus, Andrew Smith, guitar)
Wednesday, July 1, 12:30 p.m. - Granville Island - Railspur District Stage 

Stay connected with VCC's alumni newsletter! Hear about exciting news about VCC alumni, contests and new partnerships. 




New program teaches volunteer management for today’s non-profits

VCC partners with the Volunteer Management Institute in new courses for non-profit success

News-volunteer-management-400Canadians love to volunteer. According to Statistics Canada, 47 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and over did volunteer work in 2010 (compared to 26 per cent in the United States). These 13.3 million Canadians devoted over 2 billion hours to their volunteer activities, which is equivalent to about 1.1 million full-time jobs.

According to Vancouver Community College (VCC) instructor and Volunteer Management Institute founder and Executive Director Milena Santoro, however, the actual business of working with volunteers has been historically overlooked. “It’s a misconception that volunteers are just volunteers—that they’re free,” she says. “There is a cost attached to managing volunteers. You need to recruit, screen, train, recognize, support, and manage them no differently than paid staff.”

To address this non-profit skills gap, VCC has partnered with Santoro and the Volunteer Management Institute to offer a new Volunteer Management program designed to teach established and effective methods related to the volunteer cycle. Topics in this program apply to any kind of volunteer work, from large fundraising events, sports tournaments or arts festivals to community gardens or even groups who visit the elderly or run children’s programs. Courses start in mid-January 2016.

Recruiting right

Most non-profits operate with limited resources, but an important thing to still recognize, says Santoro, is the need for structure. When a volunteer is put to work without official screening, orientation, and training, he or she often walks away with a negative experience. A clear and organized volunteer experience, however, can bring great rewards. “If a volunteer is really engaged, they will give so much more,” says Santoro.

Even non-profits that have been operating for decades can benefit from re-assessing their volunteer programming. According to Santoro, many organizations still work inefficiently and volunteer coordinators often feel under pressure or burn out quickly. With the right systems and processes in place, however, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In today’s growing culture of corporate social responsibility, volunteer opportunities are also enjoying a higher profile than ever. Many corporations are now partnering with non-profit organizations and asking their employees to volunteer. They also choose these partnerships carefully. “Companies want to work with well-organized and like-minded groups,” says Santoro. “They want to be aligned with the cause and the work they do in the communities.”


VCC’s new Volunteer Management program provides students with the latest in knowledge and tools including up-to-date workbooks, forms, and checklists. Tuition has been kept in an accessible range for non-profit organizations.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Gossen, program coordinator, at 604.871.7000 x 8670 or jgossen@vcc.ca. Courses offered year-round. Apply now!


Paula’s story: from addiction to inspiration

One VCC student shares how she conquered a 15-year battle with illness and addiction



Five years ago, Paula Armstrong made a life-changing decision. The way she puts it, “I made a move to help myself.”

Like so many others in neighbourhoods across Vancouver, a 15-year battle with illness and addiction had drained Paula of her social skills, her career skills, and especially her self-worth. As a start to what the 58-year-old calls her “long, slow road back to society,” Paula enrolled in VCC’s Workplace Essential Skills training, a free and flexible program designed for people with unemployment history or significant employment barriers.

This is how Paula, now a published writer, musician and food service entrepreneur describes her experience:

“Going into the program, I had lost confidence in my ability to perform basic tasks like adding numbers together or even composing a sentence with correct punctuation, but after the first couple of weeks, I felt like my brain had been in a deep sleep and was just waking up! What joy! I soon started to believe that I wasn't dumb or damaged from my years of self- abuse.

I was reminded that throughout my life I had performed my jobs with an attitude of excellence, initiative and commitment. Most of my jobs have been in the service industry, so volunteering did not feel out of reach to me. My computer skills were nil, so going to the computer room at VCC was a very helpful aspect of the course. The Working with Others component also enabled me to see that I actually enjoy people and I'm good at it.

After completing the course, I decided to join a writing group that Megaphone Magazine was putting on at the Rainier Hotel. I had always seen myself as a writer of sorts, and now I can say that I'm a published author of several poems and short stories!News-Paula-embed2

My friend Loraine and I also started a little catering business that the PHS was sponsoring. We make various trays of food and fruit for non-profit organizations. Loraine also took the VCC course.Learning to think positively helped me with self-confidence. I played piano privately my whole life and with a little encouragement, I applied for a part-time job playing piano at a restaurant during lunch hour. They liked me! Now I play at different places on a volunteer basis.‌

I intend to follow up with extending my computer skills by taking a course at the Continuing Education Center or attending one of the many courses offered at the VCC. Being able to be somewhere at a given time and place was another life skill I learned during the VCC course. I have also just completed the first week of an exercise program at St Paul's Hospital! I believe that taking the Workplace Essential Skills workshop has greatly accelerated my progress as a functioning human being in society today.

I intend to review the literature of the course regularly to keep me on my toes; just as writing this article has woken me up again! I now have a great attitude towards life and believe in endless opportunities.”

Everyone at VCC is incredibly proud of you, Paula, especially your instructors. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!


Funding for Workplace Essential Skills training was provided to VCC’s Department of Training & Community Development through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.

For 50 years, VCC has worked to provide growth opportunities for all community members. Read another inspiring story about our downtown neighbour and VCC grad Mervyn Charles, and join us on May 31, 2015 for our annual Fair in the Square community barbecue held in Victory Square.






Media release: VCC Film Camp

New summer camp geared towards young producers in the making

film camp news

VANCOUVER – It is only fitting that in a town called ‘Hollywood North’, there would be numerous opportunities for teenagers and young adults to attend film camps over the summer. The Camera Ready youth film summer camp at Vancouver Community College (VCC) differs from the rest, as it is the only camp that offers students the opportunity to showcase their film work at a film festival, the Richmond World Festival.

Under the direction of Leo Award and Canadian Screen Award winning filmmaker Jordan Paterson, students aged 16-20 will spend three weeks gaining an understanding of their own artistic practice and valuable technical knowledge on key aspects of film production, while learning how to navigate future career paths in the film and new-media industry.

“Filmmaking is all about collaboration, and these students will have the opportunity to work with some of the best in the industry,” says Justin Ewart, VCC technology program coordinator, “VCC is excited to expand our offerings into film and encourage the next generation of cinephiles.”

In partnership with Cinevolution Media Arts Society, the new program is an artist-based introductory program for those looking to work in film and new-media as storytellers, writers, directors, cinematographers and producers. The course offers a broad introduction to current industry practices and methods for telling compelling stories through film and cross-platform media in fiction, non-fiction and experimental genres.

The Camera Ready youth film summer camp is open to a maximum of 20 students and will take place August 8-26, Monday to Friday, 9a.m.-3p.m. at VCC’s Downtown campus, two blocks west of the Stadium Skytrain station. All students will have access to a Mac Lab and camera equipment, and will participate in field trips for filming.

For more info:


To interview Jordan Paterson, the VCC program coordinator or Cinevolution, please contact:

Media contact:

Danielle Libonati
Vancouver Community College
P: 604-871-7000, ext. 7531



50 Years. 50 Chefs: A memorable celebration

VCC’s 50th anniversary fundraising event supports student success

News-50Chefs-380The 50 Years. 50 Chefs. fundraising gala on Nov. 17 lived up to its billing as the “Culinary Event of the Year.” A packed Rocky Mountaineer Station enjoyed a unique culinary showcase served up by a roster of talented Vancouver Community College alumni chefs who have made their mark on the Vancouver food scene.

Chefs on hand represented Vancouver’s full culinary range including dining establishments, resorts, hotels, bistros, restaurant groups, bakeries, food trucks and more. What they all had in common was a connection to VCC’s renowned culinary and baking and pastry arts programs and perhaps a little friendly competition to see who could wow gala attendees the most.

The 50 Years. 50 Chefs. experience

Upon entering the finely-appointed venue, guests were immediately greeted with tasting-sized food creations served at 15 stations and as passed appetizers. Dishes ran the culinary spectrum from venison and bison to every type of seafood, incorporating both exotic and local ingredients and reflecting ethnic influences.

Desserts items, prepared by a collective of bakers and pastry chefs, included chocolates, s’mores and pastries, while liquid nitrogen was expertly handled to produce ice-cold treats on demand. Both savory and sweet items were meticulously assembled, demonstrating the artistry of the participants and providing a treat for the eyes as much as the palate.

As a perfect culinary complement, seventeen wineries from the Naramata Bench Wineries Association poured generous samples to the roving guests throughout the night.

Class reunion

Students from VCC’s culinary arts and international culinary arts programs got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assist many of Vancouver’s top chefs, while students in VCC’s hospitality management programs provided service.

The evening also turned into a reunion of sorts for chefs to re-connect with former classmates, instructors, culinary luminaries and others in the restaurant industry, with more than one chef overheard to say “We should do this more often”.

And the band played onNews-50Chefs-400

Live music provided by an all-star ensemble composed of VCC’s noteworthy music program faculty and alumni including Laurence Mollerup, bass, vocalist Tom Arntzen, Bernie Arai on drums, Daryl Jahnke, guitar, Bill Sample on keyboards, with special guest, saxophonist Karen Graves. 50 Years. 50 Chefs. served up more than an amazing array of food offerings, as other VCC programs provided the evening’s entertainment. These included:

  • The VCC/Arts Umbrella Dance Company broke out into a flash mob to the Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” with guests soon joining in, followed by a mesmerizing dance interpretation of Rufus Wainwright’s “Oh, What a World.”
  • VCC fashion arts students, alumni and faculty illustrated and created designs inspired by 1965, the year VCC was founded. The top 13 designs were showcased at the gala in a fashion show entitled “Eight Days a Week”, while the illustrations were on display and up for auction. The winning design and illustration were determined based on Facebook likes and judged by a professional panel, with each winner taking home $750.‌
  • A silent auction was held by the VCC Foundation featuring jewellery, dining experiences at participating restaurants, sporting events, wine and food baskets, spa experiences and hotel accommodation.

A special thanks to our supporters

50 Years. 50 Chefs. would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors including:

50 Years. 50 Chefs. raised over $150,000 for Vancouver Community College Foundation which funds scholarships, bursaries and training aids for VCC students.

And finally, a toast to the chefs who are testament to VCC’s culinary programs and helped make VCC’s official 50th anniversary celebration such a memorable event.

Here’s to the next 50 years!

Full photo gallery:



News Release: 50 Years. 50 Chefs. - a gala fundraiser

VCC celebrates 50 years in style while raising funds for student scholarships & training materials


VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Community College Foundation is hosting a special gala entitled 50 Years. 50 Chefs. at the Rocky Mountaineer Station on November 17, 2015, to celebrate VCC’s 50th anniversary.

The event brings together 50 chefs – all with a connection to VCC. The roster boasts successful alumni and dedicated chef instructors who have made their mark on the Vancouver food scene. VCC chefs can be found in virtually every restaurant in Vancouver and often represent Culinary Team Canada at international culinary competitions.

“This is a fitting celebration for the college’s anniversary – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anyone who loves food. It really shows how the culinary program at VCC has grown to become one of the top schools in Canada,” says Bruno Marti, a Canadian culinary legend who will serve as 50 Years. 50 Chefs. coach and mentor. Marti was the inaugural inductee into Canada’s Restaurant Hall of Fame, has received the Order of British Columbia, and is an Honorary VCC Outstanding Alumnus.

Along with Marti, chefs unveiled to date include:

  • John Carlo (JC) Felicella  – 2016 Culinary Olympics Team Canada manager, VCC chef instructor
  • Shelley Robinson – regional executive chef, Coast Hotels
  • Scott Jaeger – chef/owner, The Pear Tree Restaurant
  • Hamid Salimian – 2016 Culinary Olympics Team Canada captain, VCC chef instructor
  • David Wong – product development chef, Earls Kitchen + Bar Test Kitchen
  • Tobias MacDonald – Certified Master Chef, VCC chef instructor
  • Blair Rasmussen – executive chef, Vancouver Convention Centre
  • Paul Cecconi – chef/owner, BRODO Kitchen
  • Collin Gill – department head, VCC culinary arts program
  • Clement Chan – chef/owner, Torafuku
  • Jason Harris – executive sous chef, Fairmont Vancouver Airport

In addition to top chefs, musical entertainment for the evening will be provided by recognized alumni and faculty, featuring: Laurence Mollerup, bass; Bernie Arai, drums; Tom Arntzen, vocals; Daryl Janke, guitar; and Bill Sample, keyboards.

Guests will also enjoy a silent auction and a 1965-inspired fashion show. A 1965 Daytona, restored by VCC’s auto collision repair and refinishing program students, will be on display.

Tickets for 50 Years. 50 Chefs. are $300 with early-bird pricing of $250 until Oct 9. Visit vcc.ca/gala for more information, purchase tickets and receive updates as new chefs are unveiled. Gala sponsors include Vancouver Magazine in the media category.

50 Years. 50 Chefs. is a fundraiser for the Vancouver Community College Foundation to provide scholarships and training materials for current and future VCC students.

VCC celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and music. Visit: vcc.ca


Media can contact:

Jane MacCarthy
Associate Director, Alumni Relations
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.360.3325
E: jmaccarthy@vcc.ca

Media Phone: 604.612.2653


Music can improve your quality of life

Music can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.



A recent article written for The Week, by Eric Barker, sites the 'nine ways music can improve your life'. From helping you relax, to reducing pain, to making you a better person, music resonates within each and every one of us.

VCC’s music department offers numerous ways for you to explore your passion for music on a casual, part-time or full-time basis:

Community members are given the opportunity to explore their appetite for music through VCC’s community music offerings.

  • Join a VCC ensemble
  • Attend one of the various workshops offered on campus
  • Enrol in a theory, musicianship or history course that will enable you to expand your musical knowledge

VCC offers introductory courses in theory and ear training, as well as part-time access to many of our diploma courses.

VCC welcomes instrumentalists and vocalists in rock and popular music, as well as classical, new music and music traditions from other cultures. Students who are considering entering the diploma or degree program in the future can apply most part-time credits toward these credentials.

Learn from the best instructors the province has to offer and study alongside a group of supportive and encouraging peers. 

Click here to learn more about VCC's music programs. 

VCC at the 2016 Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Over 30 of VCC's own musicians will be participating in the 2016 Vancouver International Jazz Festival

For over 40+ years, VCC's music department has been helping musicians from all walks of life hone their musical talent. It's not a surprise that so many of the musicians playing the Vancouver International Jazz Festival this year are VCC faculty members, alumni and current music students. The Vancouver International Jazz Festival takes place from Friday, June 24 to Sunday, July 3 at venues around the city, including free concerts at Granville Island, David Lam Park and downtown, by the Vancouver Art Gallery. With so many events taking place over the week, it will be hard to pick and choose who to see, so we've helped you narrow down your choices.

Friday, June 24

Rossi Gang (with alumni, Skye Lambourne, trumpet, Noah Gotfrit, bass, and Aaron Levinson, drums)
Friday, June 24, noon – Granville Island – Public Market Stage

Copilots (with alumnus, Karma Sohn, keys)
Saturday, June 24, 2:15 p.m. – Downtown Jazz – Georgia Stage

Alicia Hansen with Hiromi: The Trio Project (with alumni, Alicia Hansen, vocals and Ben Brown, drums)
Friday, June 24, 8 p.m. - The Vogue Theatre

Saturday, June 25 

Paul Keeling Ancient Lights Quintet (with faculty member, Bernie Arai, drums)
Saturday, June 25, noon – Downtown Jazz – Robson Stage

Longhand (with alumnus, Tyson Naylor, keys)
Saturday, June 25, 5 p.m. – Downtown Jazz – Robson Stage

Sunday, June 26 

Only A Visitor (with alumnus, Kevin Romain, bass)
Sunday, June 26, noon – Downtown Jazz – Robson Stage

Debra-Jean & the Dreams (with alumnus, Debra-Jean Creelman, vocals)
Sunday, June 26, 2:15 p.m. – Downtown Jazz – Georgia Stage

Monday, June 27 

Malleus Trio (with VCC music student, Geordie Hart, bass, and alumni Dominic Conway, tenor sax, and Ben Brown, drums)
Monday, June 27, noon – Granville Island – Public Market Stage

Marin Patenaude (with alumnus, Kenton Loewen, drums)
Monday, June 27, 8 p.m. – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
$79 - $140

Wednesday, June 29 

Tyson Naylor’s Tribute to Paul Bley (with alumnus, Tyson Naylor, keyboard)
Wednesday, June 29, 2:30 p.m. – Performance Works

Faculty member Giorgio Magnanensi, laptop/electronic,  alumnus Kenton Loewen, drummer, Chris Kelly and Sam King
Wednesday, June 29, 5 p.m. – Ironworks

Thursday, June 30 

Hildegard’s Ghost (with alumni, Roisin Adams, composer/keyboards, and Justin Devries, drums)
Thursday, June 30, noon – Granville Island – Public Market Stage

Common Grounds with Alan Matheson Septet and Pacific Baroque Orchestra (faculty member, Alan Matheson, trumpet/composer)
Thursday, June 30, 7:30 p.m. – Christ Church Cathedral

Friday, July 1

The Art Arntzen Quintet (with alumnus Art Antzen, banjo)
Friday, July 1, noon -Granville Island – Ron Basford Park Stage

Robin Layne Quartet (with alumnus, Robin Layne, percussion and marimba)
Friday, July 1, 12:30 p.m. – Granville Island – Railspur District Stage

Benoit Delbecq with VCC faculty member, Francois Houle (clarinet), Gordon Grdina and alumnus Kenton Loewen (drums)
Friday, July 1, 2:15 p.m. - Granville Island – Performance Works

John Korsrud’s Latin Ensemble (with faculty member, John Korsrud, trumpet)
Friday, July 1, 5 p.m. – Granville Island – Ron Basford Park Stage

Anita Eccleston (with alumnus Andrew Smith, guitar)
Friday, July 1, 5:30 p.m. - Granville Island – Railspur District Stage

Big Fate (with alumni Malcolm Aiken, trumpet and Dominic Conway, tenor sax)
Friday, July 1, 8 p.m. – Granville Island – Railspur District Stage

Saturday, July 2

Mattias Risberg and VCC faculty member, Francois Houle, clarinet
Saturday, July 2, 1:30 p.m. – Roundhouse – Performance Centre

Star Captains (with music student, Jim Black, guitar)
Saturday, July 2, 1:45 p.m. – Roundhouse David Lam Park Stage

Jennifer Scott Quartet featuring Dave Sikula (with alumna and former faculty member, Jennifer Scott, vocals/piano
Saturday, July 2, 2:30 p.m. – Performace Works

Ron Samworths’ Dogs Do Dream (with alumni JP Carter, trumpet and Tyson Naylor, keyboard/accordion)
Saturday, July 2, 3:15 p.m. – Roundhouse – Performance Centre
$10 (tickets at the door only)

Crane Wreck (with faculty member, Francois Houle, clarinet)
Saturday, July 2, 5:30 & 6:40 p.m. – Roundhouse – Exhibition Hall

Gordon Grdina’s Haram (with alumni JP Carter, trumpet, Kenton Loewen, drums, and facult members Jesse Zubot, violin, and Francois Houle, clarinet)
Saturday, July 2, 9 p.m. – Performance Works

Sunday, July 3

Sarah Kennedy Quintet (with alumna, Sarah Kennedy, vocals)
Sunday, July 3, noon – Granville Island – Public Stage

Camaro 67 (with alumni Jimmy Baldwin, Brendan Krieg, Tim Sars, and alumnus and faculty member, Georges Couling)
Sunday, July 3, 1:45 p.m. – Roundhouse - David Lam Park Stage

Bernie Arai’s Goat Logic (with faculty member, Bernie Arai, drums/composer)
Sunday, July 3, 5:30 & 6:40 p.m. – Roundhouse – Exhibition Hall

Jaclyn Guillou (with faculty members Jillian Lebeck, piano and Bernie Arai, drums)
Sunday, July 3, 8 p.m. – Frankie’s Jazz Club

Delhi 2 Dublin (with alumnus, Jaren Freeman-Fox)
Sunday, July 3, 8:45 p.m. – Roundhouse - David Lam Park Stage

Mary Halvorson / alumnus JP Carter/ Tommy Babin/ Skye Brooks
Sunday, July 3, midnight – Innovation Series – Ironworks Late Night


To learn more about VCC's music programs, please attend one of our info sessions

Stay connected with VCC's alumni newsletter! Hear about exciting news about VCC alumni, contests and new partnerships. 




VCC announces national scholarship winner

Jewellery art & design student wins coveted scholarship for jewellery making

VCC is pleased to announce that second year jewellery art & design student, Fiona Maclean has been awarded the 2014 Vaccaro Family Scholarship. The $3,000 scholarship is the premier scholarship prize for jewellery design students across Canada; one that many students use to kick-start their career. 


(Left to right): CJEXPOS owner Phil Payne, Fiona Maclean, and Giovanni Vaccaro, owner of Beverly Hills Jewellers at the gala ball on Nov. 22; the award winning sterling silver and 18-karat rose gold bridal hairpiece. (Photos courtesy of Beverly Hills Jewellers)

The stunning bridal headpiece that was designed as homage to 1920’s lace patterns was submitted to the competition when Maclean was still a first-year student at VCC.  Maclean found out that not only had she won the prestigious scholarship, but would also be sent to Toronto, expenses paid, to attend the gala dinner. An event that Maclean says was quite overwhelming.

“The guest list was a who’s who of the jewellery industry and media. I was introduced to jewelers, manufacturers and faculty from other schools. Everyone was encouraging and gracious.”

Maclean will use the scholarship money to pay for the gemmology certification program at VCC, which she attends in the evenings while in her second year of the jewellery art & design diploma program. Maclean says she chose to study her passion at VCC because of the program’s strong reputation in the industry. The quality of instruction she has received was an added bonus.

When asked if she had any words of advice for those wanting to explore education in jewellery art & design, Maclean says, “work hard, get obsessed and use your imagination”. This certainly worked for her.





An awarding experience

Recognizing student excellence at the 2015 Spring Student Awards



‌Twice a year, Vancouver Community College (VCC) holds Student Awards Ceremonies recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of talented and deserving students enrolled in the vast range of programs offered at VCC.


On Wednesday, May 27, the spring awards ceremony took place at VCC’s Broadway campus where a total of 209 awards were given out. VCC’s scholarships and awards are established to recognize academic excellence and to acknowledge students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom or in their community. Many award recipients have overcome significant obstacles and financial barriers to pursue their studies. These awards help encourage and support students in their journey to academic and career success.


Award recipients often explain that their education has been life changing and winning an award provides the affirmation they need to continue their chosen path with confidence. This year’s Read Jones Christofferson Award recipient, Fevie Sheena Camar completed her bachelor of nursing in the Philippines, before moving to Vancouver with her family, where she chose to pursue an education in drafting. She received her award last week from VCC alumnus and previous Read Jones Christofferson’s recipient, John Blok, who now works at the firm and was excited to return to VCC to recognize Fevie.


All of these awards are made possible through the generosity of individuals, corporations, associations and foundations that share VCC’s commitment to offering exceptional educational and training opportunities. Two new awards were presented this year; Éminence Organic Skincare, for a student enrolled in the VCC skin and body therapy program, exemplifying “the desire to deliver happiness and extraordinary service through promoting only the healthiest and most effective skin care products” and Edgemont Village Jeweller, for an “outstanding jewellery art and design student with creative ingenuity, technical excellence and strong presentation skills.”


‌“Philanthropy is often a circle. It’s simple. Someone who is touched by a gift goes on to give. And, we have many wonderful examples in this room.” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, VCC president and CEO.  


With many donor representatives in attendance, the awards ceremonies provide a special opportunity for donors to directly connect with the recipients of their awards and the chance for students—and VCC—to thank their donors in person.


For more information on VCC’s financial awards including bursaries, scholarships and financial aid, visit our Financial Aid and Awards page including our Online Awards Guide. To make a donation, email give@vcc.ca or visit our online Gift Catalogue at www.vcc.ca/catalogueofgifts


Visit the VCC Flickr site to view photos from the Spring Student Awards.



Vancouver Mini Maker Faire 2015

Fashion Arts had a lot of fun hosting a design booth for inspired makers

 Fashion Arts at Vancouver Maker Faire 2015

Students and faculty from VCC Fashion Arts had a lot of fun hosting a design booth at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 6 and 7 at the PNE Forum. They were busy all weekend with mostly women and girls (as little as 2 years old) lining up to create and construct their own outfit on mini dress forms using draping and pattern-making techniques.

One memorable visitor was a six-year-old girl who spent an hour and a half creating a couple of very impressive outfits. Others were excited to practice block printing techniques on a dress that could fit a doll when brought home.

The VCC team also chatted with many people interested in non-credit offerings and others who wanted to learn more about the technology behind the fashion, such as rendering fabrics for video games.

This was the first time VCC has been a part of the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. With all the positive feedback received from participants, it was deemed a great success and we look forward to returning next year!





Five reasons to bring your creative flair to VCC fashion arts

Turn your passion for fashion into a dynamic career


Do you obsess over your outfits? Spend your evenings on fashion blogs and your weekends at the sewing machine? VCC's fashion arts programs are designed for both those passionate about entering the industry and professionals looking to upgrade their skills. Here are five reasons why you'll love fashion arts at VCC.

1. Learn from the best
You'll train with talented instructors who are exceptionally experienced and well known in the industry.

2. Location, location, location
Enjoy a spectacular view from the MAC Lab in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

3. Design what you love
Collections range from bridal and kids to costumes and ready-to-wear, and student designs hit the runway each year at our graduation show, Fiat Mode. Check out the class of 2014's designs. This year's students will also be showing at Vancouver Fashion Week.

4. Join the fashion family 
VCC's fashion arts students not only work together, they celebrate! Through everything from holiday parties to project runway-style competitions, you'll form rewarding relationships to last a lifetime.

5. Get real opportunities
Take advantage of unique access to design competitions, fashion practicums and job postings. “The instructors were all very supportive of helping find jobs after graduation. I highly recommend this program,” says Kristi Carignan, a fashion merchandising grad.


We make headlines too! Check out these recent stories by local media:

VCC fashion arts grads go on to design for Aritizia, Arcteryx, Lululemon (Vancouver Is Awesome)
Hemlines: Hats on at Vancouver Communty College (Vancouver Sun)
Be on the cutting edge of fashion technology (Metro News)

Applications to the September 2015 intake for VCC's fashion arts diploma and fashion merchandising programs are being accepted until July 27, 2015. To learn more and meet our instructors, RSVP now for an upcoming info session



VCC fashion student Annie Kuan's collection 'Metamorphose of Paradox'

Olio by Marilyn interviews Annie about her collection at Vancouver Fashion Week

Fashion fiat mode 2016 AnnieFiat Mode XXVIII was held in a new venue this year. Vancouver Community College (VCC) offered their annual fashion showcase on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW). This year there were 24 graduates featured, each showcasing five looks - 120 looks in all.

What an amazing opportunity for this strong class of design students to be a part of an established fashion week - and how daunting. Their collections would be evaluated by more than just a supportive group of family and friends. The audience also held a wide range of media and industry professionals there so see a wide variety of shows. I am sure there were a few nerves backstage.

With a group this large, it's impossible for me to feature every student. I have written a show overview for Metro Living Zine offering the collections of ten students selected by looking at both their runway garments and the fashion illustrations in their portfolios. From those ten I have chosen three to offer individual spotlights here.

Today's interview is with Annie Kuan. There was a depth in this collection that made me want to see more. For grad collections the students usually design a full 20 looks and then at VCC, they complete five to show in the grad showcase. I have a feeling it would be very interesting to see all the other looks in between the five we saw on the runway. There were two soft, white ethereal looks followed by two harder edged black looks and then a very edgy floating number in soft watercolour hues for the final look. Interesting!

Read the full interview at Olio by Marilyn.


VCC's fashion arts programs develop in-demand technical skills while fostering individual creativity. Sign up for an info session today!

Q&A with Earls Sous Chef Matt Blandy

Sous Chef, Dinner at Earls Robson shares his path to becoming a professional chef


The team at Earls Robson is so impressed with their Sous Chef and VCC alumnus Matt Blandy, they did a special online Q&A to learn more about his path to becoming a professional chef and making his mark at the beloved Vancouver restaurant chain.

What do you love about being a chef?

Food. I love eating food and most of all I love creating food for other people. The greatest satisfaction in this job is seeing another person enjoy a meal you have prepared.

Why did you decide to complete your Red Seal certification?

My knowledge of the Culinary Arts was limited before joining Earls, which is where I have learnt most of what I now know. When the opportunity arose to challenge the Red Seal I grabbed it with both hands. I love learning something new especially when it is about food. The teachers at Vancouver Community College (VCC) did an excellent job of extending my knowledge of Traditional French Cuisine as well as more modern styles of cooking.

The truth is I thought once I had my Red Seal I would be a professional chef and that I would feel like "I had made it". Once I did qualify I realized I am a professional chef but there is so much more to learn and this is only the beginning - there is an exciting future ahead.

How do you balance the requirements for the program along with your full-time job at Earls?

This was a challenging time for me as I love to stay physically fit with running or playing sports but once my program started I realized that this had to come first and I put other activities to one side. At the time there were activities/social events I missed out on, but I knew that giving 100 per cent to studying would make it worth it in the end and it was.

What are your goals for your career in the next year? In the next three years?

Not long after receiving my Red Seal, I felt like I wanted to continue learning. I missed it as I had an awesome time in our group and with the chef. I signed up for an online cooking course which was more specific to a certain type of cooking to broaden my knowledge even more.

My goal is and always will be to continue to learn, develop and grow. Within the year, I would love to work alongside the Culinary Development Team at the Test Kitchen. I have met them before and helped them a few times, but I want to learn from them more and who knows, they may learn something from me too. Within three years I will be part of the Culinary Development Team, developing new menu items with a Matt Blandy influence!

What is challenging about completing your Red Seal certification?

The actual practical exam is a challenge, but if you have practiced and stay calm during the exam you will be able to handle it. The written exam required a lot of studying outside of the college, this was the most challenging part.

What advice would you give another chef that is thinking about completing their Red Seal?

As soon as you start the course, start studying for your written exam, a few hours a week over the course of the program will really help you when you come to take the exam. There is so much information that you need the time to absorb what you are learning.

The only other piece of advice I would give is to enjoy yourself, take what you learn and share it with your team in your restaurant, remember you will be studying alongside some of the best up-and-coming chefs in the company and you are the future of Earls.


Great advice Matt! Earls believes in developing chefs. This is why Earls will pay for chefs to complete their Red Seal certification. This includes tuition, books and knives for coursework. Learn more at earlswantsyou.com.

Re-published with permission.


Lessons from Apartheid: Q&A with counselling instructor Joanne Schwartz

Personal insights on justice, self-care, and making a difference

‌‌Joanne Schwartz - Instructor - Counselling Skills.Meet Joanne Schwartz, Instructor, Counselling Skills.

1. What do you teach?
I teach Basic Counselling Skills and Personal Professional Development. I have also taught Counselling Skills: A Youth Perspective. 

2. How long have you been teaching at VCC?
I have been teaching since February 2012.

3. What do you love about teaching?
I love the students! Teaching adults with diverse backgrounds and experiences makes for wonderful discussions and debates. I learn a great deal from my students and feel sad to say goodbye at the end of the term.

4. What is your current career?
I have a private counselling practice where I focus primarily on online video counselling and groups. I work with people from all walks of life who are looking to work through challenges and learn to cope better in their lives. I also work part-time as a social worker at St. Paul's hospital.

5. Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?
I was born in South Africa during the Apartheid era. From a young age, I recognized the injustice and pain that racism and hate can cause; the experience taught me to value social justice and want to make a difference in the world. I became a Social Worker to help people who were less-fortunate, and eventually I wound up working in strictly a counselling role. About ten years ago, my family started a fund-raising organization to support women with HIV in South Africa, and that experience sparked my interest in working in Vancouver to support people with HIV and addiction. I discovered that I was passionate about counselling and helping people make changes in their life. My enjoyment of that work led me to want to teach and inspire others to work in this field.

6. What is your best piece advice for someone starting out in this industry?
To be a good counsellor, you must strive to take good care of yourself. I find that when people do not have good self-care strategies, they can get compassion fatigue or become overwhelmed by all of the sadness they witness. No matter how busy I am, I try to remember to care for my own mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

7. What is the biggest lesson you have learned through counselling people?
I have learned that people have the capacity to change despite all kinds of adversity. I have seen people overcome terrible addictions and trauma and ultimately become counsellors themselves. It is very inspiring.

8. How do you personally define success?
I define success by feeling as if I am making a difference in the world. If I can even help just one person each day, it is a success. Sometimes just being present for a client and hearing their story can give them the strength they need to move forward, which is what counselling is all about.


 Want to make a difference? VCC offers certificates in Addiction Counselling Skills, Community Counselling Skills, as well as professional development courses.


50 Years. 50 Chefs.

VCC Night at the Nat is back on June 25, 2016! Test your "college knowledge" in our weekly ticket giveaway

Gala Sponsors


                                  The VCC Foundation is thrilled to announce our generous sponsors for 50 Years. 50 Chefs. Stay tuned. More to come!




A special thanks to our supporters

50 Years. 50 Chefs. would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors including:

50 Years. 50 Chefs. raised over $150,000 for Vancouver Community College Foundation which funds scholarships, bursaries and training aids for VCC students.

And finally, a toast to the chefs who are testament to VCC’s culinary programs and helped make VCC’s official 50th anniversary celebration such a memorable event.

Here’s to the next 50 years!

Full photo gallery:



Tune in for a taste of 50 Years. 50 Chefs.

With our 50 Years. 50 Chefs. gala fast approaching, interest is growing among media and foodies alike

With our 50 Years. 50 Chefs. gala fast approaching on November 17, interest is growing among media and foodies alike.
A number of gala chefs and VCC alumni were recently guests on Tony & Kasey’s Best of Food and Wine Show on CISL 650 AM talking about their participation in the "Culinary Event of the Year" and reminiscing about their culinary arts training at VCC.
Listen for a preview of what the night will bring.

Free SketchUP seminar for high schoolers

VCC invites high school students interested in drafting to a free one-day seminar Oct. 23

Let's build with SketchUP!

VCC invites high school students who are interested in a career in drafting to this one day, free seminar. Students will be introduced to SketchUp, a popular 3D modeling software currently used in the architectural and engineering industry. Enjoy your experience by sitting in one of VCC’s modern labs, while you use your very own double monitor workstation. Learn how easy it is to create 3D models and apply textures for realistic appearances then print off your creations to show what you have done. The exciting world of 3D, it’s a real creation!

This free event is open to high school students on Friday, October 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

RSVP to confirm attendance. 


Check our Info Session/Tours for the latest schedules.

Media advisory: Music 40th celebration

Join VCC as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of VCC's award-winning music program.

Media Advisory


For immediate release

Remembering a strong past. Celebrating a bright future.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Saturday, Feb. 28 Vancouver Community College (VCC) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of VCC’s award-winning music program. Hosted by CBC Radio One’s Rick Cluff, the exciting evening will include performances by legendary VCC music faculty, the Madrigal Singers, Bad Sneakers, and more!

“For more than forty years, VCC has been the music school of choice for a great many musicians.  All over the world and in a myriad of musical styles, graduates of our program have used the skills they learned at VCC to become artists and mentors in their own communities.  This is the continuing legacy of VCC music.” says Ken Morrison, department head, VCC music.


The event is open to the public. Tickets are available at vccmusic40.bpt.me

Date: Saturday, Feb. 28
Time: 7 p.m.
Tickets: $40
Vancouver Community College, Auditorium, room 2010, 1155 E. Broadway

More info: vcc.ca/music40

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For photo and interview opportunities, media can contact:
Kristy L. Neville
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7133 or 778.772.1823
E: kneville@vcc.ca

New December ESL update - Revised

Over 600 students and 32 instructors to stay in renewed ESL programming

ESL Update StudentsRegistration to open soon for winter semester ESL courses

Vancouver Community College’s board of governors met in a Monday morning conference call to approve the new English as a Second Language (ESL) programming.

"The board members indicated the ESL programming is very important to the future of VCC and should be continued," said VCC President Peter Nunoda. "The fact that we’ve been able to put together ESL programming in such a compressed period of time is a testament to our team’s dedication and hard work."

Tuition is set at $1,600 per term or $4,800 per year per full-time student. Some other facts about the new ESL programming:

  • VCC will teach up to 671 full-time students annually under these available offerings (full-time and part-time options are available).
  • Students will receive instructional time of 20 hours per week (per 1 instructor) in a class size of 31 students (maximum).
  • Out of 70 faculty layoffs, 6 took voluntary departure incentives; and of the remaining 64 laid off, we’ll now be able to retain 32 instructors (more than previously assessed).
  • We will offer 19 full-time classes of the ESL Pathways program, with a total of 38 course options.
  • In addition, we will offer three classes of College Preparatory English (CPE).

Students will be able to register for winter ESL courses within the next few days, as soon as VCC Registrar’s Office can complete the registration system.

December 9, 2014

Over 600 students and 23 instructors to stay in renewed ESL programming

Vancouver, B.C. – Under the new tuition-based program allowed by the government, Vancouver Community College (VCC) will be able to offer the new Pathways ESL program as well as College Preparatory English (CPE) as part of its English as a Second Language (ESL) programming.

“We are committed to keeping as many ESL offerings as possible,” said VCC President, Peter Nunoda. “At the same time we need to fund them sustainably. Since the government announcement last week, we’ve been working overtime to ensure we have solid ESL programming starting next January.”

The new ESL programming will include the following (subject to board of governors’ approval):

  • VCC will charge tuition fees for all ESL courses beginning January 2015;
  • tuition fees will be determined by December 15, 2014;
  • 23 faculty positions will be retained;
  • four support staff will be recalled;
  • over 600 students will be able to enrol in two Pathways Certificates and CPE 099

To help offset the cost of tuition and other associated costs, students will be able to apply for Adult Upgrading grants.

