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VCC partnership with Musqueam advances early childhood education

Posted on April 5, 2019


When Christine Sampson moved to Vancouver 15 years ago from Prince Rupert, B.C., she trained and worked as a child care provider. Christine loves children and enjoyed her job, but full-time positions were scarce at the time. With a daughter of her own to support, Christine turned to retail jobs for a more reliable income, letting her provincial Early Childhood Educator certificate expire. 

While off work due to surgery in 2017, Christine, who is a member of the Lax kw’alaams First Nation, learned via Facebook about VCC’s early childhood care and education (ECCE) training program offered in partnership with the Musqueam Indian Band. With her daughter now grown up, Christine decided to revive her career. “It was time to get back to living life for myself,” she says.  

This training partnership, funded in part by the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, offers Indigenous students the opportunity to first upgrade basic skills, then ladder into VCC’s ECCE certificate program, all at no cost and delivered in a familiar setting with a full range of supports. 

Another goal of the program is to provide licensed and culturally informed child care staff for future Musqueam residential developments.

Christine, now confident about finding full-time work, is currently completing her practicum at t? mem??n??s?ewtx? (The Children's House), Musqueam’s onsite child care facility. Here, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children are exposed to traditional languages, songs, stories, and art – a stark contrast to residential schools of the past. “We’re preserving culture,” says Christine. “I believe we all need to know where we come from. That’s why I enjoy this work.”


The Musqueam Early Childhood Care and Education Certificate (PDF) is offered at no cost to qualified Aboriginal learners. Contact Lina Sehgal at or 604.871.7000 ext. 8307 to register by April 23, 2019.

2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards winners

Posted on June 5, 2014

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.

Overseas nursing internship gets $15,000 boost

Posted on April 4, 2013


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.

50 Years. 50 Chefs.

Posted on October 2, 2015

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:



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

Posted on February 7, 2017

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.

VCC students can pay tuition and buy textbooks online

Posted on July 16, 2013

Paying tuition

Paying fees at Vancouver Community College is as easy as 1-2-3.

VCC students can use online banking to pay fees, the same way you would pay a hydro or credit card bill.

Simply follow these steps:

1. If you haven't already, sign up for online banking with your banking institution.

2. Login to your secure online banking account.

3. Add Vancouver Community College as a biller (payee) using your permanent student identification number.

4. Register for your courses in-person or online then return to your banking website within 24 hours to pay fees.

Students unable to use online banking can choose to register for courses and pay tuition online using myVCC.

Online bookstore

Students at VCC can buy textbooks online and have them shipped directly to their homes rather than buying in-person at the college's busy VCC Bookstores.

“It’s a great advantage for students who work every day and don’t have time to make a special trip to campus at the start of the semester,” says Helena Carmo, manager, VCC Bookstore.

The website features a special drop-down menu for students choose their courses and the required textbooks pop-up automatically. After purchase by credit card only, delivery takes about two days, Carmo adds.

VCC president's message

Posted on September 16, 2013

From September 16 to 22, people across the country will come together to commit to truth and reconciliation. Reconciliation Week, organized by Reconciliation Canada, is intended to bring people of all cultures and backgrounds together to build a shared understanding of our histories and the impact of the residential school system on people throughout the country.

In recognition of the profound impact that the residential school system has had on Aboriginal peoples and on this country, and in honour of residential school survivors, VCC will be hosting its own reconciliation event:

Tuesday, Sept. 17
11:30 a.m.
BWY campus event space

VCC Indigenous Education and Community Engagement team will be hosting an “Ask & Learn” session with best-selling author Chief Bev Sellars who will be discussing her book They Called Me Number One.

I encourage you to attend this event to listen, ask questions, and learn more about the residential school system.

I’d also like to encourage everyone in the VCC community to participate or get involved in the events happening throughout Reconciliation Week. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s National Event will be held at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver on Sept. 18. The week is culminating with a Walk for Reconciliation on Sept. 22, bringing people together to walk a path in a shared commitment to reconciliation.

Indigenous art at VCC

Posted on January 29, 2019

VCC’s Indigenous art collection is a celebration of the culture, traditions, and values of our Indigenous community. These works are intended to create a welcoming space for Indigenous students while enriching and inspiring the lives of everyone at VCC.

Learn more about our collection here, or use this article to direct your self-guided tour.

Red-feather-left-100 Begin in building A, East Broadway entrance‌


Birch Bark Biting Waneska Wake Up 
2011, Pat Bruderer with framing and lighting by Shain Jackson
Birch bark framed in salvaged old growth cedar and LED lighting
Location: Building A, level 4, opposite counselling office 



The Runner
2011, Debra Sparrow
Plexiglass, sandblasted and frosted
Location: Building A, level 4, adjacent to elevator 



Raven Brings the Light, Heiltsuk
Toni Gladstone, Gordon Gladstone, Gerry Baker 
Glass and wood 
Location: Building A, level 4, adjacent to elevator, north wall of lobby 


 Red-feather-left-100 Take elevator to level 2 and make your way to building B‌



2011, Kelly Cannell
Bronze casting
Location: Building A, level 2, south end of walkway, mounted in pavement 



Coastal Journey
2011, Kelly Cannell
Kiln slumped and sandblasted glass with carved western red cedar frame
Location: Building B, level 2, adjacent to security office 


Red-feather-left-100 Take elevator or stairs to level 3 



Water Blessing (left)
2011, Black Pinto Horse, Monte Yellow Bird, Senior 
Oil on canvas with cowry shells and simulated elk’s teeth 
Location: Building B, level 3, between room 3225 and 3226

Sweet Buffalo Medicine (right)
2007, Black Pinto Horse, Monte Yellow Bird, Senior 
Oil on canvas with cowry shells and embroidery floss 
Location: Building B, level 3, between room 3225 and 3226 


Red-feather-left-100 Take elevator or stairs back to level 2‌



Elders Hands
2011, Jackie Traverse 
Acrylic on canvas 
Location: Building B, level 2, opposite room 2229a 



Doors and Archway
2010, Aaron Moody 
Yellow cedar 
Location: Building B, level 2, on folding doors of Aboriginal Gathering Space, adjacent to room 2232 



Cedar Salmons
2010, Shain Jackson 
Red cedar plywood with abalone inlay 
Location: Building B, level 2, on concrete columns at the Aboriginal Gathering Place 



Canoe and Paddles
2005, Aaron Moody, Shane Point 
Red cedar 
Location: Building B, level 2, opposite room 2232 at the Aboriginal Gathering Place 


Red-feather-left-100 Continue your tour on level 2‌



2010, Ray Natraoro 
Yellow cedar 
Location: Building B, level 2, inside room 2232 at the Aboriginal Gathering Place 



First Quarter Moon
2008, Burton F. Amos 
Location: Building B, level 2, inside room 2232 at the Aboriginal Gathering Place 

Red-feather-left-100 Go to the main stairs to see the next three pieces‌



A Dance for Streams, A Gift of Life 
2010, Jerry Whitehead 
Acrylic on canvas 
Location: Building B, level 2, at the top of the main stairwell 



New Direction 
2011, Robyn Sparrow 
Wool, mounted in cedar display case 
Location: Building B, level l, adjacent to room l23l, near the bottom of the stairwell 



Our Salish Sea Waterways 
2011, A collaboration of Pamela Baker and Shain Jackson 
Sandblasted aluminum, acrylic and LED lighting 
Location: Building B, level G, adjacent to revolving doors 


Thank you for showing interest in VCC's Indigenous art collection! Learn more about supports for Indigenous students at VCC including program advising, scholarships, bursaries, and on-campus Gathering Spaces by visiting VCC Indigenous Services


DGD students brewing up new designs

Posted on June 29, 2015


Most graphic design students find themselves endlessly sitting in front of their computers agonizing over font faces and pantones. Vancouver Community College (VCC) digital graphic design (DGD) instructor, Ashlea Spitz wanted to challenge her students to think outside of the post-secondary box and understand the real world steps involved in the design process, all while still having fun.

Spitz’ 2015 graduating class was tasked with the assignment of redesigning the label of Pacific Western Brewing’s, Pacific Pilsner. The objective of the assignment was to capture the essence of the iconic blue and gold label, while re-establishing an emotional connection with consumers, both new and returning. The students were guided through the process of research (off campus), inspiration, design critiques and presentations. 

Spitz and DGD department head, Lorena Espinoza were thrilled with the results of the project, as was Pacific Western Brewery’s owner, Kazuko Komatsu. Komatsu surprised students at the DGD exhibition at the Roundhouse Community Arts Centre by gifting each student with a $100 cash award in recognition of their efforts, professionalism and creativity.

Learn more about how VCC can help you learn the skills you need to succeed in a creative career at todays info session; Monday, June 29, 5 p.m., in room 721 at the Downtown campus. Application fees will be waived for those interested, and portfolio reviews have been extended to July 20.  

Design credit: Vicky Chan (news item image),  Savannah Golding (left) and Thiago Crevatin (right).





Taste the difference of wine education

Posted on November 21, 2019



It’s date night. You’ve just sat down at the best table in the restaurant, and the server hands you a weighty, leather-bound book – the wine list. What do you do? Do you nervously scan for a name that sounds familiar? Ask for a recommendation? Or simply hand it back and opt for the “house red?” 

Even the most seasoned foodies can be intimidated by a wine list, but when it comes to wine appreciation, a little learning can go a long way. One of VCC’s newest credentials, the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 1 Award in Wines, offered through wine educator Statera Academy, is the perfect starting point for gaining this lifelong skill. 

Like any good VCC instructor, award-winning sommelier Keith Nicholson knows that people learn best by doing – or tasting, as the case may be. “More than half the class is spent with wine in our glasses,” he says. “That’s the best part.” 

Overall, the course teaches why different wines taste the way they do, accounting for varietal (type of grape), climate, and the winemaking process. Students in the course range from chefs, restaurant servers and wine store employees to wine-lovers from all walks of life. 

“More than just a lecture, we connect the dots to what is in the glass,” says Keith. “People have a lot of ‘aha’ moments in this class.” 

VCC Continuing Studies – Winter 2020

Other new programs and courses offered this term through VCC Continuing Studies include:

Gladue Report Writing

Baking and Hospitality
Chocolate Showpieces

Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) in Dementia Care 

Human and Family Services
Counselling Skills – Foundational

Interior Design
Colour and Your World: History, Aesthetics and Psychology of Colours

Jewellery and Gemmology
Cabochon Cutting – Introduction

Leadership and Management 
Board Development 
Event Planning for Volunteer Managers 
Grant Writing Essentials
Social Media for Non-Profits
Marketing for Non-Profits

Revit Level 2 
Web Development with JavaScript 
Mobile Phone Photography
Film Scoring and Commercial Composition Essentials

Learn something new. Pick up the Winter 2020 Continuing Studies catalogue at any VCC campus, download the PDF, or explore our full selection of Continuing Studies courses online.


VCC convocation recap – Fall 2019

Posted on November 14, 2019



Vancouver Community College (VCC) is proud to announce the graduation of 1,182 dedicated and hardworking students on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Our Fall 2019 convocation ceremony was held at 1 p.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and we were pleased to welcome over 1,200 of our graduates’ family members and friends to join the celebration.

Degrees, diplomas, and certificates were awarded to the following areas:

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

As VCC’s Fall 2019 valedictorian, Sport and Recreation Management graduate Aaron Maharaj addressed the crowd with confidence, sharing his personal story of returning to school mid-career to pursue his dream of engaging new immigrants with sports and recreation.

“Take time to appreciate where you came from, where you are, and where you’re going. Make an impact on someone’s life every day.”
– Aaron Maharaj, Valedictorian, VCC Sport and Recreation Management Class of 2019

Early Childhood Educator Assistant student Jordyn Mitchell was presented with the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Award for her community contribution through American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf studies, and Practical Nursing graduate Katie Kury was recognized (in absentia) for highest grade point average with the Governor General’s Academic Medal.

Following the presentation of graduates, VCC Baking and Pastry Arts alumnus, Alumni Award winner, cookbook author, and co-founder of Food Gays Media Inc. Jeremy Inglett took the podium to offer this year’s alumni address. Jeremy first shared his honour as a member of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Hesquiaht First Nation to be a part of this ceremony, then offered words of encouragement to VCC’s newest graduates.

“As long as you have passion for your skills and persistence in doing the best job out there, you can create possibilities you've only dreamed of.”
– Jeremy Inglett, VCC Baking and Pastry Arts alumnus


Watch the Fall 2019 convocation video online.

See the Fall 2019 convocation phtoto gallery

Congratulations to our VCC grads! Learn about the perks and benefits you now receive as VCC alumni.


How to find your foundation in the makeup industry

Posted on December 11, 2019


Today's makeup industry looks a lot different than it did only 10 years ago. Combine smartphones and the need to be selfie-ready at all times with a thriving society of beauty bloggers and vloggers, factor in a trend towards self-care, and it all adds up to a beauty-industry boom. 

While online shopping has typically meant an existential crisis for traditional retail, the Internet has opened the makeup market to a whole new generation. According to the latest research, the global cosmetics industry is currently worth over $500 billion USD and is predicted to reach almost $805 billion USD by 2023. 

Makeup is big right now. For any self-proclaimed “makeup addicts” wondering how to turn their hobby into a career, there has never been a better time, and Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) newly redesigned makeup artistry program is the perfect place to start. 

This part-time, introductory program teaches all the essentials of professional makeup artistry for a fraction of the cost of private training institutions. The certificate can be completed in nine months to a year, and classes are held during evenings and weekends only, allowing students to continue working or freelancing throughout their studies. To offer students an extra competitive edge, VCC course options for 2020 now include airbrush, hairstyling, and makeup for film and television. 

Craft your own career 

In this ever-changing industry, trained makeup professionals can choose from a wide variety of fulfilling careers, with new niches constantly emerging:

  • As apps, augmented reality (AR), and digital assistants enter our personal routines, makeup experts will be needed to work directly with this technology. 
  • As traditional gender roles and identities evolve, men and trans people will demand more specialized makeup artistry.
  • As selfie and influencer culture continue to rise, ever-newer makeup techniques will be needed to keep current. 
  • As concern grows about health and the environment, many makeup professionals will choose to specialize in natural or organic products. 

While VCC’s makeup artistry certificate offers employment-ready skills for the beauty retail and freelance/bridal industries, it also serves as a professional launchpad for further training in other exciting careers, including:

  • Print makeup – work with photographers on commercial or editorial shoots
  • Runway makeup – design and apply makeup for live fashion shows
  • Stage and theatre – apply makeup to actors in a live production
  • Television ­– provide makeup services for news, commercials, character dramas, and more
  • Film and movies – transform actors for film using everything from basic makeup to prosthetics and special effects
  • Beauty influencer – broadcast your makeup skills (and your sparkling personality) to millions of fans online, earning sponsorship dollars in the process
  • Body and face painting – work in commercial, festive (e.g. mehndi), or contemporary art settings
  • Medical makeup – help conceal pigmentation issues or scars from medical procedures
  • Mortuary makeup – apply makeup and hair and nail treatments to deceased people prior to funerals  



Learning is for life. Check out new courses and programs in our VCC Continuing Studies Winter 2020 catalogue, including wine sommelier, chocolate showpieces, mobile phone photography, and more. 

Q&A with MDRT instructor Harpreet Gill

Posted on December 18, 2019



Did you know that one of the most important jobs in health care happens largely behind the scenes? 

Medical device reprocessing technicians, or MDRT’s, are responsible for keeping surgical tools, medical equipment, and many other hospital materials clean and ready to use on patients. Thanks to very specialized training and skills, MDRT’s are germs’ worst nightmare. They are also highly in demand by local health authorities (Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health, and PHSA) as well as private surgical clinics. 

Vancouver Community College (VCC) MDRT instructor Harpreet Gill shares how she discovered this rewarding career, and offers advice to anyone starting out. 

Q&A with MDRT instructor Harpreet Gill 

How long have you been teaching at VCC?
I became an instructor with VCC in 2016. I am a third-generation educator in my family, and I feel very proud to carry on this legacy. 

What do you love about teaching? 
As an educator, it is my responsibility to prepare the students for their future and the community as their quality of work will tremendously affect human lives. Their confidence and ability to perform all tasks without any guidance is a happy moment for me; I love seeing their success at the end of the course. 

Where did you grow up? 
I was born and raised in India in a family of great leaders and mentors. Discipline was practiced everywhere in school and at home which instilled some great habits in me to this day. After I finished my master’s degree in Science, I moved to Canada in 1993. 

Where did you learn this trade? 
One day while working, a customer started a conversation about my educational background. I mentioned that I was interested in the medical field and he introduced me to the Medical Device Reprocessing Technician (MDRT) program. I have a vivid memory of the customer drawing four areas on a piece of paper and explaining to me the different aspects of this job. I then began my journey and completed my certification as an MDRT from VCC in 1999. Ever since then, I have been working for Fraser Health. 

Share an interesting thing about your journey to reach this moment.
I was fortunate enough to experience setting up an MDR department from scratch. I felt very honoured to be chosen as a super-user of some equipment and was trusted to organize the department and set it up. 

How do you personally define success?
To me, success is a combination of discipline and commitment toward your goal. We have all heard the age-old lesson to choose quality over quantity – this fits perfectly in the field of medical device reprocessing. 

What is my best advice for someone starting out in this industry?
If you like to serve your community, this is the best way to go. We work as a barrier between the infections, fighting dirt to protect our patients. My motto is to always do the right thing, even when no one is watching. 


Registration is now open for the Jan. 27 intake for VCC’s MDRT program. Applicants should note that prerequisites include Medical Terminology 1 (OACP 1108) and Interpersonal Communication Skills (MSKL 1104). 

Sacred stories: Gladue program responds to a decades-old call for justice

Posted on August 7, 2018



It’s been a problem for decades. The numbers show it clearly. Indigenous people are greatly overrepresented in Canadian prisons. While some continue to ask why, others like Leesa Van Peteghen are working hard to make a difference. 

Leesa works in the small community of Lytton, B.C. as a Program Manager for the Lytton Restorative Justice, Prevention and Education Program. Serving the surrounding First Nations, her job involves everything from relationship workshops and counselling referrals to working with the RCMP, victims, and offenders – including writing Gladue reports. 

It was over 20 years ago, in 1996, that the Criminal Code was first amended, requiring judges to consider alternative sentencing to reduce the number of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons. Then, in 1999, an appeal of a murder conviction against a 19-year-old Cree woman named Jamie Tanis Gladue established “Gladue” rights, requiring judges to recognize the historical trauma that continues to affect Indigenous offenders in Canada. 

Despite these milestones, Gladue rights are still rarely considered today, and federal incarceration of Indigenous people in Canada has risen almost 40 per cent since 2006. 

According to Leesa, writing a legal report that addresses someone’s full personal and cultural history can be an enormous and heartbreaking task. Telling this “sacred story” is also not something that busy lawyers tend to do. “It’s an honour,” she says, “and it takes a lot for an offender to trust somebody.”

To address the urgent need for trained Gladue report writers in Canada, in January 2018, VCC partnered with IndiGenius and Associates to launch a pilot Gladue report writing program, the only college program of its kind in Canada. Leesa, one of the first graduates, says she’d been searching for something like it for six years, and travelled regularly from Lytton to attend the sessions at VCC.

News-Leesa-edited-232Leesa emphasizes that a Gladue report isn’t a “get-out-of-jail-free card.” Rather, the document identifies options to consider during sentencing such as addiction treatments, restorative justice, or other paths to address past trauma. Leesa is also working towards making Gladue reporting mandatory for all Indigenous child welfare cases so that every option for family reconciliation is made available.