As of January 2015, VCC’s ESL offerings will include:

VCC will be reaching out directly to eligible students to invite them to enrol in ESL courses.


Media contact:
Victoria (Tori) Klassen
Director, Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College
T: 778.873.1513 
E: vklassen@vcc.ca  

Scheduled website maintenance

VCC will be undergoing scheduled server maintenance Saturday, Feb. 18 and Sunday, Feb. 19

VCC will be undergoing scheduled server maintenance from 12 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, Feb. 18 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19. As a result, users may experience limited functionality across vcc.ca.

Access to course registrations, applications, info session registrations, myVCC, the VCC Library website, Moodle, and the VCC Bookstore will be limited during this time.

We apologize for any inconvenience and encourage you to follow us on Twitter (@myVCC) for updates. If you require immediate assistance or additional information, please contact the VCC Helpdesk at 604.871.7000 ext. 8700.


City and provincial proclamations recognize VCC’s 50 years of service

A special unveiling at Broadway Welcome Day launches VCC's 50th anniversary school year

News-VCC-Day-proclamation-380Vancouver Community College’s Broadway campus was buzzing on Thursday as new students enjoyed carnival-themed booths offering games, candy and helpful information during the annual Welcome Day event. While traditionally a day to introduce new students to the campus community, this year’s affair took on a doubly special meaning as proclamations were announced naming September 17, 2015 "Vancouver Community College Day" in both the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia.

Proclamations are ceremonial documents issued by government that designate a special day to publicly recognize the significance of an event or organization. VCC is honoured that both the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia have recognized its 50th anniversary and longstanding service to the community.

Conducting the proclamation ceremony, which included the unveiling of an official plaque, were VCC president Peter Nunoda, VCC Board of Governors chair and VCC alumnus Jim Storie and Elder-in-Residence Deana George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

“For 50 years, VCC has given students the training they need to meet the needs of the city. Our grads built this city,” said Peter Nunoda in his speech. “To those who have gone before us, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude, and in celebrating this auspicious occasion, we reaffirm our sense of purpose and commitment to working together to build on our history to build an even brighter future.”

President Nunoda then gave a full reading of the Province of British Columbia’s proclamation, which was followed by a reading of the City of Vancouver’s proclamation by Jim Storie and a traditional Indigenous blessing and prayer by Elder Dee.

The event concluded, as per tradition at VCC, with the cutting and serving of a large, beautifully decorated cake courtesy of VCC’s Baking and Pastry arts program.

In recognition of Vancouver Community College Day and VCC’s 50th anniversary, BC Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson also published a congratulatory statement.


Missed the ceremony? View PDFs of:

Food networking

Breakfast Television host teams up with VCC to get skilled in baking and culinary arts.

This is what you call breakfast television, VCC-style.

On Thursday, Sept. 5, Vancouver Community College’s hands-on training programs were featured on City TV’s Breakfast Television for Back to School Week.

Dozens of students and faculty pitched in to help host Thor Diakow get skilled in baking and culinary arts, while showing off their own talents and offering tips to viewers.

City TV host learns to bake at VCC.

Mouth-watering recipes featured on the program included chocolate covered strawberries, mango mousse cake, traditional omelette and bacon breakfast, and open-faced pizza sandwiches with tons of fresh toppings.

Diakow said, “That’s what I love about VCC and the culinary program, is that everything is all handcrafted, fresh and ready-to-go.”

Students in VCC’s hospitality programs programs get real world training. Their classrooms are our Downtown campus cafeterias, restaurants and bakery, all open to the public.

Media release: Brightening smiles for 10 years

VCC’s Certified Dental Assistant students offer a day of fun and oral health education

VCC’s Tooth Trolley delivers free dental exams and smiles to kids

VANCOUVER, B.C.— The Vancouver Community College (VCC) Tooth Trolley is marking a decade of bringing free dental care and education to Metro Vancouver children. The annual program makes seeing the dentist fun for kids; often their first experience at the dentist, by picking them up in colourful, old-fashioned trolley buses to bring them to VCC’s Downtown campus dental clinic. As well as assessments and basic services, the families receive instruction in self oral care and a goody bag of dental products and wholesome snacks from the Tooth Fairy.

50,000 teeth checked

"This project provides a fun and exciting environment for children to receive dental care,' says Margaret Dennett, who co-founded the Tooth Trolley project with fellow VCC certified dental assistant (CDA) instructor Sherry Messenger. “From the feedback we have received over the ten years we know that the Tooth Trolley project is a very rewarding opportunity for students, patients and faculty. Although sometimes initially hesitant to sit in the big dental chair, the kids leave with shiny smiles and laughter.”

This year, the program runs from May 24 to the 27 at VCC’s Downtown campus, home of the college’s CDA, dental reception coordinator and dental hygiene programs.

Over the ten-year program:

  • About 2,500 children whose families do not carry dental insurance  have had a visit to the dentist on the Tooth Trolley.
  • Approximately 50,000 teeth have received free coronal polishing, fluoride and sealant application from students of VCC’s dental program.
  • Students and dentists have donated a total of about $180,000 worth of services.
  • 3,000+ toothbrushes have been given to children and parents.



Community project

Chevron has been the lead sponsor of the Tooth Trolley every year since the program began and is again, generously providing $30,000 to the event. Chevron spokesperson Adrien Byrne says, “For ten years, Chevron has been privileged to support the dental health education of more than 2,500 Burnaby and Vancouver school children.  This has been possible through a long-term relationship with the VCC’s dental programs and the amazing success of the Chevron Tooth Trolley initiative.”

The Tooth Trolley now gathers students from eight schools, up from one when the project began in 2006. Transportation has provided by the Vancouver Trolley Company since the program’s inception and Colgate and Sunstar provide dental care products for the kids to take home.

Providing essential dental care

Tooth Trolley patients are frequently found to be harbouring dental decay and other problems that, if left unchecked, can cause pain and further oral deterioration. Dental statistics have long shown that low-income families, Aboriginal communities and immigrants are least likely to be insured or engage in preventative dental care. For children especially, untreated dental diseases are also know to result in other issues such as lost sleep, poor growth, self-esteem issues and learning problems.

Inspiring students for half a century

VCC operates the largest and, at 46 years the longest-running training program for dental health professionals in BC, with more than 150 students graduating every year.

VCC celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and music.

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For more information, please contact:

Vicky Noble
Vancouver Community College


VCC's hidden gems: Q&A with Justice Barclay

One busy and talented student shares what it's like to study both jewellery and gemmology at VCC

News-gemmolgoy-Justice-292How did you end up studying jewellery and gemmology at VCC?

I was very interested in making and selling my own jewellery, so I enrolled in VCC’s Jewllery Art and Design program. From there, I decided to take gemmology in tandem. There’s a huge difference between natural and synthetic gemstones, and these things really important for a responsible jewellery maker and business owner to know.

How would you describe your experience at VCC?

It’s been positive for sure. I’ve learned so much and I’ve gained a lot of confidence in my ability to identify gemstones and what treatments have been done to them.

What is your schedule like?

Taking both the jewellery and gemmology programs at the same time is a lot, but it’s worth it. Jewellery courses run during the day, and our second-year gemmology courses run twice a week in the evenings. We usually also come in early or stay after class to work a little more. 

What are your career goals?

I would definitely like to be a jewellery designer and work for myself eventually, but most of the time I enjoy gemmology even more! Coming in, I didn’t even know gemmology was a field to work in. I’m planning on taking VCC’s MasterValuer appraisal program next. I would love to get into appraisal or even work in a lab. A lot of people in the jewellery trade are aging, so there are actually lots of jobs opening up for younger people.

How would you describe your own jewellery designs?

They’re very nature-inspired. I draw a lot of inspiration from plants and animals. I grew up in in Northern Ontario—in the bush. It was half an hour to the closest town, so I see a lot of beauty in rural life.

What motivates you?

I just want to be able to work in a field that I’m actually interested in. In gemmology, you can keep learning your whole life. It’s changing all the time with new treatments or even new mines that are found. And in jewellery, there are so many techniques, it could take a lifetime to even get really good at any of them, let alone be a master. 


Want to discover VCC's hidden gems? Visit our jewellery design studios and gemmology labs at an upcoming information session.

2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards winners

VCC presents the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards winners.

News-OAA-2014-380x293Vancouver Community College (VCC) has named its latest round of winners for its prestigious 2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

The honorees are the latest in a long line of VCC alumni who have made significant contributions to their industries and communities. Representing five distinct categories, each winner has distinguished themselves with unique stories of success and dedication.

The winners will be honored at an invitation-only reception on June 10 in the Aboriginal Gathering Space on VCC’s Broadway campus. This year’s award winners include:

Honorary Alumnus: Gottfried (Guff) Muench – Industry leader and VCC supporter who gives back through volunteerism and philanthropy.

Changemaker: Paul Cecconi – Cecconi graduated from VCC in 1995 with a Culinary Arts certificate and is a farm-to-table chef and owner of BRODO Kitchen in Penticton, B.C.

Community Contribution: Brenda Stewart – Stewart received a diploma in 2012 from VCC’s Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) program. She’s a dedicated ESL tutor, book club leader and volunteer extraordinaire.

Career Success: Mark Andrew – A 2006 graduate from our Hospitality Management degree program, Mark is a well-respected and seasoned hotelier with a distinguished career that has spanned Canada and the US, and currently holds the position of Regional Vice-President and General Manager of the Fairmont Washington, DC.

One to Watch: Daniel Ruiz – Since earning his bachelor in applied music in 2012, Ruiz has become an accomplished professional musician, jamming as the drummer for well-known Vancouver band BESTiE.

The Outstanding Alumni Awards were established to recognize the outstanding achievements of our graduates and non-alumni who have made a significant contribution to VCC and/or the local community. For more information on the winners and awards, please visit VCC’s Outstanding Alumni Awards page.

The CS fall 2016 flyer is out!

Check out the new offerings from VCC Continuing Studies

‌‌VCC Continuing Studies is pleased to announce the following new offerings for Fall 2016 and beyond:CS fall 2016 flyer cover image

• En Español, Por Favor
Fashion Design & Production Diploma
French for Seniors
French through Theatre
Hairstyling for Makeup Artists 1
Introduction to Practice for Non-Registered Healthcare Workers
Make a Copper Bowl in a Day
Make a Ring in a Day
Makeup and Hairstyling for Indian Bridal
Positive Guidance Strategies Workshop
Raising Bilingual Children Workshop
Renal Dialysis Technician Citation
Samsung Appliance Repair Technician
Separation Anxiety in Young Children Workshop
Supervised Jewellery Workshop


If you’re ready to upgrade your skills, change careers or prepare for a promotion, you’ve come to the right place. VCC Continuing Studies offers more than 40 certificate and diploma programs, scheduled during the day or in the evenings for maximum flexibility.

Bianca’s story: from desk job to automotive calling

How one automotive collision repair apprentice changed lanes and never looked back

News-Bianca-Then-Mobile-292Ever since high school, Bianca Then had always worked in an office. She started as a receptionist, and by the time she was 22, she was already a financial advisor—but something just didn’t feel right.

“I realized that throughout every office job I’d had, the mentality was the same,” she says. “It’s just all drama. And that’s just not what I’m into!”

Then one day, after a particularly bad episode of office politics, Bianca decided it was time for a new career. She first looked at university programs. Psychology interested her; so did programs in Human Resources, but even these left her knowing she’d eventually be back in an office.

Bianca had always enjoyed doing things with her hands, so she decided to try helping out at her uncle’s auto body repair shop, “just to see where it would go.” It wasn’t long before she realized auto collision repair was a perfect fit. “I just fell in love with it,” she says.

Welcome to the workshop

Even after realizing what she loved to do, for Bianca, it was still a daunting step to not only return to school, but to enter a highly physical and male-dominated trades program. “I was really nervous,” she admits, “just thinking: what are they going to say, what are they going to think? Are they going to take me seriously or just worry that I might hurt myself?”

Today, after 8 months in VCC’s Automotive Collision Repair Technician program (as the only woman in her class) and having just started an apprenticeship sponsored by Craftsman Collision, Bianca is more excited than ever in her new career.

Bianca credits her instructors with creating an atmosphere unlike any she’d ever experienced before—one of friendship, respect and an incredible amount of learning. “They want you to succeed so they’ll do whatever they can to help you get there,” she says.

Now more than ever, Bianca also appreciates the importance of her new field of work. After spending an entire month on safety training, she says the pressure to do the job right becomes quite intense. “We’re not only working with tools that can kill us, we have to do everything correctly because we’re putting someone in that car,” she says. “That’s someone’s life.”

The road ahead

While it’s possible to complete all three levels in succession, VCC instructors encourage students to spend a year in the workplace after each level building practical experience and gathering a large portion of the full 6,750 apprenticeship hours needed to obtain Red Seal certification.

In total, Bianca expects to spend nearly four years as an Automotive Collision Repair apprentice, but is looking forward to every moment. She compares it to a four-year bachelor’s degree. “The difference is I’m getting paid to do this,” she says, smiling. “I won’t be in debt. And I’m never working in an office job ever again!”


VCC’s Automotive Collision Repair Technician program offers training in a wide range of skills appropriate to today's advanced automobile collision repair industry. Students who complete the foundation coursework can receive up to a year’s worth of apprenticeship credit and could be eligible for government grants. Learn more at an upcoming info session.

See all programs with space available

It's not too late to apply for great programs starting soon!

Do you want to start your career now? It's not too late to apply for these great programs with varying start dates. Attend an info session, speak to a program advisor about admission requirements, or apply online now. (Updated December 1, 2016)

Choose your new career: 

Adult Upgrading Applied Business and Office Administration
Adult Upgrading
Administrative Office Assistant - January 2017
Business Leadership and Management Certificate
Building Manager Certificate

Building Service Worker

Executive Assistant - January 2017

Legal Administrative Assistant - Feburary 2017

Management Skills for Supervisors Certificate

Medical Office Assistant - September 2017

Medical Transcriptionist - September 2017

Small Business

Sport and Recreation Management Certificate

Wedding and Event Management Certificate
Design English as an Additional Language
Drafting - Architectural
Drafting - Civil/Structural
Drafting - Steel/Detailing
Fashion Merchandising Associate Certificate

Gemmology - Certifications 
Hair Design - January, March, May & September 2017
Interior Design - Certificate
Jewellery Art & Design

Makeup Artistry Certificate
Skin & Body Therapy - January, May and September 2017

ESL Pathways Certificate

English for Academic Purposes and University Transfer

Baking and Pastry Arts - ESL

Culinary Arts - ESL

CELBAN Test Preparation


 Health Sciences  Hospitality
Dental Reception Coordinator - January 2017
Dental Technology

Apprenticeship Programs
Asian Culinary Arts - February 2017
Baking and Pastry - ESL
Culinary Arts (Professional Cook 1)
Culinary Arts (Professional Cook 2)
Hospitality Management - Diploma - January 2017
Hospitality Management - Degree - September 2017
Hospitality Management - Executive Cohort - September 2017
Human Services Music

Addiction Counselling Skills - Certificate

Community Counselling Skills - Certificate

Early Childhood Care and Education - Certificate
Music - Diploma
Sign Language Studies Technology

ASL and Deaf Studies (introductory courses)

Networking Technology Certificate
Samsung Tech Institute - Appliance Repair Technician - Professional Pathways

Transportation Trades University Transfer

Apprenticeship Programs

Automotive Collision Repair

Auto Refinishing Prep



First-year Courses

Arts Certificate

Computing Science and Software Systems Certificate

First-year University Transfer Engineering Certificate - SFU transfer

First-year University Transfer Engineering Certificate - UBC transfter

Pathway to Health Sciences Certificate

Science Certificate

Fashion Arts Design Challenge

New contest awards instant acceptance to VCC's popular Fashion Arts diploma program

News-DesignChallenge-380VCC Fashion Arts is looking for talented students to join their two-year diploma program. If you love to sew and have a talent for design, it could be you!

Graduating high school students: you could win acceptance to VCC’s Fashion Arts diploma program by submitting a garment you are currently working on along with a 300-word essay explaining why you want to launch a career in the fashion industry.

The winning entrant will receive a $500 VCC entrance award* and instantly be granted a seat in VCC’s Fashion Arts program – Vancouver’s most in-demand fashion school accepting only 20 students per year!

Download the application form (PDF)


Application deadline: June 15, 2015

Submit entries to:

Fashion Arts program
Vancouver Community College
250 West Pender St.
Vancouver, BC, V6B 1S9

Winner will be announced June 26, 2015

* Entrance awards are not cash awards, but are credits towards the Fashion Arts diploma tuition fee.


For more information, contact: fashionarts@vcc.ca

Media Release: VCC serves DTES community

2017 is the 19th annual Christmas in January

Monday, January 16 2017 

VCC serves DTES community with Christmas in January

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The holiday season may be over, but on Saturday, Jan. 21, Vancouver Community College (VCC) and The Salvation Army will be giving a gift to their neighbours in the Downtown Eastside – a Christmas lunch with all the fixings.

Over 70 volunteers from VCC and the community will prepare and serve over 60 turkeys, hundreds of pounds of vegetables, along with gallons of coffee. Over 1000 people from the community will able to enjoy a warm, nutritious post-holiday meal at the 19th annual Christmas in January event.

The media is invited to attend:
Date: Saturday, January 21
Time: 11a.m. – 1p.m.
Location: The Salvation Army Harbour Light, 119 East Cordova Street  Vancouver, BC

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VCC has been inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals for over 50 years. We offer post-secondary training in over 120 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and music.

The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light is one of the largest Salvation Army operations in British Columbia and has been serving Vancouver's Downtown Eastside community since 1953. The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light continuum of care model supports individuals in achieving their goals, creating a foundation for recovery, and securing housing.


For interview opportunities, media can contact:

Danielle Libonati
Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531
E: dlibonati@vcc.ca   

Marianne Hicks
Manager of Community Resources
The Salvation Army Harbour Light
T: 604.646.6813
E: mhicks@harbourlightbc.com


Marvin’s story: hitting the road to a new career

He’d been to college and had a good job, but cars were calling

Marvin Omaque has done a lot since high school. Before entering VCC’s automotive service technician (AST) foundation program last year, he had already earned a diploma in criminal justice, climbed the ranks in a local supermarket chain, and fixed cars in an independent garage.

“I don’t regret working anywhere,” he says. “Graduating from high school, sometimes you’re just not sure what you want to do. It’s a big decision to push on young people.”

Over the past few years, however, Marvin had watched many of his close friends earn Red Seal certifications in automotive trades and go on to work at luxury car dealerships.

Sharing his friends’ passion for cars, Marvin began considering the same career path. He asked them about the best places to get training. “They really recommended the VCC program,” he says. “They liked every aspect about it.”

After applying to multiple schools, Marvin made it to the top of VCC’s waitlist in only a few months, and was pleased to start the program sooner than he’d anticipated.

Marvin says VCC was just as his friends had described, and he was especially impressed with the quality and variety of instructors. “They all had their own experiences to share,” he says, “and they give you as much knowledge as they can, without holding back.” 

Now finished the AST foundation program, Marvin is off to earn the required apprenticeship hours before returning to VCC for Level 2 training. Looking ahead, he’s excited to see where this new career takes him, whether it be working on BMWs and Mercedes alongside his friends, or opening a shop of his own. 

“The time just flew by,” he says of the past eight months. “What I really enjoyed learning is that there’s more than one way to solve a problem—and more than one way to get where you want to be.”


Join us at an upcoming information session to tour of VCC's fully operational automotive shops, meet instructors, and see students in action.

Jefferson's story: from curious kid to molecular mastermind

With the skills of a chef and the mind of a scientist, he may just reinvent food as we know it

Jefferson Bueno has always been mesmerized by food.

As a kid growing up in the Philippines, Jefferson remembers watching in amazement as pancake batter puffed up in a hot pan. Determined to find what made it happen, he’d wait until his mother was at work (and his eight siblings were otherwise occupied), and then conduct his own experiments with eggs and flour.

Despite his childhood dream of becoming a chef, there were no opportunities for Jefferson to study culinary arts in his hometown, so he entered a computer science program at a local college. With only three months left until graduation, however, Jefferson and his family moved to Canada.

"It didn't even matter to me," he says, about leaving his computer science program unfinished. "My plan was always to pursue my culinary dreams."

Six months after moving to Vancouver, Jefferson was a culinary student at Vancouver Community College (VCC). He says he chose VCC for the practical, hands-on curriculum, highly accomplished instructors, and affordable tuition.

Jefferson was already excited about learning basic French cuisine at VCC; but then he met Chef Tobias. As one of only two Certified Master Chefs in Canada, VCC instructor Tobias MacDonald often draws on his expertise in food science when teaching. For Jefferson, these lessons instantly connected his love of chemistry with his passion for food.

Today, as a Level 2 culinary arts apprentice, Jefferson has not only excelled in his training at VCC, but has already worked in some of the city’s most high-profile kitchens.

When not in school or at work, he spends his spare time in his home kitchen experimenting with foams, "stones," pearls, spheres, powders, liquid nitrogen, and researching all the latest molecular gastronomy trends. "It's a lot of fun," he says, "but also important to remember your culinary foundations and respect every ingredient you’re dealing with."

Jefferson is currently working on a 12-course signature recipe collection, which he’ll self-publish and plans to use as a culinary calling card for future opportunities; perhaps one day even in his own restaurant. "Not everybody has opportunities like this," he says about moving to Canada and finally realizing his dream of becoming a chef. "You can be whatever you want here. You just have to pursue it."


Do you dream of making your mark as a top Canadian chef? Register now for culinary arts programs at VCC. 

Flourish is our signature, annual fundraising green-tie gala!

Join us on March 9, 2017

Flourish is our signature, annual fundraising green-tie gala! Your ticket purchase helps the Vancouver Community College (VCC) Foundation fund student scholarships and bursaries. VCC has been at the heart of education in this city for 50 years and we look forward to continuing to serve and enrich our community for many decades to come.

The gala will take place on Thursday, March 9 at the VCC Broadway campus. Guests will be treated to a memorable evening showcasing the work of VCC’s highest-achieving students, faculty members and alumni. In addition to tasting creations by Vancouver’s leading culinary minds, guests will experience the best of VCC's fashion arts, auto restoration, live music and more. Join us in helping the next generation of VCC students flourish.

Net proceeds from this fundraiser provide scholarships and training materials for VCC students. Buy your ticket before January 31 and save $50!

Purchase tickets now.

VCC alumna spotlighted in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare

Catherine R. Berg, LPN, joins the prestigious ranks of the International Nurses Association

‌With an upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare, Catherine R. Berg, LPN, joins the prestigious ranks of the International Nurses Association. Catherine R. Berg is a Licensed Practical Nurse with 40 years of experience in her field and an extensive expertise in all facets of nursing, especially psychiatric nursing and patient education on chronic pain. Catherine is currently serving patients within Casual at Mission Memorial Hospital in Mission, British Columbia, Canada.

Catherine graduated with her Nursing Diploma at Vancouver Community College (VCC). She is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, completed 2 years of psychiatric training, and is certified in education for chronic pain. To keep up to date with the latest advances in her field, Catherine maintains a professional membership with British Columbia Nurses Union and the Canadian Nurses Association. She attributes her success to her love of nursing, and passion for patient comfort. When she is not assisting patients, Catherine enjoys music and art.

Learn more about Catherine here and read her upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare.

SOURCE:  International Association of HealthCare Professionals

Aer Café serves up freshly baked goods

VCC grad opens minimalistic, cozy coffee shop in East Vancouver

As originally posted in the Georgia Straight

When Pui Lun Lee was enrolled at Simon Fraser University, he majored in a science subject. Little did he know that he would eventually dabble in Vancouver’s food scene, and open up his own café.

“I studied biology at SFU,” said Lee, co-owner of Aer Café (2263 East Hastings Street), to the Straight. “Afterwards, I just got really into cooking from watching [cooking] shows.”

His interest in making food slowly became a passion, and he decided to apply to the culinary program at Vancouver Community College.

“We needed to take a class with pastries and baking as well, so I thought that was really cool and started pursuing that a little bit more,” said Lee.

After graduating from the program, he landed some gigs at Café Crepe, Terminal City Club, and other eateries. It wasn’t long until he started talking about opening his own coffee shop with his current business partner, Stanley Wan.

Two years of chatter and brainstorming resulted in the opening of Aer Café—a minimalistic but cozy coffee shop along East Hastings street. The area is a foodie hot spot, with neighbours such as Campagnolo Roma, Mr. Red Café, the Red Wagon, and Tacofino Commissary.

But what makes this café different from its neighbouring counterparts is that it’s a quiet and relaxing location for customers to hang out, study, or work.

“I wanted this to be a place where people could relax,” explained Lee.

What better way to do that than with a cup of coffee or tea, and some house made pastries? This 16-seat café serves Moja coffee, Moja pour-overs, and tea from Cultivate Tea. Its food menu offers everything from seasonal soups to gourmet sandwiches (think grilled cheese with caramelized onion, and pork with cilantro mayo).

Guests will also find a variety of daily baked goods, including chocolate chip cookies, carrot cakes, matcha cheesecakes, and croissants. Its house made sourdough bread has been popular with customers, and Lee has recently started making fresh baguettes.

This new joint emits plenty of mouth-watering aromas (coffee, fresh bread, cookies), so don’t be alarmed if you suddenly crave pastries the next time you drive (or walk) down East Hastings.

Leigh Wall: finding big opportunities in heavy duty mechanics

She did her research and tried something totally new. Read about how it paid off

News-LeighWall-380When Leigh Wall was laid off from her job as a legal assistant, she knew she wanted to make a change.

“I wanted to be on my feet, moving round,” Wall says. “I wanted to be active.”

Wall did extensive research about what jobs B.C. employers are looking to fill. “I’ve been in industries where it was difficult to find work.” Wall wanted a job that was in-demand, one where employers “would be knocking on my door” wanting to hire her.

The answer became clear—trades training was the way to go. After looking at what the various trades could offer, Wall decided that heavy duty mechanics would be her vehicle to success.

Wall had no experience working with her hands beyond putting together her own shelves but she saw Vancouver Community College’s introductory course to Heavy Duty/Commercial Transport as a perfect opportunity.

“I knew I would leave with skills I could use,” Wall says. “I would finish the introduction to heavy duty mechanic class and in the very least I could fix my car.”

Since making her decision to re-train in the trades, Wall has completed the program and is now in her second apprenticeship year while working with a company, First Truck Centre Vancouver.

Wall says her employer and co-workers are very supportive, share their extensive experience, and lend a hand at every opportunity.

“A salesman at work who used to be a mechanic asked me if I needed any tools to round out my toolbox,” says Wall. “He brought in a large bucket of tools, including air tools, and just gave them to me.”

Wall has also found a mentor in a female heavy duty mechanic she met at a Skills Canada competition. Wall, defers to her mentor’s extensive experience, simply saying, “She’s a boss.”

Keep reading to learn Leigh’s advice for women in trades at www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca.

Good memories: did you know Leigh won the Cummins Scholarship as a student in 2014? Watch her Student Award video!


VCC’s well-respected Heavy Duty Transportation Trades programs will give you a foundation in mechanics and prepare you for careers such as diesel engine mechanic, commercial transport vehicle mechanic, heavy duty mechanic and trailer mechanic. Students train in a modern, well-equipped shop and work on equipment that replicates actual workplace conditions. 

Kathy’s story: conquering fears through music

She finally followed her musical dreams, and learned more than she ever expected


“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is to be understood.”

- Marie Curie

For the majority of Kathy Griffin’s life, she struggled with fear. Whether starting a new job, using a new technology or even doing activities at school, Kathy believes that self-doubt consistently held her back from true achievement. “I was always afraid of looking stupid,” she says. “I thought if I looked stupid then people wouldn’t like me, and if they didn’t like me then they wouldn’t want to be around me. Which means I would be abandoned. I would be alone.”

Having grown up in a musical family, Kathy always had a passion for singing. It wasn’t until the age of 47, however, that she found the courage—and the opportunity—to pursue music in earnest. Today, after two years as a vocal jazz student in VCC’s music diploma program, Kathy’s story is one of inspiring personal growth and revelation.

Carrying a tune

Despite debilitating insecurity, especially at school, Kathy’s home life was filled with the joy of music. She remembers her mother, a pianist, “getting lost in her own world” as she practiced in the house. Kathy herself, a self-described “harmony geek” remembers singing in three-part harmony with her father and sister. When they weren’t around, Kathy would switch to two-part harmony with anything that provided a tone—the blender, the dishwasher, even passing airplanes!

Throughout her life, Kathy has taken up the trombone, the guitar, sang in choirs, a folk group and even contributed her smooth, deep voice to a “men’s” barbershop chorus. Looking back, Kathy finds that auditioning for community choirs as a tenor was one of the few ways in which she actually did confront her anxieties. “Back in the ‘90s, a woman singing tenor just wasn’t heard of. The guys would look at me funny,” she says, “and the girls would think I was just trying to pick up the guys!”

After “barely” graduating from high school, Kathy got married, had a daughter and began a long, successful career in customer service. When her daughter eventually left home to begin her own career as a veterinary technician, Kathy, with enthusiastic support from her husband Curtis, made one of the most drastic decisions of her life; she quit her job to study music full-time.

One of the kids

Kathy says her choice to study at VCC was based on the Music department’s supportive environment. “People here aren’t trying to be better than each other,” she says. “They’re trying to better themselves.” Kathy also has nothing but praise for the teachers as well as her fellow students. “These are all astounding musicians yet they’re incredibly humble. It’s so refreshing,” she says.

Even in the most positive setting, however, entering college as a mature student—especially for someone who’s struggled in education all her life—takes an emotional toll. “Every day I felt stupid, every day I was crying,” says Kathy, adding that her fellow students of all ages would often tear up alongside her.

Still early on in the program, Kathy decided to take advantage of VCC’s free counselling services to help build her confidence. She says the sessions helped her tremendously by unearthing the root of her lifelong insecurity. “I was in Grade one. I was six years old and I couldn’t put the blocks together,” she recalls. “The principal looked at me and said I was ‘retarded.’ Until I came here, I never realized how much this statement affected my whole life.”

Music for life

With only a few courses to go before completing the comprehensive two-year music diploma program (and already with a Jack Cullen Award under her belt), Kathy, like any other student, is now considering her career options. While VCC offers numerous courses to prepare students for the music industry, such as Commercial Ear Training and Music and Media, Kathy finds herself mostly drawn to careers in which music is used to help and to heal, such as music therapy or hospice work.

This interest also stems back to Kathy’s childhood and memories of her mother. Once an in-demand professional piano player, Kathy’s mother now suffers from schizophrenia. At the age of 73, she still plays from time to time, and when she does, Kathy sees its calming effects. “Her music has always been the one thing that grounded her,” says Kathy. “I truly believe that music helps troubled people reach places they might not otherwise be able to go.”

Kathy herself has also reached new heights over the past two years. While still battling lifelong insecurity, she now knows the fulfillment that comes from following her dreams, and has started encouraging those around her to do so as well. “There’s always fear,” she says. Then adds, with a hint of wonder in her voice, “But just imagine if everyone did what they really wanted in the world? There would be a lot more happy people. Seriously, it would be amazing.”


VCC’s music programs are highly regarded for their academic and skills curricula, as well as emphasis on music and media, career opportunities and performance techniques. Applications are still being accpeted for September 2015! Auditions to be held in August. Email music@vcc.ca for registration info.

Alex’s story: family and fusion in the restaurant business

Third-generation Chinese restaurateur Alex Holliday talks industry skills and cultural connections

News-Alex-Holliday-380For many kids, growing up Canada today means juggling multiple cultures. While English at school or work may be the norm, many second- and third-generation Canadians are also working hard to keep their cultural heritage alive, be it through language, traditions, or food.

Alex Holliday was born and raised in North Vancouver, the third generation in a family of Chinese restaurant owners. Although he grew up helping his mother operate Capilano Heights Chinese Restaurant, he never worked the kitchen. Still, Alex had a passion for the business and a desire to carry on the family tradition.

It was while studying Chinese in Taipei that Alex and his girlfriend (now wife) Annie decided they wanted to open a restaurant together. First, though, Alex knew he needed industry training. “I wanted to learn more about my culinary heritage as well as how a professional kitchen works,” he says.

Growing up locally, Alex already knew that VCC’s Asian Culinary Arts program was the perfect fit. The five-month program, established in 1975, provides commercial culinary training in Cantonese, Mandarin and Szechuan food as well as other Asian cuisines such as Japanese, Malaysian, Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, and Korean. Courses also cover the business side of restaurant operations.

“The technical cooking skills that I learned were of course useful beyond measure,” says Alex, “but I think what I value most were the management skills.” He credits department head Barry Tsang with instilling in him the highest of standards. “Anyone can teach you how to fry rice, but it takes someone special to teach you how to run a kitchen,” he says.

Always driven to expand his horizons, Alex has since returned to Taipei where he now owns and operates the trendy Taiwanese-Cantonese fusion restaurant, Drunken Monkey (currently relocating).

Though the restaurant business seems to run through his veins, Alex maintains a strong appreciation for the hard work it took to learn the trade as well as keep connected to his culture.

“It was a bit of a journey for me,” he says. “I went to Asia to learn Chinese, came back to Vancouver to study culinary arts, and finally took this fusion of experience back to Asia where my grandfather set out from 70 years ago.”


Curious about a career in cooking? Join our next culinary arts info session to tour the kitchens, meet the chefs, and learn more about our programs.

Hamasa’s story: the courage to be Canadian

From a secret life in Pakistan to a new home in Canada, one VCC student shares her journey for justice

News-Hamasa-Mobile-292Hamasa Durrani always felt a little “different” than her brothers and sisters.

Of nine children, she is number five—the middle child. Growing up in Islamabad, Pakistan in an Afghan family, Hamasa was the only one with green eyes, the only one with a pale complexion. A self-described comedian and tomboy (nicknamed “Ahmad” by her brothers), she also has a gregariousness that is rare among girls raised in a strict, Muslim culture.

“I always wanted to speak up,” she says. “I always wanted to talk about justice.”

It was in high school that Hamasa began to write about the rights of women and girls in the Middle East. With the secret encouragement of her mother and two teachers, Hamasa’s works were soon getting published to underground websites and winning international awards.

Then, in 2013, when Hamasa was in her early 20s, her family’s immigration application to Canada was approved after a 10-year wait. In an instant, they plunged into an unknown culture, environment and language.

Starting over

In her new home of Vancouver, Hamasa was immediately struck by the freedom people had to learn, to go where they pleased, and to speak their minds. Hamasa herself developed an instant love for sparkly makeup and ripped jeans, and a deep eagerness to participate in Canadian society.

Already proficient in multiple languages including Farsi, Pashto, Urdu and Punjabi, Hamasa now entered an English as an additional language (EAL) program at Vancouver Community College. In only a few semesters, Hamasa was carrying on lively conversations about everything from refugee politics to pop songs to her all-time favourite Canadian, Justin Trudeau.

“I know I make mistakes but I keep talking,” she says. “I tell people don’t be afraid.”

When not in school, Hamasa also worked to help support her family. For much of 2014 and 2015, she was employed at a local neighbourhood house running programs for children. 

Sadly, it was here that Hamasa also encountered bullying and racism from a co-worker. “The lady told me people from my country don’t have any value over here,” she remembers. “She said no one will trust Muslims.” 

Shocked and hurt, and despite her bold personality, Hamasa didn’t know what to do, so she quit the job and slipped into depression. “I turned into a really quiet person,” she remembers.

Good medicine 

Continuing her EAL studies at VCC, Hamasa credits the positive environment and the support of her “awesome” teachers, especially Nora Ready and Tanya Cowie, for helping her return to her animated self. 

One EAL assignment was to write a speech, and Hamasa chose a topic she knew well—the fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan. When a friend from Vancouver Island University (VIU) learned of the speech, she invited Hamasa to speak at an International Women’s Day panel on the VIU campus in Nanaimo.

For someone who'd spent her life using false names and publishing her views anonymously, the opportunity to stand up and speak to a live audience felt immense. “Am I dreaming?” Hamasa remembers asking herself, as she took the stage.

“This was my message to everyone,” she says; “no talent will be wasted if girls are given a chance.”  

Hamasa’s favourite part of the experience was seeing men in the audience engaged with what she had to say. “They weren’t telling me to sit down, to wear my hijab, to get married,” she says. “Instead, they were telling me ‘we are here, we are with you.’”

After speaking on the panel, Hamasa says she felt more empowered than ever. She now calls her trip to Vancouver Island "a dose of medicine," curing her of the harassment she had endured.

Full speed ahead

Hamasa plans to complete her English prerequisites by the end of 2016, then enter VCC’s Early Childhood Care and Education program, with the goal of one day working directly with immigrant and refugee families.

“I want to be the first positive energy that they face,” she says. “I want to tell them that Canada cares. We are with you.” 


VCC offers English as an additional languge programs for all levels of fluency and education.

Come see what it's like! Sign up now a free, interactive EAL lesson at Experience VCC on October 26.

Jackie’s story: success in style

One hair design grad shares her path from varsity sports to Vancouver’s trendiest salons

The one thing Jackie Penev knew she wanted to do after high school was play volleyball.  After graduating, she entered an education program at a local college and made the varsity team. Only a few months into the season, however, Jackie developed a severe throat infection that prevented her from playing for the rest of the year.

“Without volleyball, I realized I didn’t feel passionate about school,” she says. After some reflection, Jackie understood that her true passion was hair design. “I would always braid my teammates’ hair at tournaments,” she says, “and I loved it.”

Jackie’s parents also fully supported her entering a certified trade. In fact, it runs in the family; her father is a Red Seal-certified electrician, and her brother a Red Seal-certified pipefitter and steamfitter. “They told me it’s easier to study something when you know exactly what you’ll be doing afterward,” she says. 

While researching schools, Jackie asked friends and acquaintances about hair design programs in Vancouver. They all recommended Vancouver Community College (VCC), so Jackie attended a free tour and information session at the VCC Salon & Spa. “The facility was great, the teachers were professional, and I could tell it was a place where they did things well.”

During the program, Jackie enjoyed learning in a busy salon setting and serving real clients. She also developed a special talent for the trendy bayalage hair colour technique. Only a few months after graduating, Jackie started working at Boccoli, one of her favourite high-end salons in East Vancouver. “It’s pretty much my dream job,” she says.

Looking back, Jackie remembers how things finally came to feel right. “Studying hair design at VCC was one of the most fun years of my life. It never felt like school, even the theory parts. I was passionate, I loved what I was doing every day and that made it all seem easy.”


Visit our state-of-the-art VCC Salon & Spa, meet instructors, and learn about VCC's hair design and skin and body therapy programs at an upcoming info session

Samsung and VCC set to open first Samsung Tech Institute in Western Canada

Launching this October

samsung tech appliances newsSamsung VCC logo header


In a move designed to foster innovative approaches to continuing education, Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. have entered into an educational partnership to bring the first Samsung Tech Institute to Western Canada.

The new program named Samsung Tech Institute - Appliance Repair Technician - Professional Pathway will train VCC students to understand, diagnose, and service select Samsung home appliances. Students will be officially certified Samsung Product Technicians upon their graduation from the program.

The Samsung Tech Institute will aim to increase the number of qualified Service Technicians and Samsung brand ambassadors within Canada for Samsung home appliances, including Samsung’s newest microwaves, refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, washers and dryers.

The program is scheduled to launch in October 2016 at VCC’s Broadway campus.

RSVP to the next information session.



Congratulations to the first grads of VCC’s Samsung Tech Institute

Ceremony recognizes VCC’s inaugural Samsung-certified appliance repair technicians

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to announce the graduation of five members from the first cohort of its newly established Samsung Tech Institute.

VCC president Dr. Peter Nunoda presented the grads with certificates in a special awards ceremony held on January 19, 2017 in the Samsung Tech Institute training facility at VCC’s Broadway campus.

Of the graduates, four are appliance technicians from KMR Brookswood Appliance in Langley, B.C. and one an independent business operator. All are now Samsung-certified appliance repair technicians, qualified to diagnose and service the latest Samsung microwaves, refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, washers, and dryers. 

Five other participants have also completed VCC’s training component, but are currently in the process of earning the provincial gas fitting certificates required as prerequisites by the program.

Congratulations to all! See the photo gallery >

Applications are currently being accepted for the next intake Samsung Tech Institute - Appliance Repair Technician - Professional Pathway program, commencing in April 2017. This program is intended for those already working in the appliance repair industry or recent graduates of an appliance-servicing program.


Top 10 VCC stories of 2016

Revisit the year’s most-popular online stories featuring VCC students, instructors, and alumni

A look back at the year’s most-popular online stories featuring VCC students, instructors, and alumni.


10. VCC Fashion program redesigned for industry success

Popular program moves from traditional fashion shows to entrepreneurship, merchandising, and production


9. Hamasa’s story: the courage to be Canadian

From a secret life in Pakistan to a new home in Canada, one VCC student shares her journey for justice


8. Clinton’s story: from trauma to triumph

One student’s journey of healing through education, encouragement, and VCC’s Aboriginal community


7. Helen’s story: the voices of angels

The VCC Willan Choir’s longest-standing member, 100-year-old Helen Fung continues to hit the high notes


6. Culinary department head named Chef of the Year

VCC's Chef Collin Gill takes home the top 2016 BCCA award


5. VCC wins Best of Vancouver 2016

Vancouver Community College wins #1 professional culinary school in the Georgia Straight’s 21st annual Best of Vancouver issue


4. Hospitality Management: Q&A with Joel Rivera

The Westin Bayshore's HR director talks success in the hotel business


3. Instructor feature: VCC Music’s Alan Matheson

Multi-talented musician, composer, performer, and teacher Alan Matheson talks talent and inspiration


2. VCC opens first Samsung Tech Institute in Western Canada

Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. partner to launch a new institute in October 2016


1. VCC Chef’s Table pop-up kitchen returns

VCC International Culinary arts returns with its innovative 5-course seasonal menu and a uniquely intimate pop-up dining experience

Career move: legal administrative assistant

You're already a great admin assistant. Take your next step into a law office


You’ve earned your administrative assistant certificate. Perhaps you’ve even spent a few years at a local company. You’ve got some great systems in place. Your files are in order, everyone’s calendars are up-to-date, the office is running smoothly. You’re really good at what you do. But is it time for something more?

VCC's five-month legal administrative assistant (LAA) program is open to candidates with previous office administrative assistant work experience or education. Courses provide skills in proper creation, editing, storage, and retrieval of legal documents specific to areas such as civil litigation, family law, corporate procedures, wills and estates, and conveyancing.

Our graduates are at work in firms across the city, including Fasken Martineau, Miller Thomson, and McCarthy Tetrault as well as at the Ministry of Justice and at several B.C. court registries.

Program fast facts:

  • 92 per cent of LAA grads have jobs within 4 months.
  • WorkBC predicts 2,300 new jobs for legal administrative assistants in the next eight years.
  • The median wage for LAA's in B.C. is $23.25 per hour.
  • VCC is one of only a few colleges that arranges practicums for LAA students. These two-week placements are included in the program timeframe and often lead to excellent references and jobs.
  • There’s still time to apply! Program intakes occur every February and September.

Want to learn more? Join our next information session.

Media release: Canada-B.C. partnership to train British Columbians for jobs on Lower Mainland

Funding to support training in hospitality, business, and more

Up to 80 Lower Mainland residents are receiving the training they need for jobs in their communities, thanks to the federal-provincial partnership under the Canada-B.C. Job Fund Agreement.

Approximately $583,000 has been allocated to Vancouver Community College (VCC) to deliver the following three programs:

  • Up to 32 female, youth and immigrant students will be trained in the Entry to Hospitality Careers for Women program. Funding of $202,783 has been allocated to train participants for employment as food-counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations. Training began in October and ends in April.
  • The Office Assistant Training program is preparing up to 32 students for employment as administrative assistants, medical administrative assistants or administrative officers. Funding of $292,635 has been allocated for training that began in October and ends March 31.
  • Up to 16 students will participate in the Building Service Worker training program. Funding of $87,888 will be allocated to prepare participants for employment as janitors, caretakers, building superintendents, and as light-duty cleaners. The program is designed for youth and immigrants. Training begins in March and ends in June.

These training projects are part of an investment of more than $12 million for 49 training projects benefiting about 2,000 British Columbians throughout the province, thanks to funding provided through the Canada-B.C. Job Fund Agreement under the Employer-Sponsored Training stream.

The skills training projects support B.C.’s regional labour-market demands and provide opportunities to youth, women, Aboriginal people, immigrants and other eligible participants to receive training, as well as industry-recognized certificates or credentials.

Through the Canada Job Fund, the Government of Canada provides $500 million annually to the provinces and territories for investments in skills training. Under the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund Agreement, the province receives a total of $65 million per year – its per-capita share of the available funding.

The Canada-B.C. Job Fund helps ensure training programs give individuals the skills to enter and succeed in the job market. The Employer-Sponsored Training stream provides funding for project-based, time-limited, employer-driven training that leads to a job at the end of training. This includes targeted projects delivered by Aboriginal service providers, post-secondary institutions, industry associations, community groups, and private trainers that meet regional labour market needs. Employers also provide either financial or in-kind contributions to support the training.


Sam Sullivan, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek –

“More people are retiring from the workforce than young people entering it, so we must continue to support programs such as these to ensure we have qualified women and men, including new Canadians, who are able to step into the job market.”

Peter Nunoda, president and CEO, Vancouver Community College –

“VCC is proud to be a part of the solution by offering students skills training in these high-demand fields. Thank you for the generous funding from both the federal and provincial governments under the Canada-B.C. Job Fund Agreement. These VCC programs have 100% retention and 97 to 100% employment rates. We attribute this success to VCC’s supportive instructors and small classes.”

S. Khan, graduate, Office Administration program, VCC –

“I found that the Office Admin program prepared me with all the necessary tools, computer skills and knowledge for me to be a confident office assistant in the present labour market. Thank you for all the positive support during my time here at VCC.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C. is expecting almost one million job openings by 2025.
  • Up to 596,400 job openings are expected in the Lower Mainland/Southwest region by 2025.
  • Two-thirds of B.C.’s job openings will be from retirements and one-third from economic growth.
  • Almost 80% of job openings in B.C. will require post-secondary education.
  • The B.C. government invests more than $7.8 billion each year in education and training.
  • Through B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, $3 billion in training investments will be redirected to in-demand jobs over the next 10 years.
  • The project announced today supports the government’s commitment to deepen B.C.’s technology talent pool through a variety of actions, including improving access to timely and relevant labour market information, as outlined in the #BCTECH Strategy.
  • The 10-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund to improve access to capital, as well as initiatives to increase talent development and market growth for tech companies to drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.

Learn More:

Canada Job Fund: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/training_agreements/cjf/index.shtml   

British Columbia’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: https://www.workbc.ca/skills 

B.C. Labour Market Outlook 2025: https://www.workbc.ca/Labour-Market-Information/B-C-s-Economy/Reports.aspx

#BCTECH Strategy: http://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/

VCC holiday closures 2016-17

VCC campuses will be closed Dec. 23, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2017 with additional closures in specific areas


Please note VCC campuses will be closed Dec. 23, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2017. Have a wonderful holiday break!

Additional closure information: 

  • Broadway cafeteria (Quizine Kitchen) and Downtown cafeteria last day of service is Dec. 16 (grab-and-go items available untl 4 p.m.)
  • Cafeteria services resume Jan. 4
  • Broadway campus bookstore closed Dec. 1 - Jan. 2. Online ordering still available
  • VCC Salon & Spa will operate a half-day Dec. 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Closed Dec. 23 - Jan. 2
  • Registrar's office and admissions special midday closure Dec. 15 from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Registrar's office and student services closed/no transcript request processing Dec. 23 - Jan. 2

  • Blenz coffee at the Broadway campus will remain open to the community during the holiday period

Regular hours:
Monday to Friday 6:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Holiday hours:
Dec. 23 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Dec. 26 - 30 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Jan. 2 6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

An awarding experience

Recognizing student excellence at the 2016 Fall Student Awards

Twice a year, Vancouver Community College (VCC) holds student awards ceremonies recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of talented and deserving students enrolled in the vast range of programs offered at VCC.

On Friday, November 25, the fall awards ceremony took place at VCC’s Broadway campus where a total of 180 awards were given out. VCC’s scholarships and awards are established to recognize academic excellence and to acknowledge students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom or in their community. Many award recipients have overcome significant obstacles and financial barriers to pursue their studies. These awards help encourage and support students in their journey to academic and career success.

Each time VCC hosts student award ceremonies, one award is selected to video profile. It is difficult to single out one generous donor, or one deserving student, as VCC is blessed with a wealth of deserving and amazing student and donor stories. This season, we profiled Adam Willey, a music student who has fought hard to get to be where he is today. His award comes from the family of one beloved young man, Jess Daniel Nichol. Jess was a local "celebrity" bartender who worked in Gastown. He loved music and the music scene and it is fitting that his family chose to commemorate him with a music award. The Nichol family and friends establishsed this two-year award; the winner receives half now and half next September to build sustainability into the recipient's educational path.


With many donor representatives in attendance, the awards ceremonies provide a special opportunity for donors to directly connect with the recipients of their awards and the chance for students—and VCC—to thank their donors in person.

For more information on VCC’s financial awards including bursaries, scholarships and financial aid, visit our Financial Aid and Awards page including our Online Awards Guide. To make a donation, email give@vcc.ca or visit our online Gift Catalogue at www.vcc.ca/catalogueofgifts

Visit the VCC Flickr site to view photos from the Fall Student Awards.

Maria’s story: the language of learning

One student's lifelong pursuit of English fluency and a dream career

News-Maria-380When Maria Metcalfe came to Canada in 2001 to work as a live-in nanny, she was equipped with little more than basic English phrases and some tips from her Canadian aunt. Nonetheless, she was determined to succeed in her new life.

Looking back at those early years, Maria remembers trying to absorb English at every opportunity; she’d listen to conversations on the SkyTrain, repeat things silently in her head, watch people’s mouths to perfect her own pronunciation, read and re-read books and newspapers and translate them into Tagalog. “Remember cassette tapes?’ she laughs. “I even listened to voice tapes in the library, rewinding them again and again!”

Today, as Maria enters the highest levels of VCC’s ESL Pathways program, she finds herself on the verge of not only English fluency but also a rewarding new career.

Round the clock

As a nanny, Maria worked tirelessly for a number of different families—including caring for a set of baby twins!—even as her own young son remained in the Philippines. “If there were 25 hours in a day, I would work 25 hours. If there were 8 days in a week, I would work 8 days,” she says. “It was hard work but also really fun.”

After successfully immigrating and bringing her son to Canada in 2008, Maria moved into a seniors care position. Then last year, she decided she was ready to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. “I want to help people,” she says. “Even if I have nothing left for me, I want to give. That’s just my nature.”

The prerequisites for VCC’s Practical Nursing (LPN) program demand B-level scores in many Grade 12 subjects, and ESL Level 8 in English. To achieve this level of fluency, Maria’s advisors recommended ESL Pathways, a flexible program designed to give students the skills to communicate naturally in Canadian society.

Despite living in Canada for nearly 15 years already, Maria knew there was hard work ahead. Her days soon involved getting up at 4 a.m. to beat the traffic, studying before class, taking courses, working part-time and looking after a household.

When things start to feel difficult, Maria says she turns to her instructors and her classmates for encouragement. There’s one elderly man, originally from China, whose eagerness to learn continually inspires her. “I’m almost half his age and I have to push myself to do this.” she says. “This man has truly motivated me to work on my English!”

The power of please

Maria came to fully understand the usefulness of English fluency one night when she found a parking ticket on her motorcycle. That same day, her class had learned how to make polite requests using phrases like “would you” or “could you please?”  Never one to back down from a challenge, Maria approached the parking attendant.

“Would you please cancel my ticket?” she asked, in perfect form.

The attendant refused and gave her a customer service phone number instead. “So I asked again, ‘Would you please cancel my ticket? Please?’” As they continued talking, Maria remained firm yet polite. She now loves telling the end of the story: “And you know what? He cancelled my ticket!” The next day, Maria was especially excited to go to class and let her instructor know—polite phrases really work!

The path ahead

Having just achieved the prerequisite ESL Pathways Level 8 in listening and speaking, Maria’s next goal is to test her reading and writing. After that, she’ll tackle the biology and math prerequisites, then apply to the LPN program. “I’m not in a rush,” she says. “But I’m going to do this. I’ll just keep working at it one thing at a time.”

Remembering the fear felt when still new to Canada, Maria also offers advice for other newcomers. “Improve your English and adapt to the culture,” she says. “If you need help, ask. Don’t be shy. And love what you do!”


VCC’s ESL Pathways curriculum prepares students holistically for academic, professional and social settings. Learn more about the ESL Pathways program as well as non-repayable adult upgrading grants.

Chieko’s story: pathway to a caring career

A new Canadian’s experience in love, language and finding her professional purpose

News-Chieko-400Chieko Thomas was in Vancouver on a student visa in 2010 when she popped into her local Starbucks one day for a caramel macchiato. When a caramel macchiato arrived on the counter, she grabbed it. A handsome stranger then kindly let her know she was holding his drink.

A few years later, the two were married, living in Vancouver and Chieko was preparing for a new career that was closer to her heart than she ever expected.

Having studied business administration in her home country of Japan, Chieko’s first step as a Canadian resident was to find similar work here. A friend recommended VCC’s Medical Office Assistant (MOA) program, but when Chieko spoke to an advisor, she learned that her English skills didn’t quite meet the program’s Grade 12-level requirement.

There were two options available. She could either study independently for a few months and take a placement test, or enroll in ESL Pathways, a program specifically designed to teach natural communication skills for academic and business environments.

“I thought that might be better than taking a one-time exam,” says Chieko. “Exams make me nervous!”

After only a few months in ESL Pathways, Chieko managed to achieve the program requirement of Canadian Language Benchmark level 8 in all areas (reading, writing, listening, speaking). In March of 2015, she proudly entered VCC’s Medical Office Assistant certificate program.

Seeing success

In her MOA class, only Chieko and one other student were non-native English speakers. Of course, everyone was required to write essays and do front-of-class presentations. “It was intimidating the first time,” says Chieko, “but the things I learned in English Pathways really, really helped me.”

While medical office assistants are in demand in many areas, when it came time for her practicum, Chieko specifically requested a placement in an ophthalmologist’s (eye surgeon’s) office.

“I’m passionate about helping people with eye problems,” she says, “because I know what it’s like.”

Chieko explains that her husband Neil has lived with the painful effects of a misshapen cornea (the transparent part of the eye covering the pupil) his entire life. By the end of 2015, he will have had nine cornea transplants. “His immune system keeps rejecting the new corneas,” Chieko explains. “It’s ironic. It’s like he’s too healthy except for his eyes!”

While somewhat out of the ordinary, Chieko’s instructors found her a placement at West Coast Retina Consultants, where she has since obtained a permanent job.

Now in a rewarding career, Chieko reflects on the work it took to learn English for the Canadian workforce. “If I didn’t take English Pathways, I would probably still be struggling to qualify for business courses,” she says. To others considering studying ESL for career advancement, she offers some simple encouragement. “If you are ready for a commitment and study hard, I know, you can achieve so many things.”


VCC’s ESL Pathways curriculum prepares students to confidently use English in academic, professional and social settings. Learn more about the ESL Pathways program as well as non-repayable grants.


Team Canada lays it all on the line at Culinary Olympics

VCC chefs and alumni lead Culinary Team Canada to Germany in a quest for international gold

News-culinary-olympics-MOBILE-292aFrom Oct. 22 – 25, 2016, Culinary Team Canada, including many Vancouver Community College (VCC) instructors and alumni, showcased their skills on the world stage at the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Exhibition (Culinary Olympics), in Erfurt, Germany. 

The 15-member, Vancouver-based team finished eighth overall, combining one silver and two gold medal scores in categories including cold appetizers, pastry art, and a three-course hot kitchen menu.

“It’s all about execution,” says team coach and VCC chef instructor Tobias MacDonald. “We were well-practiced and the team did a fantastic job representing Canada.”

National teams tackle IKA competition requirements over the course of two days under strict timelines and controlled conditions, with judges scrutinizing every move. As in any world-class competition, adrenaline runs­­ high. “For these chefs, it’s years of your life on the line, and it can all come down to a single move,” says MacDonald.

Team Canada’s menu items also strongly represented West Coast ingredients, including Northern Divine sturgeon, BC side stripe prawns, chanterelles, and Blue Goose beef tenderloin.

Held once every four years, the Culinary Olympics is the ultimate test of the brigade’s preparation and teamwork, perfected during past international competitions such as the Salon Culinaire Mondial in Switzerland, and the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg.

Culinary Team Canada members:

Team Manager
JC Felicella – VCC alumnus, former instructor

Tobias MacDonald – VCC alumnus, instructor
Bruno Marti – honorary VCC alumnus

Core Team
Scott Jaeger – VCC alumnus
Cameron Huley – Red River College alumnus
Ryan Stone – VCC alumnus
Iain Rennie – Vancouver Island University alumnus
Jason Harris – VCC alumnus
Fumiko Moreton – Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts alumna

Scott Torgerson – Red River College alumnus

Support Team

Hamid Salimian – VCC alumnus, instructor
Laura Sharpe Dawe – VCC alumna, instructor
Shawn Lang – VCC instructor
Daniel Davyduke – VCC alumnus
James Hutton – former VCC instructor


Want to train under Canada’s best chefs? Visit our kitchens, meet instructors, and see VCC students in action at an upcoming culinary arts program information session

Fall 2016 convocation recap

VCC is proud to announce the graduation of over 1,100 hardworking and dedicated students on Nov. 17

‌“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

- Aristotle

Vancouver Community College is proud to announce the graduation of 1,112 hardworking and dedicated students on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. This year’s Fall convocation took place at 1 p.m. in a single ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Areas of study awarding degrees, diplomas, and certificates included:

  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Hospitality, Food Studies & Applied Business
  • School of Trades, Technology & Design
  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • Centre for Continuing Studies and Contract Training
  • Division of Library and Teaching & Learning Services

Valedictorian Kristina Jenei, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, addressed the graduating class with a motivating message:

“My challenge for each of you is to continue to grow and to develop for the better. Be passionately ambitious about everything you do in life. Do everything with intention. Do not blindly follow popular opinion. Question everything. Resist the urge to be complacent and always, always be kind."

Kristina began her academic journey at VCC in 2010 when she started working towards a goal of gaining entry into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. During her time at VCC, Kristina was awarded the Term Three BSN Professionalism Award, an award for the student who demonstrates the highest level of professional conduct.

Gyda Chud offered an inspired alumni address. Currently teaching early childhood care and education classes in VCC's continuing studies department, Gyda has a long and distinguished career in ECCE, as a teacher, a dean and as a national advocate. She was the first to earn VCC's outstanding alumni award in the category of lifetime achievement. Learn more about her incredible story in her award video.

Full photo gallery:


Vancouver's top pastry chefs employ the art of science

VCC baking instructor Leanne Bentley is featured in the Straight

With parents who ran a restaurant in Vernon, there was no way Eleanor Chow Waterfall was ever going to follow in their footsteps. Even though she adored baking as a child and her mom would routinely tell her “You should be a chef!” she was turned off by the industry’s never-ending slog.

Chow Waterfall was studying humanities at university when a trip to a local bookstore changed her mind.

“I remember going to Chapters when I was 18, and I started looking through all these beautiful cookbooks,” Chow Waterfall says by phone. Petits fours, lemon tarts, layer cakes: images of so many exquisite desserts ignited in her a passion. “I just thought, ‘I can do this. I want to do this.’ ”

Shortly thereafter, she applied to Dubrulle Culinary Arts at the Art Institute Vancouver. By the time she was 22, she had already worked at Bearfoot Bistro and the now defunct La Rua, both in Whistler, and went on to open Feenie’s after working at Lumière.

Next she was off to Blue Water Café before spending several years at Chambar and its sister restaurant, Café Medina. In 2012, she decided to go it alone, opening Cadeaux Bakery. The Gastown spot serves all of the delicacies she remembers falling in love with in those cookbooks and more: truffles, cheesecakes, croissants, danishes, and then some.

She’s among a group of culinary professionals who rarely get the kind of celebrity status increasingly bestowed on restaurant executive chefs. They’re the industry’s unsung heroes, the ones who toil away in the shadows but whose artistry and talent make people ooh and ahh.

Cadeaux Bakery

It’s hard to believe that, before Thomas Haas came onto the scene just over a decade ago, the city’s pastry-making community was leaner than a skim-milk latte. Recent years, however, have seen a stronger presence of these culinary specialists, a dedicated and inventive bunch who are comfortable being in the background but who have been busy elevating the trade to sweet new heights.

For Chow Waterfall, as with her peers, the appeal of the craft is the creativity involved. “I’ve always really liked art,” she says. “When I was younger, I drew a lot and painted a lot and did sculptures. With pastry I have this freedom to do what I love and make people happy. It brings out the artist in me.

“All pastry chefs are artists, really,” she says. “Your plate is your canvas.”

Chow Waterfall, a mother of two whose youngest is a newborn, likes the challenge of pastry-making, too. Getting it right means being able to combine art and science. Plated desserts, she explains, might require several different cooking techniques to incorporate multiple elements like sauce, fruit, starch, cream filling, and ice cream into a single dessert, all while making the final product look aesthetically irresistible.

“Desserts should be sexy,” says Chow Waterfall, whose most popular dessert is a London Fog cake, a five-layer vanilla cake with Earl Grey–infused syrup, Earl Grey milk-chocolate ganache, white-chocolate mousse, and Chantilly cream. “We want to sell desserts. They should be bright and vibrant.”

For Chau Veggie Express’s Andrew Han, making pastry is “soul-satisfying”—certainly much more so than the job he used to have with the Canada Revenue Agency handling tax objections.

Chau Veggie Express

Most of the desserts at the plant-focused Vietnamese restaurant are vegan, which presents the Vancouver native with an added challenge—and opportunity.

“Doing nonconventional pastry products allows me to push the envelope even more,” Han says by phone. “Pastry is a science, and when you omit ingredients like butter and cream, you take it one step further than the traditional French or Italian pastry to re-create those tastes and textures with different ingredients.”

He uses products like coconut oil and toasted nuts in his desserts, as well as Asian spices like cardamom, which he says masks the taste of not-very-tasty vegan butter. Among his most popular creations are coconut-vanilla-bean tapioca, matcha snickerdoodles, and satay-peanut-butter cookies.

“I currently have a vegan jasmine-tea crème caramel on the menu that has a thin layer of dark chocolate ganache and brûléed caramel sauce, topped with chocolate streusel,” Han says. “I love using Asian teas. Other items on the menu I love are the coconut pandan leaf with kale vegan ice cream and the Thai milk-tea vegan ice cream. All of these flavours remind me of my childhood, which is where I draw a lot of my inspiration from.”

Adam Chandler grew up in Toronto and credits his engineer father for instilling in him a penchant for precision—which the chocolatier and co-owner of Beta5 says has served him well as a pastry chef.

“I always had this kind of mathematical approach to things, and that’s beneficial on the pastry side,” he says in an interview at his Industrial Avenue shop. “You’re working with ratios, and that’s what really got me connected to it. And so did the art of it. It’s really fun starting with flour, butter, chocolate, which really have no form, and being able to create something completely unique.

Beta5 Chocolates

“On the culinary side, when you’re starting with a piece of fish or a piece of steak, you want it to look like that when you’re finished. With pastry, we have total freedom to work with flavour and texture. It’s really a blank canvas.”

After completing his formal culinary and pastry training at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver, Chandler honed his skills in France and Belgium. Back in Vancouver, he was on the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s opening team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, launching his own shop in 2012. He has since earned several medals at the International Chocolate Awards.

Aside from chocolates, caramels, and candy bars, Beta5 specializes in cream puffs. Popular in Paris, the “choux” at Beta5 come in flavours like Vietnamese coffee, raspberry Earl Grey, and spiced mango. Not that Chan-dler has to worry about overindulging in them: “I don’t really have a sweet tooth,” he says. “I like conceptualizing and making them. That’s what I gravitate to.”

Elena Krasnova, whose Mon Paris Pâtisserie is to open in Burnaby in December, says that pastries were a foreign concept throughout her childhood in Volgograd during the former Soviet Union’s perestroika period. Bare necessities were in demand, and she learned to express herself creatively, to make something out of nothing.

When the former accountant had the opportunity to go to France, she discovered the possibility of working creatively with food. “I saw how totally different a culture it was in terms of cooking; pastry is an art for them,” Krasnova says by phone. “I never thought of being a pastry chef growing up.

“Now Russia is starting to develop more culinary arts. Twenty years ago we didn’t have anything. It [becoming a pastry chef] was not even a choice. No parent would want to have their kid go into culinary arts.”

Her plan is to focus on the kinds of pastries you’d find in her bakery and café’s French namesake, plus her own contemporary creations—like baked Limoncello tarts, ricotta tarts with jasmine-infused caramelized pears, coffee-cream profiteroles with whipped lemon ganache, and more.

baking class instagram collage news
VCC student creations

Éclairs could be the next French treat to become especially popular here, as they have in Paris and New York, says pastry chef Leanne Bentley. She teaches the trade at VCC and says she enjoys sharing with students what’s trending in the industry—like the recent rise of ice-cream sandwiches, for instance.

Another recurring theme she’s seeing is that of diners wanting to know where their food comes from. It’s not just the chicken or fish on their plate that they wish to be local, organic, and sustainable; more people are asking where the ingredients in their viennoiseries are sourced, too.

Over the last decade, Bentley has worked at several large hotels, including Fairmont St Andrews in Scotland and downtown Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront. Those kinds of positions come with a hefty measure of stress—which she says is part of the appeal.

“The pressure is half the fun,” Bentley says in a phone interview. “But once you’ve done that banquet for 600, there’s no better feeling. Pastry has a precision, and I like the controlled creativity. There’s always a formula or ratio; there’s always a few rules you have to follow, but I like it because it gives me just enough room to wiggle.

“I think most pasty chefs are fairly happy to be in the background,” she adds. “But I do think we should get our names on the dessert menu and get a little bit more of a shout-out every once in a while.”

The facts on adult upgrading and ESL grants

Do you qualify for grants to cover adult upgrading and ESL tuition fees?

Why do adult upgrading and ESL/EAL programs in BC now charge tuition? What kinds of assistance are out there? How do I access them? Read the Government of BC's important fact sheet below to get your answers.

FACTSHEET: Adult upgrading courses and grants

Public post-secondary institutions have the option to charge tuition fees, effective Jan. 1, 2015, to keep adult upgrading and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs sustainable and accessible, while providing support for low-income students.

The decision to allow institutions to charge tuition for adult upgrading programs was necessary to ensure sustainability of these important programs in the post-secondary sector. The ministry continues to subsidize the delivery of adult upgrading through the post-secondary institutions’ annual base operating grants.

Adult students who have the means to do so will be expected to contribute to the cost of the upgrading needed for further studies and entry into the workforce. Low-income students who cannot afford to pay will have access to grants that cover tuition and other education-related costs such as supplies, textbooks, transportation and childcare,

Government is providing one-time funding of $6.9 million in 2015-16 to help institutions transition to the new delivery model. The funding will give institutions the opportunity to plan for the changes needed if they decide to move to a tuition-based model.

Facts about adult upgrading:

  • Adult upgrading in post-secondary education focuses on literacy, basic education, academic upgrading, and employment preparation. Courses can include computer studies, education and career planning, English, science, mathematics and social sciences.
  • Adult upgrading had been tuition-free since 2008, when the Ministry of Advanced Education redirected $6.9 million in base funding to the public post-secondary system to partially compensate institutions for lost adult-upgrading tuition revenues.
  • Delivery costs have increased since 2008, and institutions have said they find it more difficult each year to maintain their adult upgrading courses on a tuition-free basis.
  • Institutions were able to start charging tuition as of Jan. 1, 2015; implementation is at the discretion of each institution.
  • Public post-secondary institutions delivered adult upgrading courses to 25,000 students and ESL to approximately 10,000 students in 2013-14.
  • Tuition fees for adult upgrading will be set by each institution up to a maximum amount of $1,600 per semester of full-time studies, or approximately $320 for a course that runs between three to five hours a week.

Facts about English as a Second Language:

  • The federal government, through Citizenship and Immigration Canada, provided funding for ESL programs and tuition at public post-secondary institutions until April 1, 2014.
  • ESL had been tuition-free since April 1, 2012. The tuition-free policy for B.C. was possible because $5.4 million from the Canada-BC Immigration Agreement supported the tuition for about 80% of the ESL students in the post-secondary system. A further $17.2 million from the agreement provided base funding for ESL programs.
  • ESL courses are accessed by immigrants who need to increase their English language skills for academic upgrading or to find jobs in the trades or professions they were trained for, before they decided to make B.C. their permanent home.
  • The federal government continues to fund tuition-free ESL for eligible immigrants through not-for-profit agencies and some post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.

Facts about Adult Upgrading Grants:

  • Upfront, non-repayable grants are available for low-income students attending adult upgrading courses, including ESL, at public post-secondary institutions.
  • Students who can show they need financial aid may receive a grant to pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies, transportation and childcare. Funding applications are available online at StudentAid BC or through public post-secondary institutions. Applications are made directly to the institution.
  • The annual budget for these grants increased by 33% to $7.6 million on April 1, 2015. The grants cover all, or a portion, of the costs of tuition, textbooks, supplies, transportation and childcare depending on the adult student’s income.
  • Students above the income threshold were previously ineligible for the grant. A more flexible approach means students who are 10% above the income threshold are now eligible for a grant to cover half of their tuition cost.
  • These changes are intended to support increased demand for financial assistance from low-income students taking upgrading or ESL.

Eighteen public post-secondary institutions deliver adult upgrading courses in British Columbia. All except the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology also provide ESL courses. The institutions are:

  • British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Camosun College
  • Capilano University
  • College of New Caledonia
  • College of the Rockies
  • Douglas College
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Langara College
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology
  • North Island College
  • Northern Lights College
  • Northwest Community College
  • Okanagan College
  • Selkirk College
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • Vancouver Community College
  • Vancouver Island University

The table below shows the maximum gross family income limits for Adult Upgrading Grant eligibility:

Family Size / Income Level 2014-15

1    $23,647

2    $29,439

3    $36,192

4    $43,941

5    $49,839

6    $56,209

7 or more    $62,581


Source: BC Government News

Dental hygiene student awards

The dental hygiene program would like to congratulate our student award recipients on their achievements for the following awards

The dental hygiene program would like to congratulate our student award recipients on their achievements for the following awards:

College of Dental Hygienists of BC-Overall Excellence: Vanessa V.

College of Dental Hygienists of BC-Excellence in Academic Achievement: Cathy Z.

College of Dental Hygienists of BC-Excellence in Clinical Proficiency: Jade S.

Edward Chesko Scholarship: Pam D.

Ellen Low Ying Roets Scholarship: Cindy Y.

Hu-Friedy Award: Megan P., Christina R., Jessey R., and Cindy Y.

Sinclair Dental Scholarship: Spring Z.

Sunstar Butler Award in Dental Hygiene: Sandra Y.

The University Women’s Club of Vancouver Pathways to Health Science Award: Jeong S.

The winter CS flyer is out!

Check out the new offerings from VCC Continuing Studies

‌‌VCC Continuing Studies is pleased to announce the following new offerings for winter and beyond:CS Flyer winter 2017 cover

East Indian Bridal Makeup and Hair Workshop
ECCE Workshop: Exploration with Clay
ECCE Workshop: Introduction to Ethics
ECCE Workshop: Partnership with Families
ECEBC Professional Development: Ethical Journey
Hairstyling Level 1 for Evening, Bridal and Photoshoots
Introduction to Practice for Non-Registered Healthcare Workers
Make a Copper Plate in a Day
Make a Ring in a Day
Portfolio Development: Photo Shoot
Stone Setting in Jewellery 1- Bezels
Stone Setting in Jewellery 2- Pave Setting


If you’re ready to upgrade your skills, change careers or prepare for a promotion, you’ve come to the right place. VCC Continuing Studies offers more than 40 certificate and diploma programs, scheduled during the day or in the evenings for maximum flexibility.

The business of beauty: makeup artist Gwen Perkins

VCC makeup artistry alumna Gwen Perkins on her double life and creative career

News-Gwen-Perkins-380For Gwen Perkins, the name of her makeup artistry business, Belle and Rebel Beauty, is more than just a play on words. “Don’t limit yourself. Don’t be just one thing,” is a mantra that Gwen not only shares with her clients, but lives by every day.

As a child, Gwen was always offering manicures and makeovers to her friends. Even as she built a successful career in business and accounting, her passion for makeup and beauty continued.

She says there was no “aha” moment when she decided to study professional makeup artistry at the age of 38. “I wanted to do it,” she says. “So I just went and did it.” 

Not ready to give up her full-time career, however, Gwen searched for local, reasonably priced programs that could be taken outside of business hours. She quickly found Vancouver Community College’s Makeup Artistry Certificate, a part-time program teaching essential makeup skills for film, photography, theatre, fashion, and bridal.

Gwen admits it was a little intimidating to plunge into a new industry and a class full of twentysomethings. Now, however, she credits her maturity and professional confidence for pulling her through the demanding program, as well as helping her succeed in such a fast-paced, creative industry.

While still a student, Gwen recalls volunteering for weekend-long pageants and being recruited for fashion shows, starting before dawn and working hectic, 12-hour days alongside professionals. “I learned pretty quickly how to put red lipstick on a moving target!” she says.

Gwen also says that being the “newbie” in these types of on-the-job scenarios can really test your confidence and your training. She remembers more than once confronting makeup artists who neglected to sanitize their tools between models—“something that VCC really pushes!” she says. “If these models get sick, they don’t work. You need to think about that.”

At one pageant, Gwen remembers asking a client to wait while she cleaned her station. The client smiled and humbly agreed. Then a small crowd gathered, eventually informing Gwen that the person she kept waiting was 2012 Miss World Canada, Tara Teng.

In the end, that makeup session went so well that Tara has since become one of Gwen’s most loyal clients, having called Gwen back to do makeup for both maternity and newborn photo shoots.

Thanks to her excellent reputation for quality and cleanliness, Gwen’s client base has grown quickly since she graduated in 2014, and now includes everyone from runway models to brides, senior executives, and even bodybuilding competitors.

Of all her clients, however, Gwen keeps a special place in her heart and her business for women suffering from conditions like eczema, acne, and cancer. She pulls out a pink leopard-print iPhone and proudly scrolls through her Instagram account to reveal astonishing before-and-after photos. 

“It’s not even a lot of makeup. It’s just the right makeup,” she explains. “Every person, whoever you are, has a side that’s stunning and beautiful. It’s really special when you can give somebody back part of their self-esteem.”


VCC is proud to welcome Gwen Perkins as a new substitute instructor in the VCC Makeup Artistry program for Fall 2016.

Want to see our Salon & Spa facilities, meet instructors, and see students in action? Join us at Experience VCC, October 26, 2016 at the Downtown campus.

Jacqueline’s story: climbing the luxury ladder

Her resume includes FIFA, Holt Renfrew, and Nordstrom, but this VCC grad started by going back to the basics

News-Jacqueline-MOBILE-292In her home country of Korea, Jacqueline Yang had built up an impressive resume. Already a media personality and entrepreneur, in 2002 she served on the Organizing Committee for the FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan, where she was responsible for coordinating the schedules of international dignitaries and VIP’s.

It was this position that solidified Jacqueline’s next career goal: to work in the luxury industry serving high-end clientele.