‌‌From Leesa's perspective, it's when people lack a sense of belonging that they commit crimes. “A lot of Indigenous people don’t even know their traditional ways until they’re in jail,” she says. “Generations of residential school have trained them to keep their culture hidden, but that belonging is exactly what they need.” 

Leesa, who herself grew up in Edmonton and has Cree, Métis, and Russian roots, says she relates to the trauma that runs deep in her new community. She freely shares her own story of childhood abuse, foster care, and self-harm, followed by addiction, depression, cancer, and the loss of two children. 

Through it all, however, Leesa continued to build a successful career working in prisons, security, education, and law enforcement. Recently, she’s received glowing praise for her Gladue reports from local lawyers. Leesa also believes that she’s found her own sense of belonging working in Lytton and serving the community. “When you get on a healthy path, in order to stay healthy, you need to help other people,” she says. “That’s why I do this. I have faith that anyone can turn their life around.”


To learn more about VCC’s Gladue report writing program, please contact the program coordinator at



VCC Indigenous Education and Community Engagement

Adrianna's story: a pathway to pastry arts

Heat’s story: blazing trails in food and business

VCC hosts Soaring Indigenous Youth Career Conference

Clinton’s story: from trauma to triumph






VCC will train Gladue report writers to advance justice for First Nations

Posted on August 8, 2019



Originally published in The Georgia Straight

At last year’s B.C. Justice Summit, there was a great deal of discussion about the legal system’s inability to meet the requirements of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision in 1999 dealing with Indigenous people.

In R. v. Gladue, the court ruled that judges must consider “unique systemic or background factors” that may have resulted in an Aboriginal person coming in contact with the justice system.

According to the proceedings from the B.C. Justice Summit, there are a few hundred Gladue reports being prepared for the courts every year.

But the participants felt that there need to be thousands completed to meet the requirements of the Gladue ruling.

Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) David Wells, vice president academic and applied research, has a long-standing interest in Indigenous legal issues and attended the B.C. Justice Summit.

“I think the benefit of the summit was to reinforce not only the need for trained Gladue writers but the opportunity to provide a really structured training program that has quality control,” he said. “Ideally, we can move toward some sort of national standard.”

New Gladue report writing certificate

Wells had already been working on a pilot program with the consulting firm IndiGenius & Associates to teach people how to write Gladue reports. It was launched last year with about a dozen students.

VCC certificate program in Gladue reports—designed for law students, lawyers, advocates, judges, Indigenous court workers, and others with an interest in this topic—is scheduled for a Fall 2019 launch.

According to Wells, there will be about six classes and 135 hours of training.

Students will learn about: the impact of colonization; conducting interviews with people who have experienced trauma; and capturing a person’s “sacred story,” which includes discovering experiences that shaped them since childhood.

“It’s commonly used as a pre-sentence report,” Wells explained, adding that it can also be helpful in setting pre-trial conditions.

Wells added that a Gladue report might delve into the consequences of the trauma experienced in residential schools for family members and relationships within the community. A judge could then take this into account in setting pretrial conditions or in laying out a suitable resolution, which might involve restorative justice.

“The hope is to build on our collaborations with other institutions and look to see where we can create transferable credits—or create this as part of a larger educational journey for the writers,” Wells said.


Learn more about how you can play a role in reconciliation through VCC’s new Gladue report writing certificate program

The business of beauty: makeup artist Gwen Perkins

Posted on September 14, 2016

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 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.

VCC Culinary Arts 2018-19 year in review

Posted on July 22, 2019

At Vancouver Community College (VCC), we like to say our grads are everywhere. When it comes to our culinary arts students, however, they're out there making their mark long before they graduate. 

In addition to attending daily classes and running our legendary on-campus cafeterias and eateries, every year, VCC chef instructors, staff members, and students also showcase their skills by cooking, catering, and serving at dozens of events around the city.

Check out the VCC Culinary Arts 2018-19 school year in review.  

September 2018

This school year, our VCC Chef's Table guest chef series really took off, starting with a delectable dinner by VCC alumna Chef Andrea Alridge from CinCin Ristorante.

Andrea Alridge CinCin tweet VCC September 2018

October 2018

October is always a busy month at VCC, and our culinary students made the most of it by hosting food stations at the fall 2018 Experience VCC open house, serving clients of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre at their Herstory in Focus fundraiser, and cooking alongside rising star Jefferson Bueno at his VCC Chef’s Table dinner.

November 2018

As chilly weather set in, VCC chefs brought their knowledge from last summer’s Korea trip to life with brand new courses featuring warm and spicy Korean cuisine. Other cuisines had their moment in the spotlight too, thanks to an an ultra-refined VCC Chef’s Table dinner by Danvee Kwok, a visit from Italian culinary arts students, and a masterclass by three-Michelin-star chef Heinz Beck.

December 2018

As VCC students got ready for a hard-earned semester break, our chefs made sure the holiday spirit was alive and well at VCC. Meanwhile, in our Youth Train in Trades program at Samuel Roberts Technical Secondary, our youngest cooks wrapped up a successful season at Samuel’s Bistro.

January 2019

The New Year means a fresh start for many culinary arts students, from those starting entry-level programs to those returning for their final courses or apprenticeship levels. It’s also the perfect time to scrub the kitchens top to bottom!

February 2019

Despite some snowy weather, VCC’s international culinary arts students successfully launched their first VCC Chef's Table series of the year at JJ’s restaurant, wowing some big-name chefs and food bloggers in the process. This year’s Pink Shirt Day was also an extra-special event for our chefs, as they took a stand against bullying in the industry by sharing a viral video and wearing custom-made pink jackets.

March 2019

Competition and awards season arrived before we knew it, and VCC kicked it off in perfect form with Best Dessert at the B.C. Produce Association’s Healthy Chef Competition, as well as “Best Culinary School” in the Georgia Straight’s Golden Plates survey. March also brought Flourish, VCC’s annual fundraising gala, which is always a major opportunity for student cooks to work alongside top names in the industry.

April 2019

The performance trend continued for our culinary students in April with two gold medals at Skills BC, a major contribution to the 2019 Chinese Restaurants Awards, and a standout job hosting culinary stations at our spring 2019 Experience VCC open house. Also this month, our high school cohort at Walnut Grove Secondary also opened their restaurant One Season, and we proudly welcomed alumnus Shahni Arshad to the VCC Chef’s Table guest chef series.

May 2019

May kicked off with another competition win: first place in the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs student category by VCC’s Shoma Asano. This month, VCC’s culinary department also showed its community spirit by serving at the Central City Foundation’s Fair in the Square and hosting the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Competition. Finally, our Skills BC winners from April attended the Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax, NS, claiming two bronze medals, three silver, and two coveted spots on Team Canada, which will be competing at WorldSkills Kazan 2019 in Russia.

June 2019

The VCC Chef's Table pop-up kitchen was back in June, with food bloggers calling it “one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets,” and last but not least, we were proud as punch to watch our latest cohort of culinary students receive their credentials at our 2019 spring convocation.


Keep up with VCC culinary students and chefs by following them on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for news and updates from upcoming events like Brewery and the Beast, WorldSkills Kazan 2019, the Tourism Industry Partners golf tournament, JJ's Restaurant events, and a much-anticipated Red Seal reception.

Where's my class? Winter 2020

Posted on December 17, 2019

 Welcome to VCC! Use this chart to look up start dates and room numbers for your first day of school.

Program Start Date Campus Room
Administrative Assistant  Jan. 6 DTN 622
Auto Collision Repair  Jan. 7 BWY Building A, 1503
Auto Service Apprentice - level 1  Jan. 6 BWY Building A, B048
Auto Service Apprentice - level 3  Jan. 6 BWY Building A, 2602
Auto Service Apprentice - level 4  Jan. 6 BWY Building A, B068
Auto Service Technician Foundation  Jan. 6 BWY Building B, G219
Baking Apprentice - level 2  Jan. 6 DTN 167
Baking and Pastry Arts  Jan. 6  DTN  216
Esthetics  Jan. 2 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Esthetics  Jan. 6 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Graphic Design - year 1  Jan. 6 DTN 819
Hairstylist  Jan. 2/6 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Health Care Assistant  Jan. 6 BWY Building B, 2209
Hospitality Management  Jan. 6 DTN  112
Practical Nursing  Jan. 6 BWY Building B, G222
Professional Cook 1  Jan. 6 DTN 237
Professional Cook 2 - CRN 43782  Jan. 6 DTN 207
Professional Cook 2 - CRN 43771  Jan. 6 DTN 320B (JJ's Restaurant)
Professional Cook 2 - CRN 43793  Jan. 6 DTN 316B

VCC students claim bronze in international Cantonese food championship

Posted on December 10, 2019


Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver 

Last month in Macau, elite chefs from more than 40 countries faced off at the 2019 World Master Chefs Competition for Cantonese Cuisine (WMCCCC). Among the culinary professionals were two graduates of Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Asian culinary arts program — who not only competed but also earned bronze in the dim sum category.

“I think it was their passion, patience, and creativity,” says Barry Tsang, VCC’s Asian culinary arts department head, who handpicked Yuanyin (Doris) Lau and Simin (Joey) Zhou for the competition. “I saw their performance in class and I knew they’d do well.” 

Lau and Zhou spent six weeks designing, testing, practicing, and perfecting a secret dim sum (steamed dumpling) recipe. What they unveiled at WMCCCC was a dessert with a transparent dough in the shape of a sea lion with a purple yam and sesame paste stuffing. The creation brought forth both international students’ strengths, as Lau had experience in baking and pastry arts and Zhou received professional dim sum training in Mainland China. 

“They also had the foundation they got from the Asian culinary arts program and they were able to use that because in the program we make everything from scratch, including our own dim sum wrappers and filling,” says Tsang. 

This isn’t VCC’s first win at WMCCCC. In 2017, 19-year-old VCC alumnus Tristan Toderan and partner Dylan Viray claimed silver in the entrée category. The wins, says Tsang, are a testament to the Asian culinary arts program’s long history of preparing students for the real world. In fact, in 2020, the offering will celebrate its 45th anniversary — making it the longest running full-time program of its kind in North America, according to Tsang.

“This program started in 1975 and the fact that we continue to have students every single intake tells me we are doing something right,” says Tsang. “During the five months, students spend a lot of time in the kitchen learning to prepare 150 dishes from places like China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. That prepares them to work in any Asian restaurant.”

See more photos from the 2019 World Master Chefs Competition for Cantonese Cuisine.



 Meet VCC’s all-star chefs and check out our custom Asian kitchens. Sign up now for our next free information session.

SkyTrain strike announced

Posted on December 9, 2019



Updated Dec. 9, 2019

Vancouver Community College (VCC) students and employees are advised to prepare for a SkyTrain shutdown Tuesday, Dec. 10 to Thursday, Dec. 12.

On Saturday, Dec.7, the CUPE 7000 union representing Metro Vancouver SkyTrain workers announced the planned strike starting Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 5 a.m. and ending Friday, Dec. 13 at 5 a.m. unless an agreement can be reached.

This strike will affect the Expo and Millennium lines of Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain system. All other transit modes will continue to operate normally, including bus, SeaBus, Canada Line and West Coast Express, but will likely be busier than usual.

Please continue checking for the latest information.

Information for VCC students and employees

We understand that many students, faculty, and staff rely on the SkyTrain system and that a loss of service would be challenging. 

Please note that, in the event of a SkyTrain shutdown, VCC will operate as normal. Classes will proceed and faculty and staff are expected to attend work. 

VCC students:

  • Contact your instructor if you are concerned about potentially arriving late for classes or missing classes.

VCC faculty:

  • Contact your department head, school director, or dean as appropriate, should your alternate plans also be disrupted.

VCC staff:

  • Departments should work as teams to ensure proper coverage for hours of operation, and discuss potential accommodations and take into consideration team members’ commutes.
  • Contact your supervisor or excluded manager as appropriate, should your alternate plans also be disrupted.

  • Speak to your supervisor if you are concerned about arriving late to discuss the potential of alternative work arrangements (e.g. adjusting start and finish times).

Overall, we recommend planning alternate ways to get to VCC, allowing extra time for travel and parking, and being prepared for VCC parking lots to be busier than usual.

For those who intend to find alternate methods of transportation to get to VCC, please remember to practice proper road safety, such as wearing reflective clothing while walking or cycling in the darker evenings and mornings.

VCC students and staff can find more information at and sign up for transit alerts to receive up-to-date information.

General information and news

The following info has been compiled to help VCC students, faculty, and staff during any transit strike action. This is intended to be a useful resource. Please note that VCC does not endorse any third parties listed.

For up-to-date information on transit operations and strike action, check local news websites and social media accounts: 


Social media

Alternate transportation resources

Transit strike info

Posted on November 27, 2019



Updated Nov. 27, 2019

As of Wednesday, Nov. 27, the previously announced TransLink bus and SeaBus shutdown has been averted as a tentative agreement was reached between the Coast Mountain Bus Company and the transit workers' union. With the possible exception of some early-morning trips, Metro Vancouver bus and SeaBus routes will continue to operate normally.

Please note that, should job or strike action resume, VCC will operate as normal. Classes will proceed and faculty and staff will be expected to attend work. Please continue checking TransLink updates for any disruptions to your transit routes and make alternate travel plans if necessary.

General information and news

The following information has been compiled to help VCC students, faculty, and staff during Metro Vancouver transit strike action. They are intended to be a useful resource. Please note that VCC does not endorse any of the third parties listed in this communication.

For up-to-date information on transit operations and strike action, check local news websites and social media accounts: 


Social Media

VCC students and employees can find more information at and sign up for transit alerts to receive up-to-date information.



VCC students head to international dim sum competition

Posted on November 5, 2019



You could definitely call them a “dream team.” Hand-picked from multiple classes at Vancouver Community College (VCC), culinary arts students Yuanyin (Doris) Lau and Simin (Joey) Zhou have spent the past six weeks designing, testing, practicing, and perfecting a secret dumpling recipe to be unveiled this week at the World Master Chefs Competition for Chinese Cuisine (WMCCCC) in Macau on November 8 and 9, 2019.

It was these students’ professionalism, precision, and experience that earned them spots on this coveted team. Both Doris and Joey are international students, recent graduates from VCC’s Asian Culinary Arts program, and are now pursuing VCC culinary arts diplomas. Doris also brings past experience in baking and pastry arts, while Joey has received professional dim sum training in Mainland China.

“I think our chef wanted to combine our skills,” says Doris. “We are using both pastry and dim sum to create one dish.”

According to Doris and Joey, a competition like this is all about perfect timing and texture, and developing the right recipe is the hardest part. “We spent the first two weeks just making sure it was right,” says Doris. “We had to change our plan a couple of times.” 

The WMCCCC is not a student competition, with elite chefs from over 40 countries bringing their best. In 2017, 19-year-old VCC alumnus Tristan Toderan and partner Dylan Viray claimed silver in the WMCCCC’s entrée category. 

This week, Doris and Joey will attempt to earn their own place on the international Chinese-food podium, and they are more than ready. “I hope this leads to more competitions,” says Doris. “I’m excited to try different things.”


VCC’s one-of-a-kind Asian Culinary Arts program prepares you to cook among the best. Learn more at an upcoming free information session.

For programs available to international students, visit VCC International.


Ease into university with transferable courses

Posted on November 15, 2019


Originally published in The Georgia Straight 

For secondary students, it can be extremely stressful waiting to find out if they’ll be admitted into university.

What some of them don’t realize, however, is that it’s still possible to pursue a university education even if their grade-point average falls short.

That’s because some postsecondary institutions, like Vancouver Community College, offer transfer credits. This enables students to move to university in their second year.

“We have these transfer pathways, including a good number of them with assured admission to SFU,” Jennifer Kelly, department leader of science at VCC, told the Straight by phone.

According to the VCC website, university transfer courses are offered in September, January, and May in the following subject areas: biology, chemistry, physics, human anatomy and physiology, geography, First Nations and Indigenous studies, criminology, ecology, sociology, computer programming, English, algebra, calculus, psychology, environmental science, and engineering.

It’s possible for prospective students or their parents to ask any questions online or book an appointment with a VCC adviser.

“We have really great instructors,” Kelly emphasized. “They’re here because they love teaching and they care about students.”

One of the advantages of attending VCC for university-transfer courses is the cost: it’s far lower per class than attending the same course on a university campus.

Another benefit of VCC is the small class sizes in comparison to many first-year courses at larger institutions.

“Maybe it’s hard for a student to understand if they haven’t been in those 200-person lectures what a difference it is to be in a class with 20 students,” Kelly noted. “The instructors know their names.”

According to her, this creates more accountability for students because instructors will immediately notice if an assignment hasn’t been submitted on time.

VCC has been offering university-transfer courses for several years at its Broadway campus. To gain admission, Kelly said, students need grade-point averages between 2.6 and 3.2, depending on the program.

“The high end is for computing science and software systems at SFU,” she added.

Those students aspiring to become university-educated engineers, they can take the same types of first-year courses at VCC as students at UBC or SFU, including math and physics. VCC also offers a mechanics class, which is a requirement at UBC.

“Then we have three courses that are engineering-specific classes,” Kelly said.

One is called engineering, technology, and society. Another is professional communication, which is geared toward engineering students, and the third is introduction to engineering analysis.

“For engineering, they have to have taken Precalculus 12, Physics 12, and Chemistry 12—and all of those with specific grades,” she stated. “But there aren’t any essays or interviews.”

There’s also no need to submit SAT scores to be accepted into the engineering classes at VCC.

Most of the courses last four months. Students must have a C+ in English 12 to qualify for admission into university-transfer courses at VCC.

“The way the assured pathway works, students have 16 months to complete the courses, but for the most part they can be done within a year,” Kelly said.

Students can also take transfer courses at VCC to obtain assured admission into SFU’s bachelor of environment and bachelor of science in environmental studies programs.

According to Kelly, students would take classes in subjects like geography, Indigenous studies, and ecology.

“The bachelor of science in environmental studies is similar, but there are more science classes, as you can imagine—more chemistry and physics,” she said.


Ready to earn your first-year university credits in a small, flexible program and transfer to schools across Canada? Learn more about getting your degree started in a supportive learning environment.   


Computer systems technology program helps meet growing demand

Posted on November 21, 2019


Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

With the recent launch of a Computer Systems Technology diploma program, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is helping to meet the growing demand for computer systems technologists.

“Vancouver is a particularly interesting place because the city and the province are investing quite a bit in this industry so it’s flourishing,” says Reza Nezami, VCC’s computer systems technology department head. “Our program is comprehensive in that students gain what they need to enter junior developer positions when they graduate or go on to get a degree. We’re currently working with local universities to create pathways for them to be able to do that if they wish.” 

A full-time offering, the program’s face-to-face delivery includes blended learning modes with instructional strategies such as classroom lectures, demonstrations, group discussions, computer labs, and hands-on practical work. Overall, courses are project-driven with students spending a majority of their time in purpose-built labs.

“Our labs are very much set up to mimic a real-world environment with hubs of three to four students sitting around dual-monitor PCs,” says Nezami. “This type of collaborative approach teaches students the team skills and soft skills to understand customers’ needs and to execute.” 

To incorporate industry interaction, VCC will use its network of external industry partners and will acquire new partnerships to challenge students to find solutions to various client issues or implement real-world projects. Nezami says the possibilities for the types of projects students will complete will vary by client needs.

Overall, computer systems technologists solve computer-related issues for businesses, government agencies, utilities, law enforcement agencies, health services providers, educational institutions, and more. Program graduates will be able to specialize in areas such as programming, software design, mobile application programming, data communications, security, and web design.

“They can start in three major branches,” says Nezami. “Network administration, where they’ll manage a smaller company’s computer network; junior web development in small companies looking for full-stack developers who understand front and back-end design; and mobile applications development, which is a mix of software and web development with an emphasis on smaller screens and devices. The opportunities for graduates are promising.”

Ready to build your skill set and kickstart your career as a web developer, network administrator, or mobile app developer? Apply to VCC's Computer Systems Technology program now. Next intake is May 2020.

VCC announces new Dean of Indigenous Initiatives

Posted on November 20, 2019



After a national search, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is proud to welcome Clayton Munro as the college’s new Dean of Indigenous Initiatives as of Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. This position was newly created to advance Indigenization of VCC’s academy, space, people, and culture. 

Clayton comes to us from Langara College where he served as the Dean of Student Services for the past nine years. He is a recognized Indigenous leader of Métis background with a Master of Arts in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia, and brings nearly two decades of direct expertise in student and Indigenous services, as well as a personal commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. 

This experience uniquely positions Clayton to realize meaningful and achievable advancements in Indigenization at VCC. As a Leadership Award-winning administrator, Clayton is well-respected and celebrated in post-secondary education for his collaborative initiatives including the development of the Indigenous Education and Services Centre and Gathering Space at Langara College, an Elder-in-Residence program, the UBC-Langara Aboriginal Transfer Partnership and Scholarship, the “VOLT” Student Volunteer Program, and “The Hub” Student Engagement Centre.  

Clayton joins VCC at a critical and encouraging time, as British Columbia has recently committed to being the first province in Canada to legislate the implementation the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), and VCC continues to pursue the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action through its 2018-2021 Aboriginal Service Plan (ASP). Clayton’s vision and leadership will be integral to the expansion of this work.

A welcome ceremony will take place at VCC in January 2020.

Did you know that Indigenous youth are the fastest-growing demographic in B.C.? Learn more about VCC's culturally supportive education and training opportunities by contacting our Indigenous Education and Community Engagement (IECE) department. 

Learn how to make the most out of volunteers

Posted on November 15, 2019


Originally published in The Georgia Straight 

The executive director of the Alberta-based Volunteer Management Institute, Milena Santoro, recognizes the phenomenally positive impact that volunteers can have on nonprofit organizations.

According to a 2004 report by Imagine Canada, about 45 percent of the B.C. population volunteers time to charitable and nonprofit groups. On average, each volunteer gave 199 hours of their time.

But Santoro also knows that managing and training volunteers takes a great deal of time and expertise.

“It’s knowing how to deal with people,” Santoro told the Straight by phone. “You want to make it a balanced experience where the individual feels they’re coming to the nonprofit to provide their skills and expertise.”

She pointed out that volunteers who feel valued can become donors and ambassadors for an organization. At the same time, an organization doesn’t want to wind up in trouble because of the actions of volunteers.

“So volunteers play a huge role in the success of a lot of nonprofits,” she said. “And the economic impact that they have to society is outstanding.”

To help people understand the complexities of volunteer management, Santoro has designed a certification program.

Through a partnership with Vancouver Community College, she offers various one-day courses on everything from nonprofit-board development to ethics and fiscal management for volunteer managers to marketing for nonprofits. Other courses include event planning for volunteer managers, volunteer recognition and retention, and grant-writing.

“People usually think volunteerism is giving your time for free,” Santoro said. “The reality is volunteers cost money. There’s a cost of doing business for everything — you have to make sure you take care of those volunteers by feeding them, giving them water, giving them drinks, or recognizing them in a way that they want to be recognized.”

That can include formal and informal means. Just saying “thank you” works for some, but others sometimes look for something more tangible.

“Every time you complete the course itself, you get a certificate of participation,” Santoro said. “If you take the whole program, which is 12 modules, and then you complete a capstone project wrapping up all the learning in one project, you get a certificate of completion in volunteer management.”

She pointed out that managing or administrating volunteers offers career possibilities in the nonprofit sector. An entire chapter in one of the modules covers human rights. Another focuses on recruiting volunteers.

“At the end of the day, we’re dealing with human resources,” Santoro noted. “And a lot of this is exactly why I wanted to educate and provide the current and relevant information. Just because they’re a volunteer doesn’t mean you treat them any differently. In fact, you treat them even more special.”


Discover the rewarding experience of working with people. Learn the skills to build a sustainable volunteer program while developing your mindset as a volunteer manager.   


Double your impact on a student’s life this #GivingTuesday

Posted on November 19, 2019



Does the crazy consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday leave you feeling a bit disappointed in the world? Refresh your mind and refocus your finances by taking part in #GivingTuesday (Dec. 3) – a global movement dedicated to charitable giving.

In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, between Tuesday, Nov. 19 and Tuesday, Dec. 31, VCC Foundation will match the first $20,000 in new donations supporting student scholarships and bursaries. This is a rare chance to make twice the difference in a student’s life. DONATE NOW >


The average VCC student is a woman in her 30’s, raising a family, from an immigrant population, and upgrading her job skills.


#GivingTuesday at Blenz VCC

Our favourite Blenz is on board the giving train! All day on Tuesday, Dec. 3, the Blenz Coffee in building B at VCC’s Broadway campus will be offering coffee by donation, with all proceeds going to VCC Foundation scholarships and bursaries. Last year, your coffee contributions helped raise over $400!

Do you enjoy fabulous food, wine, music, and fashion? Join our community at Flourish, VCC’s signature, green-tie fundraising gala on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Early-bird tickets on sale now

VCC receives support to increase number of trained caregivers

Posted on October 18, 2019

The B.C. Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training are providing approximately $3.64 million over the next two years to create 418 new health care assistant seats in 14 post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia. Health care assistants are also known as care aides, community health workers, and other titles.

"In long-term care, in the community and in acute care, we need more health care assistants. Ask anyone in need of care and you will hear stories of the value of the work of care aides and community health workers," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "This investment to train more health care assistants will help us meet our government's goal of improving care standards and expanding options for seniors. It will help people get trained for some of the most important and in-demand jobs in our province, making sure British Columbians get the quality care they need and deserve. Four hundred and eighteen new seats in 14 post-secondary institutions will make a big difference."

There are currently an estimated 25,500 health care assistants employed by health authorities and affiliated employers in British Columbia. Health care assistants provide personal support services for people living with disabilities and those living with acute or chronic illnesses, including seniors. They work in a variety of settings, including long-term care homes, acute care, home support, and assisted living.

"Expanding the number of health care assistant seats throughout the province brings education and health care close to home. Our government is committed to ensuring people receive the quality care they need when they need it most," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "Health care assistants play an important role in B.C.'s healthcare system, and by expanding the number of seats in all regions of the province, we will ensure that people continue to benefit from their care."

There are 17 publicly funded post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. that offer health care assistant training. Training programs are approximately six to 10 months long. The first of the new seats became available to post-secondary institutions in September 2019.

The ministries of Health and Advanced Education will provide $200,000 in funding to VCC to add 12 additional health care assistant seats to its program.

"Health care assistants are making a real difference for the people they care for," said Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors and Multiculturalism. "By providing more training spaces for people wishing to become a health care assistant, we are taking an important step to ensure that caregivers are there for the British Columbians who need them."

Increasing the number of trained health care assistants in to B.C. is part of government's commitment to strengthen the supports available to seniors. Government is investing approximately $1 billion over three years to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care and assisted living. This also includes $240 million over three years to increase staffing levels in long-term care homes, with the goal of achieving 3.36 direct care hours per resident day – on average – across all health authorities by the end of 2020-21.

The Province has proclaimed Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, as Health Care Assistant Day.

Quick Facts:

  • In 2019, 19 per cent of B.C.'s population is 65 or over. In 15 years, this percentage is expected to rise to 25 per cent.
  • In 2018, the B.C. Governemnt provided approximately $3.3 million to create 384 health care assistant seats in 11 post-secondary institutions in B.C.



Learn how VCC's health care assistant program can get you working in as few as seven months.


VCC road trip: Recruiters Q&A

Posted on September 18, 2018

Have you met our recruiters? Every fall, representatives from dozens of B.C.’s post-secondary institutions hit the road, visiting high schools and community organizations across the province. For many students, these visits are key opportunities to learn about their post-secondary options, gather valuable information, and ask questions. 

This year, we’ll be checking in with our Vancouver Community College (VCC) recruiters and sharing photos using the hashtag #VCCRoadTrip. Watch for us in your community and follow @myVCC on Twitter to stay in the loop.

Start here by getting to know Leigh and Danielle, VCC’s representatives on the road:


Danielle Gannon

What’s your favourite place in Canada?
The North Beach of Haida Gwaii, looking over to Alaska.

What’s the best road trip song of all time?
Never Going Back Again by Fleetwood Mac (played twice in a row because it’s so short!)

Where is the farthest place you’ve ever travelled?
Tanzania. I spent my 21st birthday on a camping safari, and since we had no cake, my friends filled a bucket with sand and stuck the candles in that instead.

What are you most excited about this school year?
I’m excited to meet all the high school students of the Lower Mainland! I’m also looking forward to expanding our reach and going to schools we’ve never visited before.

What is one thing that students should ask when they meet you?
Students should ask about more than admission requirements. That information is readily available on the website. I’d love to share what makes each program special and perhaps connect them with others at VCC for further exploration as they navigate their post-secondary options.




Leigh Wall

What’s your favourite place in Canada?
Newfoundland. My home province and the most beautiful place in the world.

What’s the best road trip song of all time?
Der Kommissar by After The Fire. It just gets me stoked.

Where is the farthest place you’ve ever travelled?
When I moved from Newfoundland to British Columbia, I drove through Canada and the U.S. That was the farthest road trip I’ve ever taken. There are so many incredible sights to see in North America.

What are you most excited about this school year?
Visiting high schools on the Sunshine Coast and parts of Vancouver Island that we have not attended in the past. I love introducing students to all the excellent programs and services that VCC offers.

What is one thing that students should ask when they meet you?
Ask about the awesome things that our current students and grads are doing. Our programming goes way beyond obtaining a degree or diploma.




Can’t wait for the recruiters to visit? Get a sneak peek of our 2018-19 Viewbook (PDF), browse all VCC program areas, or join an upcoming free information session

Media Release: The kitchen’s heating up for culinary apprentices across B.C.

Posted on October 15, 2019

2019 Culinary Apprentice of the Year logo header

VANCOUVER – On Saturday, Nov. 2, the knives will be out as competitors from across B.C. take part in the Culinary Apprentice of the Year Award competition at Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Downtown campus.

Competitors were selected from over 40 applications and will be heading to Vancouver from northern B.C., the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, and the Lower Mainland. The competition is being revived this year after a decade-long absence and, for the first time, is including competitors from across the province.

VCC alumni competitors

• Raul Copete Vazquez (Burnaby)
• Aaron Hoffman (Vancouver)
• Nathan Sundeen (Vancouver)
• Katie Macbeth (Kelowna)

Other competitors from across B.C.

• Theo Brisley (Kelowna)
• Deidre Davis (Laxgalts'ap/Greenville)
• Siobhan Detkavich (Kelowna)
• Aaron Ivanoff (Prince George)
• Keenan Martens (Victoria)
• Emily Poisson (Victoria)
• Joshua Tocher (West Kelowna)

“These competitors represent the cream of the crop in culinary excellence,” says Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “These highly skilled students are living their passion and showcasing the state-of-the-art facilities, training, and mentorship opportunities offered by B.C.’s public colleges and universities. I’m proud that their hard work is being recognized as they represent the best of British Columbia’s world-class culinary scene.”

“It was important for us to make sure that this competition is truly inclusive and reflects the cultural, geographic, and demographic composition of our province,” said Shelley Gray, CEO of Industry Training Authority. “With the range of backgrounds, each competitor is going to bring a unique approach to their dishes based on their regions, training, and personal experiences.”

Competitors will be required to create a three-course meal for judges and invited guests at the culinary event in Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 2. To be eligible, applicants had to have received their Red Seal endorsement in 2018 or be registered as a third-year culinary apprentice in 2019. They must also be working in B.C. at the time of the competition.

It’s an excellent way for competitors to test their skills, learn from others, and talk to chefs who are willing to share their knowledge. Some of the judges include world-class chefs such as Bruno Marti, Hamid Salimian, Morgan Wilson, and James Hutton.

“Being involved in the apprenticeship culture is a huge part of my life,” says Chef Scott Jaeger, past president of the Chefs’ Table Society of BC and proprietor of The Pear Tree Restaurant. “Providing opportunities like this competition, especially with travel, nurture and strengthen our culture, our way of life.”

“VCC is excited to not only be hosting the Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition but also to have four students selected to compete,” says Chef Collin Gill, Department Head of VCC Culinary Arts and winner of the Apprentice of the Year Award in 1993. “Experiences like this are invaluable for students—both for highlighting their skills and creativity and for the relationships they will build and continue as they make their mark in the culinary world.”

The Culinary Apprentice of the Year Award winner will have the opportunity to accompany Culinary Team BC to Germany for the World Culinary Olympics in February 2020.

The competition is sponsored by the Chefs’ Table Society of BC, VCC, and the Industry Training Authority, along with the BC Chefs Association, North Vancouver Island Chefs Association, Okanagan Chefs Association, and Victoria Chefs Association. Other partners include Russell Hendrix, Intercity Packers, Gindara Sablefish, Barry Callebaut, Cactus Club Cafe, Cascadia Tableware, Icon Fine Wines & Spirits, Chef & Co, and House of Knives.

Follow the BC Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition hashtag #BCCulinaryAward on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

- 30 -

To interview the competitors or industry sponsors, please contact:

Lubna Ekramoddoullah
Communications Specialist
Industry Training Authority

For information on VCC's Culinary Arts programs and host facility:

Danielle Libonati
Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000 ext 7531

VCC alumna "unmasks" inclusion through poetry

Posted on October 31, 2019

Roshni Kashyap smiling with copies of her book

When guests arrived at Roshni Kashyap’s book launch, held last fall at VCC’s Downtown campus, each was asked to wear a paper mask. Soon, the room was filled with a suspicious mix of characters from Batman, Star Wars, and Paw Patrol.

When Roshni took the podium, she explained that when people meet her, they tend to see her Down syndrome instead of the person behind it. She then dramatically lifted her own mask, saying “Yo! I’m one of you!” It was an emotional moment for many. “People loved it,” she says.

Pursuing a lifelong passion for cooking, Roshni first joined VCC in 2012 as part of the Food Service Careers Special Education program. She went on to start her own business selling homemade cranberry chutneys, crediting VCC for her newfound skills and confidence. "People like me actually need education the most," she says. "Everyone has dreams."

In 2016, Roshni won VCC's Outstanding Alumni Award for Community Contribution, and in 2017, she delivered the alumni address at VCC's fall convocation ceremony.

With hobbies that include painting, singing, rapping, playing guitar, and vlogging on YouTube, Roshni always has a creative project on the go, but finds poetry especially meaningful. "It's therapeutic for me," she says. 

Roshni's new, 50-page book of original poems and visual art, entitled Don't Forget You're Beautiful, is now available on Amazon with proceeds going to support special needs programs.

Currently, Roshni is a full-time arts student at the University of British Columbia and continues to advocate for people of all abilities in post-secondary education.


Learn more about VCC's career-oriented programs for students with disabilities, offering employable skills in hospitality, food service, retail, and office administration.

Literacy programming connects EAL students with newcomer families

Posted on October 8, 2019


When Zahra Jalali immigrated to Canada as a young mother, she already had a degree in English translation from her home country of Iran. She soon realized, however, that knowing and using a language in everyday life were very different things, and she enrolled in English as an Additional Language (EAL) courses at VCC. 

Today, Zahra continues to study English at an advanced level. After recently sending her son to university, she was also ready for a new challenge. When a coordinator from the nearby Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (MPNH) visited her VCC classroom one day, Zahra learned of the opportunity to work as a language tutor for newcomers and signed up right away.

It was also her first time working outside the home. "I got married when I was 15 and my husband always took care of me," she says. "Now I want to do something to help people."

Family Literacy Outreach Program

While it's common for immigrants to Canada to enrol in EAL classes, many women with children do not have this luxury. "These women are young and keen and they want to integrate but they have so many demands – in some cases, four or five children. There are transportation issues and poverty issues," says MNPH family literacy coordinator Morie Ford.

To better serve this population, in 2015, MPNH and VCC partnered to form the Family Literacy Outreach Program (FLO). Through this program, volunteer tutors receive training to visit the homes of newcomer families and teach fun and customized English lessons to both adults and children in the same environment. 

FLO tutors use borrowing cards from the VCC Library, have access to VCC's teaching resources, and are trained to connect families with other community and employment services.


VCC would like to extend special congratulations to Morie Ford, who recently received the 2019 Council of the Federation of Literacy Award in B.C. This award recognizes outstanding achievement, innovative practice, and excellence in literacy work. Morie is a tireless champion for newcomers in our community and VCC is proud to continue working with Morie and the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.


Do you have an idea to enhance your community in partnership with VCC? Reach out any time to our Partnership Development Office by emailing


High-tech simulated hospital on display at Experience VCC

Posted on October 8, 2019


Tours, demonstrations, and entertainment will all play a role in introducing prospective students to Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) 120 programs when the school hosts its Experience VCC open house on Wednesday, Oct. 16.  

Experience VCC is a great way to start research about your post-secondary and career options in an interactive setting where you can meet and talk to faculty from various departments,” says Janita Schappert, VCC’s practical nursing department head, who is involved in planning the health department’s information booth. “It’s a large forum, with each department showcasing special aspects of their programs.” 

In the case of Schappert’s department, attendees of Experience VCC — being held at the Broadway Campus from 3 to 6 p.m. – will be able to tour the simulated hospital environment, which includes a pharmacy, nursing station, physio labs, and hospital rooms, where students from programs such as practical nursing, nursing (BScN), and access to practical nursing conduct some of their hands-on learning. 

“We have two floors of labs, so they are in a designated area to give that realistic hospital experience,” says Schappert. “In our labs, students are able to practice the skills they are learning in a supportive learning environment on high-fidelity mannequins that, for example, respond to pain stimulus.” 

With waiting lists for VCC’s practical nursing and nursing (BScN) programs, Schappert says access to practical nursing – to which registration is currently open for the September 2020 intake – is an ideal opportunity for learners with previous education to earn their practical nursing diploma in just 13 months. 

Geared towards those with certificates in health care assistant, resident care attendant or combined home support/resident care attendant as well as internationally educated nurses, the program prepares students to provide nursing care by combining theoretical and experiential learning.

“There are four levels to the program and each level is reinforced by a consolidated practice experience, which reinforces the learning that has taken place in that level,” says Schappert. “The program ends in a full-time practice experience called a preceptorship, during which students spend six weeks working side-by-side with a preceptor and further preparing for the role and expectations of the field.”


Attend and win! All Experience VCC guests will have a chance to win $1,000 in VCC tuition. RSVP now to join us on Oct. 16.  


Experience VCC opens career paths in hospitality and more

Posted on October 3, 2019



Originally published in The Georgia Straight

Anyone who is unsure of which direction to take their career path should be sure to attend Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) upcoming open house. On Wednesday, Oct. 16 from 3 to 6 p.m., the school is opening the doors of its Broadway campus (1120 East 7th Avenue) and giving prospective students the opportunity to understand some of the possibilities available to them.