‌In 2004, however, Jacqueline immigrated to Canada for her children’s education. Career-wise, this meant starting over in more ways than one.

A class act

In Vancouver, Jacqueline soon found work with fashion retailers Harry Rosen and Holt Renfrew. Yet even though she regularly exceeded sales targets and won awards, she knew she needed to improve her English before taking her career to the management level.

With professional advancement in mind, in 2010, Jacqueline first earned her Canadian high school prerequisites in Vancouver Community College's academic upgrading program, then entered the eight-month intensive administrative assistant certificate program, graduating in 2013.

Throughout her studies, Jacqueline was also a regular visitor to the VCC Learning Centre, which offers free, daily tutoring and career services to all VCC students. “I am so grateful for the tremendous support I received at the Learning Centre,” she says. “It hasn’t been easy learning a new subject in English, especially after many years of working.” 

As Jacqueline began to apply for jobs, VCC’s tutors remained by her side, helping to fine-tune her cover letters and resumes, even edit her LinkedIn profile. When interviews started happening, the tutors would rehearse questions and answers with Jacqueline until she felt comfortable and confident.

Back to business

After graduating, Jacqueline’s was soon hired at a dental corporation. She excelled at managing several clinics, but still held on to her career goal of returning to the world of luxury.

With eyes on the fashion industry, Jacqueline soon began attending local fashion events and worked hard to build connections in Vancouver’s high-end retail scene.

It was only a matter of time before Jacqueline caught the eye of the hiring team at Vancouver’s new, then unopened Nordstrom department store. Now a sales associate in the designer handbag department, Jacqueline is not only back to interacting with VIP clientele, but thanks to her English and administrative skills, she’s well on her way to a management position.

We wish Jackie all the best in her continued rise to the top!


The VCC Learning Centre offers free tutoring to support students academically and with career transitions. To learn more, visit www.vcc.ca/tlc.



Looking for a great value lunch spot downtown?

Cafe 335 is a collaborative program between Coast Mental Health and VCC culinary arts

News-Cafe-335-MOBILE-292Original article from Hastings Crossing

Looking for a great value new lunch spot? Cafe 335, located at 335 West Pender Street, may just do the trick. This social enterprise serves up breakfast and lunch, and is run by graduates of the Culinary Skills Training Program, a collaborative program between Coast Mental Health and Vancouver Community College (VCC).

The Culinary Skills Training Program, which began in late 2014, provides training to at-risk young adults who struggle with various barriers to employment. The program is 4 weeks long and run by a VCC culinary instructor. Graduates are invited to continue onto VCC’s 12-month diploma program. Cafe 335 provides an arena for these students to practice their learned skills in a real-world setting. There have been 29 graduates of the program and many have moved on to work at places such as The Keg, Liquids and Solids, JamJar, the Vancouver Fish Company, Safeway, the Foggy Dew and BC Place.

LeeAnn Deacon is the manager of Cafe 335 and has seen all of the graduates go through the program since 2014. She has witnessed firsthand what the program can do for struggling youth. Though the process can have its challenges, graduates of the program come out with not only employable culinary skills, but soft skills that they can take with them throughout their lives. “The reward is witnessing incredible growth in our employees,” she says of the program.

Cafe 335 serves a breakfast menu from 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., which contains a variety of options from breakfast wraps to bagels. The lunch menu, served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., contains a selection of affordable sandwiches, soups and salads, with a different feature every day. Be sure to try the butter chicken sandwich! With all menu items being under $8, it is definitely one of the more affordable lunch options in the downtown area. For your next office event, Cafe 335 also offers catering for breakfast and lunch.


Media release: VCC collaborates with BMW Group Canada

VCC, BMW, and MINI to integrate automotive collision and refinishing training materials

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The recent collaborative agreement between Vancouver Community College (VCC) and BMW Group Canada will assist in the development of high-level automotive collision and refinishing technicians. This is a two-year agreement in which BMW Group Canada will share their online curriculum with VCC students and staff until September 2018.

VCC will integrate the BMW and MINI training materials that are aligned with British Columbia provincial training standards into the curriculum of the automotive collision and refinishing program.

VCC's Dean of Trades, Technology and Design, Brett Griffiths states that "the collaboration between VCC and BMW Group Canada will enable graduates from VCC's automotive collision and refinishing programs to be proficient with BMW's stringent guidelines required to restore these sophisticated vehicles to their safety specifications."

For VCC, the BMW Group Canada collaboration is part of its strategic direction to work more closely with industry partners to provide highly skilled and qualified workers. "This collaboration clearly demonstrates our automotive program's commitment to meet the needs of both our students and our industry parters," says Griffiths.


Media can contact:

Carolyn Hornell
Marketing & Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
t: 604.871.7000, ext. 7538
e: chornell@vcc.ca


Learn more:

VCC Transportation Trades   

BMW Group Canada


Media release: Disaster simulations at VCC

250 health students will be participating in community emergency training

Nursing disaster simulations following ShakeOutBCVCC nursing students diagnosing a fellow student for training purposes.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – 250 health science students from Vancouver Community College (VCC) and other Lower Mainland post-secondaries will be participating in community disaster training at VCC through eight different simulations on Thursday, October 20. The drills will take place immediately following ShakeOutBC and a full evacuation of the college.

“The importance of this Interprofessional Education (IPE) simulation is to assist the students in understanding the importance of working with teams of people that you do not know towards the same goal of helping as many people as possible following a disaster,” says Shirley Clarke, instructor, bachelor of science in nursing. “Many people know they should plan for the "big event" but few people do it. This event will heighten the awareness of the need for preparation, self-reliance and cooperation.”

Simulations such as this are a foundation to achieving safe, high quality, accessible, patient-centered care. VCC hopes this will be a building block to disaster preparedness for the entire college, then outwards to the community.

Video and photo opportunities available

Date: Thursday, October 20, 2016

10:20a.m. Shake Out drill followed by full evacuation of college
10:36a.m. Disaster simulation drills, approximately 2 hours
Location: VCC Broadway campus, 1155 W. Broadway, Building B


Media can contact:

Danielle Libonati
Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531



Funding announcements launch Apprenticeship Recognition Week at VCC

Minister Shirley Bond announces investments in youth trades and apprenticeship innovation


On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Vancouver Community College (VCC) welcomed Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour to the automotive collision & refinishing shop on the Broadway campus for some special funding announcements as part of Apprenticeship Recognition Week (Oct. 31 – Nov. 6, 2016). 

Minister Bond’s first announcement highlighted a $15 million investment for equipment in youth trades programs, such as Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training (ACE IT), which allows students to start their trades training while still in secondary school, thus allowing them a faster route into apprenticeships and the workforce.

A grant of $16,400 was then announced for an innovation pilot at VCC, in which the traditional two-week technical training for level 1 auto glass technicians will be redesigned to include online self-directed studies, thus reducing apprentices’ time away from work to two days.

The presentation concluded with statements by Gary Herman, CEO of BC’s Industry Training Authority and Dr. Peter Nunoda, president and CEO of VCC.

“By recognizing tradespeople, we honour the dedication these students have to their craft and the commitment to their industry,” said Dr. Nunoda. “Red Seal certification is the sign of true excellence, and funding like this is a great support.”


News releases:

B.C. government invests $15 million for trades equipment in schools

Innovation pilot enhances apprenticeship experience at Vancouver Community College


Learn more:

VCC Transportation Trades           

VSB Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training (ACE IT) programs


VCC takes quake drill to next level

It's the annual ShakeOut B.C. earthquake drill. But for health care students, the real drill has just begun

Shakeout Health IPE triage tag

Original article by Rafferty Baker / CBC News

The alarm sounds and Vancouver Community College's Broadway campus empties. Students and staff gather in a field across the road. Once they're given the "all clear" signal, they go back to their classrooms.

It's the annual ShakeOut B.C. earthquake drill. But for the health care students, the real drill has just begun.

Volunteers given realistic makeup wounds are strewn about the building's third and fourth floors. The actors do their best impressions of suffering earthquake victims and groups of nursing, dental hygiene and health-unit coordinator students are led from victim to victim.

"Some of it is very realistic," said VCC Health Sciences dean Debbie Sargent.

"We have casualties who have fractures, who have had seizures, who are pregnant and are experiencing cramping, people who have heart disease and have heart, chest pain. 

All kinds of disorders and casualties are being found by groups of students as they rotate between the two floors."

Shakeout Health IPE assesment

Trami Pham is a student in VCC's health unit coordinator program. Her forehead was adorned with a big gash and her shirt looked blood-stained. 

"I've got a head laceration," she explained, adding that she didn't feel her performance was especially convincing.

"I'm terrible. I'm pretending to be unconscious."

"I feel like it puts the [bachelor of science in nursing] students in a real life situation, rather than having, like, having to read off paper and imagine it," said Pham. "This way they actually get to experience it."

Shakeout Health IPE Trami Phan

Andrea Jung has been a practical nurse for 12 years, but she's back at school as a BSN student.

"It's been pretty real," she said of the training exercise.

"It is realistic when you look at the person's eyes and you can see that they're scared. For me, as a nurse, I just want to stay with them and help them, but this exercise is to triage," said Jung. 

"It's to see who is the most important person to attend to right away, who can be delayed and who's okay and just needs to be kept calm."

Shakeout Health IPE Andrea Jung

According to ShakeOut B.C., more than 800,000 people in the province took part in the annual drill this year. Worldwide, more than 50 million people participated.

But VCC decided to take the opportunity to step up the drill and provide the training scenarios for health-care students.

"It's a very practical experience for them to really understand and realize what could happen if there was a real earthquake or another kind of event," said Sargent.

"Shakeout B.C. is just a perfect, perfect exercise for people to gain awareness of what they need to do in case of an earthquake.

The practice makes it more real and helps them to be better prepared if there was an earthquake."

Jung agreed that the drill seemed helpful for training.

"it's been a really great exercise — not easy to go into a disaster," she said.

"It's something that I've never personally been through, but it's been a really good experience to see how I would feel, like, I'm feeling the panic, the heart rate racing and just, what should I do? Who do I go to first? It's been challenging but also fun."


See more

CBC Vancouver facebook video | Did you take part in #BCShakeOut?

CBC News 6pm
| Skip to 39:40


Can you picture yourslelf in a health care career? VCC offers industry-leading programs in nursing, dental hygiene, medical lab technology, and more. 


VCC’s student-designed fashion label to be featured in local boutique

Main Street's Bird on a Wire Creation's will carry two tote designs

Fashion Coloure totes news

Original article by The Georgia Straight

Though it’s no surprise that the designers behind Bird on a Wire Creation’s latest stock hail from Vancouver—championing local markers is an important part of the Main Street boutique’s m.o.—their academic backgrounds may come as a surprise to some.

And by academic backgrounds, we mean these peeps are still in school. In fact, the two recently introduced tote bags are the products of six continuing-studies students currently enrolled in Vancouver Community College’s new fashion design and production diploma program.

They’re the first locally designed items to be presented to the public as part of the postsecondary institution’s new Colure label.

Speaking to the Straight at Bird on a Wire, VCC’s fashion program coordinator Andrea Korens explains that the courses are meant to offer students hands-on experience in the fashion production process.

Both the Oh-So tote ($60), which is adorned with gold, swirling patterns, and the Sling bag ($80), with its grey felt construction and chevron detailing, were designed and produced collaboratively by students during the first six weeks of the program.

“We found that students work so much better in context,” notes Korens. “So, for example, why is it important to learn the costing of this product? When they actually see how it impacts the retail sales of the product, it’s like learning through experience. It becomes so much more real and they retain it so much better.”

Six bags—three of each style—are now available at Bird on a Wire (2535 Main Street). All proceeds will go toward VCC’s Sally Hudson scholarship, which is awarded to outstanding pupils in the school’s fashion programs.

Students in the fashion-design and production program will also craft T-shirts, blouses, and dresses in subsequent courses. These will be sold as part of the Colure label either online or at local boutiques.

“I think, for the shops, it’s great,” says Korens, “because all of a sudden they have this introduction to this next generation of young designers who are going to be entering the marketplace.”


Learn more 

VCC fashion program redesigned for industry success

Media Release: Fiat Mode XXIX

VCC Fashion - program highlights 

the Bistro

Take out or dine in Tuesday and Wednesday


The Bistro restaurant at VCC's Downtown campus is run by students and instructors in the hospitality management program. Patrons can choose from a wide variety of salads, sharing plates, side plates, entrees, desserts and beverages in a relaxed atmosphere. The Bistro aims to please your taste buds and your budget!

The current menu has a range of comfort foods for those cold wet days, and lighter fare for those hanging onto summer.

Days: Tuesday and Wednesday
Hours: 10:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Dates: September - December 7, 2016

Call to place your take out order or reserve a table at 604.443.8352.

The Bistro is a licensed establishment. Reservations are recommended.

Instructor feature: VCC Music’s Alan Matheson

Multi-talented musician, composer, performer, and teacher Alan Matheson talks talent and inspiration

News-Alan-Matheson-292When Vancouver Community College (VCC) music instructor Alan Matheson says, “I’ve been doing this for a while,” he’s not kidding. 

In fact, Alan can’t remember a time when music was not only a part of his life, but the thing that inspired and drove him more than anything else.

It helps, of course, to grow up in a record store, of which his father owned several in their hometown of Calgary in the 60s and 70s. While not musicians themselves, both Alan’s parents, as well as his grandmother, were avid music listeners and concertgoers.

Even as a 4-year-old actor on the children’s TV show Romper Room, Alan remembers bringing records on the show and talking enthusiastically about music with the audience. By the age of 5, he had decided unequivocally that he would become a composer, and began learning the piano.

A few years later, Alan’s father gave him a record by traditional jazz cornet player Bix Beiderbecke. “And my 9-year-old mind realized, holy moly, he was composing and playing at the same time,” says Alan, who then also took up the trumpet and began a lifelong fascination with jazz.

The right progression 

Today, as an accomplished performer, composer, and teacher in both trumpet and piano, Alan says that he continually sees this same intensity and passion in his students. “It’s rigorous getting into any music school,” he says. “Like anything in the arts, you do it for its own sake—for the art and the self-expression.”

Not counting his toddler-television debut, Alan’s own music career began right here at VCC, as a 17-year-old student in the then brand new music program. Alan credits jazz instructor Dave Robbins and trumpet instructor Barbara Butler for setting him on his professional path. “These two people actually changed my life in a lot of ways,” he says.

After moving on to study in Toronto and then Chicago (under internationally recognized trumpet professor Vincent Cichowicz), Alan found his way home to Vancouver in 1985. Shortly after, Alan became an in-demand piano and trumpet teacher, not only here at VCC but also the University of British Columbia and Capilano University; this, in addition to frequently performing with groups ranging from his own jazz and big band ensembles to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

The braver, the better

Drawing on a lifelong commitment to playing, composing, and teaching music, Alan’s mentorship to VCC students is invaluable. 

His main advice for those considering a music career is simple. “Get out there,” he says. Go to concerts, absorb the culture, talk to musicians. “I think a lot of young musicians are really quite shy. I had to push through that too, but I wanted to know about the music so badly that something would take over!”

His second tip: “Don’t dabble.” Choose your interest areas and find out as much as you can. “Dig into them,” says Alan, “and you will excel as a performer as well as a scholar.”

According to Alan, the advantage of a music program like VCC’s is that students are truly challenged to develop this expertise—in fact learning some skills that surpass many four-year university degrees—while also being exposed to a diversity of styles. In his decades of experience, Alan has found VCC to be one of the few environments in which music students can develop more than a single talent.

“It’s the ones who can do a bunch of different things, but do them all really well,” says Alan; “these are the people I see keeping going.”

If anyone, he would know.


See Alan play as a member of Sal Ferreras’ Poetic License, at the Vancouver Writers Fest Literary Cabaret on Oct. 21.

Interested in learning more about VCC’s diploma, degree, and community music programs? Join us at Experience VCC on Oct. 26 for an interactive workshop on rhythm studies, and listen to VCC’s student Motown band. 

Best of Vancouver 2016

Georgia Straight readers have chosen VCC for culinary, languages and CS!


Vancouverites have spoken.

In the Georgia Straight’s 21st annual Best of Vancouver issue, Vancouver Community College was the Readers Choice winner as the #1 professional culinary school in the Lower Mainland.

Voters in the online survey also selected VCC among the top three places to learn a new language and best college/school/university for continuing education in the region.

Many VCC alumni have been recognized as well, check out the growing list below:

Best local classical ensemble: #2 Turning Point Ensemble
VCC faculty members Francois Houle (clarinet), Marc Destrube (violin)
Best local band (signed): #1 Mother Mother
VCC alumni Ryan Guldemond, Jasmine Parkin, Jeremy Page
Best local band (signed): #2 Dan Mangan
VCC alumni John Walsh, Kenton Loewen
Best local band (unsigned): #2 Two Apple Tobacco
VCC alumnus Jordan Kling
Best custom jewellery store: #2 Era Design
VCC alumna Rosemary Bartram

Best local jewellery designers: article
VCC alumna Kara Koo and Anita Sikma Design


Plate with the very best of them as a culinary arts pro

VCC culinary programs offer the skills and designations students need to become respected cooks

Culinary news insideHaving long established itself as one of the top culinary schools in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Community College (VCC) facilitates programs that result in the skills, experience and designation students need to become respected cooks — locally and globally.

In particular, VCC’s culinary arts (professional cook 1), culinary arts (professional cook 2) and culinary arts (cook) apprentice offerings serve as building blocks to obtaining the coveted Red Seal designation.

“The pathway to a Red Seal, which is the benchmark set out by the Industry Training Authority for skilled trades, means finishing levels 1 and 2 then completing the required number of work-based hours and coming back for the educational component of the apprenticeship training when a cook is sponsored by an employer,” says Collin Gill, VCC’s culinary arts department head.

While professional cook 1 takes seven months to complete, professional cook 2 takes four months and the apprentice program takes five weeks, full-time, or 10 weeks part-time, Gill says all VCC professional cook students receive a balance of theory and practical application. This includes experiencein the school’s teaching kitchens and service outlets where instructional activities include demonstrations, hands-on practice and group discussions.

“They not only learn how to handle ingredients or gain the knife skills they need to prepare culinary items, but VCC students gain the know-how to develop menus, adhere to industry health and safety standards whenhandling food, implement kitchen management for inventory and cost control, and more,” says Gill.

And although students can find work after completing professional cook 1 and 2, Gill says it is obtaining the Red Seal designation that opens the doors to higher positions as well as a global career. “One of the greatest benefits of being a cook is the ability to travel and because the Red Seal is internationally recognized, you can take your career around the world,” says Gill. “It isa statement that you achieved this benchmark and that is something chefs and cooks alike hold in high regard.”


Original article published in Metro Vancouver.

Get your career cooking! Sign up now to tour the VCC kitchens, meet instructors and ask questions at an upcoming culinary arts info session. Professional cook 1 offers a monthly intake. Professional cook 2, meanwhile, has starts in September and January.

Student success story: Bronwyn Vaisey

VCC culinary ACE-IT student wins largest undergraduate scholarship offered in Canada

Culinary Bronwyn VaiseyVancouver Technical Secondary graduate Bronwyn Vaisey is an accomplished culinary arts student, advocate for climate action and food sustainability, food-service worker, community volunteer and student council representative. This year, she added “prestigious scholarship recipient” to the list.

In Grade 12, Vaisey studied culinary arts every other day, learning applied cooking skills in a kitchen through the Ace It program. Since graduating, she has been completing her culinary arts studies at Vancouver Community College, and will soon be eligible for her Level 1 Red Seal accreditation. While in school, she managed to work three shifts a week as a line cook in a busy restaurant.    

As if her culinary arts studies and job didn’t keep her busy enough, Vaisey has an impressive portfolio of volunteer work. She has volunteered with the Vancouver Food Policy Council, an organization working to improve food sustainability and accessibility in Vancouver, and has worked with Kids for Climate Action to advocate for environmental sustainability. Throughout secondary school she was on the green team, debate club and sustainability club, and volunteered in a community garden. At Vancouver Technical, she was elected sustainability representative to student council. 

Motivated by the passionate people she has worked alongside in the past several years, Vaisey became involved in environmental and food-sustainability advocacy. “The environment is something we can feasibly change. It’s something I can work on in my local community, but can also make a greater impact on the world around me.”

Her years of hard work paid off in a big way when she was nominated by her school for a Loran scholarship. As the largest undergraduate scholarship offered in Canada, the selection process is rigorous. Of the 4,273 students who applied for the scholarship, 80 finalists advanced to national selections in Toronto. Only 31 of those students received the scholarship, representing less than 1% of applicants. Vaisey was part of that very select group, earning her $100,000 over four years to pursue undergraduate studies.

Vaisey will use the scholarship to study commerce this year at Queen’s University. She intends to stay involved with her volunteer work and advocacy, and hopes to tie her passions for food sustainability, the environment and culinary arts into her career path.


Original article published in BC Government News.

Get your career cooking! Sign up now to tour the VCC kitchens, meet instructors, and ask questions at an upcoming culinary arts info session. Professional cook 1 offers a monthly intake. Professional cook 2 has starts in September and January.

Media Release: Fiat Mode XXIX

VCC Fashion storms the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week

Fiat Mode 2016 EtkaVANCOUVER, B.C. – Nine students from Vancouver Community College ’s (VCC)Fashion program will take to the stage at Vancouver Fashion Week on Wednesday September 21 at 5p.m.  Fiat Mode XXIX, VCC’s annual graduate fashion gala, is the culmination of two year’s hard work for the students. Each student is given the opportunity to explore their creative inspiration through the technical skills they have learned in the diploma program. The result is nine unique collections that range from evening wear to avant-garde and everything in between.

“Our program allows graduates to pursue entrepreneurship or a career in a small or large apparel company,” says Andrea Korens,co-program coordinator, fashion. “Showcasing their collections at an event like Vancouver Fashion Week gives them the exposure they need to source potential customers and employers.”

After spending countless hours on their collections these VCC fashion students are sure to impress the industry and inspire the public.

Fiat Mode XXIX is open to the public. Tickets are available at vanfashionweek.com/event/

For nearly 30 years, the VCC fashion program remains one of the best in B.C. The newly launched Fashion Design & Production Diploma mimics the real-world fashion industry. Students will experience a fast paced production process while learning fundamental skills. The self-directed garment project gives the opportunity to hone in on their craft and personal sartorial interests. The Fashion Design & Production Certificate is the only part-time fashion design program in Canada. The emphasis is on technical skills, creativity, and a fast paced production process. The Fashion Merchandising Associate Certificate is a one year program that prepares students for the business of fashion through hands-on experience and knowledge of fashion fundamentals and theoryNon-credit courses are the place to test the fashion waters, upgrade, and develop required elements for design school portfolios.


Photo and interview opportunities available:

Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Time: 6:00p.m.

Location: Vancouver Fashion Week Media Lounge (Upstairs at the Chinese Cultural Centre, 50 E. Pender St.)

More info: vcc.ca/fashionshow

To RSVP for the show and for interview opportunities and high resolution photos, please contact:
Danielle Libonati
Marketing and Communications Officer      
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531
E: dlibonati@vcc.ca  



VCC and Samsung unite to create repair program

Introducing the only Samsung-certified appliance repair program in Western Canada

CS Samsung Tech classroom mockStarting this October, a new partnership between Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. will make the school the only Samsung-certified appliance repair trainer in Western Canada.

“The Samsung and VCC partnership is an excellent example of the importance of industry joining with colleges to train students for today’s technologies,” says VCC president, Peter Nunoda. “Students get the most relevant education for the marketplace delivered by experienced instructors in a college setting.”

Having successfully delivered a similar appliance repair training program at a Toronto college, Samsung wanted to provide the same training in Western Canada and turned to VCC. The result is the 10-week, part-time Samsung Tech Institute - Appliance Repair Technician - Professional Pathways program, which will focus on offering students practical training on the latest appliances to ensure they can operate, diagnose and service Samsung products.

It will be facilitated from a state-of-the-art lab outfitted with six major Samsung appliances that was designed by the electronics giant and the college. The partnership will also see students using Samsung tablets and digital displays for the most innovative learning experience.

Brett Griffiths is the dean of trades, technology and design at VCC. He says with classes being taught by instructors who are Red Seal-certified and Samsung-trained with industry experience, the program is already generating interest from several appliance businesses and repair service companies. “Successful students receive a certification from Samsung Canada and an award of achievement from VCC,” he says.

“So, the program will potentially open up many opportunities and pathways for students within the industry including: the ability to service Samsung customers more proficiently, increased knowledge of repairing Samsung products, which gives them an edge over other appliance repair technicians; and career growth like possible job advancement, wage increase, and more job opportunities.” Griffiths says the program will also aim to increase the number of qualified service technicians and Samsung brand ambassadors within Canada for Samsung home appliances, including the company’s latest microwaves, refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, washers and dryers.


To learn more about this offering, attend an upcoming information session at VCC’s Broadway campus.

Where's my class?

Find out where your class is on your first day of school.

 Find out where your class is on your first day of school.

Program Start Date Campus Classroom
ASL/Deaf Studies Sept. 6 BWY 2556 
Access to Practical Nursing - NEW Sept. 6 BWY Building B, 1208
Acute Care Home Support/RCA Sept. 6 BWY Building B, 2206
Administrative Assistant Aug. 29 DTN 622
Architectural Technician Cert Sept. 1 DTN 714
Asian Culinary Arts (15-1510) Sept. 6 DTN 205c
Auto Collision & Refinish Dip Sept. 6 BWY G229
Auto Collision Repair (16-1131) Aug. 30 BWY Building A, 1509
Auto Service Tech (16-1164) Sept. 6 BWY Building A, 2016
Auto Service Tech (16-1165) Sept. 6 BWY Building A, 2016
Auto Refinishing Prep (16-1160) Sept. 6  BWY  G219 
Auto Service Tech  Sept. 6  BWY Building B, 1510
Bach Science Nursing Yr 1 of 4  Sept. 6  BWY  Building B, 2227 
Baking & Pastry Arts Artisan Specialty  Sept. 6  DTN 216 
Baking & Pastry Arts ESL - Pastry Oct. 3 DTN 216
Baking & Pastry Arts - Pastry Oct. 11 DTN 216
Career Awareness  Sept. 6  DTN  309 
Civil Structure Tech Cert Sept. 1 DTN 725
Culinary Arts Diploma  Sept. 6  BWY  Building B, 1215 
Dental Assisting  Aug. 29  DTN  240 
Dental Hygiene - Year 1 Sept. 1 DTN 501
Dental Reception Coordinator Aug. 29 DTN 240
Digital Graphic Design Sept. 6 DTN 819
Food Service Careers Sept. 6 DTN 400
Hair Design Tuesday - Friday 11 a.m. Sept. 6 DTN 206
Hair Design Monday - Thursday 9 a.m. Sept. 6 DTN 113B 
Hair Design Tuesday - Friday 9 a.m. Sept. 6 DTN Salon/spa (201) 
Health Care Assistant ESL Sept. 6 BWY Building B, 2230/31
Hospitality Management - Yr 1, Sem 1, A Sept. 6 DTN 416 at 1 p.m.
Hospitality Management - Yr 1, Sem 1, B Sept. 6 DTN 416 at 9 a.m.
Hospitality Management - Yr 1, Sem 1, C Sept. 6 DTN 413 at 8 a.m.
Hospitality Management - Yr 1, Sem 1, D Sept. 6 DTN 429 at 8 a.m.
Hospitality Management - Yr 1, Sem 1, D Sept. 6 DTN 425 at 8 a.m.
Hospitality Management - Yr 2, Sem 3, All Sept. 6 DTN  420 at 8 a.m.
Hospitality Management - Yr 3 Sept. 6 DTN 423 at 8 a.m.
Hospitality Management - Yr 4, Sem 7 Sept. 6 DTN 240 at 8 a.m.
Heavy Mechanical Trades Foundation Sept. 12 Annacis Island  
Jewellery Art & Design Yr 1 Sept. 6 DTN 156 
Legal Administrative Assistant Sept. 6 DTN 618
Medical Lab Assistant Sept. 19 BWY Building B, 3205
Medical Office Assistant Sept. 6 DTN 629
Medical Transciptionist Sept. 6 DTN 829
Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant Yr 1 Sept. 6 BWY Building B, 4209
Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant Yr 2 Sept. 6 BWY Building B, 4217
Practical Nursing  Sept. 6 BWY G222
Professional Cook 1 Sept. 6 DTN 305B at 7 a.m.
Professional Cook 1 (15-1518) Aug. 29 DTN 305B at 7 a.m.
Professional Cook 1 (15-1519) Sept. 26 DTN 305B at 7 a.m.
Professional Cook 1 (15-1520) Oct. 24 DTN 305B at 7 a.m.
Professional Cook 1 (15-1522) Nov. 21 DTN 305B at 7 a.m.
Professional Cook 2 (CRN 74062) Aug. 29 DTN 320B
Professional Cook 2 (CRN 70361) Aug.29 DTN 316A
Professional Cook 2 (CRN 70396) Aug. 29 DTN 316A
Professional Cook 2 (CRN 73442) Aug. 29 DTN 305B
Retail & Hospitality Careers Sept. 6 DTN 311
Skin & Body Treatment (14-1346) Sept. 6 DTN 113A
Skin & Body Treatment Sept. 7 DTN 218
Steel Detailing Technician Sept. 6 DTN 718
TESOL Diploma Sept. 6    

Michelle's story: from the military to math class

An accomplished Canadian Forces veteran shares her career transition through VCC

Michelle Chase University TransferMichelle Chase always knew she would have a military career, not only because her family has a long tradition of serving, but she was always drawn by the personal challenge and the opportunity to see the world.

"I can't even remember all the places I've been," says Michelle of her 21 years in the Canadian Army. She recalls operations that ranged from domestic natural disasters like wildfires and ice storms, to Olympic Games security, to the civil war in Syria where she specialized in communication electronics and first aid with the B.C.-based 39 Canadian Brigade Group (CBG).

Of course, being a soldier for over two decades takes a physical toll. "Your knees are the one thing that's going to take a beating," says Michelle, describing routine fitness tests that involve carrying 25 kg of gear, dragging fellow soldiers, and digging trenches. In March of 2015, Michelle accepted a medical retirement with the outgoing rank of sergeant.

The word "retired," however, is not something you'd immediately associate with Michelle. At 40 years old, she has a bright, youthful energy and is eager to start her next chapter. After only one month of medical leave, she had already researched potential career paths, and decided on the Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ultrasound) diploma at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

To enter this program, however, Michelle needed high school-level prerequisites including Math 12, which she is currently completing here at Vancouver Community College (VCC).

"At first it was a little scary!" says Michelle about studying again for the first time in over 20 years. She was quick to adapt, however, and in spring 2016 even won VCC's Elizabeth MacLeod award, which recognizes progress and achievement in mathematics.

"The staff here are honestly some of the best staff I've ever come across in anything - not just in a school environment but in any organization," she says. "They really know what they're doing, and they really care."

Michelle is happy to have served her country and is proud of her military career, but is also excited about having a new purpose. "In the army, your basic trade is to survive and be able to fight battles," she says. "Now I'm really looking forward to doing something in the medical field. After spending 21 years of my life learning how to take life away, I want to spend the rest of my life helping to give it back."


VCC offers basic education, upgrading, and university transfer programs for all ages, abilities, and levels of education. Learn more at an upcoming information session.



Scheduled Website Maintenance

VCC.CA will be undergoing scheduled server maintenance from 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27 to noon on Sunday, Aug. 28.

VCC.CA will be undergoing scheduled server maintenance from noon on Saturday, Aug. 27 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28. During this time a scaled down version of the site will be available, but there will be no access to functions including application and registration.  

We apologize for any inconvenience, please make sure you get your applications or forms completed before noon on Saturday,  Aug. 27, or check back with us after 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28.

Thanks for your patience!

VCC no stranger to hair education

A look into VCC's 10-month hair design program

As published in Vancouver Metro.

You can snip, style and dye your way to a career in the hair industry in just 10 months at Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) hair design program — whether you just finished high school or are looking at second career options.

“Our program is a good mix of students who have one thing in common: They want to create,” says Lucy Griffith VCC’s hair design and skin and body therapy department head.
Having first offered a barbering program in the 1950s, VCC is no stranger to hair education and after a $1.8-million makeover to its facilities three years ago, which includes a training salon as well as a five-star spa that is open to the public, students are getting the type of training that gets them hired.‌

“The program is divided into three levels,” explains Griffith. “The first two cover all the core aspects of the industry and the final level is specifically designed for students to complete their chosen course of study. And they start cutting mannequin hair in the first week.”

After two months, once students get comfortable with their scissors and have practiced on fellow classmates, they move onto working with the public in the VCC Salon and Spa. This, says Griffith, is an opportunity for them to encounter a wide range of hair types and interact with clients. Students also complete two practicum placements to round out the program.

“I tell students to see the practicums as two-week interviews and a way to investigate how a salon operates,” says Griffith. “They may be assisting stylists or doing apprenticeship work.”

Aside from the technical aspects of the hair industry such as cutting, styling, dying, and chemical waving or relaxing, VCC students also learn the client services and business sides of the industry, including developing a marketing plan and salon development. VCC hair design grads are now eligible to take the Red Seal Certificate of Completion exam from the Industry Training Authority and can go on to challenge the practical aspect.

Due to demand, VCC is offering a third intake of the program for which prospective students can still apply.


Learn more about VCC's hair design program by attending an upcoming information session.

VCC Asian culinary course deliciously unique

Celebrating the 41-year history of North America’s only Asian culinary arts training program

News-Asian-culinary-arts-380For the past 41 years, students at North America’s only Asian culinary arts program have been learning the techniques of cooking Cantonese cuisine with additional lessons in Mandarin and Szechuan cooking, dim sum and barbecue. However, as the Lower Mainland’s population and industry demand have evolved, so has the programming at the Vancouver Community College (VCC) offering.

“In 1975, there weren’t many Chinese restaurants and the ones that were around had a hard time hiring people, so VCC wanted to train local people who were originally from China and Hong Kong so they could earn a living,” explains Barry Tsang, himself a former student of the program and the head of VCC’s Asian culinary arts department. “Now, the students are from all over the world and Vancouver’s restaurant scene changed so we expanded to include more Southeast Asian countries.”

And while the full-time, 20-week offering covers theory and practical training in the classroom and in a fully equipped commercial kitchen, which operates in conjunction with a cafeteria open to the public, it isn’t only for those looking to launch a culinary career, says Tsang.

“All the recipes we taught used to be commercial so they couldn’t be made at home but now we include recipes students can make at home,” he says. “So, some of our students are just looking to learn new skills they can enjoy with their family and friends. But all of those who apply need to have a passion and love cooking.”

During their time in the certificate program, students learn to prepare and cook meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables using cooking methods such as stirfrying, pan-frying, deep-frying, broiling, braising and steaming. Also covered are food safety and sanitation standards as well as the business side of restaurant operations, including food purchasing, and inventory procedures.

“After two or three months, I can really see confidence building up in students and see they are becoming professionals,” says Tsang. “When they finish here, students should be able to work in restaurants that specialize in Chinese cuisine.”

VCC’s Asian culinary arts program has two intakes per year, one in February and the other in September.


Original article published in Metro Vancouver.

Get your career cooking! Sign up now to tour the VCC kitchens, meet instructors and ask questions at an upcoming culinary arts info session.

Hospitality management executive cohort: Q&A with Joel Rivera

The Westin Bayshore's HR director talks success in the hotel business

News-Joel-Rivera-380Meet Joel Rivera, a graduate of the Bachelor of Hospitality Management Executive Cohort program.‌

What is your current career? 

I am very happy to be the Director of Human Resources for one of the most iconic hotels in Vancouver, The Westin Bayshore.

Why did you choose this career?

I happened into this industry because it was a job while in university, but I fell in love with it immediately. There is something about the hospitality industry that just enables me to be me. Whether it's helping guests "be a better you," "thrive in their space" or "create memorable moments," it's who I am and it's a natural fit.

Why did you choose VCC?

I wanted to complete my post-secondary education, but needed to work while doing so. VCC offered the best program that not only catered to my educational needs and goals, but also had the flexibility to best fit my working lifestyle. It also allowed for me to still keep some balance in my personal life.

What makes you glad you chose VCC?

VCC has instructors who are tuned into what is happening in the industry; the majority of them are currently working in the industry. The in-class and online materials are valid and filled with "real" up to date examples. You don't hear, "I remember when..." Instead, the program covers subject matter such as social media marketing, current HR hot topics such as employee/labour relations, RFP and bidding using our current markets. It was great to get takeaways that we can use immediately in our day to day work.

My favourite aspect about the Executive Cohort programs would have to be the learning from my peers. There is such a wealth of knowledge in these classes! We had hospitality practitioners from every area; GMs, operations, finance, revenue management, sales and HR.

"As an HR professional, this program gave me the skills to be a true business partner within my organization, to add value to the team. When I sit in meetings, I am confident."


Train to excel in hospitality management. Registration is now open for classes starting in September.



VCC fashion program redesigned for industry success

VCC program move from traditional fashion shows to entrepreneurship, merchandising, and production

‌‌VCC's fashion program is undergoing a transformation. In an effort to meet the needs of the fashion industry and to ensure VCC students continue to be the most sought after graduates – we have made significant changes to reflect the industry’s goal of ‘selling apparel’.

The past model of learning the skills, producing a collection, and showcasing it on the runway has been altered to become more in alignment with what many of the major apparel brands in Vancouver want. Lululemon, MEC, Aritzia, Plum, and Arcteryx, for instance, don’t exhibit fashion shows.

VCC’s newly named Fashion Design & Production is a two-year diploma program that puts fundamental skills into immediate context through a series of fashion cycles that allow students to experience a fast-paced production process including: design, drafting, construction, marketing and sales. The cycles grow in complexity while offering students a range of sales experience including, ecommerce, consignment, and custom design.