The biannual event, called Experience VCC, is open to the public, free to attend, and will showcase more than 120 of the school’s programs. Visitors will be able to enjoy an afternoon of tours, demonstrations, and entertainment while they explore the campus, meet students, and talk to faculty from university transfer, health sciences, trades, arts, and more—all in one go.

In addition to getting a real sense of school life, attendees will have the chance to win $1,000 toward tuition, and anyone who applies to a program at the event doesn’t pay the $35 application fee (limited to one per person).

There will be free street and lot parking available, but the school is also easily accessible via public transit because it’s located just steps away from the VCC-Clark SkyTrain station and an even shorter walk from the 9 or 99 bus stop.

Monique Paassen, VCC’s hospitality management department head, advises anyone who is interested in the programs or finds themselves at a tricky juncture in their career journey to come to the open house so they can learn more about their options.

 “At Experience VCC, people get to meet the students, see what they’ll really learn, and the career opportunities if you opt for a diploma in, say, hospitality management,” she says.

VCC has four industry-recognized hospitality programs—hospitality management, culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and Asian culinary arts—all of which will be highlighted at the open house. The “Passport to Hospitality” action stations will give visitors the chance to learn more while trying some fun and interactive activities.

There are lots of career prospects for someone with a degree in hospitality, thanks to a high demand for skilled employees. But Paassen also credits VCC’s close relationship with the industry in ensuring that 95 percent of its graduates go on to find jobs. In February, the school hosts an interview week when prospective employers can meet with and hire some of the best and brightest new talent.

“I think that’s really something that makes VCC stand out,” Paassen says. “We have such a strong connection with the industry, so we are always up to date on whether something needs to be changed in the curriculum.”

VCC prides itself on offering academic, cultural, and social environments that inspire relevant, real-world training. The on-campus facilities, including gourmet restaurants, an auto shop, and the state-of-the-art salon and spa, allow students to hone their skills while also providing high-quality, low-cost services to the Downtown and East Vancouver communities.

“We really train our students and we set them up for success with the goal of becoming a manager within the industry,” Paassen adds. “And it’s not just through theory; it’s hands-on.”



Don’t miss Experience VCC on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the VCC Broadway campus. RSVP NOW >

Triple win for VCC in Best of Vancouver 2019

Posted on October 2, 2019



In the evolving world of post-secondary education, it can be challenging for a local community college to stand out.

While we do offer bachelor’s degrees, high-tech trades certificates, and sought-after international programs, here at VCC, our roots and purpose are in our community, and this is something we never want to forget. 

Today, for the first time, we are extremely proud to have been named No. 1 in three categories in the Georgia Straight’s 24th annual Best of Vancouver reader survey. 

Best School for Continuing Education
1. Vancouver Community College

Best Culinary School
1. Vancouver Community College (4th year running)

Best Language School
1. Vancouver Community College

These mean a lot to us. The Best of Vancouver (#BestofVan) is more than an abstract ranking; it’s created by people who have real connections to the city and to us. It’s the tangilble support of students, alumni, employees, employers, and anyone else with the motivation to log in and answer dozens of survey questions to show their support. We wouldn’t be who we are without them.

Congratulations to these departments and thank you, Vancouver!


Come see first-hand what makes VCC great. Register now for our Fall 2019 open house, Experience VCC, happening Wednesday, Oct. 16. 

VCC-trained chef heading to world-leading Gastronomika festival

Posted on October 2, 2019



Acclaimed Tsawwassen-raised chef Kevin Cherkas will soon showcase his culinary skills at the world’s leading gastronomic festival in San Sebastian, Spain.

Cherkas, the head chef at Cuca Restaurant in Bali, Indonesia, is the lone Canadian representative at Gastronomika 2019, which attracts renowned chefs, culinary experts, and industry professionals.

Back in 2011, Madrid Fusión, another prestigious culinary event, invited him as a presenter where he made such a huge impression that he was hand-picked again to participate in 2016, this time representing his own restaurant, Cuca, which launched in 2013.

“I am honoured to be presenting at Gastronomika 2019 and proud to be the only Canadian chef,” Cherkas said. “We aim to present San Sebastian’s audience with something that will blow their mind.”

The South Delta Secondary grad was awarded his culinary arts degree at Vancouver Community College and took his first professional steps at the Metropolitan Hotel in Vancouver.

During his three-year apprenticeship, he won several prestigious culinary awards, including three gold medals at the British Columbia Chefs Association Hot Culinary Competition in 2000 and a fifth-place finish with Team Canada at the famed Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest in 2001 in France.

Continue reading in the Delta Optimist >


Learn how you can climb the culinary ladder. Come chat with culinary students and chefs at Experience VCC on Wednesday, Oct. 16. 


VCC achieves two million dollars in energy cost avoidance

Posted on September 26, 2019


Vancouver Community College (VCC) is the oldest community college in British Columbia. With over 140 certificate and diploma programs, it is also B.C.'s largest public community college, serving over 26,000 students each year at three campuses: Broadway, Downtown, and Annacis Island.

Over the last nine years, VCC has proudly exceeded two million dollars in total energy cost avoidance. While VCC had set the goal of reaching 25 per cent below 2010 levels by 2020, they have already well exceeded this goal with a 40 per cent reduction in energy intensity. These figures represent actual energy savings of 36,284,000 ekWh, which is equivalent to energy consumption of 1,650 households in British Columbia for an entire year. VCC has also cut greenhouse gas emissions from both Broadway and Downtown campuses by nearly half since 2010. 

Reducing carbon footprint through innovative practices

As part VCC's overall Strategic Plan, the college has committed to seeking innovative and improved practices that reduce its carbon footprint. VCC has since undertaken significant projects to change the way energy is used on campuses. 

Major upgrades undertaken include LED lighting installation for exterior and parking lights, adding occupancy sensors and digital controls to campus classrooms, and implementing energy saving measures from continuous optimization programs for heating and cooling systems. These projects have, in part, helped keep VCC’s campuses well below median in terms of energy intensity when compared with similar post-secondary institutions in B.C. Going forward, projects being reviewed include electrification (kitchen equipment, ventilation, and domestic hot water heating systems), demand control ventilation, and photo-voltaic system installation.


Creating a culture of energy conservation

VCC has also worked to integrate energy conservation and sustainability into the culture on campus. VCC is part of BC Hydro and FortisBC’s Energy Wise Network program, which consists of both public and private sector organizations committed to saving energy through behaviour change and engagement. 

Over the years, VCC’s energy team has collaborated with IT staff to update computer settings to switch to energy saving modes while the user is away. VCC’s “Take the Stairs” campaign encouraged people on campus to skip the elevator, thereby saving energy and staying active. In early 2018, VCC’s Facilities Management Team launched an Energy Saving Ideas Competition inviting staff to submit their ideas for saving energy on their campuses.

A greener future

Today, with the achievement of over two million dollars of energy cost avoidance and with the college handily meeting energy reduction targets ahead of schedule, VCC is proud to be making progress towards a greener future.


Download and read VCC's full Strategic Energy Management Plan (SEMP).

See the BC Lions at Student Rush Night Sept. 28

Posted on September 12, 2019

VCC Student Rush Night, BC Lions logo


The BC Lions and Vancouver Community College (VCC) are teaming up to celebrate post-secondary education at Student Rush Night on Saturday, Sept. 28. Join us to cheer on the Lions with your classmates while representing VCC in the Student Rush Zone at BC Place.

You might want to practice your field goals too, because one lucky student attendee will be chosen to Kick to Win their tuition!

When: Saturday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m. 
Where: BC Place Stadium 
What: BC Lions vs. Montreal Alouettes 

How to get tickets

  • Draw to win at VCC Welcome Days Sept. 17 and 18
  • Enter our #VCCStudentRush giveaway on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter
  • Join your friends and buy Student Rush Night tickets for only $20! Visit and enter the promo code 'VCC' to purchase.

#VCCStudentRush Social Media Giveaway 

#VCCStudentRush contest header

How to enter: Snap a photo of yourself and at least one other VCC classmate showing off your school spirit. (The more people, the better!) Post your photo to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag #VCCStudentRush by Sunday, Sept. 22 to enter. You and everyone in your photo could win tickets to see the BC Lions at Student Rush Night on Saturday, Sept. 28!*  

Tips: Wear VCC gear, show off your trades uniforms, your classroom, or your favourite spot on campus – and tag your friends! 

Update (Sept. 27, 2019): Congratulations to grand prize winner VCC culinary arts student Jacqueline, plus a whole group of runners-up from from VCC auto collision repair. See you all at the game! 

At the game

  • Wear your best VCC gear (or anything green)!
  • Bring signs, flags, or anything else to show off your school 
  • Visit the VCC “Tailgate Party” booth on the plaza at BC Place
  • Be ready to out-cheer BCIT, KPU, and UFV! 

*Multiple winners will be selected to receive BC Lions Student Rush tickets for each person shown in the #VCCStudentRush photo entry. Total number of winners will depend on the number of entries received. Deadline to enter is Sunday, Sept. 22 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Winners will be notified via the submitted #VCCStudentRush photo post on the platform of entry. Winners must provide a valid VCC Student ID and prove ownership of the social media account used to enter. VCC reserves the right to disqualify any entries it deems offensive or inappropriate. Tickets must be claimed and picked up in person at the VCC Broadway campus by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27.


VCC continuing studies embrace innovative, experiential learning

Posted on August 21, 2017

As originally posted in the Georgia Straight


Two years after its 50th anniversary, in 2015, Vancouver Community College unveiled a new mission statement—“VCC: The first choice for innovative, experiential learning for life”.

The dean of continuing studies, Gordon McIvor, clearly takes the aims and values encapsulated in this slogan very seriously. McIvor noted in a phone interview with the Straight that this hands-on approach is not only reflected in the 23 programs under his jurisdiction but is also embodied on the cover of the  fall program guide. It features photos of students actively engaged in various pursuits.

Two programs, in particular, embody experiential learning: certificates in counselling skills and a diploma or certificate in fashion design and production.

The addiction counselling skills certificate is offered at VCC’s downtown campus, which is blocks away from Canada's first legal free-standing supervised-injection site.

“The reality of the Downtown Eastside and the fact that our program has a focus on addictions gives students an opportunity to really roll their sleeves up and work with high-risk populations,” McIvor explained.

It’s a self-paced part-time program offered in the evenings, which means students could take anywhere from a year to three years to complete it, though most finish in one-and-a-half to two years.

“Some students go many evenings a week,” he said. “Most of them are doing something else in the day and they might take one or two courses in the evening and they really go at their own pace.”

An intriguing aspect of the program is that students learn with the help of videos. This goes beyond simply listening to an instructor tell stories about their experience as counsellors.

"Students go into a private classroom with another student and actually videotape practice sessions," McIvor explained. "Students get a chance to think about what was said and view themselves with a potential client. It's really hands-on."

The community counselling skills certificate offers the same level of flexibility as the addiction-counselling program.

Claire Sauvé, a senior coordinator with VCC continuing studies, told the Straight by phone that this can prepare students for a wide variety of work, including working for homeless shelters, drop-in centres, immigrant-support agencies, and halfway houses.

“Some of the courses that are offered within the program are accepted as prerequisites in master’s-in-counselling programs at SFU, UBC, and Adler University,” Sauvé added.

The instructors all have active counselling practices, so they bring real-world experience into the classrooms. And according to Sauvé, some students who are in either the addiction-counselling or community-counselling stream end up completing the other stream because they have many classes in common.

So who is most likely to enroll in the certificate programs in counselling skills?

“We know, for example, the average age of a student in this program is 41 years old—predominantly female, definitely adult learners,” McIvor responded. “There may be a difference in addictions vis-à-vis the community counselling in terms of the gender makeup. Nevertheless, it is open to both groups of people.”

Meanwhile, the fashion and production diploma and certificate programs at VCC continuing studies have recently undergone a makeover to better reflect the school’s mission statement. “Students basically get five sales cycles during their diploma,” McIvor said.

They will make a bag, which is sold in a retail store, then they will design a T-shirt that is marketed online. Then they might create a whole fashion line for a nonprofit charity, and on it goes.

“It’s not just about designing clothes,” he said. “It’s the whole process of production, sales, and design together.”

It also enhances students’ understanding of e-commerce. Field trips to local clothing manufacturers help students understand what’s taking place on the factory floor.

The diploma program takes 18 months to complete and is offered full-time during weekdays. There’s an exit point midway for people who want to stop with a certificate, leaving them eligible to return to complete a diploma at a future date.

In addition to the diploma and certificate programs, VCC continuing studies also offers one-off courses for those interested in learning about everything from fashion illustration to corsetry to fashion-show production.

Global climate strike

Posted on September 20, 2019

The Global Climate Strike is a youth-led series of international strikes to demand action be taken on climate change between Sept. 20 to 27.

During this time, VCC will remain open for regular operations to deliver services to the public and classes will continue as normal.

The college understands that some students may be interested in attending some of these events. If students wish to participate in the demonstrations, they should discuss with their instructors. Such requests are subject to class and program requirements, similar to any other request for discretionary time away from class.

VCC practical nursing program builds on previous health care skills

Posted on July 8, 2019



Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

To recognize past education, training, and work experience of applicants to its practical nursing program, Vancouver Community College (VCC) offers the access to practical nursing program. Through this offering, applicants with a previous background in health care may earn their diploma in 13 months instead of the full 16 months.

“It’s a busy program,” says Julie Gilbert, VCC’s department head of Practical Nursing. “We have high standards and rigour but our students consistently achieve a 100 per cent pass rate on the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam and are highly regarded and employed in the industry.” 

Geared towards those with certificates in health care assistant (HCA), resident care attendant (RCA), a combined home support/resident care attendant, as well as internationally educated nurses, the program prepares students to provide nursing care by combining theoretical and experiential learning.  

“VCC’s vision includes experiential learning and acknowledges students’ backgrounds and experience,” says Gilbert. “We are one of B.C.’s only post-secondary institutions with a simulated hospital that includes a pharmacy, nursing station, physio labs, hospital rooms, and more. We have nursing labs with ‘patients,’ including one mannequin that gives birth.”

In addition to on-campus labs, students complete a consolidated practice experience at the conclusion of each level of the program that reinforces lessons from that particular level. A final full-time practice experience, or preceptorship, meanwhile, further prepares learners for the role and expectations they’ll encounter in the field. 

“The learning is focused on ensuring we’re preparing students to be practice-ready and safe so they can be great nurses,” says Gilbert. “A lot of nurses are retiring and there is a shortage.” 

B.C. Labour Market Outlook predicts that between 2018 and 2023, there will be a two per cent growth in the need for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) with 4,610 expected job openings in the next 10 years. 


Do you have past training and experience as a health care assistant (HCA) or resident care attendant (RCA)? Consider applying now for VCC’s access to practical nursing program starting in September 2019.

Media Release: BMW Group Canada scholarship

Posted on March 8, 2019

BMW Group Canada collision repair program investing in students of the future 

Vancouver, B.C. - BMW Group Canada in conjunction with their BMW Group Certified Collision Repair Centres (CCRCs) is contributing $90,000 over three years to scholarships for the collision repair sector at two Canadian colleges. This unique program is active at both Vancouver Community College (VCC) and Centennial College in Toronto.

The aim, says Gary Lin, CCRC Program Specialist with BMW Group Canada, is to create awareness of BMW Group’s shop certification program, to demonstrate the quality of these certified facilities at the student level and to steer top students into the CCRC network at a time when finding qualified body technicians is a challenge. “We want students to have to opportunity to work in bodyshops of the 21st century and to understand the truly specialized nature of collision repair in today’s industry,” he explains.

Scholarship candidates are expected to complete a paid work term at a BMW Group CCRC.

The scholarship criteria are designed specifically for two-year, pre-apprenticeship college programs. Under the current agreement with VCC and Centennial College, the scholarships will have three intakes (i.e. students who began the program in the fall of 2018, those who will begin in September 2019 and again in the fall of 2020).

In order to qualify, applicants must maintain a GPA of 85 percent throughout the program, and also maintain attendance of 85 percent. They are also required to complete online BMW Group University courses and one in-class BMW Group Brand Academy session.

At VCC and Centennial College, five students were chosen by faculty members of the Automotive Collision and Refinishing department. Upon completion of their diploma, three of those students will receive the $5,000 BMW Group Body & Paint Pre-Apprentice Scholarship. The remaining two students will receive a scholarship of $2,000.

The timeline and criteria are similar for both colleges. The five qualifying students at each college are “the best of the best”, Mr. Lin says.

The five applicants will be interviewed by BMW Group CCRCs before the end of their second semester and must be employees at a CCRC for a minimum three-month paid internship period after the first year of their college program. “We want a chance to give students the insight that BMW Group CCRCs and the world of specialized collision repair are viable career option for them,” Lin says.

President Nunoda’s appointment renewed

Posted on September 28, 2017

News-Peter-Nunoda-portrait-140Vancouver Community College’s Board of Governors is pleased to announce that Dr. Peter Nunoda’s appointment as the college’s President and CEO has been renewed for another three-year term. 

Since joining VCC on August 14, 2014, Dr. Nunoda has overseen the development of VCC’s five key success drivers, the Integrated College Plan, the five-year academic plan, and the new college vision. He also has built a strong management team to lead the college into its next 50 years of success.

Under Dr. Nunoda’s leadership, the college has returned to financial stability, moving from budget deficits to a small surplus in 2016. His focus on community and industry collaboration has resulted in successful new partnerships with organizations including the Rick Hansen Foundation, the Open Door Group, and Samsung.


Read Dr. Nunoda’s Bio

Media Release: VCC Fashion partners with BC Children's Hospital

Posted on September 13, 2019


VANCOUVER – Model Organisms is the talk of the city as Vancouver Community College (VCC) and BC Children’s Hospital present their creative new collection at Vancouver Kids Fashion Week (VKFW) for the SS20 season. Model Organisms is the result of a collaboration between students, alumni, and instructors in VCC's fashion design and production program as well as research scientists in the Healthy Starts theme at BC Children’s Hospital. 

This "Fashion Meets Science" team is passionate about showcasing species such as fruit flies and yeast (called "model organisms") that help us learn about genetics and child development.

“We see the Model Organisms collection as a platform for curiosity, inspiration, and conversation between scientists and the broader community,” says Dr. Michael Kobor, Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics, Healthy Starts theme lead at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and founder of the Kobor Lab. “Inspiring the next generation of young scientists and bringing the ‘hidden’ side of research into the public eye are huge priorities for Healthy Starts. We are so excited that our scientists have found a creative way to connect research to the communities it benefits. We hope that Fashion Meets Science will show that science can be a lot of fun!”

Finding inspiration from fruit flies and biological research in the Kobor Lab, one VCC fashion student (Lexi Vanderzalm) and several alumni (Brigita Anrevi, Chris Nagy, Nico Gruzling, and Steven Thomas) and instructors (Andrea Korens and Allison Drake) created dresses, t-shirts, leggings, and shorts that embody their expanded understanding of the basic building blocks of molecular biology.  

“Visiting the Kobor Lab was an eye-opening experience. I was particularly drawn to the flies and the work being done with them. I was in awe of the iridescent quality of their wings and how their eyes look like hundreds of little diamonds,” says VCC student Lexi Vanderzalm, who is also an Audrey Raine designer. “It’s been a fun challenge to bring some of these qualities into my design for Fashion Meets Science.”  

The nine boys' and girls' outfits in the Model Organisms collection will inspire scientific curiosity in even the youngest audience member. In addition to the runway show, audience members are invited to explore their inner scientist and learn more about model organisms by visiting the Healthy Starts booth at VKFW.