Second-year students further their skills while completing a self-directed garment project. This is what VCC’s fashion programs have been known for and where student’s creativity shines through in their collections, ranging from bridal to children’s wear, swimsuits to ready to wear, and everything in between.

Rather than the traditional fashion show, the goal is now to provide the tools to pursue entrepreneurship through business planning, web design, ecommerce, and marketing courses. Or, for students choosing a career in the apparel sector there are courses in overseas production, Gerber CAD, Illustrator, and grading. An integrated practicum gives graduates real-life experience and a solid foundation for their professional network.


Is your future in fashion? Read more about the programs, courses, and opportunities in fashion design at VCC.

Access to transportation trades

New program gives members of the Deaf community trades training

Many individuals in the Deaf community have considered a career in the automotive industry, but are unsure where to start. Vancouver Community College (VCC) is excited to offer a new program designed to increased trades training and apprenticeship opportunities for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Access to Transportation Trades is a full-time, eight week program focusing on mechanics, auto collision, safety training and forklift training and certification.The class will be comprised of all Deaf and hard of hearing students, with interpreters being provided for both shop and classroom settings. 

For more information on this free new offering at VCC, please contact Nigel Scott, or attend one of the info sessions being held at VCC's Broadway campus on Monday, August 8 at 11 a.m. or Wednesday, August 10 at 3 p.m. Please meet in the advising area of building A. 


New Vice President, People and Culture

Shannon Railton appointed Vice President, People and Culture to lead VCC's human resources


Vancouver Community College (VCC) announces the appointment of Shannon Railton as Vice President, People and Culture to lead VCC’s human resources (HR).

Railton’s background as an HR leader has been based in education and the public sector. For more than 15 years, she has built a reputation as a strategic leader with solid labour relations experience and a passion for people development and engagement. Railton spent six years in progressively more responsible HR positions at Thompson Rivers University, prior to becoming director of HR for the school district of School District 42 Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. For the last four years, she was director of HR for Burnaby School District 41, which employs over 4,000 employees across 54 sites and has four employee groups and two unions.

Railton volunteers as vice-chair of the Canadian Council of Human Resources (CCHRA), is the CCHRA representative for the Human Resources Management Association (HRMA board), and is heavily involved in the BC Human Resources Management Association (BCHRMA). Railton possesses a Bachelor of Business Administration from Thompson Rivers University. 



Barbara Vargas: VCC's tap dancing percussionist

Vancouver musician aims to break down walls between music and dance

As published in Vancouver Metro.

Barbara Vargas danced her way into being the first percussionist at Vancouver Community College’s music program to graduate with tap dancing shoes as her instrument.

Using her shoes, hands and body to make music with others seemed like the natural thing to do, said the 30-year old dancer. The school was initially hesitant about the idea but jumped on board when they saw her audition she said.

“Tap dance in general is a very percussive art form. Even just solely being a tap dancer, it’s very musically focused,” said the Vancouver dancer.  

“You really have to be conscious of what you’re putting out here in the world, musically as well as visually.”

Vargas, who is originally from Edmonton, started tap dancing when she was three years old and has since performed in Germany, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. She plans to continue dancing for decades to come, something that not all dancers are able to do, depending on the type of dance they specialize in.

“The stretch of your tap dancing career is so vast. There are tap dancers who are amazing and they’re in their 60s, 70s, and 80s and they’re still growing and they’re still learning,” she said.

“I don’t see myself taking off my shoes anytime soon.”

Studying music, even as someone who has tap-danced for 27 years, has made her a better performer, she said. Much of her lesson time was spent trying to imitate the wide variety of drum sounds and rhythms using only her shoes.

“Gravity is not an issue when you’re sticking – but it can be when you’re dancing,” she said, laughing. tap dancer shoes

Vargas graduated from VCC in December and was a feature soloist with the VCC Jazz Orchestra.

“Its amazing. It brings back that old-school Cotton Club feature dancer idea which is great.”

But the transition from dancer to musician had its challenges for the accomplished tap dancer who was once part of the Canadian national tap dance team.

Other musicians sometimes don’t take her seriously, said Vargas.

“They ask me, what are you going to play? I say, I’m a tap dancer and then they laugh,” she said.

“There are still a lot of walls separating the two art forms, which can be a task for sure.”

With her music diploma in hand, Vargas plans on breaking down those walls.

“My dream job would be to create an institute for musicians and dancers to learn and create together much like the Royal Winnipeg ballet, but for the rhythmic arts,” she said.

“It’s an exciting time for tap dance – it’s coming back.”

Watch Barbara's video.


Learn more about VCC's music program by attending an upcoming information session.

Inspiring students: Q&A with Polina Skvortsova

TESOL diploma grad looks to be an inspiration

news_inside_Polina_Skvortsova_TESOLAfter teaching herself English at a young age and completing her degree at UBC, Russian born, Polina Skvortsova was looking for a rewarding career.

After researching her options, Polina decided that VCC’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program was the perfect fit.  Now, armed with a diploma and a job, Polina shares her VCC experience.  ‌

Why did you choose to pursue in a career teaching English to speakers of other languages?  ‌

I decided to get into teaching because I craved a rewarding and creative career. I also needed a stable income and a possibility for professional growth. Teaching English is challenging, but it is the best job I’ve ever had.

Why VCC?

There are a plethora of schools out there that offer TESOL related training.  After doing some research, I realized that VCC was the best choice because it’s a public institution and it’s accredited by TESL Canada.

What would you say are the top reasons to choose the TESOL program at VCC?

VCC offers a solid base for a successful teacher’s career. The program is well established and is recognized worldwide.

What skills did you acquire at VCC that most help in your career?

I loved the communicative aspect of instruction; it helped me to feel relaxed in the classroom. Later, I could use this skill when teaching.

What did you do after graduating from the TESOL program at VCC?

I started teaching in a private school right after completing my practicum. Currently, I work with one of BC’s Immigrant Serving Societies.

What are your long-term goals for the future?

My long-term goal is to become the kind of a teacher who truly inspires students to learn.


Are you interested in teaching English locally or abroad? VCC offers professional level certification that is recognized by TESL Canada.

Learn more at the Wednesday, July 13 info session, from 6 to 7 p.m., in room 1208 at VCC’s Broadway campus. TESOL is still accepting applications for September classes.











Fall convocation recap

Event highlights and valedictorians

Congratulations graduates!

Convocation is a special day where we recognize the hard work and dedication put forth by our graduates.

Photos from the fall event can be found on VCC's official Flickr account.

Here's a short recap from our fall ceremonies:

  • VCC celebrated over 1,400 graduates with three ceremonies.
  • The amazing VCC convocation band was comprised of five current and/or graduating students from VCC's music program: Jason Smith, Adam Kerby, Nial Harvey and Max Ley.
  • Winners from our Outstanding Alumni Awards were honoured.
  • Three valedictorians represented their fellow graduates during the ceremonies: ‌Michelle Lum, Mandy Sze Nga Yeung and Naomi Phillips.

Michelle Lummichelle lum valedictorian image for news item november 2014
Michelle is a graduate of VCC’s dental hygiene diploma program.
After completing the certified dental assisting program at VCC, Michelle worked as a certified dental assistant while continuing her education and pursuing a career in dental hygiene.

"I've worked hard to continue my education and pursue a career in dental hygiene. Since graduating from this program, I've already found a job in a dental office as a registered dental hygienist. My next step is to complete my dental hygiene degree and work towards my goal of becoming an instructor."

Representing: School of Health Sciences and School of Transportation Trades



Mandy Sze Nga Yeung2014 nov valedictorian mandy sze nga yeung convocation
Mandy is a graduate of VCC's baking and pastry arts certificate program.
After graduating from university with a degree, Mandy decided to pursue her true passion - pastry.

“I've always had a passion for food and am so happy I chose this path. I had a wonderful experience competing in both the B.C. and national skills competitions. I'm excited to be working in this field and hope to one day travel the world and learn new pastry trends and techniques.”

Representing: School of Hospitality and Business (hospitality programs), and School of Music, Dance and Design.



Naomi Phillips2014 nov valedictorian naomi phillips convocation
Naomi is a graduate of VCC's administrative assistant program.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from university, Naomi came to VCC and completed the administrative assistant program.

"I chose to attend VCC to gain practical skills and build more confidence in my professional competencies. I'm now working towards completing VCC's legal administrative assistant program. I'm grateful VCC has given me the opportunity to be prepared for what lies ahead."

Representing: School of Arts and Science; School of Hospitality and Business
(business programs), School of Language Studies, Centre for Continuing Studies and Contract Training, and
Centre for Teaching, Innovation and Applied Research (School of Instructor Education)

Spring convocation recap

Event highlights and valedictorians

Congratulations graduates!

Convocation is a special day where we recognize the hard work and dedication put forth by our graduates.

Photos from the spring event can be found on VCC's official Flickr account.

Here's a short recap from our fall ceremonies:

  • VCC celebrated over 1,400 graduates with three ceremonies.
  • The amazing VCC convocation band was comprised of three current and/or graduating students from VCC's music program: Adam Jones, Max Ley and Tobias Oliviera.
  • Three valedictorians represented their fellow graduates during the ceremonies: ‌Adam Jones, Brody Bayley and Gaye Savoie.


Adam R Jonesnews-convocation-adam-jones.png

Adam is a graduate of VCC’s Music - Bachelor of Applied Music program.
Adam is a professional bassist, band leader, educator and composer. He has performed with orchestras, jazz ensembles, pop, rock, country, and hip-hop groups across Canada and the United States.  Adam has completed a Bachelor of Applied Music at VCC.

"…all of us have the opportunity to enrich our lives through our chosen professions.It is in your power to lessen someone's pain or discomfort, to make someone feel beautiful, to remind them of their happiest or most tragic moments. So I urge you all, find the good stuff in your life and share that feeling with the world.”

Representing: School of Health Sciences and School of Music, Dance and Design


Brody Bayley, valedictorianBrody Bayley

Brody is a graduate of VCC's hospitality management diploma program.
After an early introduction to the hospitality industry and some international travel, Brody came to Vancouver to gain more experience. He is employed at the Vancouver Marriott Hotel, where he is currently the front office supervisor.

“… push yourself out of your comfort zone. This has been something that I have really found beneficial over the past couple of years. If it wasn’t for faculty pushing me out of my comfort zone I never would have taken advantage of opportunities. In your workplace and even with your friends, ensure you are surrounding yourself with people who push you out of your comfort zone. You will discover much about yourself.”

Representing: School of Hospitality and Applied Business and School of Trades


Gaye SavoieGaye Savoie, valedictorian
Gaye is a graduate of VCC's medical device reprocessing technician certificate program.
After a full career as a hair stylist, Gaye decided to pursue a different career path and came to VCC to train as a medical device reprocessing technician. She currently works in her field with Fraser Health.

“Every single day that you are on this earth, you learn something new. From the very day you were born. It’s never too late to try new things and carve a new path."

Representing: School of Access, School of Hospitality and Applied Business, Continuing Studies & Contract Training, and Centre for Teaching, Innovation and Applied Research.

New funding announced for cutting-edge automotive, culinary equipment

Advanced Education Minister joins VCC auto service tech students in funding announcement

News-Wilkinson-automotive-400On Monday morning, Vancouver Community College welcomed Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson to the Broadway automotive service technician shop to announce special funding of over $694,000 for the purchase of new trades-training equipment.

"BC is looking at a million job openings in the next 10 years,” said Minister Wilkinson, acknowledging that this period will also bring advances in technology that will increase efficiency, quality, and safety in the work of our tradespeople.

Training apprentices on the latest industry-specific equipment will be a key to employment and success in the future workforce, and especially in automotive trades, where technology continues to advance rapidly.

With this funding, VCC will purchase equipment such as training vehicles and parts for the automotive service technician program, 15-litre training engines for heavy-mechanical trades, and a mobile food station for culinary arts. 

VCC automotive service technician student James Tobin took part in the announcement, representing his classmates and expressing thanks. 

James’ first pursuit was to become a chef, but after having a child, found himself working at a Jiffy Lube instead. It was there that he realized he wanted to pursue a career in cars. “I’d like to end up at a performance shop working on high-end vehicles,” he says. “Maybe even own my own shop or study mechanical engineering.” 

Dustin Janzen, a VCC automotive graduate and independent owner of a Minit Tune and Brake Auto Centre, where he typically employs four to six VCC apprentices, also shared his support for the funding, and encouragement for students to be trained in the latest technology.


Learn more: 



An awarding experience

Recognizing student excellence at the 2016 Spring Student Awards

student awards spring 2016‌Twice a year, Vancouver Community College (VCC) holds Student Awards Ceremonies recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of talented and deserving students enrolled in the vast range of programs offered at VCC. 

On Wednesday, June 1 the spring awards ceremony took place at VCC’s Broadway campus where a total of 212 awards were given out. VCC’s scholarships and awards are established to recognize academic excellence and to acknowledge students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom or in their community. Many award recipients have overcome significant obstacles and financial barriers to pursue their studies. These awards help encourage and support students in their journey to academic and career success.

Award recipients often explain that their education has been life changing and winning an award provides the affirmation they need to continue their chosen path with confidence. A new award this year was provided by Pyrrha Design. Chalsey Crepaux received an award to pay for her first year of jewellery art and design. A video captured her shock at receiving the news!

All of the awards are made possible through the generosity of individuals, corporations, associations and foundations that share VCC’s commitment to offering exceptional educational and training opportunities.

“Philanthropy is often a circle. It’s simple. Someone who is touched by a gift goes on to give. And, we have many wonderful examples in this room.” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, VCC president and CEO.  

With many donor representatives in attendance, the awards ceremonies provide a special opportunity for donors to directly connect with the recipients of their awards and the chance for students—and VCC—to thank their donors in person.

 For more information on VCC’s financial awards including bursaries, scholarships and financial aid, visit our Financial Aid and Awards page including our Online Awards Guide. To make a donation, email give@vcc.ca or visit our online Gift Catalogue at www.vcc.ca/catalogueofgifts

Visit the VCC Flickr site to view photos from the Spring Student Awards.

VCC baking receives large research grant for new study

NSERC funds project to reduce digestive sensitivities to wheat

VCC baking receives large research grant for new study

VCC baking and pastry arts have been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to conduct a two-year applied research project with BCIT in naturally leavened baking with a goal to reducing the digestive sensitivities of wheat breads.

Together with BCIT’s Natural Health and Food Products Research Group (NRG) and Rogers Foods, VCC will work to develop a methodology and guidelines to produce high quality sourdough breads, the characteristics of which naturally reduce gluten content.  VCC students and faculty will devise the formulas and recipes and BCIT’s NRG will evaluate the bread qualities.

The baking and pastry arts department is thrilled to receive this prestigious NSERC grant.  “It’s a wonderful opportunity to have VCC, BCIT and industry working together to support the tradition of our craft,” says Fionna Chong, the department head and instructor of baking and pastry arts at VCC.​

Elizabeth Mudge, an applied researcher with BCIT’s NRG says “We are excited to be involved in this collaboration with VCC and Rogers Foods to have a better understanding of traditional bread making and its impact on bread quality.”



A Fresh Start

At VCC, I learned to speak English and how to become a professional baker.

"At VCC, I learned to speak English and how to become a professional baker. Now, I own my own bakery. VCC helped me achieve my dreams." Ray Wei, graduate, ESL baking and pastry arts.

Vancouver Community College graduate Ray Wei might not get a lot of shut eye these days but his dreams are certainly coming true.

Upon arriving in Canada from China -- where he worked as a sales executive with Nestlé -- Wei embarked on a new journey to learn to English as a second language and a new skill: professional baking.  After graduating from VCC's full-time ESL baking and pastry arts program, he found work in local hotels and restaurants and about a year later, purchased his own bakery.

On his experience at VCC; learning English and how to become a professional baker:

“The relevance and usability of the program is very strong. It's job-oriented but also takes into account development of your personal interests. VCC helped with my communication skills and opened doors for me.”

“My dream of beginning a new life as an immigrant has turned into a very hard job, but I love it. I wake up at 4 a.m. every day and work over 10 hours a day. Sometimes I feel physically and mentally exhausted and want to give up. But then I think about my VCC teachers and the support they gave me. It keeps me going as well as my love for the industry and my two employees, who are also VCC baking graduates.”

Introducing Austin Granados - baking’s golden boy

One VCC baking student shares his view from the top of the Skills Canada podium

Introducing Austin Granados - baking’s golden boyIf you ever find yourself in need of an impromptu marzipan figurine, you’d better hope Austin Granados is nearby.

Over the past few months, the 21-year-old VCC baking and pastry arts student spent countless hours perfecting his pastry techniques in campus kitchens. On April 15, his hard work paid off with a gold medal at the Skills Canada BC provincial competition held in Abbotsford. Six weeks later, after more exhaustive practice, Austin was competing again, this time sponsored by the Tourism Industry Partners Society (TIPS) to attend the Skills Canada national competition in Saskatoon.

When the judges announced Austin’s name as the national gold medal winner for 2015, he could hardly believe his ears. “I was speechless. I was paralyzed,” he says. 

Crunch time

Each year, hundreds of skilled trade and technology students from both high school and post-secondary programs compete for a spot on the Skills Canada podium. While baking is delicate work, Austin will attest that the contest itself is not for the faint of heart.

For the provincial competition, post-secondary bakers are given a highly structured eight-hour window in which to produce many specific items to exacting standards. These include marzipan figurines, numerous French pastries, mousse cakes, chocolates—both moulded and hand-dipped—and sculpted chocolate show pieces. The national competition lasts for not one, but two days at five hours each and includes these same elements but adds a “mystery box” of ingredients.

"It was super intense and super fun at the same time," says Austin, who spent the night before competition day fine-tuning his marzipan figurines (a beaver and praying mantis) in his hotel room.

Baker’s secrets

Growing up in Winnipeg in a food-loving Filipino family, Austin says it just felt right to pursue cooking and baking as a career. During a culinary career skills program in high school, Austin’s teacher recommended culinary arts at VCC. For a creative and energetic young guy excited to travel, Vancouver was the perfect destination.‌

Introducing Austin Granados - baking’s golden boy

Austin first completed culinary arts level one at VCC before moving into the baking and pastry arts program. Eventually, he says he’d like to obtain his Red Seal in both areas. It’s not that he can’t decide—he just wants to do it all!

Even as he strove for perfection in both the provincial and national competitions, Austin says he never expected to win gold. He jokes about the mistakes he made —dropping a delicate chocolate flower right front of the audience, burning some pineapple under the scrutinizing gaze of the judges. Austin’s casual, positive attitude is contagious, but the easygoing way in which he describes the many pastries and techniques also hints at how deep-rooted his knowledge really is.

Above all, Austin attributes his success to the support of his family, friends and especially his VCC instructors, namely Nancy McRae and Alan Dobko, who oversaw his extracurricular training during the week and were right there alongside him on many an eight-hour Saturday trial run. For future Skills Canada competitors, Austin’s advice is simple. "Show up to practice," he says. "It makes a huge difference." And when you’re on the road with no kitchen? Apparently a bit of marzipan in your bag can come in handy too.


Introducing Austin Granados - baking’s golden boy


The participation of Austin and his instructors in the Skills Canada national competition was made possible by a generous travel donation by the Tourism Industry Partners Society.

Interested in exploring the sweetest career on earth? Learn more about VCC baking and pastry arts programs at an upcoming info session.



College of Dental Hygienists of BC Award

Congratulations Kirsten Petrushevsky

Congratulations to Kirsten Petrushevsky on being the 2016 recipient of the College of Dental Hygienists of BC Award of Excellence for a Graduating Student.

Kirsten is excited to complete the dental hygiene program and start her career as a dental hygienist.  She will be returning to the East Kootenay, where she grew up.  Kirsten would like to thank her family, her instructors, and the faculty and staff at VCC for their support and guidance.

The impact of your generosity reaches far beyond awards’ day. You’ll be pleased to know that in addition to receive high satisfaction rates from students that study at VCC, 93% of our graduates are employed upon completing their program.

Kirsten’s ceremony photos are here and here.


News Release: VCC appeals trademark case ruling

Appeal filed after Supreme Court of British Columbia dismisses VCC trademark infringement case

VCC Broadway campus

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Vancouver Community College filed an appeal against Vancouver Career College this week after the Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed the college’s trademark infringement case on August 25.

VCC filed a lawsuit in 2011 after Vancouver Career College began a widespread campaign, to advertise and promote its education services using the marks ‘VCC’ and ‘Vancouver Community College’ through Google, Bing and other keyword advertising services, and through a new website at VCCollege.ca. VCC has been using VCC.ca since 2002 and VCC.bc.ca since 1998.

This lawsuit has attracted the attention of media and trademark experts because of the implications for Canadian trademark law.

“The case is a very important one,” says Barry Sookman, author of a seven volume treatise on computer and Internet law and professor of intellectual property at Osgoode Hall Law School, unrelated to VCC and the case.

“Keyword advertising is a billion dollar business, a significant part of which is built on the premise that businesses can appropriate the valuable trademark assets of competitors to promote their products and services. However, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that trademarks function, in effect, as consumer protection legislation to protect the public against confusion.” 

There are no appellate decisions in Canada that have considered the legality of keyword advertising. But according to Sookman, “there are many decisions which have examined the question in other jurisdictions including the U.S. and the EU. While not all keyword advertising raises concerns, advertising that uses the trademarks of competitors to sell competing products and services pose important questions that need to be examined in Canada.”

The VCC trademark has represented Vancouver Community College for decades and has been formally protected as an official mark of VCC since 1999.

“The majority of the public knows us as VCC and the law should protect us and the public from the defendant’s Internet practices that we believe have created confusion among students and the public alike,” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, VCC President and CEO. “We need to defend our brand and our well-earned reputation that we have built over the past 50 years.”

VCC celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and music.


Media can contact:

Karen Wilson
Interim Director, Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7429
E: kwilson@vcc.ca

High resolution photos:
Broadway campus 1
Broadway campus 2

News Release: All Aboard VCC's Tooth Trolley

VCC’s Certified Dental Assistant students offer a day of fun and oral health education


VCC’s Tooth Trolley delivers free dental exams and smiles to kids


VANCOUVER, B.C.—As part of an ongoing effort to make basic dental care more accessible to all, Vancouver Community College (VCC) will provide free dental assessments and basic services to 120 children through the ninth annual Chevron Tooth Trolley event, May 19 to 22, 2015.

With funding from Chevron Canada—totaling $200,000 since 2007—and in partnership with the Vancouver Trolley Company, VCC will open the doors of its 32-seat downtown dental clinic to pre-registered children and their families from seven Vancouver and Burnaby  elementary schools.

The Chevron Tooth Trolley provides a learning opportunity for both VCC dental program students and participants. “For many children, this is their first dental experience so we want to help make that introduction less scary, while at the same time educational,” says Margaret Dennett, Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) instructor and co-director of the event.  

All aboard the Tooth Trolley

Old-fashioned trolley buses will pick up participants from their schools and deliver them to VCC’s downtown campus, where “Tooth Fairies” (Certified Dental Assistant, Dental Reception Coordinator and Dental Hygiene students) will guide them through the day. Participants will be given free dental examinations and preventative treatments including coronal polishing, fluoride and sealant applications.

Families will also participate in seminars and fun activities focused on nutrition and dental health, and receive a take-home bag of wholesome snacks and health care products provided by Colgate and Sunstar.

Of the 32 per cent of Canadians without dental insurance, statistics show that the majority belong to low-income, Aboriginal and immigrant families. For children in these groups, the need for oral care is most vital, as untreated dental diseases can result in not only pain and infection, but also lost sleep, poor growth, self-esteem issues and learning problems, and can have an effect on overall health. “Our concern has always been for the children in our community who slip through the cracks,” says dentist Dr. Debbie Fonseca. “Thanks to support from Chevron and the Vancouver Trolley Company, the Tooth Trolley can play an important role in helping to get their oral health off on the right track.” VCC dental students cleaning a little girl's teeth.

A thousand kids and counting

Chevron spokesperson, Adrien Byrne, says, “Investing in the health of the community, and this case dental health for children, is a fundamental part of Chevron’s social investment program in British Columbia.  We are proud of our nine year relationship with Vancouver Community College, and the fact that close to 1000 children have benefitted from dental health education as a result of the Chevron Tooth Trolley.”

In conjunction with their training and community outreach initiatives, VCC dental program students also regularly conduct oral health presentations for more than 1,000 school-aged children annually. For 45 years, Vancouver Community College has operated the largest and longest running training program for dental health professionals in the province, with more than 150 students graduating each year.

Vancouver Community College celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships.  With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and performing arts.


Introducing VCC Alerts

VCC to install new state-of-the-art safety system



VCC Alerts-800x270


In September, 2016 VCC will launch a new emergency safety response system called VCC Alerts, as a precautionary measure in case of an emergency.

The system works by immediately alerting staff and students during an emergency, via email and text message. All current staff and students will be automatically entered into the systems, with new students and employees being added at the time of registration/employement. Staff and students who have not provided the college with a cellphone number will be asked to update their information via VCC's intranet.

The college will also be launching an emergency procedures page on VCC.ca in the coming months that will outline how to prepare for emergency situations, details on how VCC Alerts works, as well as information on how to update contact information.


Saving energy one PC at a time

Computers: the silent consumers

VCC has an energy-aware IT team that conserves energy using computer and monitor power-save modes.

We sometimes forget that our computers use energy. Hiding under our desks and quietly calculating, VCC’s computers and monitors emit over four tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into our atmosphere each year from the electricity they use. This means, VCC’s approximately 2,000 computers emit the same GHGs as burning 9.5 barrels of oil or burning 4,400 pounds of coal.

How IT is saving energy:

All of VCC’s computers have different settings that draw different amounts of power. While switched “on,” a computer and monitor together draw 115 Watts, while in “sleep” or “suspended” mode, the power draw drops to seven watts, and when “off,” both devices use next to no power.  Thanks to the work of our diligent IT team, all of VCC’s computers and monitors have an automated sleep and shutdown time tailored to the way the computer is used. For example, office monitors are turned off after 20 minutes of inactivity during work hours, and 10 minutes of inactivity during evenings and weekends. Student computer settings keep in mind patterns of use for students, and the fact that students often study on campus during the weekends.

The IT team continues to work with facilities and VCC’s energy manager, Prism Engineering’s Majid Pishavei, to take savings even further, with the goal to tune computer settings as close to actual usage as possible.

Quick facts: 

Since IT began managing computer and monitor power settings in 2010, VCC has saved:

  • 2,111,165 kWh of electricity (or 133 homes’ annual usage)
  • 1,502,281 kg of CO2 (or what 5 square km of forests sequester in a year)
  • $126,660 (or the cost of 230 brand new PCs)

Created with the support form BC Hydro’s Energy Manager program.
Savings calculations and case study prepared by Prism Engineering.

Karin Jones' ROM exhibition "undresses" racial identity

Jewellery Art & Design alumna Karin Jones gives new meaning to a classic design

Karin Jones’ ROM exhibition “undresses” racial identity

The silhouette is iconic: a stiffly corseted waist, a high collar, a generous bustle at the rear. From Jane Austen characters to Cinderella to modern-day brides, the Victorian-style dress has symbolized wealth and beauty for over a century. In a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum, however, VCC alumna and Jewellery Art & Design instructor Karin Jones is putting this classic figure in a whole new light.

Jones’ contemporary art installation, Worn: Shaping Black Feminine Identity, is the first work in Of Africa, a three-year multiplatform project meant to pay homage to African themes and artists in Canada. The piece is a black, Victorian-era mourning dress, a symbol of both high culture and sadness in late 19th century Europe. Instead of cloth, however, Jones has woven the dress entirely from the synthetic braids used in popular African hairstyles. Scattered beneath the dress are bolls from a cotton plant, as well as a few that were crafted from the artist’s own hair.

For Jones, this piece expresses her own complex identity as an African-Canadian. In her artist statement, she writes:

“The work underlines African hairstyles as a craft as refined as any decorative art produced in Europe; it alludes to the invisible labour of the thousands of Africans who contributed to the wealth of the British Empire… [It’s] a mythic figure born of the cross-cultural forces of colonialism, commerce, and slavery. I wear my African-Canadian identity much as a Victorian woman would have worn this type of dress: proudly, but also uncomfortably, shaped but also constrained by it.”

An inspired start

It’s been over 20 years since Jones graduated from VCC’s Jewellery Art & Design program, but she fondly remembers her time here. “I loved going through the whole two years with the same group,” she says, “I have some close and lasting friendships.”

Jones also appreciates the focus on technical training she received in the program, something not as comprehensively taught in art school-based programs.

Today, Jones’s CV includes exhibitions in Japan and the United States, articles in numerous magazines, items sold in shops from Vancouver to San Francisco and a Social Sciences Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) award for graduate work at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Currently on hiatus from her Master of Fine Arts program, Jones has returned to VCC as a part-time instructor, something she has found quite rewarding. “The students feed my creativity as much as I help to feed theirs,” she says.

A beautiful progression

At first, it may seem like quite the leap to go from crafting intricate jewellery to weaving synthetic apparel, but for Jones, the progression was actually quite organic.

As a jewellery designer, Jones already had an interest the social customs of beauty. As an African-Canadian, she also held a longstanding unease about the trend to suppress natural black hairstyles. Motivated to raise awareness about this through art, Jones was first attracted to traditional Victorian hair jewellery—another popular trend of the era.

From there, she went on to learn weaving and lace-making techniques with the goal of recreating traditional European symbols of power, but from African-style braids. Eventually, in response to the ROM’s public call for its Of Africa series, Jones produced Worn, which has been extremely well-received.

Worn: Shaping Black Feminine Identity will be shown until November 1, 2015 at the ROM’s Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada. 

Helen’s story: the voices of angels

The VCC Willan Choir’s longest-standing member, 100-year-old Helen Fung continues to hit the high notes

News-Helen-Fung-400It’s Tuesday night in the Vancouver Community College auditorium and the members of the Willan Choir are gathering for their weekly rehearsal.

The accompanist plays a medley of show tunes in the background as approximately 40 singers, nearly all senior citizens, laugh and joke, some even breaking into dance before the rehearsal is called to order.

Helen Fung, a soprano, is already seated in her usual spot. Front row, fourth from the right. She watches the antics of a few grey-bearded baritones—evidently the class clowns—through smiling eyes.

The choir’s longest-standing member, Helen joined in 1979 when she was 64 years old. Last November, this musical family helped celebrate her 100th birthday.

Side project

The Willan Choir, a mixed-voice community ensemble by the VCC School of Music, recently celebrated a milestone of its own—its 40th anniversary.

It was in 1975 that founder Jon Washburn (now artistic director of the Vancouver Chamber Choir) first envisioned an audition-free, amateur ensemble that would nonetheless tackle top classical repertoire. There were those who doubted he could do it. He quickly proved them wrong.

With today’s vocal warm-ups complete, conductor Patricia Plumley gathers everyone around the piano to learn a new piece.

Normally, a fellow soprano would offer Helen an elbow and usher her across the room to join the group. And normally, Helen would gladly take it, less for the assistance walking than for the simple touch and warmth of a friend. Today, though, she has come prepared for an interview.

Helen waves her hand in the direction of the singers, indicating, ‘they’ll be fine without me.’ She then reaches into a canvas shopping bag and pulls out a bright red folder decorated with stickers of purple violets. Inside is a meticulous collection of photos, programs, notes, and certificates documenting her century of life.

‌For the record

News-Helen-Fung-Jon-Washburn-380Growing up in Hong Kong, Helen’s first experience with singing was in a church children’s choir at the age of six. “I wasn’t very good,” she says, laughing. “But I liked it very much!” 

Never one to sit still, Helen found her career in teaching. In the 1930s and 40s, she owned and operated two kindergartens in Hong Kong. For 20 years after that, she worked in primary and middle schools. It wasn’t until 1970, at the age of 55, that she and her family moved to Canada.

Finding herself retired and living in a new country, Helen turned to both music and Tai Chi to keep busy.  She fondly remembers each of the many Vancouver community centres and senior centres where she served as a volunteer Tai Chi instructor over the past 30 years.

She then pulls from her bag and carefully unrolls a ‘90s-era promotional poster from the Canadian Mental Health Association with the title, “What have you done for your mental health lately?” In the top left corner is none other than Helen, in her mid-80s, wearing a bright, sunflower blouse, and stretching low to the ground in an expert Tai Chi pose. 

A joyful noise

As the choir continues to rehearse loudly not 10 feet away, Helen continues talking over the music. In her folder are photographs of decades-past Willan Choir concerts, including one of her sitting in these very seats with original conductor Jon Washburn. Alongside these old photos are crisp, new certificates from both Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulating Helen on 100 years.

Without even being asked, Helen’s conversations drift naturally into advice for health and longevity. One would imagine she’s been asked for her secret many times: Never stop exercising (she aims for one hour of Tai Chi daily), pay attention to what you eat, maintain a healthy weight, take care of your skin. 

Of course, even the healthiest centenarians have difficult days. In Helen’s case, however, an unwavering positivity is what truly seems to seems keep her going. And for her, it’s when she’s singing that she taps into the ultimate joy.

“I feel like my friends are angels flying and singing,” she says, waving at the choir, her voice hitting a higher pitch with every word. “When I sing, I feel like I’m in heaven!”



The VCC School of Music has something for everyone, from industry-leading bachelor’s and diploma programs to part-time and community-based courses. Learn more at an upcoming information session

Alumni Profile - Daniel Ruiz

Busy VCC Music alumnus, Daniel Ruiz, shares his recent experience with the Peak Performance Project.

We had the opportunity to catch up with busy VCC Music alumnus, Daniel Ruiz, to learn about his recent experience with the Peak Performance Project.

Band name: BESTiE
Winners of $50,000 and 3rd place band at this year’s Peak Performance Project

Q: How did you get together with other BESTiE members?

A: A friend from Colombia recommended me and I was asked to go and jam one day…and that's how we met. From then on - BESTiE began. That was a bit over 2 years ago, I believe.

Daniel Ruiz - VCC Music ALumnus

Q: And what the heck does BESTiE mean / stand for?

A: BESTiE stands for the fun and good things in life, it also can be your best friend or having the best time of your life!

Q: What was Peak Performance Project (PPP) Bootcamp really like?

A: Bootcamp was amazing! There was a lot to learn about music composition and performance; as well as very relevant information about the music industry. It was very intense and demanding, but mostly it was a lot of fun! You get to learn and build relationships with very important industry professionals and also other bands and talented musicians too.

Q: What was the most valuable lesson you took away from that experience?

A: To always try your best and never get discouraged, music is an ongoing process that requires you to be always pushing yourself to be better every time.

Q: What were you doing when you found out about making the Top 3?

A: I was listening online with one other band mate, it was so nerve wracking!

Q: How did your training at VCC help prepare you for PPP and your music career?

A: VCC gave me all the tools to be able to communicate musically with all different kinds of players with different backgrounds. Also, it’s given me perspective to approach music with more confidence in whatever musical situation I find myself in, and allowed me to realize how I can use my “feel” and improvisational skills without holding back.

VCC is a great place to learn if you are willing to put in the work.

Q: What advice would you give an up-and-coming young musician?

A: Work hard, don't compare yourself as less or more than anybody else and always remember that with music you will always find new things to learn, it's an infinite mountain to climb!


Daniel is a drummer and percussionist living in Vancouver, B.C. Born in Bogota, Colombia he moved to Vancouver in 2005 to further expand his musical horizons. Daniel finished his Music Diploma in the Summer of 2009 and his Bachelor of Applied Music degree in 2011 at VCC’s School of Music, Dance and Design. He currently performs with Vancouver bands: BESTiE, Aunts and Uncles, We just stole a car, synthcake, sorry buttons and White Blood Cells, amongst many others.

Daniel’s versatility and easy-going approach to his instrument have provided many opportunities to be part of really amazing projects in the Vancouver and Bogotá music scenes including collaborations with Anthony Braxton, Sal Ferreras, Evan Parker, Alan Matheson, Coat Cooke, Raymond Strid, Jon Siddal, Tommy Babin, Andrew Timmar and many others.

Music instructor John Korsrud featured in local video series

Get to know this accomplished musician’s favourite songs, records, neighbourhoods and more

What a pleasure to see VCC Music instructor John Korsrud featured in The Georgia Straight’s My Favourite Thing video series this week! John is an accomplished composer, producer and trumpet player who teaches composition and commercial ear training at VCC, and leads the VCC Latin Jazz Ensemble.

Read his impressive bio on The Georgia Straight and watch this great video:


Teaching in Bali

"[Teaching ESL] allows me the freedom to pursue the lifestyle I want to live and the opportunity to work all over the world." —Renee Pothaar, TESOL graduate

I'm Renee Pothaar and this is my success story.

I was originally discouraged by some when I inquired about teaching in Bali. "Very competitive" is what I was told.  I arrived in Bali in October with a 'non' plan to surf for a couple of months, see how I liked it and head to Japan for work if necessary.

In my mind the best possible scenario I could have imagined is what has manifested for me.

A day in my life begins with a 4:30 a.m. wake up call and one hour meditation. This is not something I ever did in the past but something I incorporate into my life now, after having stumbled upon a 10-day silent meditation course on the island of Java.

At 6:30 a.m. I grab my backpack, hop on my scooter, navigate the streets of my Muslim neighborhood, dodging chickens and dogs, to stop at the local market and buy grated coconut and fresh fruit for breakfast on my way to work.

7 a.m. I arrive at school. I am the only foreigner in the primary section of my school and I love it for the opportunity to experience Balinese culture and language through interacting with other amazing staff. Not only do I teach English, but also math, science, social studies and art to my adorable Balinese second graders.

The culture is different, the pace is different and each day there is more to be learned. I have been lucky enough to observe Chinese New Year's celebrations and soon will be my first Nyepi experience, which is New Year's according to the Balinese Hindu calendar.  Friday at school will be traditional Hindu celebrations, followed by a day of complete silence. The whole country will stop for a day. Not even the international airport will open (the only one in the world that closes). No one will use light, talk or leave their homes. Tourists alike are asked to respect the Balinese day of silence.