VKFW has a global reputation for recognizing and celebrating diverse and innovative talent, and proudly creating a platform for local and international children’s wear designers. The SS20 season introduces the seventh official edition of VKFW, highlighting creative designers from around the world.

“Inspiring and educating the next generation in the world of fashion was our goal when we first started Vancouver Kids Fashion Week. It gives them a stage to enter the world of design and explore their creativity and passion,” says Jamal Abdourahman, producer and founder of VKFW. 

By inspiring the scientists of tomorrow and highlighting the importance of model organism research in understanding childrens' health, trainees from the Kobor Lab initiated Fashion Meets Science with VCC Fashion. The Kobor Lab uses the model organisms to study epigenetics – the influence that the environment has on our genes. The Kobor lab has been working closely with VCC Fashion since early 2019 to bring a creative dimension to scientific research and to connect communities that would not normally have the opportunity to work together. 

Fashion Meets Science – Model Organisms Collection Debut
Vancouver Kids Fashion Week SS20   

When: Saturday, Oct. 12 and Sunday, Oct. 13, 11a.m. - 1p.m.
Where: David Lam Hall, 50 East Pender Street, Vancouver, B.C.

About Dr. Michael Kobor

Dr. Kobor is the Healthy Starts Theme Lead at BC Children’s, an Investigator at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics and the Sunny Hill BC Leadership Chair in Child Development. His research team, which includes UBC graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, provided the inspiration for the clothing line.

About the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute

The BC Children's Hospital Research Institute conducts discovery, translational, and clinical research to benefit the health of children and their families. The Healthy Starts theme is dedicated to keeping children and families healthy and out of the hospital by preventing lifelong health challenges and chronic diseases that are rooted in early childhood. We are supported by BC Children's Hospital Foundation; are part of BC Children’s Hospital and the Provincial Health Services Authority; and work in close partnership with the University of British Columbia. 

Instagram: @koborlab
Twitter: @BCCHResearch | @_HealthyStarts | @koborlab
Facebook: @HealthyStartsBCCHR

About VCC Fashion

Vancouver Community College Fashion programs offer the best value for learning all you need to work in the fashion industry. Our fashion design and production program mimics the real-world fashion industry, combining a fast-paced production process with fundamental skills, industry standard software, and creativity. The fashion merchandising associate certificate prepares students for the business of fashion through hands-on experience and knowledge of fashion fundamentals and theory. Non-credit courses are the place to test the fashion waters and upgrade sewing skills. All programs are taught by instructors that are experienced in both the industry and classroom. Learn from their expertise.

Instagram: @vccfashion
Twitter: @VCCfashion
Facebook: @VCCFashionArts

About Vancouver Kids Fashion Week

Vancouver Fashion Week is entering its 34th season and has become the fastest-growing fashion week, which led to the launching of Vancouver Kids Fashion Week in September 2016. VKFW is a two-day fashion event dedicated to children’s fashion and creativity. The ever-growing talent in youth was the inspiration driving the launch of this new platform, aiming to highlight and leverage kids designers on an international scale. VKFW partners with BC Children’s Hospital Foundation (BCCHF) in an effort to recognize children in need. The event will also include live dance performances and the cutest kid emcees, bringing lots of fun to the runway.

For media accreditation: visit
Instagram: @vankidsfashionweek
Facebook: @vankidsfashionweek


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Medica can contact:

Sarah Murray
Co-Program Coordinator, Recruitment and Industry Relations, Fashion
Vancouver Community College

Tiffany Reeve
Strategic Initiatives Research Manager, Healthy Starts
BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute



VCC fashion students dress Mel K. of Bag and a Beret

Posted on August 8, 2019

Mel K. from Bag and a Beret in three colourful looks


Each year, VCC fashion students are tasked with creating a custom outfit as part of the fashion design and production diploma program. After a couple of years of designing for musicians on stage and the red carpet, this year, influencer Mel K. presented students with the challenge of making clothes worthy for her Instagram feed @bagandaberet

Taking inspiration from her avant-garde style, three groups of first-year students crafted head-turning looks using eye-popping colour, patchwork, flashy fabrics, and unconventional materials like plastic. 

“I was stunned by their amazing work! These are pieces I’ll wear with pride,” says Mel K. “A heartfelt thank-you for inviting me to be part of this project. Being around people buzzing with creative vision and drive inspires my own work and fuels me with optimism for the future.” 

Following the project, Mel K. published a series of blog posts about her experience with the VCC students. “I was curious, perhaps slightly nervous, about what they would come up with,” she writes. “Well, they blew me away with their creativity, technical skills, adaptability, and hard work. Incredible.”

Five cycles to fashion success

Developing clothing for Mel K. was the fourth in a series of five fashion cycle classes that allow students to experience the fast-paced fashion process from design, drafting, and construction to marketing and sales. 

During the two-year fashion design and production diploma program, students start by designing a tote bag. They then create T-shirts and draped tops. After exploring personal style to produce bespoke pieces like the ones for Mel K., their final fashion cycle project gives back to the community by designing career wear for non-profit organizations like Dress for Success or The Harvest Project.

The looks

Check out more photos of our talented students and their custom designs. 

Mel K. and VCC studnets

Left to right: Carlin Lockhart, Shawn Avantini, Mel K., Sekai Fleming

Mel K. with VCC students

Left to right: Armita Azadmanesh, Mel K., Victoria Stephenson, Kiera West



Left to right: VCC instructor Jason Matlo, Cayce Vanderzalm, Mel K., Shadi Arastehmanesh, Nataly Kingsley


Find your fit in one of VCC’s fashion programs including fashion design and production, fashion merchandising, or professional development courses.




VCC celebration marks milestone in ASL, Deaf studies

Posted on September 11, 2019


Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

On Saturday, Sept. 28, Vancouver Community College (VCC) will celebrate its history as a leading educator in American Sign Language Studies (ASL) when it commemorates 45 years of service through the Deaf and hard of hearing, ASL and Deaf studies, and visually impaired programs, as well as interpreting services.  

The celebration will not only coincide with International Week of the Deaf, which starts Sept. 23, but also comes on the heels of the historic June passing of Bill C-81 (the Accessible Canada Act) — which recognizes ASL, Langue des signes du Québec, and Indigenous Sign Language as primary languages for Canada’s Deaf community.  

“We are expecting 200 people or so who will gather, socialize, network, and then attend a gala with a dinner,” says Aastrid Evensen, an instructor in VCC’s Deaf and hard of hearing department and member of the 45th Anniversary Gala committee, through a video relay service interpreter. “For the anniversary event, my favourite part is reminiscing with old friends and seeing old and young come together to celebrate our history and heritage.”  

With the needs of the Deaf community continuing to spread as the Accessible Canada Act ensures people have more access to visual language and communication options, VCC currently offers a 10-month ASL and Deaf studies certificate program. The full-time offering is designed for non-Deaf adults who have learned some basic ASL skills but wish to study the language more intensely with an aim to develop fluency. It also exposes them to Deaf culture and the Deaf community, develops communication and public speaking skills, and examines career development opportunities. Many graduates choose to pursue interpreting careers.

“A lot of people don’t realize that interpreting ASL is a profession, so we have a lot of need in the community,” says Evensen, “and we are wanting to grow our diversity to meet the needs of diverse Deaf Canadians as well.”  

To further accessibility to and awareness of its ASL and Deaf studies programs, in early 2020, VCC will explore offering online training options. 


Join us on Saturday, Sept. 28 at VCC’s 45th anniversary celebration of Deaf and hard of hearing, ASL, visually impaired, and interpreting programs. Tickets are $45 each and available now

How to choose the best health care program for you

Posted on July 30, 2019

Did you know that health care is a rapidly expanding field in British Columbia? This may not be surprising when you consider that boomers are aging, people are living longer, and we’re using more medications than ever before.

In the future, health care will only continue to grow. As medical technology advances, we’ll need new experts; as people delay retirement, they’ll access more wellness services; as we learn more about mental health, we’ll need new treatments and supports; and as the climate changes, we may even face new diseases.

WorkBC predicts 148,400 health care and social assistance job openings between 2018 and 2028 – the highest of any employment grouping – and not all jobs will be for doctors and nurses. 

Explore your strengths

“There is a huge variety of health care jobs out there,” says VCC health care assistant (HCA) program leader Lisa Beveridge. The only overall requirement? “You need to value people,” she says.

For those considering the health care field, Lisa says it’s a smart move to first identify your strengths and abilities. As a nursing student, Lisa remembers one experience working on a busy surgical ward. “It was so rushed and task-focused,” she says. “I didn’t like it and it felt like a mistake!”

Lisa later found geriatrics to be a much better fit. Today, as an instructor, Lisa recommends that students start with the basics to explore their ideal position in health care. “The HCA program is a great introduction to frontline caregiving,” she says, emphasizing that in only seven months and with minimal prerequisites, you get solid foundations in safety, asepsis, and person-centered care, which are essential in many other health care jobs.

Certified HCAs who decide to enter nursing can have their experience recognized by VCC’s access to practical nursing (PN) program, which, in turn, can ladder into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN). Likewise, students who discover a talent for fine, detailed work might enter dental hygiene, or those who excel at chemistry might become pharmacy technicians.

Make connections

Another in-demand health care career is health unit coordinator (HUC). As the central contact point for all medical departments as well as patients and visitors, HUCs are exposed daily to the full range of health care careers. “It’s a big snapshot of every job in the hospital,” says VCC School of Health Sciences coordinator Katherine Griffiths.

After only six months in the HUC program, the final two months are spent working and learning in the field, with the opportunity to experience a range of environments from long-term care to trauma hospitals. “Our practicums let you explore where you’re most comfortable,” says Katherine.

HUC jobs are also out there for the taking. VCC is a main contact for hospital recruiters and, according to Katherine, most grads get hired directly out of their practicums. “These are very good jobs with very good benefits,” she says.

Follow your heart

For Lisa and Katherine, however, working in health care has incentives far beyond job security, variety, or even specialized skills. “In how many jobs can you truly improve someone’s quality of life?” asks Lisa.

“As health care assistants, we help people and families experiencing loss,” she says, explaining that they mainly work with people who have lost their health or ability to care for themselves. Often, they’ve also recently lost a home or a spouse.

According to Lisa, the feelings of reward and the “positive feedback loop” you create when you help someone who’s struggling are greater than any other service profession. “It’s unparalleled,” she says. “You’re making a lasting impact on peoples’ lives.”


Explore your options for entry-level health care careers at VCC:

Media Release: Apprentice of the Year competition open for applications

Posted on September 9, 2019

VANCOUVER – After a decade-long absence, British Columbia’s culinary industry is holding the Culinary Apprentice of the Year award and, for the first time, is accepting applications from across the province for the competition.

Selected candidates will be required to create a three-course meal for judges and invited guests at the competition in Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 2. To be eligible, applicants must have received their Red Seal Endorsement in cooking in 2018 or be registered as a third-year culinary apprentice in 2019. They must also be working in B.C. at the time of the competition. The deadline to apply is September 13, 2019.

The competition is sponsored by the Chefs' Table Society of BC, Vancouver Community College (VCC), and the Industry Training Authority (ITA). Other partners include BC Chefs Association, North Vancouver Island Chefs Association, Okanagan Chefs Association, and Victoria Chefs Association.

It’s an excellent way for competitors to test their skills, learn from others, and talk to chefs who are willing to share their knowledge. Judges will include world-class chefs Bruno Marti and Hamid Salimian.

Chef Poyan Danesh, competition chair, Chefs' Table Society of BC, knows a thing or two about competitions. He has been heavily involved in the B.C. culinary scene since graduating top of his class at VCC. Among his many accomplishments, Chef Danesh was named B.C. Chef of the Year in 2013, won multiple gold medals in the World Culinary Olympics, and was named Culinary Apprentice of the Year in 2008.

“Competitions and being an apprentice opened countless doors and opportunities for me, and it's a great way to jumpstart one’s career and nurture their passions,” says Chef Danesh. “We wanted to make this competition available for apprentices throughout the province to elevate their skills and offer them the opportunity to connect with the community they plan to make a career in.”

“VCC is excited to welcome back the Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition,” said Dennis Innes, dean of hospitality, food studies and applied business at VCC. “While classroom learning is critical to our students’ training, employers recognize the tenacity, patience, passion, and composure students develop through competition.”

“I’m thrilled that the Apprentice of the Year competition is back, so culinary apprentices and recent Red Seal recipients can show off the impressive skills and talents they acquired during their training,” says Melanie Mark, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “This competition is also an innovative and fun way for up-and-coming culinary students and recent grads to network and collaborate not only with their peers but also with experienced chefs and mentors from across B.C.”

“ITA manages more than 100 trades in British Columbia, and it’s exciting that the culinary industry is once again recognizing the highly-skilled chefs from the Professional Cook program,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “The time they’ve spent as apprentices crafting their culinary skills has prepared them for this competition. We look forward to seeing these talented individuals in the November competition.”

The winner will receive their choice of $2,000 or an all-expenses-paid trip to accompany Culinary Team BC to Germany for the World Culinary Olympics in February 2020.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be B.C.'s Culinary Apprentice of the Year, download the application package here. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.


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To arrange an interview with Chef Poyan Danesh, please contact:

Lubna Ekramoddoullah
Communications Specialist
Industry Training Authority
T: 778.327.5896

Restaurant Review: The Chef’s Table gets an 'A' for food

Posted on September 6, 2019



Review and photo by Mia Stainsby, Sept. 4, 2019

It’s like a two-Michelin calibre meal for a mere $55. Wine matches for the five-course meal with an amuse bouche and mignardise ending is $22. 

I’m reading your mind and it’s saying, ‘OK, what’s the catch.’ Right, there is one but it wasn’t a deal breaker for me. These Chef’s Table pop-ups are at Vancouver Community College (VCC) so when it comes to ambience and service, Michelin level it ain’t. Service, you could say is sweet and uncertain, not suavely professional. But it gets an 'A' for food.

But I’m telling you, the food compares more than favourably to haute meals where I’ve wanted to swat away silly theatrics and giggle at architectural presentations served with stiff, humourless formality.

The Chef’s Table was at VCC’s East Broadway campus in an institutional setting but last January, it moved to JJ’s Restaurant at the Downtown campus, which is set up as a restaurant. In the past, there’ve been many a panicked guest who arrived at this location when they should have been on East Broadway. Recalculating! Recalculating!

Chef Hamid Salimian is the instructor and what he does with his classes is breathtaking. The food is imaginative, beautifully presented, balanced, delicious, and flawless. Many of the dishes employ modernist techniques but without screaming ‘look at me, look at me!’ Instead, elements dovetail into a meaningful presentation.

Our seven-part dinner began with a ‘Parmesan foam snack’ involving sous vide, vacuum cooking, hydrocolloid, and liquid nitrogen. Pickled heirloom tomato, sorrel purée, green olive dust added colour and flavour. A lemon basil simple syrup was cooked under vacuum then ‘aged‘ in an ultrasonic bath.

“In 45 minutes, it’s like it’s aged for six to eight months. Aging happens when molecules start moving fast. It changes the flavour,” says Salimian.    

Continue reading in the Vancouver Sun


Reserve your seats now for our next limited-edition VCC Chef’s Table pop-up dinner series.


Where's my class? Fall 2019

Posted on August 29, 2019

 Welcome to VCC! Use this chart to look up start dates and room numbers for your first day of school.

Program Start Date Campus Room
Access to Practical Nursing  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, G221
ASL and Deaf Studies  Sept. 3 BWY Building A, 2554
Asian Culinary Arts  Sept. 3 DTN 208
Automotive Collision Repair  Sept. 3 BWY Building A, 1507
Automotive Refinishing Prep  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, G219
Automotive Service Tech Harmonized Foundation  Sept. 3 BWY Building A, 1501
CAD and BIM Diploma – Architecture  Sept. 3 DTN 717
CAD and BIM Diploma – Civil/Structural  Sept. 3  DTN  717
CAD and BIM Certificate – Architecture  Sept. 3 DTN 714
CAD and BIM Certificate – Civil/Structural  Sept. 3 DTN 725
CAD and BIM Certificate – Steel Detailing  Sept. 3 DTN 718
Computer Systems Technologies  Sept. 3 DTN 145/146
Culinary Arts – Profesionnal Cook 1 – ESL  Sept. 3 DTN 405
Dental Assisting – Certified  Sept. 3 DTN 240
Dental Hygiene  Sept. 3 DTN 501
Dental Reception Coordinator  Sept. 3 DTN  240 
Dental Technology Sciences – Year 1  Sept. 3 DTN 334
Dental Technology Sciences – Year 2  Sept. 3 DTN 332
Esthetics  Sept. 3/5 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Graphic Design – Year 1  Sept. 3 DTN 721
Graphic Design – Year 2  Sept. 3 DTN 819
Hairstylist  Sept. 3/5 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Hair Design – High School  Sept. 3 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Health Care Assistant  Sept. 9 BWY Building B, 1223
Health Care Assistant – ESL  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, 2230/2231
Health Unit Coordinator  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, 4219
Heavy Mechanical Trades  Sept. 9 ANN Annacis Island
Hospitality Management – Year 1, 3, and 4  Sept. 3 DTN 321 (Bistro)
Hospitality Management – Year 2  Sept. 3 DTN 112 (Auditorium)
Jewellery Art and Design – Year 1  Sept. 3 DTN 156
Jewellery Art and Design – Year 2  Sept. 3 DTN 162
Legal Administrative Assistant  Sept. 3 DTN 618
Medical Laboratory Assistant  Sept. 16 BWY Building B, 3205
Medical Office Assistant  Sept. 3 DTN 629
Medical Transcriptionist  Sept. 3 DTN 829
Nursing (BScN)   Sept. 3 BWY Building B, 1231
Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant – Year 1  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, 4205
Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant – Year 2  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, 4217
Pharmacy Technician  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, 3212
Practical Nursing  Sept. 3 BWY Building B, G217

New mobile learning app reduces ESL waitlists

Posted on August 16, 2019



Two years after arriving in Canada from China, Phoebe Yang was ready to start a career. She chose VCC’s Health Care Assistant program but needed to upgrade her English to meet admission requirements. That’s when Phoebe joined the approximately 800-person waitlist for VCC’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program, learning that she might wait anywhere between a few months and a year to start classes.

In November 2018, however, Phoebe started her English education much sooner than expected thanks to mLearning. This "mobile learning" technology, being piloted by VCC for the first time in Canada, is similar to popular language-learning apps, offering self-paced lessons that can be finished in as few as three minutes.

One major difference from mainstream apps, however, is mLearning’s integration with human, VCC-trained coaches who can answer students’ questions by text message in the app. Coaches can also give feedback in real-time by phone call. "It’s really good for improving English. I want to recommend it to my husband," says Phoebe.

VCC mLearning coach Rae Switzer is currently working with 28 students who would otherwise have limited access to English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Aside from waitlists, Rae has also seen many newcomers abandon ESL programs due to work schedules or family commitments. She views mLearning as a solution for these people too. “Students take full control of how much they learn and when they learn,” says Rae. "We’re there to make sure they stay on track." 

With funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, VCC plans to enrol 550 newcomers in the mLearning program over the next two years.


Learn more about VCC's award-winning English as a Second Language programs teaching everyday skills from casual conversations to job interviews.

All you need to know about VCC entrance awards

Posted on August 16, 2019



Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

When Emily Man graduated from high school and enrolled in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) university transfer courses, she knew extra money would be helpful in paying for her education. That’s where VCC’s student entrance awards came in. 