1:35 p.m. daily school ends for my class. Three days per week I stay at school until 3:15 p.m. to teach private lessons . Otherwise, I hop on my scooter and head home in time for a sunset surf or run on the beach, followed by a delicious meal for a dollar, a movie or the news and then early to bed to the sound of prayers over the microphone from the mosque down the street.

Teaching ESL allows me to feel productive and satisfied with the work I do. It allows me the freedom to pursue the lifestyle I want to live and the opportunity to work all over the world, as well as at home. Each new experience is a building block in my career which enables me to feel continuity and personal growth without the restrictions of a job that is tied to a certain location.

I have spent years travelling the world and working in many different capacities.  Now, after making the decision to take my TESOL course at VCC, the final piece of my puzzle has fallen into place and here I am in Bali, looking out at the Indian Ocean with a world of possibility on the horizon.


Attend an upcoming info session

Loving my job

"I started pounding the pavement as soon as I finished college and got hired on the spot." —Caleb Lee, TESOL graduate

I'm Caleb Lee and this is my success story.

A few years after graduating from UBC, I decided to go back to school to learn how to teach English to speakers of other languages. And since graduating from VCC’s TESOL certificate program, it has been a rollercoaster ride from one event to the next. I started pounding the pavement as soon as I finished college and got hired on the spot at a local international school. I also got a few substitute teaching jobs at a number of different schools and learned more about teaching some of the finer points of English.

I also started picking up volunteer experience, helping out at conversation clubs for immigrant students and soon started volunteering at the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC), where I helped out as a teaching assistant. Through my contacts there, I was able to get hired as a substitute instructor before applying for a regular position. Now, I teach a full-time ELSA for the Workplace course in the evenings.

Finding a job and place that you’re happy with isn’t easy in any profession, but with the right contacts and a love of the job, the world could be your oyster! Everything came together for me because I was available, the job suited me perfectly, and I was introduced to the right people.

Attend an upcoming info session



Caleb Lee - from an ESL student to a full-time ELSA teacher

New! VCC Salon & Spa

We've put our best foot forward for students and clients.

NEWS RELEASE -- On Nov. 18, Vancouver Community College unveiled a whole new look for the VCC Salon & Spa after a $1.7 million renovation.

The VCC Salon & Spa is where students get hands-on training in the college’s full-time hair design and esthetics programs. It’s also a place where the public can get great deals on high-quality services.

Graham Webber, Dean, School of Music, Dance and Design, says, “After two years of planning, we have a remarkably beautiful salon and spa training facility that finally matches the quality of instruction and services provided. We’ve never felt more excited for our current and future students, as well as our valued clients.”

manicure station at VCC Salon & Spa

The new VCC Salon & Spa is bright, modern and functional, offering:

•Public salon
•Product testing areas for clients to try new styling equipment
•Separate spa area with private treatment rooms
•Walk-in spray tanning booth
•Separate training area for students
•Boutique storefront featuring top-quality product lines from L’Oreal Professionel, Dermalogica, Eminence and St. Tropez

The facility will also generate revenue for the college. As the VCC Salon & Spa Business Development Manager, Geeta Charch will be responsible for leading and implementing the retail business strategy for the facility. Charach has managed several salons, most recently serving as a director at The Holt Renfrew Salon and Spa.

“We have partnered with leading brands like L’Oreal Professionel, Dermalogica, St. Tropez and Eminence so clients can experience these high-end products in state-of-the-art facilities that will soon become one of Vancouver’s top destinations for salon and spa services. This is what any salon and spa manager dreams of!”

In addition to renovating the physical space, the VCC Salon & Spa has also revamped its recycling program. It is now a member of the Green Circle Salon program and will be diverting 95 per cent of all waste from the landfill. This also makes the VCC Salon & Spa the largest Green Circle Salon in Canada.

All this and haircuts are only $11.

Media contact:
Laura Shand
Marketing and Communications Officer
Cell: 778.873.1516

Digital graphic design instructor becomes VP

Ashlea Spitz is appointed to VP Education for the NBGDC

Congratulations to VCC's own, Ashlea Spitz, who was recently appointed to the position of VP Education for the National Board of the Graphic Designers of Canada.

"It is with great pleasure and excitement that we announce that Ashlea Spitz has been appointed to the position of VP Education for the National Board of the Graphic Designers of Canada. Ashlea is looking forward to spearheading the membership of new design students across Canada as well as allocating sponsorships and awards to our talented student members.  Ashlea's mandate is to increase awareness and ethics that surrounds a professional designer. Her expertise and teaching enthusiasm make her a great asset to the GDC community and graphic designers as a whole." says the GDC website.

Ashlea is instrumental in the instruction of VCC's digital graphic design (DGD) students, and we wish her the best in this new position.

Learn more about VCC's DGD program.

VCC music alumnus featured in BC Musician Magazine

Horn player, Malcolm Aiken graduated from the VCC music diploma program in 2002

‌As shared on the BC Musician Magazine website. 

Vancouver horn man Malcolm Aiken got his big ears from his family. Both his mother and father were avid music fans when he was a kid and their deep interest in international styles opened his mind at a very young age. Then as he began to study music it was the mentorship of renowned Vancouver music instructor and percussionist Sal Ferreras who Aiken explains “opened a lot of doors for me as far as playing world music and studying it in a more academic way.”

Inspired, Aiken went on to eventually complete a masters degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of British Columbia, which he admits was “a great experience to really study world music in depth and do some real deep research. I think it fueled me and inspired me to do what I now do today.”

I catch up with the handsome young musician by phone just before he takes to the stage at Vancouver’s Guilt & Company with his world fusion group Tanga. “A lot of work I do is with the record label TrebleFive,” a company Aiken started in 2010 with his “musicophile” brother Claran. “We travel a lot and go and do site recordings and work with different artists, primarily in the Latin America and the Caribbean region.”

The Aiken brothers dedication to deep field work produced some fine results in 2011 when a core group, comprised of representatives from TrebleFive and Tanga, decided to set their sights on Havana to record sessions with a multitude of Cuban talent. Aiken and his crew combed the streets and clubs of Havana every night seeking out musicians and singers, then would wake up every morning to conduct recording sessions with their new recruits. Aiken confesses, “this was one of the most craziest endeavours I have ever been on, and in the end, one of the most rewarding.”

The sessions were first recorded rough in a makeshift pop up studio hotel room studio and then percussion was added in the second phase at the studios of Septeto Nacional Studios de Ignacio Pineiro in Central Havana. Following the Havana sessions the crew took the recordings back to Vancouver where they worked with the rest of the Tanga crew and a number of guests, including C. R. Avery, Silvana Kane, Kyprios and Jimmy Bosch, who added their contributions to a treasure trove of recordings they had in the can. The result would be Tanga’s sophomore 2013 release, Havana Electro, a record with one foot firmly planted in traditional Cuban rhythms, while incorporating, funk, hip hop, dancehall and global fusions.

Continue to full article


Interested in one of VCC's music programs, come to an upcoming info session.

Cafe 335 featured in Vancouver Courier

Vancouver Community College and Coast Mental Health partner to offer youth training program.

Cafe 335 logo

Vancouver Community College and Coast Mental Health partner to offer youth training program.

READ MORE (Vancouver Courier)


More more information on Coast’s Culinary Skills Training Program visit Coast Mental Health.


VCC partners with the City to support incubator kitchen

VCC culinary arts students start training in the Save-On Meats building.

Vancouver Community College is pleased to support the Vancouver Incubator Kitchen, a partnership between VCC, Mark Brand Inc., VanCity Credit Union and the City of Vancouver.

This week, the first group of VCC students will start working in an innovative kitchen space located in the Save-On Meats building at 43 West Hastings Street as part of VCC culinary arts education to better prepare today’s chefs for the evolving labour market.

The Vancouver Incubator Kitchen has three complementary goals:
• Support culinary education;
• Support food business development; and
• Provide free or low-cost access to commercial kitchen space for community organizations.

With the installation of state-of-the-art kitchen equipment in a renovated space on the ground floor of Save On Meats, this dedicated kitchen facility will meet a wide range of community needs.

In the next phase, Save On Meats will be seeking tenants for the business incubation component of project. In addition, community organizations will soon be accessing the kitchen for non-profit, community-based activities such as healthy cooking workshops, and training in canning and preserving fresh food.

“By pursuing shared goals, project partners are making food preparation space available to emerging food enterprises on a flexible and affordable basis,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We are proud to support the advancement of a vital community food hub in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.”

“This innovative incubator kitchen will serve as an experiential learning environment where students can interact with industry professionals, community members, and non-profit organizations,” said Irene Young, VCC Interim President. “This partnership provides an incredible opportunity for us to expand our culinary programming and promote job growth while supporting community groups and emerging entrepreneurs.”

“This project is a culmination of three years of partnerships and countless trials. I'm extremely proud of its impact to date and with the formalized incubator we're stacked with community applications. The future is bright,” said Mark Brand. 


Media contact:

Karen Wilson
Vancouver Community College




Action to end campus violence

"This project will help ensure that VCC embraces an environment that is safe."

October 8, 2013

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, along with Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, announced a project that will engage students in addressing violence against women at Vancouver Community College.

"Our Government is taking action to address violence against women on university and college campuses across Canada." said Minister Leitch. "It makes perfect sense to encourage students, faculty and staff to become part of the solution, and help create an environment that is safe for everyone."

"Violence against women is everyone's problem, and our government is proud to support projects on college campuses that improve the safety and security of women, said Ms. Young. "This project will help ensure that Vancouver Community College embraces an environment that is safe and conducive to learning."

Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) is receiving $200,000 for C.A.R.E. About Gendered Violence, a project that will engage students, faculty, staff and administration at Vancouver Community College in preventing violence against women. Participants will form a Campus Task Force and develop a Coordinated Community Response strategy, which will identify measures to address violence and make recommendations to improve campus safety.

"Women Against Violence Against Women is pleased to work with Vancouver Community College to address gender-based violence on campus," said Jacqueline Wilson, Board Chair of WAVAW. "This project will empower students and staff at the college to take specific actions to prevent violence against women and create a safer, more welcoming campus for all."

"VCC is committed to ensuring the safety of its students" said Kathy Kinloch, President of Vancouver Community College. "We are excited to work with WAVAW on a coordinated strategy to address gender-based violence and improve security on campus."

This project is being funded under the call for proposals entitled Engaging Young People to Prevent Violence against Women on Post-Secondary Campuses. Through this initiative, the Government of Canada has supported 22 organizations in their efforts to address a wide range of issues related to violence against female students, such as sexual assault and harassment. Organizations are working with colleges and universities to carry out their projects.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting projects that yield concrete results for women and girls while strengthening families, communities, and the country. Through Status of Women Canada, federal support for community-based projects has nearly doubled since 2006-2007, supporting more than 600 projects across Canada. Since 2007, close to $62 million has been approved through the Women's Program for projects to end violence against women and girls.

- 30 -

For media inquiries only:

Barbara Mottram
Director of Communications
Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C., Ont., M.P.
Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
Tel: 819-953-5646
Fax: 819-994-5168

For all other inquiries contact:

Nanci-Jean Waugh
Director General, Communications and Public Affairs
Status of Women Canada

A new partnership with BCIT

It's "an important step toward greater research collaboration."

Vancouver, BC – In an effort to develop and build research capacity at both institutions, Vancouver Community College and BCIT have entered into an agreement centered on applied research and research services cooperation.VCC logo and BCIT logo

This Memorandum of Understanding between VCC and BCIT will ensure increased opportunities and resources for both students, and faculty, to enter into research collaborations and exchanges, and will provide a platform for innovation, specifically in the fields of science and technology.

“Over the last few years, VCC has been exploring ways to expand applied research opportunities, and sees this agreement with BCIT as an important step towards greater research collaboration. Linking VCC’s applied research projects with research groups at BCIT will create greater information exchange and enhanced links between theory and practice, resulting in a more robust educational experience for our students” says Karen Belfer, Dean, VCC Centre for Teaching, Innovation & Applied Research.

“BCIT is pleased to be collaborating with VCC as part of our ongoing efforts to establish greater applied research connections and opportunities among BC colleges,” says Kim Dotto, Dean, BCIT Applied Research. “Applied research has been a part of BCIT’s mandate for the past 25 years, and this, together with our provincial mandate, means that closer ties with colleges across BC is a natural progression in our evolution. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with VCC.”

In May 2013, VCC was granted eligibility by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to authorize applications and administer NSERC grants, scholarships and fellowships. This agreement with BCIT is one step towards embracing increased research initiatives to address emerging issues of critical importance to our region, including a focus on auto and transportation technologies, health sciences and nursing, culinary and food sciences, and hospitality and operations management.

VCC and BCIT are committed to working together to offer students a first-rate education combined with practical training and enriched learning experiences.

Media contacts:

Kate Chandler
Phone: 778.873.1513
Email: Kchandler@vcc.ca

Kelly Friday
Phone: 604.432.8773
Email: Kelly_Friday@bcit.ca


Carson Graham student wins culinary student of the year

Leah has completed ACE-IT Culinary and Pastry, Cook Apprentice Level 2 and is currently in Cook Apprentice Level 3 completing her Red Seal

Leah Patitucci Culinary student awardAs shared on the North Shore News.

At just 19 years old, Leah Patitucci has nearly completed her Red Seal certification as a chef.

Her cooking abilities were recently recognized when she won student of the year for Vancouver Community College’s culinary program.

“It feels good to have won because I have worked really hard to get here, but I had a lot of support from my chefs along the way,” said Patitucci.

Patitucci is a graduate of the Culinary Arts program at Carson Graham secondary, which is an ACE IT (Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training) program. It is a partnership between the North Vancouver School District and Vancouver Community College that provides an opportunity for secondary school students to complete their grades 11 and 12 graduation requirements while earning post-secondary credits and certification as a Professional Chef Level 1 in the culinary arts industry. Patitucci completed the program in 2014 when she was in Grade 11.

“I knew that cooking was something I really wanted to go into, so I took the culinary arts program. I really liked it. We were a small, close-knit group and we learned a lot,” said Patitucci.

Throughout the 10-month program, students learn professional cooking basics. Near the end of the program they put their skills to the test, providing real dinner service to paying customers twice a week for several weeks.

“This program is such an amazing opportunity for high school students that already know they want to be chefs one day. I take the responsibility of preparing them for the real world of cooking very seriously. Giving them as close to a real life experience as possible provides them with the skills and mindset to be successful in professional kitchens,” said Scarlet Gaffney, instructor of the Culinary Arts program at Carson Graham secondary and a Red Seal chef.

After completing the Culinary Arts program, Patitucci went on to do ACE IT Pastry at VCC downtown while in Grade 12. After graduation from high school, she went to VCC for Cook Apprentice Level 2 and is currently in Cook Apprentice Level 3, where she is earning her Red Seal certification. As part of this program, instructors select students of the month and then at the end of the year these students compete to be named student of the year.

“A week before the competition we were given the list of ingredients we had to use. We needed to use prawns and scallops for our appetizer, lamb for our main and gala apples for dessert,” explained Patitucci.

The competition took place over several hours on a Saturday. Patitucci made Prawn and Scallop Mousse with Shrimp Bisque and Confit Sunchokes as an appetizer, Roasted Lamb Loin with handmade pasta, vegetables and a lamb reduction as a main course, and Caramel Mousse with compressed apples and vanilla ice cream for dessert. Her culinary creations won over the judges, earning her the title of VCC culinary student of the year.

“It was really cool to win,” said Patitucci.

“Leah is a credit to the culinary high school ACE-IT program. Her dedication and preparedness throughout her training paid off when it came to the VCC Student of the Year awards. It was one of the most impressive showings we’ve seen to date. Her positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile will serve her well in her culinary path,” said Collin Gill, Culinary Arts department head at Vancouver Community College.

Once Patitucci has completed her Red Seal certification in cooking she plans on getting her Red Seal certification in baking. She currently works at Temper Pastry in West Vancouver.

She is also already registered to take business at Capilano University this coming fall.


Interested in VCC's industry-leading culinary arts training programs and apprenticeships? Visit our kitchens and meet our chefs at an upcoming info session.



VCC Fashion Arts alumna nominated for CAFA

Graduate Meghan Buckley is competing for the 2016 CAFA Fashion Design Student Award


Meghan Buckley, a 2015 alumna of the Vancouver Community College (VCC) Fashion Arts diploma program, has been nominated for the The Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards (CAFA) Fashion Design Student Award. She is one of four graduates that have been selected as a possible recipient of the new self/peer nominated prize category that will be presented to an exceptional recent graduate from a Canadian fashion design program.  

“I’m in shock,” says Meghan. “Being chosen as a finalist is an honour but the opportunity to attend the awards in Toronto where I can network with designers like Jason Wu and Kimberley Newport-Mimran of Pink Tartan is amazing!”

Created to celebrate and support the Canadian fashion industry, CAFA is in its third year. “CAFA’s ongoing objective is to provide a platform for new and established designers, photographers, stylists and models to gain recognition both at home and abroad,” said Vicky Milner, CAFA managing director. “Over the last year, we’ve evolved our awards categories with the intent of expanding our audience and reaching out to different sectors of the industry. In addition, this year’s initiatives will focus on establishing connections between industry professionals from across the nation as well as internationally to promote the growth of our talent’s profile and networks exponentially.”

Meghan has been nominated in part for the standout work in her five-piece graduation collection (as seen above). Featuring one-of-a-kind prints, the line was originally shown as part of Fiat Mode -  the VCC Fashion Arts grad show in September 2015 at Vancouver Fashion Week. After graduating Meghan interned at Gentle Fawn, who have since hired her as an Assistant Designer. 

“Meghan was a great student and we are not surprised to see her competing in this category,” says Andrea Korens, VCC Fashion Arts co-program coordinator. “The exposure it affords her and the opportunities it could lead to in her career are amazing. We appreciate CAFA’s decision to reach out to the fashion schools.”

Winners will be announced at the 2016 Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards Gala on April 15, 2016 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.


Read more about Meghan's design inspiration in The Georgia Straight and Vancouver Sun!









Culinary department head named Chef of the Year

VCC's Chef Collin Gill takes home the top 2016 BCCA award

BC Chef of the year award‌Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) culinary arts department head, Chef Collin Gill was honored this weekend at the 40th Annual Presidents Ball where he took home the British Columbia Chef’s Association ‘Chef of the Year’ award. The event raises funds to provide scholarships to junior chefs in the province.

“I feel very honored to be named Chef of the Year. This award is also recognition for all that our department does in conjunction with the BC Chefs to serve the community, provide education, create scholarships, and deliver competitions,” says Chef Collin. “I feel this award is a tip of the hat for the VCC Culinary program, not only to myself.”

Read more about Chef Collin and his involvement with the VCC 50 Years 50 Chefs gala here.

Pictured at right: Dean of School of Trades, Dennis Innes with Department Head of Culinary Arts, Collin Gill.


Love to cook? Come check out our culinary arts programs! RSVP now for VCC Info Night on April 20.



Clinton’s story: from trauma to triumph

One student’s journey of healing through education, encouragement, and VCC’s Aboriginal community

News-Clinton-caption-right-380It’s not easy to hear Clinton Rivard talk about his childhood. Born in the small Northern B.C. community of Fort St. James, Clinton grew up in an Aboriginal family plagued by drug and alcohol abuse. Even so, he considers himself to be among the lucky ones. “Many of my friends have ended up homeless,” he says, “but I’ve always had a house key, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Now in his mid-thirties, Clinton is a promising student in VCC’s health unit coordinator program. When he speaks, you can tell he was a smart kid. He brims with proud stories of his parents and grandparents surviving the residential schools era. Sadly, generations later, his own life would also be scarred by tragedy.

A fresh start

At 14, Clinton witnessed what he calls a “traumatic incident” in his home. After giving statements to police and recovering from the initial shock, he soon realized the experience had affected him so deeply that he had lost his ability to concentrate in school. Before entering Grade 8, he dropped out in order to seek psychiatric help.

It took more than a decade of therapy and healing, both with Aboriginal medicine people and professionals as far away as Washington State, before Clinton was ready to resume his education.

Determined to leave Northern B.C., in 2010, Clinton began researching colleges across the province. His criteria were simple: quality adult upgrading courses, a variety of career programs, and close to public transportation. “I sold everything I had and moved to Vancouver specifically to come to VCC,” he says.

A naturally compassionate person, Clinton envisioned a career in health care, possibly nursing. Having no high school education, however, he knew he had plenty of work ahead of him.

Clinton was already enrolled in math and English upgrading courses when he met one of VCC’s Aboriginal advisors one day in the hallway. He then learned about Aboriginal Gateway to Health Careers, a program offered jointly by the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) and VCC that gives academic and career support to Aboriginal students pursuing careers in health care.

“The Aboriginal Gateway program was awesome,” says Clinton, “not only for the extra skills training but also for introducing me to other like-minded Aboriginals. Some of them are my very best friends now.”

With a new support network, Clinton finally regained the focus needed to let his intelligence shine. Despite his Grade 7 education, Clinton’s initial assessments already placed him in Grade 9 math and Grade 11 English. Another testament to his perseverance, it took less than one year for Clinton to achieve all the high school-level grades required to enter VCC’s health unit coordinator program. In November 2015, Clinton was awarded both the Karl Vetter Scholarship and the HSBC Bank Canada Aboriginal Scholarship for his effort and achievement.

Lighting the way

Having recently completed a practicum at UBC Hospital, Clinton is now participating in the hiring process for Nursing Unit Assistant positions with Vancouver Coastal Health.

While pleased with how far he’s come, however, Clinton prefers to draw attention to his peers, like others in the Aboriginal Gateway program as well as his friends and siblings.

“Some have been through even more than me,” he says. “And they’re now finishing social work degrees, nursing degrees, they’re elected representatives for their First Nation bands, they’re raising awareness about missing and murdered Aboriginal women.”

As for Clinton himself, he simply hopes to further the inspiration. “A lot of good people I met along the way have held their light up high for me in my darkest times," he says. “Now hopefully I can add my light to help others find their way."


VCC welcomes learners at all levels of education and from every walk of life. To find out more about adult upgrading courses, attend an upcoming info session.



Media release / photo opportunity: 10th Annual Fair in the Square

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Fair in the Square returns to downtown Vancouver on Sunday, May 29, 2015


VANCOUVER – Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Fair in the Square returns to downtown Vancouver for a neighbourhood celebration packed with live music, arts and crafts, a free BBQ lunch, and more. Join us in Victory Square Park at Hastings and Cambie on Sunday, May 29, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hosted by Central City Foundation in partnership with Vancouver Community College, this upbeat celebration will feature live music, dozens of community groups with information to share, thousands of burgers and cupcakes prepared by students from the Vancouver Community College culinary arts program, artists and artisans displaying and selling their wares, kids activities, contests, prizes and more. Take part in our photo contest to tell us How Are You a Neighbour with www.imaneighbour.ca. You’re a neighbour – come join us outside to meet your neighbours!


WHAT:        Fair in the Square, a celebration with free food, music, arts market and more

WHEN:        Sunday, May 29, 2015, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE:      Victory Square Park, Hastings and Cambie in downtown Vancouver

WHY:          Neighbours celebrating with neighbours

WHO:         Performers include folk/rock musicians Coldwater Road, singer Christine Magee, musical theatre from Project Limelight, and Aboriginal ensemble M’Girl.


About Central City Foundation:

Central City Foundation has been bringing neighbours together to build hope in the inner city since 1907. By building housing and other capital projects, investing in social enterprises that create jobs and opportunities as well as funding hundreds of non-profit organizations, Central City Foundation has provided help and hope to our neighbours in the inner city community for 109 years.

About Vancouver Community College:

VCC celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and music.



Media contacts:
Carla Shore                                                                          
Central City Foundation                                                          
P: 604-329-0975                                                                    


Danielle Libonati
Vancouver Community College
P: 604-871-7000, ext. 7531



Media release: VCC partners with School District No. 74 to meet communities need

$250,000 in provincial funding for administrative training at Vancouver Community College

VANCOUVER – Recent partnership between Vancouver Community College (VCC) and School District No. 74 (SD74) will provide much needed qualified child care educators in Gold Trail, as well as career opportunities for high school graduates. The district will deliver VCC’s Early Child Care Education (ECCE) certificate program to senior high school students and adults in SD74 beginning September 2016.

The specially designed 9-month, full-time ECCE certificate from VCC, along with the training required to obtain the B.C. government’s Early Childhood Educator Certificate to Practice, will qualify graduates to work as educators in licensed child care settings with children three to five years of age.

The affiliation agreement between VCC and SD74 was initiated by Gold Trail Transition Advisor, Greg Howard who wanted to qualify the local population to work in its two licensed child care settings, as well as in the recently-funded family support program, Make Children First.

“There is a high demand for professional staff to work in these settings,” explains Howard. “I also wanted to help the local youth attain vocational training and find jobs.”

“By providing outreach training, this program helps increase the number of qualified, professional staff and therefore takes an important role in supporting families throughout B.C.,” says Katarina Jovanovic, VCC ECCE Program Coordinator. “We also begin to act as an advocate for quality child care which I strongly support.”

For VCC, the Gold Trail ECCE partnership is part of its strategic direction to work closer with school districts to provide high schools in B.C. to train students for early workforce entry. It’s also an excellent model for future outreach programming which brings accessible education to populations in remote and rural areas of B.C and aid in community development.

The boundaries of Gold Trail include five municipalities, 19 indigenous communities, and secondary schools in Ashcroft, Lillooet, Clinton, Lytton, and Shalalth. While all these communities will benefit from the dual credit offering from VCC offered in a SD74 local facility, five lucky high school students from these schools will have their ECCE certificate program funded by the district.




Danielle Libonati
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000 x7531

Media Release: Fiat Mode XXVIII

From grunge to glam, VCC fashion designers are set to impress

Fiat Mode News image

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Community College (VCC) hosted Fiat Mode XXVIII – the college's annual graduate fashion arts gala on Wednesday, Sept. 30. This year, VCC is celebrating 50 years of success as fashion graduates showcase their incredible talent and creativity at Vancouver’s Fashion Week.

“Hosting Fiat Mode at Vancouver Fashion Week gives these up-and-coming designers a chance to prepare for the real fashion world,” says Sarah Murray, show director. “They will be exposed to buyers, media and potential employers. After spending countless hours on their five piece collections they are sure to impress the industry and inspire the public.”

More info: vcc.ca/fashionshow


For interview opportunities and high resolution photos, media can contact: 

Danielle Libonati
Marketing and Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531
E: dlibonati@vcc.ca


Media Release: VCC instructor awarded Certified Master Chef status

Chef Tobias was the only one in his class to successfully pass testing and receive the highest culinary designation in Canada

VANCOUVER, B.C. Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Vancouver Community College (VCC) instructor Tobias MacDonald has become Canada’s second Certified Master Chef (CMC). Chef Tobias was the only one in his class to successfully pass testing and receive the highest culinary designation in Canada.

Proud of his achievement, Chef Tobias is excited to share his experience with his students. “I endured many sleepless nights to see this through,” said MacDonald after receiving the distinction. “I'm so happy to be finished and bring this honour back to Vancouver to pass on all I have learned to the great students we have at VCC.”

To receive the Certified Master Chef distinction, MacDonald completed an intensive two-year program that was developed by industry master chefs and faculty from the Canadian Centre of Culinary Arts and Science at Humber College. After completing the eight areas of study, students had to complete five days of practical examinations where they were judged on plated desserts, handmade chocolates, artisan breads, cake, a buffet platter, a five-course gastronomic menu and a vegetarian three-course meal complete with a nutritional analysis.

The judging panel included a food scientist, Certified Master Chefs from across North America, as well as some of the pioneer Canadian chefs.

MacDonald adds this credit to a long list of culinary achievements. In 2005, he joined Culinary Team Canada to compete in Basil at the Salon Culinaire Mondial where they received two gold medals and first place in the hot kitchen. In 2006, the team competed in Luxembourg, where they won three gold medals and fourth overall.  Then as captain of the team, MacDonald went on to win gold medals in every Culinary Olympics since. In October 2010 he competed for the right to represent Canada in the WACS Global Chef’s Challenge, winning the semifinals for North and South America; in 2012 he placed third in Korea for the Title of WACS Global Chef.

“The opportunity to study culinary with a Certified Master Chef is an opportunity most won’t have in their careers, “says Collin Gill, culinary arts department head. “VCC and our students are incredibly fortunate to have such talent to guide our aspiring chefs.”

Award-wining chef-instructors train students in all aspects of culinary creations in VCC's five student-run restaurants: JJ's, The Bistro, the VCC cafeterias, and the Asian food counter.

VCC’s graduates are sought after by the restaurant and hospitality industry locally and internationally. Intakes for Culinary Arts programs start monthly, prospective students can find information at vcc.ca/culinary.

VCC celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships. With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and performing arts.

- 30 -

For interview opportunities and high resolution photos, media can contact:

Danielle Libonati
Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531
E: dlibonati@vcc.ca  

Media release: office assistants training for in-demand jobs

$250,000 in provincial funding for administrative training at Vancouver Community College

VANCOUVER – Up to 30 local people are getting classroom training and work experience as in-demand office administrative assistant workers, as a result of nearly $250,000 in provincial funding for Vancouver Community College (VCC).

Fifteen people have already begun training in general office administration and another 15 will be trained in medical administration. Participants attend 16 weeks of classroom training at VCC where general office administration participants learn about report writing, office procedures and records management, office software, payroll and meeting minutes taking. Medical administration participants will learn medical terminology, billing, medical documentation and First Aid so they can work in medical offices.

After the classroom work, learners receive four weeks of on-the-job experience at offices around Vancouver, then four weeks of job search support. This program is geared to people who may face barriers to employment but is not exclusive to them. The first group of participants includes immigrants, youth, persons with disabilities, single mothers and three people over age 55. All graduates of the program will receive Office Administrative Assistant certification, or Medical Office Assistant certification.

The project wraps up in May 2016.

Project-Based Labour Market Training helps groups of people with on- or off-the-job employment training and is a component of Community and Employer Partnerships, which were introduced in April 2012 as part of the Employment Program of BC.

To date, more than 900 job seekers have benefited from work experience and 195 projects have been funded throughout the province.

B.C. has reached a tipping point with fewer young people entering the workforce than older workers leaving it. That is why, through the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, government is re-engineering education and training programs towards a data-driven system ensuring that investment decisions align with the needs of our rapidly changing labour market so that more British Columbians have the skills they need to be first in line for in-demand jobs.

The Community and Employer Partnerships program is featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides more support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.


Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation –

“Community and Employer Partnerships like this provide both work experience and classroom training that gives unemployed people valuable job skills that can lead to satisfying, sustainable employment. This project will provide up to 30 people who may be facing barriers to employment with the skills they need to succeed in our growing economy.”

Sam Sullivan, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek –

Vancouver, like a lot of B.C. communities, needs well-trained office workers. It’s an in-demand job that offers excellent career opportunities. I wish these workers the very best of success as they get ready to launch their careers.”

Kathryn McNaughton, vice-president academic, students and research, Vancouver Community College (VCC) –

“VCC is proud to work with the provincial government and to be a part of these students’ lives as they embark on their new careers. We have all the supports students need for success: caring faculty, practical learning, arranged practicums and job search. And, VCC’s student outcomes for landing jobs are among the highest in the province.”

Amanda, project participant –

“This program is such an unexpected chance of a lifetime opportunity and I'm so glad I'm able to take part in it. Since money is kind of tight right now I didn't think I'd be able to go back to school to ultimately get my dream job. But thanks to this funded class, here I am. I have little experience in the office and this program is very informative. The teachers are great, knowledgeable, and patient. Even though I have to wake up at 6 a.m. to travel to class every day, I still don't regret my decision to sign up.”

Rita, project participant –

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this new program at VCC. The course design is well-suited for someone like myself who is striving to transition back into an office position after being out of that environment for some years. I feel that with the up-to-date training, and particularly the certificate of completion, any participant in the program will have no trouble finding the job that they have been looking for. I personally feel confident that I will succeed in finding the career that I choose upon graduation.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia as well as the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
  • Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the four components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
    • Job Creation Partnerships
    • Labour Market Partnerships
    • Project-Based Labour Market Training
    • Research and Innovation

Who is eligible?

  • Businesses
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
  • Bands/tribal councils
  • Public health and educational institutions

Learn More:

For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP

For more information about Vancouver Community College:  www.vcc.ca

Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation: www.gov.bc.ca/sdsi

For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills

To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan: www.engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/

News release: VCC and JIBC pledge greater collaboration

Memorandum of Understanding aims to enhance student opportunities

VCC and JIBC combined logos - news grid

Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to enhance educational opportunities for students in the Lower Mainland.

Under the MOU, VCC and JIBC pledge to work together to improve student access to education and enhance learner pathways. Both institutions will explore areas of mutual interest that will potentially lead to joint delivery of courses or programs, credential laddering, and joint credentials.

Based on the strengths of both institutions, specific areas of focus are planned to include programming for Aboriginal learners, and pathways for more diverse credential offerings for students who are upgrading or developing their English language skills. Inter-professional education activities will also be planned to further develop skills and abilities for effective team work.

Dr. Michel Tarko, JIBC President and CEO said, “We are pleased to build on and strengthen our relationship with Vancouver Community College. This MOU signals our commitment to work together to further increase access to education that leads to meaningful careers in the province.”

"This is an exciting new alliance. The MOU is the beginning of an important partnership where students will benefit from greater access and will receive the strengths of both institutions. We look forward to collaborating with the Justice Institute of BC,” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, VCC President.


About Vancouver Community College

Vancouver Community College celebrates 50 years of inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals, offering post-secondary training in 125 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships.  With three campuses located on Broadway, Downtown and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades and performing arts.


About Justice Institute of British Columbia

Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is Canada’s leading public safety educator. Our specialized programs lead to certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and graduate certificates in Law Enforcement, Investigations, Emergency Management, Firefighting, Paramedicine, Sheriffs, Corrections, Counselling, Leadership, Mediation, Conflict Resolution, and Driver Training. JIBC also provides customized contract training to domestic and international governments, agencies and organizations. Our approach to education emphasizes applied learning and realistic simulations, delivered by instructors who are experienced practitioners. Our students’ work makes communities safer, and helps people in need, throughout B.C., across Canada and around the world.



Karen Wilson
Acting Director, Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College

Richard Chu


Related Links

JIBC Educational Partnerships


Deaf students shine in funding announcement for VCC disability programs

Students share success stories with MLA Sam Sullivan as government announces funds for accessibility

News-disability-fundng-380Last Friday, Vancouver Community College welcomed Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan to the Broadway campus to take part in a special announcement of new funding for programs and supports for students with disabilities.

With podium, lights, and banners set up next to the poignant “Double Blind” public art installation, Sullivan and VCC president Peter Nunoda each shared brief yet motivating statements.

"Although we do have a lot of physical access, employment is still a challenge for people with disabilities,” said Sullivan, highlighting the significance of forthcoming VCC programs that will increase access to careers in automotive trades and food services.

Stealing the show, however, were two members of VCC’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, each of whom shared with the crowd and television cameras their personal story of education and success.

Signing enthusiastically as an interpreter spoke, Vincente Teng explained how accessibility programs at VCC allowed him to study digital graphic design, leading not only to a fulfilling career with a local company, but also providing him with the confidence to feel like a valuable member of society.

Ladan Sahraei then shared her story of arriving to Vancouver as a refugee from Iran, and how, over the past two years, she has come to thrive in her new home thanks to VCC programs offering both American Sign Language as well as English for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals.


Learn more:

Overseas nursing internship gets $15,000 boost

Overseas nursing internship gets $15,000 boost


If anyone can appreciate a healthy ‘shot in the arm’ like this one, it’s VCC’s nursing department.

It has received a $15,000 international education award from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society. The award was developed to recognize and support the exchange of knowledge across borders and oceans.

The funding will go toward a six-week practical internship for six VCC students studying to become registered nurses. In May, they’ll travel to Dhaka, Bangladesh to study how primary health care works in a third world country. The internship, now in its third year, is a result of a unique partnership with the International University of Business, Agriculture and Technology.

“There are benefits to expanding your horizons to see how health care systems in other countries operate,” says Kathy Fukuyama, VCC nursing department head. “These settings offer diverse experiences in a wide range of socio-economic conditions.”

This is the second consecutive year the VCC-Bangladesh internship program has been chosen to receive the $15,000 grant.

It was made possible in part by the VCC Foundation, which acts as the bridge between scholarships like these and college programs or initiatives in need of extra funding. This helps ensure VCC students are afforded unique educational opportunities without shouldering too much financial burden.

Spring convocation recap

Event highlights and valedictorians

Congratulations graduates!

Convocation is a special day where we recognize the hard work and dedication put forth by our graduates. Fall convocation ceremonies will be held on Friday, November 21, 2014.

Photos from the spring events can be found on VCC's official Flickr account.

Here's a short recap from our spring ceremonies:

  • VCC celebrated over 1,400 graduates with three ceremonies.
  • The amazing VCC convocation band was comprised of five current and/or graduating students from VCC's School of Music, Dance and Design: Jason Smith, Aaron Pettigrew, Adam Kerby, Joe Harvey and Carlos Vallejo.
  • Winners from our Outstanding Alumni Awards were honoured.
  • Three valedictorians represented their fellow graduates during the ceremonies: Billy Gollner, Caitlin Cindric and Jennifer Kappler.


Billy Gollner2014 convocation valedictorian billy school of music, dance and design
Billy is a graduate of VCC’s Music - Bachelor of Applied Music program.
Changing career paths to pursue a career in music, Billy came to VCC instead of begining his Masters of Counselling Psychology.

"I wanted to sing. I had always wanted to pursue a career as a singer but I was held back by an expectation that I should pursue a 'real job'. But, singing was my life. I have never once regretted my decision. I have found work in my field as both a voice teacher and as a singer. I have gained the knowledge and musical insight to set me up for a successful long-term career in music. And I have found happiness."

Representing: School of Music, Dance and Design; School of Health Sciences and School of Transportation Trades



Caitlin Cindric2014 convocation valedictorian caitlin cindric
Caitlin is a graduate of VCC's Bachelor of Hospitality Management program.
Discovering her passion for the hospitality and tourism industry at a young age, Caitlin decided to pursue an education in the field.

“I was inspired by successful professionals in my life who were able to pursue their educational goals and complete a Hospitality Management degree while maintaining their careers. We can now proudly stand beside them as fellow graduates.”

Representing: School of Hospitality and Business (hospitality programs)





Jennifer Kappler2014 convocation valedictorian jennifer kappler photo
Jennifer is a graduate of VCC's fashion arts certificate program.
One of her earliest design memories involved her grandmother sitting her down with a huge jar of buttons and cording; she would spend hours stringing and re-stringing buttons in different patterns. Jennifer currently designs for her own company, de volk & gosche.

"The decision to change careers and come to VCC has become a pivotal point in my journey thus far. Every day I know get to do the thing I love. And I believe that whatever lies ahead for each of us, we all know that in some way or another, with the help of this institution and its instructors, we are prepared to now move on and to take on whatever challenges come next."

Representing: School of Arts and Science; School of Hospitality and Business
(business programs); School of Language Studies; Centre for Continuing Studies and Contract Training;
Centre for Teaching, Innovation and Applied Research

Enter to win Vancouver Canadians tickets

VCC Night at the Nat is back on June 25, 2016! Test your "college knowledge" in our weekly ticket giveaway


VCC Night at the Nat is back on June 25, 2016!

Come early for a sunglasses giveaway and cheer on your Vancouver Canadians as they take on Oregon’s Hillsboro Hops. Then stay for a fireworks show!

Win Vancouver Canadians Tickets

Want to be our guest at the best baseball game of the year? Visit VCC’s Facebook page every Tuesday from now until June 21 and test your “college knowledge” by answering a weekly trivia question. 

One winner will be randomly chosen from all correct responses on Thursday of each week and notified via Facebook.


May 24
Question 1:

How many VCC campuses are there in the Greater Vancouver Area?

a) 1
b) 2
c) 3 (Broadway, Downtown, Annacis Island)
d) 4

Winner (2 tickets) announced May 26: Jennifer Chow


May 31
Question 2:

Which of these programs is NOT offered at VCC?

a)   Diesel engine mechanic
b)   Tea sommelier
c)   Asian culinary arts
d)   Cabinetmaking (sorry, no cabinets here!)

Winner (2 tickets) announced June 2: Nic Olina


June 7
Question 3:

In what year did the VCC-Clark Skytrain Station open?

a)   2011
b)   2006 (only 10 years ago! Can you believe it?)
c)   1995
d)   1986

Winner (2 tickets) announced June 9: Ei Leen


June 14
Question 4:

Where was VCC’s original King Edward Campus located?
a) West Pender St. and Hamilton St.
b) Nanaimo St. and East Broadway
c) Oak St. and 12th Ave. (our old stone wall still stands outside Vancouver General Hospital)
d) Granville Island

Winner (2 tickets) announced on June 16: Sherry Pidperyhora


June 21
Question 5:

What kind of sport took place on the grounds of 1155 East Broadway before the VCC campus was built there?

a) Field Hockey
b) Bullfighting
c) Baseball
d) Cycling (The China Creek cycle track, to be specific!)

Winner (2 tickets) announced on June 23: Tracy L.C.


This contest is now closed.
Thanks everyone for playing and see you at the game! 

Carpe tea-um: Q&A with tea sommelier alumnus and instructor Delano Tamborini

Turning your passion into a career

‌‌CS Delano Tamborini Tea SommelierMeet Delano Tamborini, a graduate and instructor of the Tea Sommelier program.

What is your current career? 

I teach the Tea Sommelier program at VCC and am working on launching The Spirit of Tea, my business focused on developing tea-infused alcoholic beverages. I'm also Executive Director of the annual Vancouver Tea Festival, Western Canada's largest tea festival held in November 2016.

Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?

After spending most of the 2000s accumulating degrees and diplomas and traveling the world, I found when it came time to settle upon a career, I was having difficulty doing so. Then a simple thought began to captivate me: What if I chose something I was passionate about and then worked at making it a career? I had always loved tea and figured if I immersed myself in learning more about it - starting with VCC's Tea Sommelier program- it would take me somewhere I couldn't even imagine. And it has!

What was the best part about studying at VCC?

The great people I met during my studies and the warm, welcoming, and supportive atmosphere the college creates. The faculty and staff genuinely care about students, and I never once felt like I was just a number. 

What is the best tea you have ever tasted?

I tasted an astounding sheng pu'er made by the Haixintang workshop, a tiny and not widely known pu'er producer in Yunnan, China (where all true pu'er comes from). The leaves of this pu'er were harvested from an area near the village of Lao Ban Zhang, the most renowned origin in China for pu'er. And the tea was out of this world! I drink quantities of pu'er most people would find difficult to comprehend!

What is your best piece advice for someone starting out in this industry?

Don't be afraid to be a trailblazer. There may not always be a roadmap for where you want to go, but never let that deter you from following your passion to its fullest extent. Life is too short to live with 'what if?' and 'why didn't I?' Carpe tea-em!


Train to become a Tea Sommelier – a knowledgeable tea professional with a specialty in tea service. Registration is now open for classes starting in September.



Lesley’s story: from home-school to health science

One student’s story of braving an academic institution for the very first time


Meeting Lesley Miller, you’re immediately struck by her intelligent eyes, quiet confidence and strong, healthy demeanor. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she’s studying health and nutritional science.

Like many young people diving into post-secondary education for the first time, Lesley’s face lights up as she talks about her chosen field—the biochemistry of foods and how diet relates to the aging of cells and chronic diseases. Speak to her for a few minutes, and you can’t help but share her anticipation to start a Bachelor of Science program in Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of British Columbia this fall.

Unlike many students, however, Lesley’s path did not follow a straight line from high school to university. In fact, her educational journey took its first of many twists and turns before she was even old enough to choose the course.

Out of the system

With mixed feelings, Lesley describes growing up in Ohio where she and her brother were home-schooled. Even though her father had worked as a schoolteacher, Lesley remembers her parents disapproving of many aspects of the American public school system, and wanting to give their kids the freedom to focus on their own talents and interests. “There was method to the madness,” she says.

Even today in the state of Ohio, however, home-schooled students do not automatically obtain a recognized high school diploma. And so, following a lifelong love of books, reading and school supplies, at the age of 17, Lesley finished studying without any official documents or transcripts. While she still had the option to write equivalency tests and obtain a GED, Lesley remembers being confused about the process, as well as insecure about entering an academic institution for the first time in her life.

Food for thought

While still in her early 20’s, Lesley ended up moving to Vancouver with her husband who works in the film industry. “We just packed up the car and said ‘Here we go! We’re moving to Canada!’”

Only a few years into her new Canadian life, however, Lesley’s father passed away, much too young, from cancer. According to Lesley, her father’s death had a major impact on the whole family. While there was no way to know what specifically caused her father’s illness, Lesley, her husband and her mother all experienced it as a wake-up call to drastically improve their food and lifestyle choices. It was then that Lesley also developed her passion to study the relationship between food systems, nutrition and health. “It changed me forever,” she says.

With a newfound drive for learning, Lesley immediately began looking into Bachelor of Science programs specializing in nutrition. When talking to university advisors, however, Lesley soon learned that most admissions systems had no way of accommodating someone without official high school records to submit. “They weren’t really sure what to do with me!” she says. “And so, I came to VCC.”

After speaking with a VCC program advisor, however, Lesley says she was instantly encouraged and relieved. “It was the first time that I didn’t have to explain myself,” she says. “Everybody here comes from a different place. There are so many types of students, filling in holes, taking the classes they need. I just felt accepted.”

Tiny steps, big results

It’s been about a year and a half since Lesley first entered the self-paced Academic Upgrading/High School programs at VCC. She’s worked especially hard in mathematics and sciences—areas that never received much focus at home. Through courses both at VCC and at Langara College, Lesley has now earned the credentials needed to enter university and been accepted to UBC’s Bachelor of Science program in Food, Nutrition and Health.

When asked how she feels about tackling subjects like calculus and chemistry at a university level, Lesley doesn’t hesitate for a moment. “I’m excited,” she says, laughing. “It’s like a big demon that I will slay!”

Looking back on her winding, decade-long journey from home-school in Ohio to university in Vancouver, Lesley finds she’s gained a unique and valuable perspective. “It’s taken me this long to really become comfortable with obstacles,” she says. “So you want something? The first thing you need to do is break the process down into tiny little steps and start with the smallest thing. Don’t let obstacles overcome you. Overcome the obstacles.”


VCC offers programs for students of all skills, abilities and levels of education. To learn more about academic upgrading courses including Grade 12 diploma, attend an upcoming info session

Starting at college a smart move for B.C. students

Colleges in B.C. are not just stepping stones, they also offer a way for students to save money while working toward university degrees



Daniel Dubois was headed for university to play basketball when he was sidelined by a motorcycle crash that nearly shattered his ankle in Grade 12. Instead of university and basketball, he found himself backpacking around Australia. When he got back, he registered for Langara, which turned out to be a great stepping stone for him — one that ultimately led him back to university and basketball. 

Colleges in B.C. are not just stepping stones, they offer a way for students to stay closer to home, save money and study in smaller classes, while working toward the same degree they would earn if they went directly to university. Not only that, but it’s easier to get in. 

While the University of British Columbia requires at least an A average to get accepted, Langara takes anyone with a Dogwood graduation certificate and Vancouver Community College accepts everyone.

Sara Osman, 19, was able to get in at the last minute to the VCC engineering program, which will launch her straight into second-year engineering at Simon Fraser University next year. She grew up in Lebanon and wasn’t in Canada in time to apply directly to university. But when she arrived last September she found out there was a space at VCC and jumped right in. Even though she was two weeks late starting the program, she has maintained a 3.7 grade point average. 

“The instructors really helped me and they gave me a chance to catch up,” Osman said. “I think (VCC) is a really good choice.” 

At VCC, the largest class has 40 students, said Kathryn McNaughton, VCC’s vice-president academic, students and research. At Langara, classes range in size from 20 students to no more than 40 students, said Ian Humphreys, Langara’s new Provost and vice-president of academic and students. 

“Occasionally, you will get the odd double section of 80 students. In science disciplines, we will have classes of 32, so students get really good exposure to the instructors,” Humphreys said. 

Langara is focused on teaching and learning, not research, Humphreys said. 

“University transfer is what we do. It’s our bread and butter, which is giving kids the skills they need to be successful when they transfer to university,” Humphreys said.

B.C. has an integrated system of colleges and universities, one that is specifically designed to allow for transferability. This means students have more flexibility in B.C. than anywhere else in the country, said Andrew Arida, UBC’s director of undergraduate admissions, enrolment services. Alberta also has a thorough transfer system, but other provinces do not. 

Both Osman and Dubois said college was a good transition and it certainly didn’t hurt that they saved about half on their tuition fees. At VCC, tuition is $86 per credit. At Langara, it’s $92. At UBC or SFU it’s more than $165 per credit. 

Keep reading the original article in the Vancouver Sun


Interested in earning first-year university credits in small, flexible, and affordable classes at VCC? Read more about our university transfer programs or attend an upcoming info session.

VCC auto students assist with taxi safety inspections

We like to call it cab class.


Do you know if the taxi you’re flagging down will be safe to ride in?

It’s an important question and that’s why Vancouver Community College's automotive service technician program teamed up with the City of Vancouver's taxi inspector and police from Vancouver and Delta to perform vigorous safety checks on rebuilt taxis. The inspections took place over a two-day period inside the Broadway campus auto shop.Automotive service technician students teamed up with the taxi inspector and police to perform vigorous safety checks on rebuilt taxis.

“We want students to get involved in the inspection process to help police, learn from police, and develop the same moral compass as certified technicians who wouldn’t allow a dangerous vehicle to hit the streets," says Jason Devisser, department head, automotive service technician program. “Real world experience is an important part of our curriculum.”

Students worked side-by-side with experts to look for things like brake or suspension issues and body work problems. Many vehicles that are written off are rebuilt into taxi cabs.

Police and the Vancouver Taxi Association added they are grateful that VCC is able to offer its full-service auto shop to help perform important services to keep the public safe.

VCC students earn 20 medals in skilled trades competition

Vancouver Community College students earned 20 medals at the annual B.C. Skills Competition in Abbotsford on April 17: eight gold, seven silver and five bronze.


Paint us proud!

Vancouver Community College students earned 20 medals at the annual B.C. Skills Competition in Abbotsford on April 17: eight gold, seven silver and five bronze.

All the gold medallists will represent B.C. at the Skills Canada national competition at BC Place in June. They will compete against college and high school students from across the country.

VCC's 2013 B.C. Skills winners:

Architectural CAD (drafting)
Gold: Meghan McDonell, VCC via Vancouver

Automotive collision repair
Silver: Steven Dardengo, VCC via Victoria
Bronze: Philip Laffin, VCC via Nanaimo

High school automotive collision repair
Gold: Kurtis Gordey, A L Fortune Secondary, Enderby
Silver: Cesar Busine, Sir Charles Tupper Secondary, Vancouver
Bronze: Kyle Steven, Mark R. Isfeld Senior Secondary, Courtenay

Automotive service technician
Gold: Keith Stonehouse, VCC via Chilliwack

High school auto refinishing
Gold: Adam Sliacky, South Delta Secondary
Silver: Brenden Papps, Moscrop Secondary, Burnaby
Bronze: Donald Urquhart, Panorama Ridge Secondary, Surrey

Culinary arts
Bronze: Lyndsay Jones, VCC

Gold: Georgine Chung, VCC
Silver: Kate Lo, VCC

High school baking
Silver: Crystal Tan, Lord Byng Secondary, Vancouver

Hair design
Gold: Michelle Macasling, VCC
Silver: Katy Au, VCC via Richmond

High school hair design
Gold: Rachelle Garcia, Samuel Robertson Secondary, Maple Ridge

Gold: Ashlie Mackie, VCC via Vancouver
Silver: Eun ju Oh, VCC via Coquitlam
Bronze: Linda Dooley, VCC via Delta

VCC partners with several high schools in Metro Vancouver to offer trades training at the post-secondary level. By the time a student graduates from high school, they are skilled and ready to enter the workforce or able to continue their studies in college.

VCC auto students assist with taxi safety inspections

We like to call it cab class.


Do you know if the taxi you’re flagging down will be safe to ride in?

It’s an important question and that’s why Vancouver Community College's automotive service technician program teamed up with the City of Vancouver's taxi inspector and police from Vancouver and Delta to perform vigorous safety checks on rebuilt taxis. The inspections took place over a two-day period inside the Broadway campus auto shop.Automotive service technician students teamed up with the taxi inspector and police to perform vigorous safety checks on rebuilt taxis.

“We want students to get involved in the inspection process to help police, learn from police, and develop the same moral compass as certified technicians who wouldn’t allow a dangerous vehicle to hit the streets," says Jason Devisser, department head, automotive service technician program. “Real world experience is an important part of our curriculum.”

Students worked side-by-side with experts to look for things like brake or suspension issues and body work problems. Many vehicles that are written off are rebuilt into taxi cabs.

Police and the Vancouver Taxi Association added they are grateful that VCC is able to offer its full-service auto shop to help perform important services to keep the public safe.

It's go time! VCC students compete at Skills Canada

Eight talented VCC students will be competing at Skills Canada


It's go time!

Eight talented VCC students will be competing against other students from colleges and high schools across the country at the Skills Canada competition at BC Place June 5-8. These students qualified to compete after winning gold medals in their fields of study at a provincial competition in Abbotsford.

Good luck to all our competitors.


VCC students competing at the Skills Canada.


Meghan McDonell
Architectural CAD (drafting technican)

Kurtis Gordey
Automotive collision repair - high school

Keith Stonehouse
Automotive service technician

Adam Sliacky
Auto refinishing - high school

Georgine Chung
Baking and pastry arts

Michelle Macasling
Hair design

Rachelle Garcia
Hair design - high school

Ashlie Mackie
Esthetics (skin and body therapy)


Like us on Facebook and follow @myVCC on Twitter for photos, quotes and updates from the competition at BC Place.

VCC students earn two medals at Skills Canada competition

Congratulations to all of VCC's Skills Canada competitors.


Congratulations to all of VCC's Skills Canada competitors. You made the VCC community very proud!

Adam Sliacky one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors. Adam Sliacky
Age 17
Automotive refinishing - high school
Delta, B.C.
Ashlie Mackie one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors.
Ashlie Mackie
Age 26
Skin and body therapy
Vancouver, B.C.
Georgine Chung one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors. BRONZE WINNER
Georgine Chung
Age 19
Baking and pastry arts
Chilliwack, B.C.
Keith Stonehouse one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors. Keith Stonehouse
Age 25
Chilliwack, B.C.
Kurtis Gordey one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors. Kurtis Gordey
Age 16
Automotive collision repair - high school
Enderby, B.C.
Meghan McDonell one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors. Meghan McDonell
Age 26
Architectural drafting
Vancouver, B.C.
Michelle Macasling one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors. Michelle Macasling
Age 24
Hair design
Rachelle Garcia one of VCC's Skills Canada competitors.

Rachelle Garcia
Age 18
Hair design - high school
Maple Ridge, B.C.

New heavy duty training facility

Government announces funding for new training facility for VCC & BCIT

Exciting news was announced for VCC’s heavy-duty commercial transport students. Government is providing $4.5-million to move heavy-duty transportation programs offered by Vancouver Community College (VCC) and BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) into a new Motive Power Centre on Annacis Island (artistic rendering above).

Motive power programs train heavy-duty mechanics, transport trailer mechanics, diesel mechanics, commercial transportation mechanics, railway conductors and forklift operators.

When the Motive Power Centre opens to students in September 2014, it will focus on collaboration, innovation, and the efficient use of equipment and resources. At 142,000-square-feet, the facility sets a solid foundation for partnership opportunities with industry.

At 177 per cent utilization, VCC’s heavy duty and commercial transport programs will benefit from the larger space and new equipment; in addition to the hands-on-training in cutting-edge teaching facilities, learning and laboratory spaces.

“This new centre speaks to the value of collaboration and partnership within the post-secondary sector,” said VCC interim president Doug Callbeck. “The new facility will give our students the opportunity to learn in a state-of-the-art training environment, gaining the hands-on skills and experience they need for the jobs of tomorrow.”



Government announces funding for new training facility for VCC & BCIT.


New Motive Power Centre of Excellence opens

The $16.5-million heavy duty transportation training facility is unveiled on Annacis Island.


 On Tuesday, Nov. 25, Vancouver Community College and BCITwelcomed visitors into the new Motive Power Centre of Excellence. The facility, which will help in training future leaders in the heavy duty transportation sector, is a joint effort between the two colleges to meet the growing job gap in the industry.

Read the full news release from the event


DELTA - The new $16.5-million Motive Power Centre of Excellence at Annacis Island, built to train British Columbia’s next generation of highly skilled tradespeople for the heavy-duty transportation sector, officially opened today.

“To meet the challenge of more than a million job openings by 2022, we need to provide B.C. students with modern training facilities,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “The new Motive Power Centre of Excellence will prepare students to enter the workforce and fill in-demand jobs, including those in liquefied natural gas and related industries.”

The new 13,192 square-metre (142,000 square-foot) Motive Power Centre of Excellence replaces smaller, outdated facilities at BC Institute of Technology and Vancouver Community College. Heavy-duty mechanics, transport trailer mechanics, diesel mechanics and commercial transport mechanics, as well as railway conductors and forklift operators, will be trained at the new centre.

“Students at the Motive Power Centre of Excellence will get classroom and hands-on training and education right here in Delta, to prepare them for a range of rewarding careers in the heavy-duty transportation sector,” said MLA for Delta North Scott Hamilton. “B.C.’s Blueprint is aligning education and training to in-demand jobs that range from trades to professional to management.”

As well as providing more training space, the Annacis Island facility is home to a 109-tonne (120-ton) MAN Engine that provides students in a number of programs with relevant, hands-on learning experience.

“BCIT is very proud to open the Motive Power Centre of Excellence in collaboration with VCC, our government and industry partners,” said Kathy Kinloch, president of BCIT. “This centre provides a powerful blend of relevant industry input with vital applied learning, helping to ensure our economy has the skilled labour it needs, when and where it needs it, giving students the opportunity to be first in line for tomorrow’s jobs across British Columbia.”

This project supports the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint commitment to make sure British Columbians have the skills and training needed to be first in line for jobs. As part of the Blueprint, over the next three years, government will invest $185 million in trades and skills infrastructure. In addition to the Motive Power Centre of Excellence, this includes a number of projects currently underway, such as new trades facilities at Camosun College and Okanagan College.

“This funding is a significant investment towards skills training in B.C.,” said VCC president Peter Nunoda. “Prior to this move, our heavy mechanical programs were performing at 177% utilization. The new facility provides our students the opportunity to learn in a spacious state-of-the-art facility, while acquiring the hands-on, job-ready skills necessary for these in-demand careers. Our staff and students are extremely pleased with the Motive Power Centre of Excellence’s larger space and new equipment.”

The Ministry of Advanced Education is funding $13.5 million toward the $16.5-million total project cost for tenant improvements. The Province also provided a one-time grant of $4.5 million to cover moving and transition costs including furniture, fixtures and equipment associated with the relocation.



VCC official LNG/CNG vehicle training provider

VCC becomes official official LNG/CNG vehicle training provider

Vancouver Community College becomes official provider of Natural gas vehicle training

Vancouver Community College (VCC) President, Dr. Peter Nunoda, is proud to announce that VCC has been selected to be an official provider of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) vehicle training in British Columbia. 

Over the next several years, VCC will spearhead the pilot project that will see five CNG/LNG-related courses developed and delivered at the Broadway campus.

"VCC is honoured to be selected as the provider of choice for this important new training program,” says Dr. Nunoda. “We are thrilled to be involved in training that ultimately helps industry and individuals reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

VCC has partnered with the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA) to adapt curriculum for five courses from a U.S. organization. Course offerings will include CNG fuel system routine inspection and CNG/LNG vehicle maintenance, which will focus on hands-on training as well as public awareness and customer service.

"VCC will be breaking new ground as the first academic institution in Canada to offer courses that focus on the fast-growing natural gas vehicle industry," said Alicia Milner, President of the CNGVA.

Industry members, including FortisBC, are looking forward to the new training and seeing the graduates in the workforce.

“Training is an essential component to developing the growing natural gas for transportation industry in British Columbia,” said Doug Stout, Vice President, Market Development and External Relations for FortisBC.

Anyone contacting the CNGVA for CNG/LNG education in British Columbia will be referred to VCC for training.

New! UT Engineering and Computer Science

Smaller classes and a pathway to SFU.

Smaller classes and a pathway to SFU.

VCC is now offering two new University Transfer certificate programs that will enable students to gain transfer credits into second year SFU degree programs.

The first-year University Transfer Engineering (SFU or UBC transfer)  and Computer Science and Software Systems certificate programs provide students with the opportunity to explore options and demonstrate success at the first-year level of university studies. Students will gain transfer credits to the SFU Engineering or Computing Science and Software Systems degree programs, or others. 

Join us at an info session and learn more about these programs! 

VCC also offers a number of University Transfer options throughout the year. 


FortisBC equips VCC for new CNG/LNG training

New equipment essential for VCC's new CNG and LNG programs.

New equipment will be essential for VCC's new CNG and LNG programs

FortisBC has generously donated a compressed natural gas refueling station and a Ford F250 fitted with a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) injection system as training aids. The equipment are essential training aids for VCC’s new programs geared towards the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transportation industries.news, fortis, truck, 380, donation, lng, cng

“Hands-on training is an important aspect of learning at VCC,” says Dennis Innes, Dean of Trades at VCC. “With FortisBC’s donated equipment, students from various industries will get first-hand experience to prepare for the workforce.”

VCC has partnered with the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA) to adapt curriculum for five courses from a U.S. organization. Course offerings will include CNG fuel system routine inspection and CNG/LNG vehicle maintenance, which will focus on hands-on training as well as public awareness and customer service.

Industry members, including FortisBC, are looking forward to the new training and seeing the graduates in the workforce.

“Training is an essential component to developing the growing natural gas for transportation industry in British Columbia,” said Doug Stout, Vice President, Market Development and External Relations for FortisBC.

Industry members interested in organizing training sessions can contact Jason Devisser, Automotive Service Technician Department Leader, jdevisser@vcc.ca.


2016 BC Provincial Skills Competition winners

VCC wins five gold medals at Skills Canada BC provincial competition

On Wednesday, April 13, top-performing students from across British Columbia put their trades skills to the test at the 22nd annual Skills Canada BC provincial competition.

Competing in areas ranging from automotive collision repair to hairdressing to culinary arts, VCC students impressed the judges as well as the crowds at the Fraser Valley Trade and Exhibition Centre (TRADEX) in Abbotsford. Gold medal winners will represent BC at the Skills Canada national competition in Moncton, New Brunswick in June. 

Congratulations to all the winners, as well as the ACE-IT medalists from VCC-affiliated high schools.

Auto Collision Repair

Gold - Roeloph Clemens, VCC
Silver - Matthew Copp, VCC
Bronze - Jason Sherle, VCC


Gold - Jalyn Franeulas, VCC

Gold - Angela Wu, Windermere Community Secondary (ACE-IT) 

Culinary Arts

Gold - Alexandra Sandoval, VCC


Gold -Taylor Haaf, VCC
Silver - Lara Dooley, VCC

Gold - Teanne Clements, Samuel Robertson Technical (ACE-IT)
Silver - Jayda Long, Samuel Robertson Technical (ACE-IT)


Ray-Cam soapbox derby launch event at VCC

Naskarz hosts a pre-derby BBQ at VCC to introduce teams and sponsors for the Ray-Cam soapbox derby

3rd annual nascarz soapbox derby‌‌

VCC's Broadway campus hosted the pre-derby BBQ for the 3rd annual Ray-Cam soapbox derby on April 28. About 40 people, including representatives from Ray-Cam, the Vancouver police department, ICBC, Coast Capital Savings, and kids from the soapbox derby program attended the event in the auto collision repair shop parking lot.

Ray-Cam's Aboriginal elders offered a traditional welcome message to kick off the BBQ. Participants showed off a working model of a soapbox car designed entirely from wheelbarrow parts. 

The Ray-Cam soapbox derby is an annual community event organized and delivered in partnership with the Vancouver Police Foundation and the Vancouver Police Department. The soapbox racers are built by youth in the NASKARZ Program at VCC and under the guidance of volunteers from Jelly Bean Autocrafters. NASKARZ is an award-winning program designed to promote social inclusion of young people from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside into automotive, social and educational opportunities.

Businesses and organizations are invited to sponsor and enter teams consisting of their employees and Ray-Cam youth. 

Follow NASKARZ on Facebook.

Follow @VCCAutobody on Twitter.


Interested in learning more about auto collision and repair at VCC? Read more about our transportation trades programs or attend an upcoming info session.

News Release: Breaking down barriers to post-secondary education

Targeted investments announced to help develop programs for students living with disabilities

VANCOUVER – Students who face barriers to education and training – such as physical or learning disabilities – are being supported with a range of programs being developed by individual public post-secondary institutions throughout the province.
The Province is providing one-time, targeted investments of $75,000 for 20 public post-secondary institutions. In addition, Vancouver Community College (VCC) has received $275,000 to develop programs and supports for students with disabilities.
“Our government is working with universities, colleges and institutes to ensure that a disability is not a barrier to accessing high-quality post-secondary education,” said Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan, on behalf of Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “With access to education and training, students with disabilities can develop the in-demand skills needed to support their families, communities and the provincial economy.”
With the $75,000 in funding, VCC plans to offer two full-time eight-week programs that will introduce members of the deaf and hard of hearing community to five Red Seal trades programs: auto service technician, auto collision, auto refinishing, cook and baker. The Access to Automotive Trades and Access to Food Services program will help students develop in-demand skills for employment. Students who successfully complete the training will be able to move on to a full-time foundation program.
“People with disabilities may need extra support to be successful at school, or as they prepare for employment,” said Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Michelle Stilwell. “We are investing more than $1.9 million to help public post-secondary institutions continue with programs and develop new techniques to help students with disabilities train for meaningful employment.”
The additional $275,000 that VCC received will go toward training and technology to assist students with disabilities to prepare for post-secondary education. For example, the college has begun offering braille language-development courses for students starting in programs for the visually impaired.
“VCC is always looking for innovative ways to support students with disabilities. Thanks to this funding, we can offer the resources that students need for success,” said VCC president Peter Nunoda. “We are proud to serve 1,250 students with disabilities, the largest percentage of students in the post-secondary system.”
The $1.9 million in 2016-17 builds on investments made in 2014-15 and 2015-16, for a total of more than $4 million.

“As a deaf person, there are no barriers to accessing the outstanding programs and employment opportunities at Vancouver Community College,” said VCC student Vicente P. Teng.

The Centre for Accessible Post-Secondary Education Resources (CAPER)-BC, Post-Secondary Communication Access Services (PCAS), and the Program for Institutional Loans of Assistive Technology (PILAT) each received $50,000 to support public post-secondary schools throughout the province to access assistive technology and services, such as teaching and learning materials for visually and hearing-impaired students.

Supporting learners with disabilities is a priority of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and Accessibility 2024.

Learn More:

B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint

Accessibility 2024


Media can contact:

Alison Antrobus
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 356-8706

Karen Wilson
Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College
604 612-2653

Real life learning

Nursing students get hands-on learning experience at DTES health fair

Several VCC students studying to become registered nurses volunteered at the Alley Health Fair, held annually in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood (DTES).

Students designed their own signage, created a sexual health game to engage people, and had meaningful discussions with DTES residents and community agencies.

"Students learned from real people about their experiences with Hepatitis C, addiction, or HIV," said Janine Stevenson, nursing instructor. "It was an excellent and rewarding opportunity for our students to learn and network."

Students also helped serve free meals and built important relationships with people from Vancouver Native Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Portland Hotel Society, and many others.

VCC nursing students volunteer at the annual Alley Health Fair

Fall 2015 convocation recap

VCC is proud to announce the graduation of over 1,100 hardworking and dedicated students on Nov. 26

News-Virginia-valedictorian-300“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

- Aristotle

Vancouver Community College is proud to announce the graduation of 1,165 hardworking and dedicated students on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. This year’s Fall convocation took place at 1 p.m. in a single ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Areas of study awarding degrees, diplomas and certificates included:

  • School of Access
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Music, Dance and Design
  • School of Hospitality and Applied Business
  • School of Trades
  • Continuing Studies & Contract Training
  • Centre for Teaching, Innovation and Applied Research

Valedictorian Virginia Carlton, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, addressed the graduating class with an uplifting message.

What the world truly needs is all kinds of people.  Whether we are nurses, chefs, auto mechanics, drafters, or hair stylists is irrelevant. It does not matter what we do. It matters most, how we do it.

Virginia pursued nursing prerequisites part-time over three years while raising two young sons. While at VCC, Virginia was awarded the Term 3 Award for Professionalism and was a student representative of CRNBC and InspireNet. She also worked at Vancouver General Hospital during her studies.

Special recognition was also in order for Lieutenant Governor Silver Medal Award-winner Caroline Gatchalian who today attained her Administrative Assistant certificate. This medal is given to a student in a vocational or career program less than two years in length while contributing to the life of his or her community. During her studies, Caroline volunteered with the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House and Jewish Family Services Agency, where she facilitated activities for the elderly and disabled.

Not present at the ceremony: Governor General Bronze Medal Award-winner Aimee Hung, graduating with the highest overall GPA from diploma-level program at VCC.  Aimee graduated with a diploma in Practical Nursing (LPN).

Full photo gallery:


The sweet sounds of mixing it up

Department leader, Ken Morrison explains why studying music at VCC will get you ahead

‌As seen in Metro on Monday, June 6, 2016.

The saying, “music to my ears” takes on a literal meaning at Vancouver Community College (VCC), where in just two years the music diploma program prepares students for careers as professional musicians.

“Our students are out there working,” says Ken Morrison, VCC’s music and dance department head. “Because we equip students with a variety of knowledge, they don’t have to work outside of the field while waiting for their big break. They can write, arrange, play, teach and so much more. If that big break doesn’t happen, they aren’t limited in their options to have a satisfying life.”
Offered for the past 42 years, the program, says Morrison, is rooted in classical and jazz studies but includes and welcomes instrumentalists and vocalists in rock and popular music as well as music traditions from other cultures. In fact, it is currently undergoing a curriculum review in an effort to integrate more aspects of contemporary music. 
The school’s diverse approach is showcased through its range of ensembles, which students must join as part of their studies. Among them are: VCC Concert Choir, Jazz Orchestra, Latin Jazz Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Electric Jazz (Fusion and Funk) Ensemble and New Music Ensemble.
“We’re trying to break down barriers,” says Morrison. “Categories aren’t really relevant and people are interested and have access to all types of music. Music education institutions are responsible for giving students well-rounded knowledge and we do that through academic and skills courses and performance opportunities.” 
Another factor, says Morrison, that sets VCC’s program apart is the diversity of students to whom it caters. Not only is there no cap on enrollment (meaning students can still enroll for the fall semester), but the school also prides itself on accepting students at all career stages.
“Smart, talented and committed are the three criteria we look for during auditions,” he says. “Beyond that, we look for potential. So, we get this great mix of new and experienced musicians, which creates a really interesting dynamic.” 

Attend an upcoming information session to meet instructors and tour our music facilities.

Five reasons the VCC music diploma program should be your first choice

Take your music career up an octave with our diploma program.

1. Community is in our name for a reason. The instructors, staff and peers in the VCC music department are helpful to each other, and offer a tight-knit, collaborative and supportive community.

2.Affordable educationpaired with high-quality instruction means that you have extra money in your pocket to put towards your dream guitar!

3. VCC music offers students a diverse choice in their education. Whether your concentration is in voice, instrumental, composition, or jazz, classical or contemporary, VCC music will find a major that fits with your focus and style.

4. Highly-engaged, professional faculty who bring their real world experiences into the classroom.

5. Career success. Just ask one of VCC’s many successful music alumni.

Daniel Ruiz, BESTiE drummer and VCC music alumnus, credits VCC music for giving him the confidence to explore his improvisational skills.

Visit VCC’s music department website to learn more about other famous alumni and how you can start the audition process.

2015 Student Awards

Announcing the 2015 Jewellery Art & Design student award winners

Congratulations to the 2015 Jewellery Art & Design student awards winners:

Mariya Karpenko, Karl Brown Scholarship for Technical Achievement, second year.

Serna Bartok, Cavalier Jewellers Award, first year. 

Janet Harrison, Edgemont Village Jeweller Scholarship, graduating student.

The awards were handed out at the opening night of the Jewellery Art & Design student exhibition on Thursday, May 28. 

Mariya Karpenko jewellery student award 2015

Donor, Karl Brown, Mariya Karpenko, award winner and Dariusz Bebel, department head, Jewellery Art & Design

Serena Bartok, Jewellery, student award, 2015

Serena Bartok

Janet Harrison, Edgemont Village, Jewellery, student award, 2015

Jewellery Art & Design students Meaghan McRae, Sofia Rizo, award winner Janet Harrison, Tammy Moerike, and Caitlin Bilton.

Jewellery Art & Design exhibition showcases new talent

Students from both classes of this two-year diploma program push the boundaries of jewellery

Vancouver Community College’s jewellery art & design program opens its 28th annual student exhibition with a gala event on Thursday, May 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Downtown campus at 250 W. Pender St. The exhibition continues until Friday, June 10.

Every year, students from both classes of this two-year program are given a display case each to show the work that they have created in the final months of the semester. Along with five to ten pieces of jewellery, each student creates a display to go along with the theme of their designs. The result is a display of 35 little worlds, each enclosed in a plexiglass cube, each displaying the unique perspective of the student who created it.

This year, in addition to classic and contemporary jewellery designs, the show will include several handmade silver bowls, knives and cutlery, jewellery made from non-traditional materials such as steel and found objects, and even some body armour.

Every year, the gala opening event is a who’s who of young designers, business owners, alumni, and jewellery business professionals. This year, renowned local jewellery design firm Pyrrha will be on hand to present a brand new award of one year’s tuition to one lucky first year student. The event is open to the public, includes a cash bar, and a number of other awards are presented to top students from the program.

VCC’s unique two-year diploma program offers a hands-on learning experience in the design and fabrication of jewellery. Running since 1988, the program has produced a number of successful jewellery designers, including the owners of local businesses Era Design, Aurum Argentum, Hammered & Pickled, and Tiny Finery.

For further information on the jewellery art & design grad show, please contact Karin Jones, Acting Department Head, Jewellery Art & Design.


Interested in learning more about jewellery art & design at VCC? Read more about the program or attend an upcoming info session

Q&A with Bernie William Johnson

Building a career in the lap of luxury

News-Bernie-380It was the glamour of the world’s top hotels that first attracted Bernie William Johnson to the hospitality industry. Now with over 15 years’ experience working everywhere from luxury resorts to the high seas, he’s landed at Vancouver’s most dazzling establishment of all. Bernie shares more about his exciting career:

How did you choose your profession?

I didn’t—it found me. A friend was in the program, and I had just returned from a year of travelling. I was part way through an education degree, but the allure of glamourous hotels was overwhelming. I enrolled in Hospitality Management at VCC because my friend raved about the program.

What was it about the program at VCC that you found so compelling?

The content was extremely interesting, relevant and practical—at the end of my second year we ran a simulated hotel with all the day to day challenges that are regularly encountered.  My instructors were reputed hospitality professionals from within the industry. Their stories, advice and experiences were firsthand, and that made a difference. I found that when applying for jobs, my time at VCC was a conversation point as general managers and human resource directors knew many of my instructors from within the industry.