“Not only did the award help to pay for some of the courses I took to get into VCC’s dental hygiene program, which I’m in now, but they also helped me personally,” says Man, who is set to graduate with a dental hygiene diploma in June 2020. “I was able to focus on my studies because I didn’t have to worry about a part-time job, so it took some of the pressure off.” 

VCC offers a range of financial assistance such as entrance scholarships for high school students. Valued at $1,000 each, these awards are specifically for recent Lower Mainland high school graduates entering a full-time VCC program or two terms of university transfer courses (minimum three courses). 

The college also offers $1,000 entrance awards for students entering a full-time VCC program that’s at least six months or minimum of three university transfer courses for four months. Applicants must have a B average and include a letter of reference along with the award application form. Award recipients are also selected based on academic achievement and community involvement (volunteering). 

“The application process was really easy,” says Man. “And every little bit does help.”

While Man heard about the entrance awards through her high school career counsellor, she encourages incoming VCC students to research which awards, grants, and bursaries may be available to them.  

“Don’t be afraid to do some research online ahead of time because some of the awards have deadlines that are pretty early, so you don't want to miss out on the opportunity," she says. “Everyone will be more than willing to help, and VCC really is an amazing experience with hands-on classes and teachers who want to see you do well.”


VCC entrance awards are still available for September 2019. To learn more about the awards and to apply, visit VCC Financial Aid.


VCC and Rick Hansen Foundation team up to help make Canada accessible for all

Posted on September 6, 2017

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A new partnership between Vancouver Community College (VCC) and the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) will benefit students and industry professionals interested in improving accessibility in commercial and public settings.

The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program is designed to rate a given site or facility's overall accessibility against a national, universal scale. VCC will offer a two-week RHFAC Accessibility Assessors training beginning Sept. 25, to help people with disabilities, professionals already working in the field, or others interested in learning to analyze a site or facility for overall accessibility. Students are trained through interactive instructor presentations, in-class exercises, disability simulation experiences, reading assignments, and small and large group work. 

The training course will prepare students to become Accessibility Assessors and conduct ratings using RHFAC criteria. For those wanting formal accreditation, students must pass a written exam administered by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) after completing the course. Graduates will gain skills to become independent consultants to conduct RHFAC ratings and provide expertise in Universal Design, and support community education and awareness on the importance of accessibility.

“We know the importance of what a program like this truly means to people’s lives. With one of the highest population of students with disabilities in post-secondary in the province, we are acquainted with the wide range of mobility challenges people contend with on a daily basis. It’s wonderful to work with RHF to make a difference by training the professionals who will contribute to creating better facilities that work for everyone,” says Kathryn McNaughton, vice-president, academic, students and research.                                                                                                                                                  

“We’re very excited to combine the expertise of Vancouver Community College and the Rick Hansen Foundation to deliver this course as part of continuing education in B.C. Well-trained assessors are at the heart of the RHF Accessibility Certification program. It will bring new opportunities for anyone interested in creating more accessible built environments and help move access considerations into the normal design process,” says Brad McCannell, vice-president, access and inclusion, RHF.

The inaugural two-week training course still has spots available. To learn more, watch this video and to register, see RHFAC Accessibility Assessor training at VCC.


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.


About the Rick Hansen Foundation:

The Rick Hansen Foundation was established in 1988, following the completion of Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour, to continue raising funds and awareness to create a world without barriers for people with disabilities. Over nearly 30 years, RHF has made transformational change in raising awareness and removing barriers for people with disabilities, and funding research for the cure and care of people with spinal cord injuries. Today, the Foundation focuses on improving accessibility to create a world that’s accessible and inclusive for all.



Media can contact:

Amanda Basi, Manager, Accessibility Certification Program
Rick Hansen Foundation

Karen Wilson, Executive Director, Marketing and Communications
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 7429,

Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification VCC logos



Training the addiction counsellors of tomorrow

Posted on July 26, 2019

When 526 British Columbians died of illicit drug overdoses in 2015, the Provincial Health Officer declared a public health emergency. By 2017, that number had more than doubled and continues to add to the opioid crisis being felt around the world.

While we in B.C. often hear about first responders and volunteers saving lives in tent cities and back alleys, less known, perhaps, is that the majority of overdoses (72 per cent) happen inside the home.

"Problematic substance use affects a wide range of people,” says VCC addiction counselling instructor Andrew Stone. "It is very common to see clients with homes, careers, and families seeking support."

VCC has been training professional addiction counsellors since 1980. Over the years, the curriculum has evolved with advancements in harm reduction strategies, pharmacological treatments, and client-centred recovery. “We now focus more on what our client’s version of what recovery looks like instead of us telling them,” says Andrew.

The next update to VCC’s addiction counselling program will be in Fall 2019 with the launch of the new Counselling Skills Foundational Certificate. It replaces the previous Community Counselling Skills and Addiction Counselling Skills certificates. For those pursuing a higher-level career pathway, VCC plans to offer an Addiction Counselling Advanced Certificate in Fall 2020.

As opioid-related deaths continue to devastate B.C. communities, addictions counsellors are more in-demand than ever. According to Andrew, a public drop-in client today often waits two to three weeks for follow-up counselling – all the while in serious danger of overdosing.

"We need more resources out there," says Andrew, who is eager to see future VCC grads at work. "Our students are learning from folks who are working in the field. They're really seeing what’s needed in the community right now."

Ready to make a difference and reach clients where they're at? Upgrade your addictions counselling skills at VCC this September. 

Scheduled power outage and systems shutdown Aug. 10-11

Posted on August 6, 2019

VCC’s Broadway campus will be undergoing a planned, preventative electrical outage by BC Hydro which will result in a shutdown of electronic services from Saturday, August 10 at 8 a.m. to Sunday, August 11 at 8 p.m. 

During this outage, VCC's website will have limited functionality in the following areas:

  • Applications and registration (Banner)
  • Email
  • Internet and Wi-Fi
  • Intranet (myVCC)
  • Moodle
  • Servers
  • Shared drives

The Broadway campus will also be closed to the public during this time as there will be no electrical power or telephone services available. Please remember to power off all computers and other devices before leaving on Friday, August 9.


We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience. For more information, please contact the VCC Helpdesk at 604.871.7000 ext. 8700.

Top 10 VCC stories of 2017

Posted on January 4, 2018

Happy New Year, VCC! Let’s celebrate by taking a look back at 2017’s most popular online stories featuring our students, instructors, and alumni.


10. Congratulations OHI Top 30 under 30 winner Taka Li

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


9. Jackie’s story: success in style

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


8. VCC's revamped culinary program focuses on active participation

New curriculum features international techniques, flexible timetable, student reflection


7. Riwaz’ story: a new path to university

One VCC student’s last-minute decision leads to a future on the cutting-edge of engineering


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

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


5. Kirsten’s story: music for life

After rediscovering a childhood talent, one VCC student finds classical piano is more than lessons


4. VCC partners with Emily Carr University of Art + Design

New Creative Art Pathway (CAP) program provides customized English language programming 


3. VCC and Rick Hansen Foundation team up to help make Canada accessible for all

A new partnership will benefit students interested in improving accessibility in public settings


2. Japanese baker inspires mothers to pursue their dreams

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


1. 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


Stay up-to-date on what's happening in the VCC community year-round by visiting

August hours of operation at the VCC Registrar's Office

Posted on July 8, 2019



VCC's Registrar's Offices at both the Broadway and Downtown campuses will operate on summer hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on Thursdays from Aug. 1-29. Hours of operation will be as follows:

Broadway campus
Monday, Tuesday, and Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Downtown campus
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

If you have further questions, please contact the Registrar's Office.

Adobe award-winner credits VCC's focus on soft skills

Posted on July 5, 2019



Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

The iconic Vancouver Lookout and Science World, a hand holding a marker and a camera are some of the elements Claire Kang — a Vancouver Community College (VCC) graphic design diploma program student — combined to create her winning submission to the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. Kang’s concept illustration, which depicts the stories of the program and its students, was picked as top talent from thousands of global entries to the media competition for students and emerging creators. 

“I thought the Adobe awards would help to promote my career,” says Kang, who previously completed VCC’s graphic design certificate, and thanks to a previous degree from her native Korea, now only has to complete Year 2 of the two-year program to earn the credential. “I appreciate the VCC instructors helping me to choose the perfect image to submit.” 

Lorena Espinoza is VCC’s department leader of digital media design. She says the type of initiative Kang showed by entering the contest is part of the graphic design program’s learning outcomes, such as self-promotion, self-awareness, and playing up personal strengths, in addition to covering conceptual thinking, workforce, studio practices, client interaction, client-centred projects, curriculum, and flexible pathways. 

“The program was revamped two years ago and one of the changes was a deeper focus on developing not only technical graphic design skills but also soft skills,” says Espinoza. “I thought it was really proactive of Claire, which is what we teach in class.” 

As an Adobe award winner, Kang’s work will get a website feature, she’ll earn a coveted “Top Talent” badge for her LinkedIn profile and other social profiles as well as a certificate, and receive a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud all-apps. Kang says she hopes the platform will help her to stand out as she prepares to graduate and enter the graphic design field with an aim of becoming an art director.  



Explore your options for a creative career. Learn more about digital media design programs at VCC.  


VCC Spring 2019 Student Awards recap

Posted on June 3, 2019

Twice a year, Vancouver Community College (VCC) recognizes and celebrates the academic achievements of many talented, dedicated, and hardworking students from a variety of programs at formal Student Awards ceremonies.

VCC's Spring 2019 Student Awards ceremonies were held on Friday, May 31 at the Broadway campus event space, where 218 scholarships and awards valued at $146,225 were distributed by the VCC Foundation. These awards are given to students who demonstrated excellence both in and out of the classroom. Some award recipients have also experienced significant challenges to pursuing their education. These awards make it possible for these students to complete their studies.

VCC's Student Awards ceremonies offer a chance for the recipients to meet and thank donor representatives in person at tea receptions following both the morning and afternoon ceremonies.

At each Student Awards, the VCC Foundation selects one award recipient and donor to profile in a video. This spring, dental hygiene students Crystal Worrall and Donia Ghassimi Kouraneh were highlighted as the recipients of the Alissa Li Award for their exemplary work ethic, positivity, and diligence. Alissa Li was formerly a student at VCC and returned this year as a donor, recognizing students in her name. 


View the full photo galleries of the Spring 2019 Student Awards ceremonies. Students, donors, and attendees are invited to download and save their individual photos. 

To learn more about VCC’s financial awards, bursaries, and scholarships, visit Financial Aid and Awards, including our Online Awards Guide. Donations towards VCC scholarships, bursaries, and other initiatives can be directed to or through our online catalogue of gifts.

VCC at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Posted on June 21, 2019

Vancouver Jazz Festival logo for 2019

It’s that time of year again; when venues across the city welcome world-class musicians to their stages as part of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. This year's Jazz Fest takes place from Friday, June 21 to Monday, July 1 including free concerts at Granville Island, David Lam Park, and Downtown Vancouver. Nearly 50 VCC Music alumni, faculty, and current students will perform at free and ticketed events. Here's where you'll find them during the 11-day festival:


Friday, June 21 

The Tillicum Shantie Project: Songs of the People
12 p.m. Granville Island - free
(Sam Dabrusin) 

Kid’s Table Quartet + Mats Gustafsson
1:30 p.m. Granville Island - free
(Jeremy Page, Kenton Loewen) 

The Arntzens: 3 Generations in Jazz
7:30 p.m. Pyatt Hall - $34
(Tom Arntzen, Arnt Arntzen) 


Saturday, June 22

Bill Runge Quintet
12 p.m. Robson Street stage - free
(Bernie Arai - faculty)

Mike WT Allen’s Space Elevator
12:30 p.m. Georgia Street stage - free
(Riley Johnson, Max Ley, Dominic Conway, Erik Engholm, Kevin Tang)

Elisa Thorn’s HUE
1:30 p.m. Robson Street stage - free
(Justin DeVries) 

Oliver Gannon Quartet
5 p.m. Robson Street Stage
(Craig Scott - faculty)

9:30 p.m. The Ironworks - $25
(Tyson Naylor)


Sunday, June 23

Paul Plimley Trio
1:30 p.m. Performance Works - free
(Kenton Loewen)

San Pedro Cinco
1:30 p.m. Robson Street stage - free
(Robin Layne)

Lydia Hol
5 p.m. Robson Street stage - free
(Lydia Hol)

Quatuor André Lachance
2:15 p.m. Georgia Street - free
(Joe Poole) 

Jacqui Naylor
8 p.m. Frankie’s Jazz Club - $25
(Bernie Arai - faculty) 


Monday, June 24

Tyson Naylor Trio + Ted Crosby
1:30 p.m. Performance Works - free
(Tyson Naylor)


Tuesday, June 25

Vicky Mettler/ Lisa Cay Miller/ John Dikeman/ Kenton Loewen
5 p.m. The Ironworks - free
(Kenton Loewen)

8 p.m. Frankie’s Jazz Club - $20
(Malcolm Aiken, Robin Layne, Chris Couto, Niho Takase) 

Tiny Pyramids
11 p.m. The China Cloud - $15
(Tyson Naylor)  


Wednesday, June 26

Black Gardenia featuring Daphne Roubini
8 p.m. Frankie’s Jazz Club - $20
(Andrew Smith)

Longhand + 2 Plays Long
11 p.m. The China Cloud - $15
(Skye Brooks)


Thursday, June 27

Beatings are in the Body
5 p.m. The Ironworks - free
(Roisin Adams)

Thus Owls with Jo Passed and Unnatural Ways
9 p.m. The Imperial - $25
(Joe Hirabiyashi)

11 p.m. The China Cloud - $15
(Giorgio Magnanensi - faculty, Kenton Loewen)


Friday, June 28

Joe Sorbara Quartet
12 p.m. Granville Island - free
(François Houle - faculty) 


Saturday, June 29 

Hildegard’s Ghost
12 p.m. Roundhouse - free
(Roisin Adams, Skye Brooks)

We Just stole a Car
12 p.m. David Lam Park - free
(Daryn Cassie, Elliot Langford, Dominic Conway, Joseph Hirabayashi, John Mutter, Kevin Romain, Daniel Ruiz)

Alexander Hawkins, François Houle, Harris Eisenstadt
1:30 p.m. Performance Works - free
(François Houle - faculty)

Pugs and Crows
1:45 p.m. David Lam Park - free
(Ben Brown)

6 p.m. Roundhouse - free
(Jaimie Branch, Jeremy Page, Luke Stuart, François Houle - faculty)

Gordon Grdina’s Haram
9 p.m. The Imperial - $25
(Kenton Loewen)


Sunday, June 30

Brad Turner’s Pacific
12 p.m. Roundhouse - free
(Joe Poole) 

Simple City
12 p.m. Granville Island - free
(Arthur Smith, Kevin Romain) 

Star Captains
1:45 p.m. David Lam Park - free
(Jim Black)

Matt Choboter
6 p.m. Roundhouse - free
(François Houle - faculty)


Monday, July 1

Benoît Delbecq François Houle Duo
12 p.m. Performance Works - free
(François Houle - faculty)

David Sikula Quartet
3 p.m. Granville Island Railspur stage - free
(Joe Poole) 

8 p.m. Granville Island Railspur stage - free
(Tim Sars, Brendan Kreig) 

Company B Jazz Band
9:30 p.m. Performance Works - free
(Dave Taylor) 



Are you interested in a career in music? Attend an info session to learn about VCC's range of music offerings from community courses to diplomas and degrees.

Follow VCC Music on Facebook to get the latest news on performances, events, and auditions.  

VCC students head to Halifax for Skills Canada 2019

Posted on May 22, 2019



Welcome to the national stage! We at Vancouver Community College (VCC) would like to wish the very best to our provincial champions competing in the Skills Canada 2019 National Competition (SCNC) from Monday, May 27 to Thursday, May 30 in Halifax, NS.

This year, over 550 students and apprentices from across Canada will be competing for national titles in over 40 skilled trades and technology areas from baking to car painting to hairstyling.

Share your support online using the hashtags #myVCC, #SCNC2019, and especially #TeamBC, which helps contribute to the Skills Canada Team Spirit Award.

Team VCC – Skills Canada National Competition 2019

Automotive collision repair – post-secondary
Ricky Guan

Baking – post-secondary
Farzin Irani

Baking – secondary
Isaac Carswell (Sullivan Heights Secondary)

Car painting – secondary
Reilly Ouwerling (Elgin Park Secondary)


Culinary arts – post-secondary
Anh Tran

Culinary arts – secondary
Julia Broda (Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary)

Esthetics – post-secondary
Nicole de Lima Girardello

Hairdressing – post-secondary
Kennedy Pabuaya


Also during Skills Canada 2019, the top two competitors in each skill area from the 2018 national competition return to participate in the WorldSkills Team Canada Selection Process.

As 2018 was a WorldSkills qualifying year, these competitors now have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills once again and earn a spot among the 31-member Team Canada heading to WorldSkills in Kazan, Russia in August 2019.

VCC is extremely proud of our champions and we wish them all the best in Halifax!

WorldSkills Team Canada 2019 candidates

Automotive collision repair 
Jason Sherle

Culinary arts
Leah Patitucci (SCNC 2018 medallist)

Clarissa Roque (SCNC 2018 medallist)



Explore your options in the skilled trades. VCC’s free information sessions offer an inside look at programs and facilities. Sign up now.


Good luck to VCC's Skills Canada BC 2019 competitors

Posted on April 15, 2019


Please join us in wishing all the best to our Vancouver Community College (VCC) teams heading to the Skills Canada BC 2019 provincial competition on Wednesday, April 17!

The competition is held at the Tradex in Abbotsford and welcomes more than 600 competitors who will demonstrate their skilled trades for industry judges and a live audience. 

This year, many of the region's top secondary and post-secondary students will represent VCC in the areas of baking, culinary arts, hairdressing, esthetics, automotive service, automotive collision repair, and car painting. 

Send your support to our teams online using the hashtags #myVCC and #SkillsBC. Stay tuned for updates on our medallists and go VCC!

Automotive service – post-secondary
Mitchell Eastman

Automotive service – secondary
Alexander Nguyen (Britannia Secondary)
Alexander Pochoday (Britannia Secondary)

Automotive collision repair - post-secondary
Ian Woodward
Jiahao Chen
Milton Javier Davis Flores
Ricky Guan
Riley Knowles
Steve Bakirgis
Tobin Fitzl
Tyhree Nguyen-Serrano

Automotive collision repair - secondary
Jiahao (Johnson) Chen (John Oliver Secondary)
Maynard Reyes (Cariboo Hill Secondary)
Jefferson Sales (John Oliver Secondary)
David Zamora (Moscrop Secondary)

Baking - post-secondary
Farzin Irani
YeJin Park
Laurie Vestergaard

Baking - secondary
Isaac Carswell (Sullivan Heights Secondary)
Mandy Liu (Sir Charles Tupper)

Car painting - secondary
Aaron Comendador (McNair Secondary)
Antonio Aiello (Centennial School)
Antony Harrington (Victoria High School)
Lawrence Cabanayan (Sir Charles Tupper Secondary)
Mark Alcantara (John Oliver Secondary)
Reilly Ouwerling (Elgin Park Secondary)

Culinary arts - post-secondary
Anh Tran

Culinary arts - secondary
Julia Broda (Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary)
Isaiah Laxton

Esthetics – post-secondary
Abigail Fernandez
Nicole Girardello
Rosa Park
Sierra Lee

Fashion – post-secondary
Emmalyn McKenna

Hairdressing – post-secondary
Carmen Zhang
Kennedy Pabuaya

Hairdressing – secondary
Kala’i Seaman
Portia Meynders


Think you might shine at a skilled trade? Join us at our Experience VCC open house on Wednesday, April 24 to tour our Downtown campus and find the perfect program for you.

VCC cooks up national gold at Skills Canada

Posted on July 16, 2018


Ever since the Skills Canada regional competitions in early 2018, we’ve been following Team VCC from one podium to the next. 

After an incredible 18-medal performance at the Skills Canada BC provincials in Abbotsford on April 18, our winners headed to Edmonton on June 4 to compete for top spots in the country. 

With live video streaming across our campuses, the whole community watched as VCC’s Leah Patitucci (post-secondary) and Carmen Rosa (secondary) each won national gold in culinary arts. Meanwhile in the bakery, VCC’s Queenie Li (secondary) claimed silver, Clarissa Roque (post-secondary) took home bronze, and Tony Harrington (secondary) scored a bronze medal in car painting. 

We caught up with national gold medallist, recent Samuel Roberts Technical Secondary grad, and current VCC culinary arts apprentice Carmen to discuss her recent golden performance and find out what’s next for this rising star. 


How does it feel to be the best secondary school cook in Canada? 

It feels surreal, but when people congratulate me, it feels good. Like one day I’m living life and the next thing you know I’m 19 and I’m actually pretty good at something. It’s a successful feeling.


How long have you been cooking? 

I started about one year ago. I was a banquet server and then a dishwasher at a country club in Maple Ridge. Then one day I got an opportunity to help with the cooking. I started by peeling potatoes, then the chef let me do more stuff. I also learned that an apprenticeship would give me money for college, so I registered. 


What you picture yourself doing before this? 

Cooking is a big turn for me. I always wanted to be an event planner. I love organizing and being my own boss, having control of things. That’s why I like competition; it’s just me. I’m also good at art, and I’m a musician too, but not for a career.


What was it like to compete at a national level? 

In some ways, all the competitions are different, but they’re also the same. It’s a black box of ingredients and you usually do three courses. You get what you get, and you cook it according to the rules. 


Are cooking competitions as dramatic as they look on TV? 

I never watched a lot of culinary TV, but yeah there’s complications and drama. In Edmonton, I lost my courage a bit on the first day. I lost my mojo. I cut myself with a grater and I had to see the First Aid attendant. It was a small cut but I didn’t want to hide it. Then I forgot to put some garnishes on my salad and they docked points so that left me in third place. The second day I just said, “Let’s get this done.” 


How much training did you do? 

Overall it was about three weeks. The first two weeks, I took the train into Vancouver and practiced at VCC with Chef Mike Steele. It was overwhelming but Mike is so encouraging. He says if you make mistakes now, that’s better than on the stage. The third week, I trained back at SRT. It was nice and quiet there, and they also have the same kind of ovens they use in the competition.   


What’s next for your career? 

I’ll be at VCC for PC2 (Professional Cook 2) in September. Chef Mike made sure I got to know the community a bit during my training. It will be great to see all the other chefs there. 



Did you know high school students can start culinary arts apprenticeship training as early as Grade 11? Learn more about Youth Train in Trades programs via the B.C. Industry Training Authority (ITA).  

Meet VCC’s all-star chef instructors and see our kitchens in action. Sign up now for an upcoming free information session at our Downtown campus. 






New Vice President, Enterprise and International Development

Posted on May 2, 2019



Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ajay Patel as Vice President, Enterprise and International Development. This role provides strategic leadership to VCC's International Education department, Partnership Development Office, and Continuing Studies.

Ajay will be responsible for seeking and responding to entrepreneurial opportunities such as strategic partnerships with industry, community organizations, and government. His wealth of experience with multiple areas in post-secondary education will support VCC's new Strategic Innovation Plan, currently in development.

Ajay brings more than 15 years of experience in post-secondary education from Langara College, where he rose through the ranks in several positions from an instructor all the way to the VP, External Development. Over the past two years in the VP role, Ajay provided Langara with strategic leadership, the development of community relations, and partnerships that supported the college's vision and priorities.

At Langara, Ajay oversaw the renewal of the Continuing Studies business plan, the refresh of the college's 2020 Strategic Plan, the launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign, development and implementation of a risk mitigation plan for international education, and collaborated with the provost and academic leaders to foster relationships with research universities in the development of articulation agreements. Ajay Patel holds a Master of Human Kinetics, Coaching Sciences, from the University of British Columbia.


Learn more about the ways industry and community can connect with VCC through our Partnership Development Office.

Media Release: VCC brings Christmas in January to the DTES community

Posted on January 17, 2018

 2018 Christmas in January 800

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Vancouver Community College brings Christmas in January to the DTES community 

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The holiday season may be over, but on Saturday, January 20, Vancouver Community College (VCC) and The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light will be giving a gift to their neighbours in the Downtown Eastside – a holiday-themed lunch with all the fixings. 

As we mark the 20th anniversary of Christmas in January, dozens of volunteers from VCC's culinary programs, Harbour Light staff, and the community will prepare and serve over 60 turkeys, hundreds of pounds of vegetables, and gallons of coffee. Over 1,000 people from the community will enjoy a warm, nutritious post-holiday meal served at 
The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light, located at 119 East Cordova Street.

- 30 –

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

Marianne Hicks
Manager of Community Resources
The Salvation Army Harbour Light
T: 604.646.6813









VCC fashion collections hit the runway

Posted on March 20, 2019

‌‌2019 fashion grad show 800

VANCOUVER – Eight students from Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) fashion program took to the runway during Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW) Fall/Winter 2019 on Wednesday, March 20. This annual showcase is the culmination of two years’ hard work in VCC’s intensive, hands-on fashion design and production program. 

In the show, each student explored their creative inspiration through the technical skills they learned at VCC. The result was eight unique collections that ranged from ready-to-wear to evening wear to avant-garde and everything in between. Some of the themes and inspiration found in the collections include ‘the male peacock,’ ‘patterns in nature’, and baroque period influences.

“Our program allows graduates to pursue entrepreneurship or a career in a small or large apparel company,” says Andrea Korens, VCC fashion co-program coordinator. “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, each year, VCC fashion students continue to thoroughly impress the industry and inspire the public. 


About VCC Fashion 

For over 30 years, VCC fashion programs remain some of the best in B.C. VCC’s Fashion Design & Production Diplomaprepares students for the real-world fashion industry by mimicking a fast-paced production process while teaching fundamental skills. Self-directed garment creation allows students to hone in on their craft and personal sartorial interests. The Fashion Design & Production Certificateis the only part-time fashion design program in Canada. Emphasis is placed on technical skills, creativity, and industry timelines. The Fashion Merchandising Associate Certificateis a one-year program that prepares students for the real-world fashion business through hands-on experience, fashion fundamentals, and theory. Non-credit fashion courses let students test the waters, upgrade, and develop required elements for design portfolios. 

- 30 -



Media inquiries:

Danielle Libonati
Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531


Fashion program inquires:

Sarah Murray 
Fashion Program Coordinator, Recruiting and Industry Relations
Vancouver Community College





Media release: 2019 Flourish Gala

Posted on March 11, 2019

flourish gala 2019‌‌

16 culinary stations, 14 wineries, one great cause 

VANCOUVER – Flourish, Vancouver Community College's (VCC) annual fundraising gala, is this Wednesday, March 13 at VCC’s Broadway campus. Proceeds from this event fund scholarships through the VCC Foundation that recognize hardworking and talented students; 2019 contributions will initiate a new scholarship for hair and esthetics students. 

“We are proud of our skilled students and the strong programming we offer in our Green Circle Salons-certified VCC Salon & Spa,” says Brett Griffiths, dean of trades, technology and design. “Flourish showcases many VCC programs with the end result helping deserving students.”

Guests will savour culinary delights from talented chefs such as David Hawksworth (Hawksworth Group), Poyan Danesh (Ocean Mama Seafood), Mark Singson (Top Chef Canada), Bruno Feldeisen (The Great Canadian Baking Show), Tobias Grignon (Rabbit’s Foot Supper Club), Jen Peters (Nextjen), Erin Vickars (Outer Shores), and many more. Also onsite will be 14 wine-tasting stations provided by the Naramata Bench Wineries Association, a live VCC alumni band, fashion elements, a silent auction, and much more. 

VCC is the largest culinary school in Western Canada and continually voted the #1 Professional Culinary School in Georgia Straight’s “Best Of” survey, meaning attendees know the food will be delicious. The gala's green-tie theme showcases VCC's brand while celebrating the spring season as well as student success, growth, and new beginnings.

With food, wine, fashion, live music, and dancing, Flourish promises to be a fun and memorable night showcasing the best of VCC and supporting student success.

Event details:
Wednesday, March 13, 7-10 p.m.
Vancouver Community College, building B, event space
1120 E. 7 Ave., Vancouver 

Visit for more information.

Use promo code VCCCHEF for $50 off an individual ticket purchase

Flourish’s lead sponsors include: Loungeworks, Naramata Bench Wineries Association, Ocean Mama Seafood, TDI, White & Peters, Colour Compass Corporation, Craftsman Collision Limited, and The Georgia Straight. 

– 30 – 


For interview/photo opportunities, media can contact:
Danielle Libonati, Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 7531

Inclement weather reminder

Posted on February 12, 2019

Vancouver Community College (VCC) has a plan in place to ensure a timely and coordinated response to inclement weather. Please note that VCC will remain open during normally scheduled hours unless weather conditions pose a hazard to public safety.

Campus closures

VCC considers many factors when deciding to close the college. These include public transportation availability, road conditions, and forecasts.

VCC’s director of safety and security determines if the college will close. 

In the event of a campus or college-wide closure, VCC will inform the community prior to 6:30 a.m. for morning/daylong closures, 11:30 a.m. for afternoon closures, and 3:30 p.m. for evening closures.

Where to check

VCC's homepage is the official source for college closure announcements. Look for an information banner across the top of the page.

Unexpected campus closures and other emergency messages will also be shared through:

VCC Alerts
Our emergency safety response system. It is highly recommended to sign up for VCC Alerts to receive email and/or text message notifications.

Social media
A message will be posted to VCC’s official Twitter account (@myVCC).

Local media
VCC will send an advisory to local radio and TV stations. Recommendations: CKNW 980 (AM) and News AM 1130 (AM)

A message will be recorded on VCC’s general phone line (604.871.7000).

Campus digital signage
An alert will be posted on campus digital signage, which is visible from major campus entry points.

Call for nominations

Posted on January 16, 2019

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.‌

It is time once again to nominate your favourite VCC grad in one of the following categories:

  • Career Success
  • Changemaker
  • Community Contribution
  • Honorary Alumnus (not a VCC grad, but one who has contributed to the VCC community or the community at large)
  • One to Watch

The nomination submission deadline is January 30, 2019. Simply fill out the online form and upload any supporting documents.

Winners will be announced in February 2019 and celebrated at an Outstanding Alumni Awards ceremony on March 13, 2019 immediately prior to the Flourish Gala.

If you have any questions or need to send supplemental documentation separately, please email Nancy Nesbitt.

VCC community honoured by jewellery and gemmology industries

Posted on January 14, 2019

It’s been an exciting few months for jewellery and gemmology at Vancouver Community College (VCC). Join us in congratulating VCC instructor Donna Hawrelko for being internationally recognized by the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA) for her work in gemmological education and training. In December, VCC student Ruby Rue also won a coveted jewellery scholarship thanks to an inspiring, original design.

Read more in the stories below, originally published in Jewellery Business magazine. 


VCC’s Donna Hawrelko honoured for gemmological excellence

A Canadian gemmology expert is being recognized for her work by the Accredited Gemologists Association (AGA).

Donna Hawrelko, president of the Canadian Gemmological Association (CGA), is one of four recipients of AGA’s 2019 Antonio C. Bonanno Award.

The accolade recognizes Hawrelko’s accomplishments in supporting gemmological education and training, as well as her commitment to her students and to furthering gemmological knowledge in Canada and worldwide.

“This award means so much to me,” said Hawrelko. “Being recognized by my peers is such an honour and I am so grateful for the acknowledgement.”

The recognition comes only a few months after Hawrelko—a gemmology professor at Vancouver Community College (VCC)—received an Award for Excellence in Teaching at CGA’s 60th anniversary conference.

“The last few years have been momentous for gemmology in Canada,” Hawrelko added. “Last year, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of CGA, and now we are kicking off 2019 with this great honour.”

Hawrelko will be recognized alongside this year’s other Bonanno Award winners (Alberto Scarani and Mikko Åström of Magilabs, along with researcher Dr. Karl Schmetzer) at the AGA Annual Dinner Gala in Tucson on February 6.




Vancouver student wins 2018 Vaccaro Family Scholarship

When second-year Vancouver Community College (VCC) student Ruby Rue was crafting her submission for this year’s Giovanni Vaccaro Family Scholarship, more than one kind of ‘Starry Night’ was on her mind.

The theme for the 2018 competition, ‘Starry Night’ carries a slew of different meanings for different individuals, and Rue drew on this in her design. Titled ‘Eventide Glow,’ her sterling silver piece reflects humans’ longstanding fascination with the stars and incorporates different techniques to imply versatility.

This outside-the-box thinking seemed to resonate with the judges, as Rue took home the scholarship for 2018. In recognition, she will receive a $3000 prize, while VCC’s jewellery art and design program will receive $1000.

“I’m very honoured and excited to receive this award,” Rue tells Jewellery Business. “It feels like a real encouragement to continue making jewellery and will be a great help paying for tools to help me realize my future designs.”

She counts her experience in other art forms (such as welding and film), as well as the influence of her parents, among her inspirations as an artist. After completing her final year at VCC, Rue aims to launch her own jewellery line and studio, distributing her pieces both online and in local stores.

When asked what advice she would offer to students who are new to the industry, Rue’s message was simple: keep at it.

“I would say just do not give up. There are a tonne of things to learn and it may feel overwhelming at the start, but it gets easier,” she explains. “Also, do not be afraid to get help from someone else—you cannot be an expert at everything.”


Learn more about the exciting world of gemmology and jewellery design at an upcoming free information session at VCC.


VCC’s Asian culinary arts program feeds demand

Posted on January 10, 2019


Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

From perfectly rolled sushi to the crisp vegetables and tender beef of a good stir fry, students at Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Asian culinary arts program are learning the tips and tricks of Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian, Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Korean, and fusion cuisine.

It’s an art, says the school’s Asian culinary department leader, which gives students an in-demand skill set.

“There are so many Asian restaurants opening in the Lower Mainland and even supermarkets with Asian kitchens, such as Safeway and T&T Supermarket, are increasingly coming to me to look for students,” says Barry Tsang. “We also get students who simply want to learn Asian cuisine as a hobby.”

Offered at VCC for more than 40 years, Asian Culinary Arts is the only full-time program of its kind in North America. Twenty weeks in length, it features a concentrated delivery in a modern, fully equipped commercial kitchen. The program is divided into lectures and hands-on training, with students learning about 150 recipes — which are served in the school’s cafeteria — by the time they graduate.

“I always tell my students the only difference between our kitchen and a real kitchen is that I can’t curse,” jokes Tsang. “Their training is very realistic and each day they are doing something new because they rotate roles to ensure they experience all the techniques.”

While learning to prepare and cook meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables, students acquire the know-how of cooking methods including stir frying, pan frying, deep frying, broiling, braising, and steaming.

Proper use, handling, and care for different equipment and woks are also covered, as are health and safety, sanitation standards, B.C. labour standards, and food costing.

“I want students to understand their rights as professionals in this industry, which is why the curriculum goes beyond cooking,” says Tsang. “I want to ensure they are well rounded.”


Apply now to our five-month, full-time Asian culinary arts program starting in February or September.

Top 10 VCC stories of 2018

Posted on December 31, 2018



Happy New Year, VCC! Let’s celebrate by taking a look back at 2018’s most popular online stories featuring our students, instructors, and alumni.


10. The top five things we love about nursing

During National Nursing Week, we shone the spotlight on this time-honoured yet ever-changing profession 


9. VCC wins big at Skills Canada BC 2018 provincials

VCC students earn 18 medals including two podium sweeps at BC’s biggest skills competition


8. VCC cooks up national gold at Skills Canada 

Culinary apprentice Carmen Rosa shares her path to the podium and a promising career


7. Theatre production supports VCC’s Deaf, hard of hearing, and visually impaired

A presentation of Love, Loss and What I Wore by award-winning screenwriters and authors Nora and Delia Ephron supports VCC students with disabilities


6. New program teaches the skills to rate building accessibility

The Rick Hansen Foundation is guiding VCC students to rethink building design to create truly accessible spaces


5. Heat’s story: Blazing trails in food and business 

VCC alumnus and Indigenous chef Heat Laliberte shares his journey from foster care to culinary entrepreneur


4. B.C. government announces $1.5 million for disability career programs 

A visit from The Honourable Melanie Mark announces funding to further diversity in education, trades training, and the workforce


3. The many faces of Adult Basic Education 

As VCC celebrates one year of tuition-free ABE, we shine a light on some of our most inspiring students


2. Sacred stories: Gladue program responds to a decades-old call for justice

How a new VCC pilot program is promoting healing and progress for Indigenous offenders


1. Women’s work: meet the new generation in automotive trades 

VCC’s automotive refinishing technicians talk trades, trends, and workplace culture


Stay up-to-date on what's happening in the VCC community year round by visiting

Q&A with VCC makeup artistry grad Kelly Bui

Posted on December 18, 2018



Get to know VCC makeup artistry graduate Kelly Bui.

What is your current job?
I am currently a freelance makeup artist. My main focus is on bridal and commercial makeup.

Share an interesting thing about your journey.
Prior to being a paid artist, I did a lot of free work to help build my portfolio. I volunteered to do makeup whenever I had spare time. This gave me the opportunity to gain valuable experience and to meet some of the most amazing people in the industry. It also led to paid gigs and referrals. Even now, I do volunteer and trade work in my spare time as it challenges me to work with different people in different kinds of environments. Hard work does pay off so don’t give up on something you love.

What was the best part about studying at VCC?
I liked that the tuition fees were affordable. I enjoyed the smaller class sizes which allowed me to have more one-on-one time with the instructors and I was able to get to know my classmates so we could learn tips and tricks from each other.

Where on campus was your favourite place to take a break?
Since I took mostly night classes, my favourite place was the cafeteria. I’d go there to grab a coffee before class and would sit there with my iPad and browse the internet for inspiration.

What would people be surprised to know about being a makeup artist?
People would be surprised that there are so many different career paths: freelance, film, special FX, blogger, celebrity makeup artist, counter work, and more. I still find myself taking additional courses or training to enhance my skills. Makeup is always changing, and keeping up with trends is always fun.


Register now for VCC's  or an assortment of part-time professional development courses.


CS Winter 2019 Guide 800‌‌ 

Are you ready for a career in volunteer management?

Posted on December 26, 2018


Article by VCC instructor Milena Santoro

Does this sound like you? Friendly, outgoing, lover of challenges, flexible, helpful, organized. If so, then you might be a perfect fit for developing a career as a volunteer manager.

Volunteer management can be a part time or a full time job. Professional volunteer managers instead can have paid employment on a regular basis with non-profit organizations and educational or care facilities. Another aspect of volunteer management is helping to organize special events, fundraising and gala events, sports gatherings, and games or conventions. As a volunteer manager, you will be involved in developing community relations and community building.

The skill set you need will be as varied as your work and possibly involve developing proposals, recruiting and screening volunteer applicants, training and orientation supervision, evaluation, and reporting. Applying for grants and administrative tasks is also often part of the job description.