I got my first hotel job while still at school. I worked front desk at a four star hotel while going to school and was able to graduate without student loans. Taking a job in a hotel while going to school allowed me practical learning opportunities which helped in my studies. It was also that practical knowledge that set me up for success as a hospitality professional!

What have you done since graduating in 1999?

I spent six years in the rooms division of a luxury hotel before moving to the high seas. I spent over six years working for various cruise lines, and was promoted through the ranks to become a human resources manager.

In 2010 I came back to Vancouver and worked as a human resources manager recruiting for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Since then, I have been at the Metropolitan Hotel, the River Rock Casino Resort, the Hastings Racecourse and currently the Shangri-La Hotel, the only five diamond hotel in Vancouver.

What would you say are the top reasons to choose hospitality management at VCC?

Reputation, cost, location, core content and quality of instructors.

From washing dishes to Washington

Seasoned hotelier Mark Andrew chose to pursue a degree when he already had 30-plus years of experience in tourism and hospitality. Why?

Mark Andrew Hospitality grad

When seasoned hotelier Mark Andrew decided to pursue his bachelor of hospitality management at Vancouver Community College, he had already landed several prestigious leadership positions at luxury hotels including Hyatt, Starwood and Fairmont. In fact, when he added a VCC degree to his resume, he had 30-plus years of experience in tourism and hospitality.

“I hope to inspire others to pursue higher education,” says Andrew, who recently transferred from Vancouver to the Fairmont Washington, D.C. to assume the role of regional vice-president and general manager. “The world of tourism is about the guest experience, so we need to keep learning and growing to better understand how to exceed their expectations.”

Andrew feels strongly about personal growth and development for those working in the industry and says he learned a lot studying at VCC. “It’s a terrific learning-focused institution where I successfully gained a better insight into the hospitality industry.”

Graduates of VCC’s School of Hospitality characterize the curriculum as collaborative and adaptive to changing industry trends. Andrew agrees it’s critical for post-secondary institutions to stay close to the industry, especially in a tourism hotspot like Vancouver. “VCC is well-poised for success in the future,” he adds.

Q&A with John Martinolich: Making it in auto collision repair

A hobby repairing cars leads to a profitable career.

auto collision, news, john martinolich, 380x293, instructor, success storyJohn Martinolich started out fixing cars as a teenage hobby, but it wasn’t long before he made this high-demand trade his profession. Now an instructor at VCC, John was kind enough to answer a few questions about his career:

Why did you choose to study at VCC?

I did a work experience at VCC when I was in high school and enjoyed it. I took the course so I could repair cars as a hobby, but I ended up enjoying it so much, I left my other job and stayed with it. That was 17 years ago.

What do you love about working in the auto collision repair and auto refinishing industry?

I really enjoy working with emerging technologies. Although it’s a really physical job, it requires mechanical aptitude, attention to detail and problem solving skills. I also really enjoy payday—I’ve averaged $98,000/year over the last five years!

Would you recommend the program to others looking for a new career?

Absolutely. I was hired before my course was even completed. Today, the industry is in need of skilled technicians. It’s a well-paying, high-demand trade.

Why did you decide to teach?

I liked helping people at work and training apprentices.


Do you have a passion for technology and the drive to succeed in a rewarding career? Learn more about the industry-respected Auto Collision Repair program at VCC.  Join us at a free info session and jumpstart your career.

Five reasons to choose hospitality management at VCC

Our grads tell you why they recommend our programs.

Five reasons to choose hospitality management at VCC


As a leader in hospitality management training in B.C., VCC strives to meet employer demands and respond to industry trends. We are proud to deliver a new and revitalized curriculum – built on our reputable programs and driven by industry experts.

Here are the top five reasons our graduates recommend our diploma and degree programs:‌

Grads get jobs
“Getting a job in the industry after graduation was never a concern when being affiliated with VCC.”
– Amanda

Strong reputation
“I chose VCC because it’s in the heart of hospitality in Vancouver and has a fantastic reputation. The course load is relevant and the instructors are industry professionals.”
– Caitlin

Industry connections
“VCC’s program was a conversation point as employers knew many of the instructors from within the industry.”
– Bernie

Industry-relevant curriculum
“The program continues to be relevant and practical. VCC instructors are industry experts who provide knowledge and insight to future employees.”
– Kristina

“VCC was an excellent investment in my future – from valuable life lessons and a well-rounded education, to networking and job preparation.”
– Brock

Join us at a free info session to see how our programs can work for you!

VCC student team wins big at tourism industry competition

Hospitality Management Diploma students take home top prize at the 2015 LinkBC Case Competition

News-tourism-case-competition-380As part of the 2015 B.C. Tourism Industry Conference, the 9th Annual LinkBC Student Case Competition saw 64 students from 13 different institutions demonstrating their business skills to top industry professionals.

Winning top prize in the Tourism Marketing Diploma category was the Vancouver Community College hospitality management diploma team, consisting of Wing Chen, Mirko Gerstner, Monika Paripovic, and Antonio Rodrigues.

Two team members share about their experience in the competition:

Monika Paripovic, second-year student, hospitality management diploma program

“At the scholarship ceremony last year, I learned about how the Case Competition was such a great opportunity, which it indeed proved to be. I learned it would give me exposure and the opportunity to present in front of a panel of executives from the very industry I'm learning about and training to work in.

In the competition we were presented a case and received five hours to research a company, figure out a solution, create a PowerPoint presentation and pitch our idea to a panel of executives. The case we were presented with was that the Ramada Limited Hotels valet service was operating at a loss. They wanted to hear our ideas on how we could solve this. 

It was difficult in the sense that time was limited, but we knew we had to go into detail in order to stand out and win. At one point, I was on hold with ICBC for half an hour trying to figure out how much insurance would cost to implement our first idea. Unfortunately, we couldn't receive a quote or even a ballpark number to use, so halfway through the competition we decided to start over. This, of course, took a huge chunk of time out of our timeline, but we knew we needed good financials and analytics to win. So we went back to a drawing board and came up with a simpler idea that was more realistic.

I spoke with one of the judges later and asked for feedback on our presentation. The judge said it was our analytics which set us apart and allowed for us to win. We had real examples and real numbers which is what they wanted to see.  We were also able to stay at the hotel the night before. This helped because we were able to give real examples that would increase customer retention.

From the competition, I was able to take away many things, such as what is necessary to work on a very tight deadline, and how to work efficiently with a group of individuals. We each had our strengths and weaknesses but focused on bringing our strengths to the table. In the end, we formed a well-rounded group and I’m really proud of our performance.”

Mirko Gerstner, second-year student, hospitality management diploma program

“I felt compelled by the idea of representing my school in a BC case competition. Also I felt that the competition offered a great deal of learning experience and fun!

To come up with a solution and to compile a presentation in just five hours felt daunting at first, but once we had a breakthrough in our research and a viable solution, the competition felt exiting and empowering.

We had a concise and simple solution to Ramada Hotels problem. Our recommendation did not incorporate unnecessary changes to the hotel’s everyday operation nor did it incur high costs—in fact, it saved them money. I also think our straightforward and joyful delivery of our proposed solution gave us a leading edge over the competing teams.

Through this competition, I learned that you should always believe in yourself, no matter ‎the situation. I also learned that, despite different personalities and work styles, we had the same goal, which led us to function extremely well as a group. It turned out that differences can be a strength and extremely helpful. Every one of us contributed in our own special way.”


VCC’s two-year diploma in Hospitality Management produces professionally trained and educated personnel for B.C.’s world-famous hospitality industry. Learn more about hospitality management programs at VCC. 

College revamping hospitality bachelor's program

Re-launch of Executive Cohort to unlock global opportunities for hospitality professionals

News-hospitality-380After an administrative review of its Bachelor of Hospitality Management Executive Cohort program, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is preparing for a September re-launch of the offering aimed at students with significant professional management experience and accomplishments in the hospitality and related industries.

“We’re thrilled to again be offering this option,” says Michael Tittel, VCC’s department leader of hospitality management diploma and degree programs. “It allows students to complete the 60-credit course requirement for the degree within 12 months rather than the two years it typically takes to complete our bachelor of Hospitality Management program.”

Those who previously finished a diploma and work in mid- to senior levels of hospitality management will benefit from the program’s 20 courses, which, says Tittel, will focus on areas such as finance, leadership and entrepreneurship through a combination of theory and practical learning.

“This is a global industry and if, for example, someone wants to go to the U.S. but doesn’t have a bachelor degree, they won’t get that opportunity,” he says. “This program is the key that helps students to unlock opportunities on a much larger, global basis.”

With a delivery format that will include evening and weekend classes, online learning, condensed courses, as well as a capstone course that involves self-directed study, the executive cohort option ensures students can keep up with their current responsibilities.

“Students in the program won’t have to give up their jobs and will be taking this program as an educational component above and beyond their job,” says Tittel.

In addition to the 12-month executive cohort and the two-year bachelor of Hospitality Management programs, VCC also facilitates a two-year Hospitality Management diploma, which Tittel says is designed as an entry point into the industry.

“If I could simplify it: A diploma will get you a job and a degree will get you into a career,” he says. “With our diploma program, we give you the basics that will allow you to go up the career ladder two rungs at a time compared to someone who doesn’t have an education.”


Original article published in Metro Vancouver.

Learn more about VCC's Bachelor of Hospitality Management.
(For details on the new Executive Cohort, click on the "Program Description" box and view "Accelerated Program.")

VCC hosts Soaring Indigenous Youth Career Conference

Students and educators from across B.C. participate in a day of Indigenous education and inspiration at VCC

On Friday, Feb. 12, Vancouver Community College (VCC) opened its doors to Indigenous youth from across B.C. for Soaring – one of the annual career conferences held across Canada by Indigenous education organization Indspire

The day of college tours and workshops was part of the sold-out 2016 Indspire events which also included an employer trade show at the Westin Bayshore hotel and the 2016 Indspire Awards gala held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

After an official morning welcome at VCC’s Downtown campus, Soaring participants dispersed into smaller workshops and tours led by Indigenous educators from VCC and the wider community. Sessions included activities such as campus tours, baking demonstrations, student panels, and career planning seminars.

Amanda Johnston, a Grade 12 student from Saanich B.C., says she enjoyed learning more about jobs in B.C.’s hospitality and tourism industry in a session led by VCC culinary arts alumnus and Indigenous educator Chris Monkman. “I never really thought about how much work and people go into making a resort or a restaurant function,” says Amanda, who already works as a manager at her local Dairy Queen. Both Amanda and her sister Robyn, who have Inuit roots, say they enjoyed connecting with the hundreds of other Indigenous youth at the conference. 

VCC’s Aboriginal Services department also hosted a popular panel featuring four current students, each of whom shared some of their personal experiences and educational goals. While many stories involved struggles such as dropping out of high school and experiencing homelessness and prison, all finished on one encouraging note—that it’s never too late to pursue an education, learn self-discipline, and find your purpose.

“Cooking is my passion,” shared panelist Joseph James, who returned to school as a mature student and is currently a level 3 apprentice in VCC’s culinary arts program. “The chefs here were really hard on me, but I’m grateful. They pruned me to become what I am now.”

See the full Soaring photo gallery:



VCC’s Aboriginal Education and Services Centre offers on-campus gathering spaces and student advising in many areas including applications, funding, and career planning.

Want to visit the VCC campus too? Join us April 20 as we open our doors for Info Night. RSVP now and you could win an iPad mini.

The "steep" rise of tea

What was old is once again new, as tea—that humble concoction—makes a play for its portion of the city’s psyche

News-Tea-sommelier-380“Hey, wanna meet up for a coffee or something?” asked a friend the other day.

Since I don’t drink coffee – and my friend is very much aware of this – I rightly interpreted her statement to mean, “Hey, wanna chat over some tea?”

She wasn’t being insensitive or forgetful. That phrase has become the standard “let’s hang out” invitation, regardless of the actual beverage involved. Coffee culture in Vancouver is, after all, as much a part of the city’s make-up as yoga, sushi and loving/hating the Canucks.

Times are a-changin’, however, and what was old is once again new, as tea – that humble concoction of leaves steeped in hot water – makes a play for its portion of the city’s psyche.

“Tea, after water, is the number-one beverage drank globally,” says Reza Nasooti, tea sommelier and director of business development for Urban Tea Merchant. An exclusive retailer of the TWG brand of teas, which focus on ethically and organically grown teas with no pesticides, chemicals or artificial flavours, Urban Tea Merchant also has seen a rising interest in their afternoon tea service, which uses the teas to infuse the savoury and sweet food items.

“It’s a tea gastronomy experience,” explains Nasooti.

It’s an experience that is growing in demand, judging by the number of new spots that have opened in the last five years. The rapid expansion in the number of tea houses is just a small indicator of where the city’s palate is heading. Retailers like David’s Tea and Teavana first popularized tea on a mass scale, and their flavoured, fruit-forward teas have now become almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks coffees.

In the same way that Starbucks presaged the advent of more farmer-focused, single-origin coffees, like those championed by Stumptown, 49th Parallel and Third Wave, so have these tea chains been the means of bringing into focus places like Urban Tea Merchant, O5 Tea and Shaktea. The latter, which has been a Main Street institution since 2005, was one of the first places in Vancouver to source its teas directly from small-lot growers all over the world, focusing on estate-grown, fair trade and sustainable teas.

Keep reading about Vancouver's love affiar with tea in Anya Levykh's original article in the Westender


Did you know Reza Nasooti is also an instructor in VCC's tea sommelier certificate program? Our students have gone on to work as consultants, importers, and hospitality workers.

B.C. restaurants waiting out worker shortage

Culinary students in high demand as B.C. restaurants face tourist season with a shortage of cooks


The heat is rising for B.C. restaurant owners, as they brace for the busy tourist season while scrambling to overcome a shortage of cooks and kitchen staff.

The shortage comes from an increase in the number of new restaurants, a lack of new staff to replace retiring baby boomers, and changes to the federal government’s temporary foreign workers program that cut the pool of labour to restaurants, industry observers say.

“I need three cooks right away,” Kamal Mroke, owner of India Bistro on Vancouver’s Davie Street, said Monday.

Mroke said he is starting work around 9 a.m. and finishing as late as midnight, doing kitchen work he would normally hire someone to do. “I would like to be up front promoting my restaurant, but I cannot find a skilled worker like a chef, anybody, to work in the kitchen.”

Mroke has been in business for the past 12 years, but he said he’s never worked as hard.

“I’ll go back myself, start cooking in the kitchen,” he said. “My feet are hurting.”

He said fellow restaurateurs are all facing similar staff shortages, and he worries about how they will handle the summer tourist traffic.

B.C. Restaurant Association President Ian Torstenson said the problem exists throughout B.C., and is most acute in restaurant kitchens.

“With wait staff, you’ve got all the university students, and you can train them fast,” Tostenson said. “But the technical side in the kitchen is where the problem is. We’re just not getting enough interest from people wanting to get into the business.”

The good news for the industry is a healthy provincial economy that has new restaurants opening to meet new demand. Their number stood at about 11,000 province-wide in 2013, with 200 to 300 added to that number each year since then, Tostenson said.

“The boomers are retiring, so that’s creating vacancies,” he added, noting that not enough young Canadians have replaced them.

Changes to the federal government’s temporary foreign worker program made just over a year ago choked off another flexible supply of workers, Tostenson said.

“That just stopped any ability for restaurants to get labour they can’t supply in the domestic market,” he said. “So now you’re seeing in a lot of cases an exhausted industry.”

Tostenson said young people haven’t taken up the opportunity represented by the demand for skilled restaurant workers.

“I think people sort of forgot about it,” he said. “You are learning a technical trade, by working in the kitchen, that carries you well. It’s a very transportable skill as well — you can take that and go to France or Africa, whatever you want to do.”

At Vancouver Community College, whose downtown campus houses the largest culinary arts program in western Canada, students are themselves feeling the pressure, as they take on paid kitchen jobs even before they complete their training.

“We’re seeing a bit of that, definitely,” said instructor Tobias MacDonald. “It seems a week doesn’t go by that I don’t get a phone call from somebody in industry looking for cooks. There’s real demand for skilled labour.”

VCC trains would-be cooks in the classroom for two technical levels — the first taking seven months and the second taking four months. That training can also be done by apprentices employed in kitchens, who can work between two-days-a-week classroom sessions. The two-day-a-week training was instituted this year because restaurants didn’t want to lose apprentices for five full-time training weeks each year.


Continue reading the full story in the Vancouver Sun.


Interested in VCC's industry-leading culinary arts training programs and apprenticeships? Visit our kitchens and meet our chefs at an upcoming info session.

Spring 2016 convocation recap

Congratulations graduates!

Convocation is a special day where we recognize the hard work and dedication put forth by our graduates.

Here's a short recap from our spring ceremonies:

  • VCC celebrated over 464 graduates
  • The amazing VCC convocation band was comprised of four current and/or graduating students from VCC's music program: Ila Zbarsky, Chris Sallis-Lyon, Joseph Harvey and Jazz Palley
  • Amber Anderson, winner of the 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award for community contribution was honoured
  • Janice Flack served as class valedictorian

Valedictorian Janice Flack spring 2016 convocationJ‌anice Flack, 
Hospitality Management Diploma program

After graduating high school, Janice began studying at Capilano University. Her academic focus was in general arts, exploring art history, religion, sociology and literature. In 2012, Janice graduated from Simon Fraser with a bachelor degree in English. It was a combination of a passion for hospitality and global tourism that led Janice to decide to take the hospitality program at VCC. She is currently working as a concierge guest service agent at a boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver, as well as throughout the city in various banquet and catering events.

"I have attended two other universities in BC, and VCC has been my favourite because we actively see the students taking part and claiming ownership over the campus. Instructors know students' names and no one is just a student number."

Photos from the spring event can be found on VCC's official Flickr account.

VCC Salon & Spa gets head-to-toe makeover

We're updating our style!


VANCOUVER, B.C. --  We’re updating our style!

This summer, Vancouver Community College is excited to announce a full-scale renovation project at the Downtown campus VCC Salon & Spa. These facilities are open to the public year-round and home to students training in the hair design and skin and body therapy certificate programs.

“We hope these fresh, beautiful surroundings will inspire a new level of creativity in our students, and in turn attract more people seeking high quality, low cost beauty services in downtown Vancouver,” says Julie Wright, department head, hair design. “We’ve never felt more excited for current and future students, as well as our valued clients.”
VCC has contracted Edifice Construction Inc. and Red Design Ltd. to custom build a salon and spa area that will be comparable to any high-end facility in the marketplace. The space will also maintain functionalities essential for learning.

What’s new:

  • Public salon and spa area with private treatment rooms
  • Walk-in spray tanning booth
  • Public retail space with top-of-the-line hair and skin care products
  • Separate training area for students


VCC salon and spa gets head-to-toe makeover


Wright adds, “Our facilities are now going to reflect what our programs already are: up-to-date and highly regarded in the industry. When students graduate, they will be well-positioned for success, though they may never want to leave.”

Staging of the renovations has been carefully planned to ensure daily training activities are not interrupted. The college has also implemented safety measures to keep the salon open to the public and protect nearby students, staff and pedestrian traffic. The construction zone is cordoned off and signage in place to restrict access. The site and work crews will be monitored by VCC Facilities Management and Safety and Security.

Renovations are underway and expected to be complete in the fall.

See our price list and book an appointment today:

Hair, call 604.443.8332
Spa, call 604.443.8334

For more information:

Laura Shand
Marketing and communications officer
Vancouver Community College
Email: lshand@vcc.ca

Grand opening event

Interviews, tours and free micro-treatments for media and invited guests.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – We’ve never looked so good. And you can too.

After completing a 1.7 million dollar renovation, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is ready to unveil its stunning new VCC Salon & Spa at the vibrant Downtown campus. Bright and spacious, the facility is home to students training for careers in hair design and esthetics, and is open to the public. New features include a boutique storefront space and do-it-yourself area where guests can try various styling equipment on their own.

Media and guests (invite only) will be offered tours of the state-of-the-art facility and can enjoy free micro-treatments including hand massages, hair curling and hair straightening.

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 18, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
WHERE: VCC’s Downtown campus, 200-block Dunsmuir at Hamilton, two blocks west of the Stadium SkyTrain station
SALON LOCATION: Main floor, across from the Continuing Studies office

Media and guests are also encouraged to share photos with their followers on Twitter and Instragram using hashtag #VCCSalon&Spa.

Follow us on Twitter.

VCC's new hair salon and spa  is open to the public

Media contact:

Laura Shand
Marketing and Communications Associate
Vancouver Community College

Fiat Mode XXVI

VCC's premier fashion gala of the year.


VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, Vancouver Community College (VCC) will celebrate all things fashion at VCC’s annual graduate fashion arts gala. Fiat Mode XXVI at VCC’s Broadway campus will showcase stunning designs created by this year’s 24 fashion arts graduates.

This year’s collections embrace new materials and a fresh spin on traditional attire. The show will also be presented in a unique, highly interactive format giving audience members a rare opportunity to get within a few feet of the collections.

“This year we want our guests to truly absorb the personality of each design,” says Tene Barber, dean, Continuing Studies. “They can expect a real up-close-and-personal fashion show experience unlike most others.”


Fiat Mode XXVI


Every year, VCC’s fashion arts graduates showcase raw talent through their refined collections. From evening gowns to hip-hop short shorts and street wear to wedding-inspired styles, our students never fail to impress.

“Fiat Mode gives up-and-coming designers a chance to prepare for the real fashion world,” adds Sarah Murray, show director. “They learn to produce a fashion show -- the industry’s most traditional marketing tool -- and get the opportunity to showcase their collections directly to buyers and the media.”

Fiat Mode XXVI is open to the public. Event details and tickets are available online.



- 30 -

For interview opportunities and high resolution photos, media can contact:

Fareedah Rasoul Kim
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7152

Fashion show 2014

Fashion show 2014

fashion-show-2014.png‌               (Photo taken by Lindsay Elliot)


Another exciting Fiat Mode fashion arts gala is now complete. Congratulations to all graduates on your hard work and breathtaking collections.


Introducing a New Program for Sewing Beginners

Stepping stone for your passion for fashion


Fashion Arts is excited to introduce Beginner's Sewing Level 2


Fashion Arts is excited to introduce Beginner's Sewing Level 2! If you have already figured out how to sew a straight line, this new class is your chance to further your skills. The course will build on skills in sewing and construction techniques. The student will choose a pattern from the given list. Learn how to take personal measurements and compare them to the pattern measurements. The student will be shown how to make any required adjustment to the paper pattern before cutting and constructing the garment. The goal is to complete two garments: a blouse or shirt, and a skirt or pair of pants that will fit. Register for the non-credit class.


New Fashion Arts millinery class featured in the Vancouver Sun

You don’t need to have a day at the races to wear a fab hat thanks to a new program at VCC


Fashion Arts program Millinery class. courtesy of Dominique Hanke- www.hivemindmillinery.com. You don’t need to have a day at the races to wear a fab hat thanks to a new program at Vancouver Community College.

As a part of the Fashion Arts program, the millinery class will allow students to create a variety of different toppers — from fascinators and fedoras to pillboxes and cocktails hats — all in time for the upcoming Deighton Cup race on July 25.

Read more about it in the Vancouver Sun…

Millinery 1 runs for a total of 18 hours and begins on June 13. For more information and to register please visit www.vcc.ca/fashion.

To interview millinery instructor Dominique Hanke or program coordinator Andrea Korens please contact:

Sarah Murray
Fashion arts, recruitment and industry relations
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 8668

Hat image courtesy of Dominique Hanke at Hive and Millinery.




Vancouver designer Mishel Bouillet slows fashion down

VCC grad's clean-lined collection takes sustainable fashion beyond the thrift store and onto the runway

News-Mishel-Bouillet-380It’s no secret that fast fashion is designed to make you feel off-trend in a matter of weeks, days, or—sadly, we’re not exaggerating here—hours. In Elizabeth Cline’s 2012 book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, the author reported that H&M and Forever 21 receive daily shipments of new styles. The idea? Sell as much low-cost clothing as possible and then move on to the next thing.

The end result, of course, is waste—not just the devastating agricultural and industrial kind profiled in documentaries like The True Cost, but 81 pounds of actual clothing that every American is now estimated to throw out each year. (That amount is up 400 percent from 20 years ago, and is the subject of a design challenge at Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week this year; see below.)

Perhaps nothing gives a person a sense of the urgent nature of the situation like picking through used clothing. In fact, that’s exactly where Vancouver designer Mishel Bouillet’s interest in the slow-fashion movement arose.

An avid used-apparel shopper who has spent years as both a sharp-eyed “picker” for local vintage boutiques and a sewer reworking used clothing, she became highly aware of the increasing number of fast-fashion labels turning up in the discard piles she’d dig through.

“Walking through Value Village, all you see is fashion labels like H&M and Topshop and Joe Fresh,” she says, sitting in Tacofino Gastown before heading to her studio to work. “That’s where my whole sustainability thing comes in: from seeing how we just throw all this out. Why is it so disposable?”

The designer, who debuts her taut, clean-lined new collection, Models Own, at Eco Fashion Week (Saturday to Thursday [April 9 to 14] at the Fairmont Waterfront and other locations), began to wonder if there was an answer that went beyond just buying used clothing.

“Everybody loves vintage, but for the most part you can only do one-off pieces,” she explains. “It got me thinking: how can you put out more consistent products and turn it into a brand that isn’t so disposable?”

For Bouillet, who studied in the Vancouver Community College fashion program, the concept began with a small collection of finely crafted, minimalistic pieces that would transcend trends—and not surprisingly, solid black and white figure prominently. The few debut pieces she’s dubbed her Control collection include sleek wrap-style miniskirts in black or white suede, an apron dress in raw organic denim, and flowy pleated culottes in light denim, dark denim, and elegant white.


Continue reading about Mishel Bouillet's innovative collection in the original Georgia Straight article.


VCC's fashion arts programs develop in-demand technical skills while fostering individual creativity. Join us at VCC Info Night on April 20 to meet instructors, try your hand at design, and learn more! 

What to expect at your dental hygiene appointment

Interested in a career as a dental hygienist? Here is what to expect in a clinical setting.


Visiting your dental hygienist is an important part of maintaining or improving your oral and overall health. Your dental hygienist is an oral health professional whose area of expertise focuses on preventative oral health care. Dental hygienists work collaboratively with dentists and other health professionals to provide optimal oral health care to their clients.

The dental hygienist will begin by reviewing your medical history with you including documenting any medications you are currently taking. This is an important step to ensure he/she is aware of any medical conditions you may have that could influence your dental hygiene care. The dental hygienist will also inquire about your dental history such as previous dental work you have had done, your oral hygiene routine and any concerns you have with your teeth.

The next step is assessing the condition of the head and neck region, your teeth and oral tissues. This will include completing a head and neck exam to screen for oral cancer, checking the tissues in your mouth, assessing the health of the gums, and may also include taking your vital signs. The dental hygienist will discuss the findings with you and determine what dental hygiene treatment is required. Any areas of concern which the dental hygienist is unable to treat will be referred to your dentist or another health professional such as your physician.

Once you and your dental hygienist have reviewed and agreed on the treatment plan, you will need to give your permission to proceed with the proposed treatment prior to beginning. Your treatment will likely include scaling and root planning (debridement) to remove plaque and calculus from the tooth surfaces. This is done using powered intstruments such as an ultrasonic instrument and/or hand instruments. The dental hygienist may also share information with you related to brushing/flossing, risk of dental decay, smoking cessation, nutrition information, and/or the link between oral-systemic health based on your individual needs.

Some of your teeth may then be polished to remove any remaining stains and if needed, you may receive a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth, prevent decay, and/or decrease sensitivity.

Based on the condition of your teeth and gums, the dental hygienist will determine an appropriate ongoing care schedule and will identify any further matters relating to your individual oral health condition that need to be addressed.

During your visit, the dental hygienist will practice standard infection control protocols which include wearing gloves, a mask and eye protection as well as using sterile instruments and disinfecting all surfaces between patients.


This article is published with permission by the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia.

Original article can be found here.

BC health regulators launch public awareness campaign

Why receiving care from unlicensed health professionals is dangerous

“Saying you are one doesn’t make you one”

Starting on September 21, 2015, the BC Health Regulators, representing 26 regulated health professions governed by 23 colleges and over 100,000 health professionals, launched their public awareness campaign “Saying you are one doesn’t make you one.” Following the success of last year’s “our purpose, your safety” campaign, this year’s campaign is designed to encourage British Columbians to obtain health services from licensed and regulated health care professionals.

Featuring children acting as health care professionals delivering services with potentially disastrous, and humorous results, the “Saying you are one doesn’t make you one” campaign sends a compelling message about the risks associated with obtaining services from unlicensed individuals. British Columbians are encouraged to visit the BC Health Regulators website to learn more about regulatory colleges in British Columbia, the professions that are regulated, and how they can ensure they are receiving safe and professional health services. 

The campaign launched on September 21, and will be found across digital platforms and on television. If you haven’t already seen the ads, you can view them here.

Available from: http://www.cdhbc.com/News-Events/CDHBC-Publications-Archive/November-2015.aspx

VCC chef on Food Network

VCC's own Shelley Robinson battles it out on Top Chef Canada

Watch and root for Shelley Robinson, VCC chef instructor for the culinary program, when she competes against 13 other chefs on Food Network’s no. 1 series, Top Chef Canada, starting March 10.

“Chef-instructor Shelley Robinson exudes confidence in the kitchen and her passion for food translates to the students. The fact that she keeps putting herself out there teaches students the need to test their skills – no matter how much training and experience they have,” says Collin Gill, department head for VCC’s culinary arts program.

Robinson appeared on Food Network's Chopped Canada in January and beat out three competitors. The Vancouver Sun featured the chef in a recent article.


Shelley Robinson - Top chef Canada

VCC chef offers taste of competitive cooking

Celebrity chef Shelly Robinson starts a food fight at the Delta Career Fair.

Shelley Robinson - Top chef Canada

Celebrity chef and culinary instructor Shelley Robinson, from Vancouver Community College, will give attendees a taste of competitive cooking at this year’s Delta Trades and Technical Career Fair on April 24.

The recent winner of Chopped Canada and current contestant on Top Chef Canada will referee a food fight between a few willing Delta students who will have to whip up a culinary feat on the main stage in a head-to-head competition. It’s a fun way to introduce young people to VCC’s culinary arts program and the fast-paced career as a chef.

Robinson, who trained at both Dubrulle Culinary Institute and Vancouver Community College, says, "I'm very grateful for my formal culinary education, which included attending VCC, to have the career I do now. I can't stress the importance of having strong role models and chef mentors for young aspiring cooks.”

The second annual career fair introduces Delta students, their parents and the community to post-secondary training and great career options in the trades and technical areas. It will feature over 75 interactive exhibits, presentations and demonstrations on the show stage. Visit delta.ca/careerfair.

Top five entrees to try at Quizine Kitchen

Check out VCC's newest student-run restaurant at the Broadway campus.

VCC has recently opened its fifth restaurant, Quizine Kitchen, at the broadway campus. Like its sister restaurants at the downtown campus, it is student-run and super affordable.  The food is upscale-cafeteria style and the menu changes every few weeks. Here is the list of the top five items you must try:

  1. House Falafel, with pickled beets, cabbage, secret white sauce for $7
  2. Spicy Tuna Sashimi Burrito, with sushi rice salad, sriracha mayo for $7
  3. Foot Long Hot Dog (same as PNE) with 3- onion slaw for $7.50
  4. Fried Cod Taco, with cucumber slaw, green aioli, cilantro salad for $7.50
  5. Vegetarian grilled Portobello Mushroom and Gouda sandwich, with camelized onion, spinach and roasted garlic loaf for $7.50

Quizine Kitchen was recently featured in the Vancouver Courier.

VCC has four other student-run restaurants, JJ’s Restaurant for fine dining, The Bistro for sit-down casual, the Asian culinary arts counter and the downtown cafeteria.


Quizine Kitchen entrees


VCC hosts Christmas in January for less fortunate

VCC serves Downtown Eastside with January Christmas feast


Christmas in January 2015


VANCOUVER, B.C. – The holidays may be over, but this past Saturday, VCC and the Salvation Army had a gift for its neighbours in the Downtown Eastside – a Christmas lunch with all the fixings prepared by VCC's culinary arts chef instructors and students.

The annual "Christmas in January" luncheon was served from the Salvation Army Harbour Lights Kitchen, where each guest was presented with a “sunshine bag” with socks and a treat as they finished their meal. Many thanks to the dozens of VCC and Salvation Army volunteers, to Colin Gill, culinary arts department head, and to his culinary arts students for all their hard work.

"It was a great success! How wonderful to be able to serve more than 1300 people over three hours." says Soleille Cyr, VCC catering coodinator and event organizer. "The event would not be a success without the generous sponsors who pitch in for this annual event."







VCC students participate in HomeGround

Culinary students prepare food for ill-housed Downtown Eastside community

VANCOUVER, B.C. – VCC culinary arts' instructors and students partnered with HomeGround last week to provide lunches and dinners to 500 people from the Downtown Eastside. This community-building event gives homeless and under-housed residents the best food and entertainment for three days straight at the Carnegie Community Centre and Oppenheimer Park.

The students and chef instructors donated their own time to provide outstanding service and received affectionate thanks from the community. "VCC truly has community spirit and to have our students be part of this experience is an incredible opportunity to share in this spirit." says John-Carlo Felicella, chef instructor and VCC event lead.








MarketSafe certification now available at VCC

Custom-designed food safety course supports market vendors & local business

News-MarketSafe-800"Farmers' Market" licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 courtesy of Flickr user NatalieMaynor


In Vancouver, eating local means getting our food from more places than just restaurants. As one of the world’s top food cities, our farmers’ markets, produce stands and home-based food entrepreneurs are also becoming big players in the local culinary scene. In support of this broadening industry, Vancouver Community College is excited to now offer MarketSafe, a course specifically designed to teach food safety outside of regulated establishments.

The 7-hour course will be taught by Peter Lee, a Certified Public Health Inspector and FOODSAFE instructor with over 25 years’ experience.

Before the MarketSafe program was developed in partnership with the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets in 2010, Lee remembers market vendors who were overwhelmed by health and safety requirements, many of which only applied to restaurants. “I sympathized with them,” says Lee. “But now we have MarketSafe, which doesn’t get into too many restaurant requirements. It’s much more simplified.”

In addition to food handling, VCC’s MarketSafe course will also help aspiring food producers navigate all the forms and regulations involved in transforming a home-based project into a successful local business—something not part of the traditional FOODSAFE curriculum. “It really explains to operators what they need to do,” says Lee.


Do you dream of selling your baked goods or produce at a local venue? Get the knowledge you need to join Vancouver’s’ thriving food scene through VCC’s MarketSafe certification course. Apply now for courses April 18 and August 22, 2015.

Five great reasons to train in Culinary Arts at VCC

Get your career cooking!


Get your career cooking! VCC’s Culinary Arts programs are where the next generation of great chefs get their start.

Students plating at the Chef's Table - Pop-up Kitchen.

Here are five great ‌reasons to come to VCC: ‌

1.  Receive hands-on training from award-winning chefs and produce real products on professional kitchen equipment to be sold in numerous VCC restaurants and food service establishments.

2. Gain industry experience through culinary practicums at top restaurants and hotels. Instructors work with industry partners to ensure student success.

3. VCC graduates are in demand and hired by leaders in the hospitality field - 84 per cent of our students find positions during or within a couple of months after program completion.

4. Go on to get your Red Seal certification. Hours accrued in the VCC kitchens and practicum go towards your apprenticeship with the ITA.

5. Start your chef’s kit with the opportunity to purchase a professional knife set at cost.

BONUS! Register for the May 25 program and we'll waive the $31 application fee, plus receive a $50 gift card for JJ's Restaurant.

Come for a tour to find out why VCC is Canada’s top culinary school, training more chefs than any other school in the country. See our state-of-the-art kitchens, check out our full-service campus restaurants, and talk to our award-winning faculty members.

Partnering in a party – 2015 Fair in the Square

There’s nothing like a giant block party to bring neighbours together and celebrate community


There’s nothing like a giant block party to bring neighbours together to share and celebrate what it means to be part of a community


The ninth annual Fair in the Square was held on Sunday, May 31 in Victory Square Park adjacent to Vancouver Community College’s downtown campus.


VCC has been involved the Fair in the Square for the past seven years, invited by the Central City Foundation to provide refreshments to the more than 2,500 revellers. Local Downtown Eastside residents, businesses, social enterprises and community groups turned out and were treated to entertainment by a variety of bands and artists, from First Nations performers to the Project Limelight kids’ dance troupe. New this year was even a rousing swordplay display.


In a true demonstration of “neighbourocity”, more than 100 VCC volunteers donated their talents and services to entertain and feed the crowd . Students from VCC’s Culinary Arts program fired up the grill and served more than 2,000 burgers, along with 1,500 cupcakes by Baking and Pastry Arts students and 60 watermelons cut and served by VCC employees. Special thanks goes to Gordon Food Service and Snow Cap for providing the supplies.


VCC is proud to support the community and to be a part of such a vibrant neighbourhood for the past 50 years. We are also proud of our partnership with the Central City Foundation, founded more than 100 years ago to provide support and solutions that improve the lives of our neighbours in need.


It was a great way to celebrate our 50th anniversary year and to learn more about being a neighbour in the truest sense of the word. We’re already looking forward to next year’s Fair in the Square!


Learn more about Neighbourocity

See our Fair in the Square photo gallery!

Top five reasons to study culinary arts ESL at VCC

Train with the best chef instructors while advancing your English language skills

Get skilled in Culinary ESL.


Top chefs get their start at VCC. Train with the best culinary instructors while advancing your English. Here are the top five reasons to get skilled at VCC:

  1. You're welcome here
    Learn English while you train to become a professional chef; VCC accepts those with a low