The job is multi-faceted and comes with huge personal rewards. You will have countless opportunities to interact with volunteers who are giving of their time and energy because they too are friendly and like being helpful. You will help these amazing volunteers reach their full potential through many positive experiences.


VCC’s volunteer management certificate offers the knowledge and skills needed to start you on this exciting and fulfilling career path.


CS Winter 2019 Guide 800‌‌ 

VCC offers a promising path to apprenticeships

Posted on December 1, 2018


Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

From Nov. 4 to 10, British Columbians celebrated Apprentice Recognition Week — an opportunity to acknowledge the hard-working and talented tradespeople and apprentices who participate in formal apprenticeship training. 

One of those apprentices is Vancouver Community College (VCC) student Tyhree Nguyen-Serrano, who is making her way through the various levels of automotive collision repair technician apprentice training. 

“Everyone at VCC is so nice and supportive, which makes things so much easier,” says Nguyen-Serrano of her experience. “Overall, it’s been a great experience.” 

While various apprenticeship opportunities exist at VCC, Nguyen-Serrano entered through ACE IT (now called Youth Train In Trades) — a dual-credit program that enables secondary school students to earn high school graduation credits and the opportunity to receive credit for the first level of the technical training in an Industry Training Authority program, which may lead to apprenticeship. Through this pathway, Nguyen-Serrano completed the eight-month automotive collision repair technician - high school program. 

“This program leaves you with a career and without ACE IT, I honestly don’t know where I would be,” says Nguyen-Serrano. 

The automotive collision repair technician - high school program is divided into two levels and contains a number of modules grouped into major competencies, during which students use modern equipment and techniques to gain industry-appropriate skills. 

It culminates in an eight-week industry work practicum and gives students the opportunity to not only gain 480 hours of work-based training credits towards Level 1 apprenticeship but also to write the Level 1 technical exam.

“We had a combination of theory and hands-on practice,” says Nguyen-Serrano, who is now back at VCC completing the five-week automotive collision repair technician apprentice, which advances apprentices’ skills in repairing a wide variety of auto body surfaces. 

“There are demo vehicles and you get to use all the tools you find in real shops, so they do a great job of preparing you for the real world.”


See our on-campus repair shops, meet instructions, and ask questions at an upcoming free Autmotive Trades information session. Sign up now.

Fall 2018 Student Awards recap

Posted on December 3, 2018

On Friday, Nov. 30, Vancouver Community College (VCC) hosted its bi-annual Student Awards to recognize and celebrate the academic excellence of many talented, hardworking, and deserving students enrolled in a wide range of programs.

The morning and afternoon ceremonies took place at the Broadway campus event space, where the VCC Foundation distributed 189 scholarships and awards valued at over $131,000. These awards are meant to encourage and support students in their journey to academic and career success. The award ceremonies and following tea reception also provide an opportunity for the student recipients to meet with and thank donor representatives in person.

Many of the financial awards are funded by generous donors wishing to acknowledge students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom or in their community. A number of award recipients have also overcome significant personal obstacles and financial barriers to pursue their studies.

At every Student Awards, one recipient is selected for a video profile. This fall showcased Daniel Liu, a student in the Baking and Pastry Arts program. The scholarship is funded by Snow Cap Enterprises, a longtime donor and supporter of VCC, and is awarded to a student who excelled in the Baking and Pastry Arts apprenticeship program.

View the full photo gallery of this year's Student Awards ceremonies on VCC’s Flickr page.


Learn more about how VCC supports students with financial aid including bursaries, awards, and scholarships by browsing through our Online Awards Guide. To make a gift toward VCC scholarships, bursaries, and other initiatives, email or visit our online catalogue of gifts.

Cannabis use on campus

Posted on November 30, 2018


As many of you know, cannabis is now legal for non-medical use in Canada. VCC is committed to providing a safe working and learning environment for our college community members, and the well-being of our students and employees is always our first priority.  

VCC expects all students to be fit to perform their learning activities in a safe and secure manner.  This includes being free from the effects of any intoxicants (such as cannabis) while engaging in educational activities at one of our campuses or at an offsite location. As a member of the VCC community, you should be aware of the following:

• Students who appear to be unfit to safely perform their educational activities may be removed from the learning environment for their own safety and for the safety of others.

• Students who are unfit to safely perform their educational activities must notify their instructor that they are unfit to safely perform their activities.

• Students who are unfit to safely perform their educational activities may be in breach of college policies such as the Student Code of Conduct.

VCC community members are also responsible for being aware of the legal regulations surrounding the use of non-medical cannabis. Further information can be found at this on VCC's website, or on the BC Government website. 

Students who are medically authorized to use cannabis due to a chronic or disabling condition should contact the Disability Counsellor at, or by calling 604.871.7000, option 2, to discuss appropriate accommodations.

Experience VCC grand prize winner is Liza Marie Rivero

Posted on November 27, 2018


Thank you to all who attended our Experience VCC open house in October and filled out our survey. Our winner for the grand prize of $500 in VCC tuition is Liza Marie Rivero. We caught up with her to find out what she has planned next.


Congratulations Liza! Tell us about how you first heard about Experience VCC and why you decided to attend.

I first heard about the event when VCC recruiters visited our high school to talk about post-secondary options and that we could learn about different programs at Experience VCC. It sounded really fun and interesting so I decided to attend and see for myself.


What did you enjoy the most at Experience VCC?

The people who were present at the different stations were friendly and interactive. I also liked the Passport to Hospitality section where you could decorate your own cookies and customize your crepes.


What do you hope to study at VCC?

Cooking and baking really interest me. Growing up, my mom used to own a beach resort in the Philippines and I would help out with the reception while she would cook. After I toured the facilities here at the college I could see myself working in the kitchens along with all the other students. 


What do you enjoy the most about culinary and baking?

I really like designing food, like the art of plating and decorating desserts. During my food classes, I remember feeling proud of an assignment where there was no recipe and you could make your own thing. I enjoy the freedom of being innovative and creative. 


What do you do outside of cooking?

Music has been a big part of my life. My grandmother used to be a music teacher, so I grew up making music as well as singing. I also enjoy playing badminton in my spare time. 


What are your hopes for the future?

I would like to work in upscale restaurants, perhaps in Italian cuisine. Someday, I would like to own a restaurant, so studying and going into business is something else I'm considering. Helping my mom at the beach resort is another option. 


What excites you the most at the prospect of starting at VCC?

Meeting people with similar interests, who dream big, and being able to learn from them. 

Missed Experience VCC? Stay connected for details on our next open house in Spring 2019 or register now for an upcoming program info session

Entrepreneur training program to help newcomers Make It in Canada

Posted on November 20, 2018

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is making it possible for women who've just arrived in Canada to use their skills and start a small business.

Make It!, a social entrepreneurship project aimed at refugee and immigrant women, began this November with 10 women working together to improve their sewing skills, make products that are marketable and gain basic Canadian business knowledge. VCC is partnering with DiverseCity community resources society in Surrey, B.C., which has been supporting refugees and immigrants for 40 years.

The 10-week project will use a fully equipped lab with industrial sewing machines at VCC’s downtown campus as a maker-space. The ‘collective’ will operate a group business for income generation and work experience. Following this first project, a second will be launched for those interested in food preparation, using VCC’s commercial kitchen. Products for both projects will be sold through VCC’s and other retail outlets.

The project, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, aims to provide the English language and essential skills training to make it as an entrepreneur in a social enterprise model.

“In 2018-19, IRCC will provide $32 million in funding for as many as 100 service delivery improvement projects across Canada,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Understanding newcomer needs and developing innovative approaches, as the Vancouver Community College has done, is what IRCC’s new Service Delivery Improvement funding stream is all about.”

The learnings from these two projects will be shared to support similar projects at other colleges.

 - 30 -

Media can contact:

Tanis Sawkins
Director, Partnership Development Office
Vancouver Community College
604-871-7000, ext. 8350

Support VCC students this holiday season

Posted on November 14, 2018

VCC is inviting you to participate in Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by supporting VCC Foundation. Join the movement dedicated to giving back this holiday season and help fund VCC scholarships and bursaries.

In support of this global movement, VCC Foundation will match the first $10,000 in gifts. This is an exceptional opportunity to double the impact of everyone’s gifts.

Ways to give:

  • Donate at - Double your impact, VCC Foundation will match your donation dollar-for-dollar.
  • Coffee by donation - On Tuesday, Nov. 27, Blenz at VCC Broadway will host a Drip Coffee by Donation Day. All funds raised will be added to VCC's Giving Tuesday total.

Take a selfie or pose for a photo and post it to your social media page using the hashtag #VCCGivingTuesday. The VCC Foundation will share your posts on their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Give the gift of giving this holiday season and change a student’s life! 

Bakers obtain their Red Seal - and a possible raise

Posted on November 20, 2018

2018 VCC Baking student rolling 800

‌As originally posted in The Georgia Straight

Anyone who has watched The Great British Baking Show knows how difficult it is to create complicated layer cakes filled with a multitude of ingredients. And that’s one reason why the Industry Training Authority B.C. includes bakers in its Red Seal certification program for skilled trades.

Those interested in pursuing a career as a baker can become licensed by going through the three-level baking-and-pastry-arts apprentice program at Vancouver Community College.

According to VCC instruc­tor Esther Kosa, people who want to become Red Seal bakers must first register with the ITA and obtain a trade worker’s identification number. This sticks with the person for the rest of their life.

Graduates of an ITA–approved training program, such as the one at VCC, can apply for credit toward meeting the technical requirements. Kosa explained to the Straight over the phone that those in VCC’s 11-month baking program take their apprentice level one exam at the end. If they pass, VCC instructors suggest they go out and find a job before taking the next step toward becoming a Red Seal baker.

That’s because they need a sponsor (often an employer) to be admitted into the level two apprentice course.

“After doing that, then they would go back out, work for another year and get more experience, and then come back for level three,” Kosa said.

The ITA requires that Red Seal bakers possess a specified set of skills, which are taught by VCC in each stage of its apprentice program. At the first level, students learn how to make basic pies, cookies, pastries, and bread. It is offered every January. They must also be capable of basic cake-decorating.

At the second level, which is offered in February, students are challenged to create more elaborate baked goods. “Perhaps they’ll make different types of pie,” Kosa said. “Instead of a blueberry pie, they would go with a chiffon pie or a cream pie. Basically, we require a little bit more understanding and a different method of making different types of pie.”

Level two students are also challenged to temper chocolate and might be asked to make more advanced mousse cakes. They’re also required to make wedding cakes.

“Level three will concentrate more on the advanced side of things—ice creams, more advanced wedding cakes, and more in-depth chocolate stuff,” Kosa revealed.

2018 VCC Baking students piping 800

Students work in VCC’s food labs, which have a deck oven, a convection oven, and, in some cases, a rack oven that rotates fully. Kosa said that each lab also has long wooden tables, which each accommodate two students. The school can take up to 18 apprentices in each program.

One of the differences between the apprentice program and The Great British Baking Show is the equipment. Some of it is much larger at VCC—including a 75-litre mixer—than anyone will ever see on the TV show.

“We teach the students how to do individual stuff as well as larger production stuff,” Kosa said. “That’s so they’re not surprised when they go out in the industry.”

She pointed out that Red Seal bakers can receive higher pay, depending on where they’re employed. And this certification has potential to open up opportunities to work in the hospitality sector, particularly in hotels.

“I believe that in our city, there are very talented people who are willing to teach,” she stated.

She added that sometimes having a trade certification can lead to jobs in other countries.

“One of our instructors used to work for Fairmont and she was able to go to Scotland and work there for a while,” Kosa said. “It does open up a lot of ways to travel if people put their time and effort into learning.”

Learn more about VCC's baking and pastry arts programs and join us at an upcoming free info session.

Campus Master Plan - Ideas Fair

Posted on September 26, 2018


Please join us for the launch of VCC’s Campus Master Plan process.

What’s happening?

VCC is embarking upon an exciting process of creating a Campus Master Plan. We want to hear from you about your aspirations and priorities for the future of the campuses. Neighbours, community and industry partners, students and VCC employees are all welcome.

The Campus Master Plan process kicks off with a drop-in Ideas Fair planned for the Broadway campus (Building B event space) on Oct. 9 and Downtown campus (atrium) on Oct. 10. The sessions run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We will be providing information about the project, presenting our background research to date, and asking for your input. Spend a few minutes to take part in either of these events, one the first of several opportunities throughout the process to provide your feedback.

What is a Campus Master Plan?

The plan will create a framework to guide decision making about the development of VCC’s facilities and infrastructure during the next 20-30 years. DIALOG, a Canadian design and architectural firm, was awarded the master plan contract during the summer and will lead the 18-month project.

The master planning process will specifically identify, clarify, and shape the long-term vision for VCC’s Broadway and Downtown campuses. The intention of the plan is to address how things such as technology, retail integrations, and employer linkages impact the campuses and programs, while staying true to VCC’s unique identity and history.

“It is critical that the college charts a bold path to ensure it continues to remain sustainable and relevant in the future,” says VCC President and CEO Peter Nunoda.

“The VCC Campus Master Plan marks an exciting new beginning, where everyone will have a unique opportunity to become involved in shaping the future of VCC’s campuses. Starting in the fall, our staff, students, neighbours, community groups, industry partners, and the provincial government, will be asked to participate in a variety of ways.”

Join us and share your ideas for the future of VCC

Broadway campus
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 11 am. – 2 p.m.
Event Space, building B

Downtown campus
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.




VCC faculty concerts a must-see for local music lovers

Posted on October 12, 2018



Vancouver Community College's (VCC) Off Broadway faculty concert series is back for a second year, offering a rare opportunity to see outstanding, professional faculty musicians perform on their home stage for an unbeatable price. 

Each concert is open to the general public and the series features a variety of music styles from jazz to classical to electronic. 

All shows will be held at the VCC Broadway auditorium and begin with a 10-minute lecture introducing the genre and musicians, followed by a 45-minute concert.  


Purchase tickets

$10 General admission 
$5 Students and seniors

FREE for VCC students (with valid VCC student ID) 

Kate Hammett-Vaughan Trio­ – Friday, Oct. 12, 2018
Introduced by Gerald van Wyck
Kate Hammett-Vaughan, vocals
Alan Matheson, piano
Paul Rushka, bass

Sharon Minemoto and Natasha D’Agostino – Friday, Nov. 30, 2018
Introduced by Ken Morrison
Sharon Minemoto, piano
Nathasha D’agostino, voice

Electronic Music Alumni Showcase – Friday, Jan. 18, 2019
Curated by Peter Hannan
Featuring VCC alumni:
Tiffany Calderbank
Tomas Valenzuela
Braedon Lim
Nicholas Marriott 

Adrian Verdejo and Company – Friday, March 15, 2019
Introduced by Deirdre Morgan
Adrian Verdejo, guitar
Mark McGregor, flute
Dory Hayley, soprano

David Branter and Saxophilia – Friday, April 12, 2019
Introduced by François Houle
Julia Nolan, soprano saxophone
Kris Covlin, alto saxophone
David Branter, tenor saxophone
Colin MacDonald, baritone saxophone
Woith special guest Shirley Diamond, alto saxophone 


Read more about VCC’s hands-on, collaborative approach to music education and the musicians who make it come alive:



The many faces of Adult Basic Education

Posted on September 10, 2018



For most families, “back to school” is a happy ritual marked by new clothes, fresh school supplies, and reunions with friends. For many other Canadians, however, education was a fragmented or even detrimental experience, with some having never gone to school at all.

This September, Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Adult Basic Education (ABE) departments are proud to offer these learners tuition-free upgrading courses for the second year running.

Did you know that VCC has been offering adult upgrading since 1949? That’s when the then-Vancouver Vocational Institute launched programming to help World War II veterans re-enter the workforce. Ever since, VCC’s ABE English, math, science, and humanities classrooms have continued to mirror a world in crisis and help people in transition. 

In the late ‘70s, Vietnamese refugees came to get the skills needed to work in their new home. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, VCC instructors remember an influx of Jamaicans fleeing poverty caused by a failing economy. Today, many ABE students trace their roots to Syria, Iran, Nigeria, and other conflict zones. Many others are Indigenous residential school survivors or long-time Canadians trying to keep pace with a changing job market.  

“Our classrooms are an incredibly diverse cross-section of Canadian society today,” says Andrew Candela, department leader for Basic Education at VCC. “These are some of the most hardworking and persistent students we have. It’s inspiring to see them dedicate themselves to something that we really take for granted.”

“Eliminating tuition for these programs gives people a viable pathway to change their lives,” says Andrew, adding that increasing numeracy and literacy has shown to improve health outcomes and incomes, while reducing the need for policing and first-response services.

Every student has a story

This fall, as VCC celebrates the one-year anniversary of the B.C. Government’s decision to eliminate tuition for ABE and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses, we’re shining a spotlight on some of our most inspiring students. Read their stories:



Amir’s story: finding refuge

Amir Taghinia has accomplished a lot since arriving in Vancouver as a refugee only 10 months ago. He’s found a place to live, started a full-time job, enrolled school, learned to cook, and even goes to the gym. For Amir, however, it’s not enough. After spending almost five years facing danger and uncertainty on a remote Pacific island, his new status in Canada is no excuse to sit back and relax. READ MORE >



Alicia’s story: new to nursing 

When Alicia Bruyere’s mother suffered a stroke, it was a nurse’s kindness and open communication that made her hospital stay bearable. This experience inspired Alicia to pursue nursing herself. She already had a full-time job, however, and no idea how to change careers. READ MORE >



Related links




Jacqueline’s story: climbing the luxury ladder

Posted on November 14, 2016

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!


All VCC students have access to free tutoring to help with academics and career transitions. Learn more by visiting the VCC Learning Centre



Chieko’s story: pathway to a caring career

Posted on December 3, 2015

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 (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.


Michelle's story: from the military to math class

Posted on August 29, 2016

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.



Media Release: RBC supports Transportation Trades Sampler program at VCC

Posted on August 23, 2018



Vancouver, B.C. – RBC Foundation has donated $25,000 to support Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Transportation Trades Sampler program. The new program provides an opportunity for high school students to try VCC’s various transportation trades programs over the summer break.  

This unique program was developed in partnership with the B.C. Industry Training Authority (ITA), the Vancouver School Board, and Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre to offer younger learners exposure to trades programs such as automotive collision repair, automotive refinishing, automotive service, and heavy mechanical trades. 

“The Transportation Trades Sampler program provides the opportunity for youth to experience VCC’s first-class training in four of the top 15 in-demand trades in B.C.,” says Brett Griffiths, dean of VCC’s School of Trades, Technology and Design. “We are grateful to receive this funding which will allow youth to participate at no cost.”

The donation is provided by RBC’s Future Launch program, which empowers Canadian youth to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow. 

“The success of RBC Future Launch goes beyond just financial investment. It’s about supporting our community partners to create programs like the VCC Transportation Trades Sampler program; to provide youth with technical skills that will empower them for the jobs of tomorrow,” says Martin Thibodeau, RBC Regional President of British Columbia.

Upon successful completion of the program, youth obtain a forklift operator certification and the opportunity to transition into a number of ITA foundation training programs. 

About Vancouver Community College

VCC has been inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals for over 50 years, offering 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.

About RBC Future Launch

RBC Future Launch is RBC’s commitment to empower Canadian youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Over the next 10 years, RBC will dedicate its knowledge, skills, and resources to help young people access meaningful employment through work experience, skills development, and networking. RBC is working with educational institutions and partners in the private, public, and social sectors to co-create and provide access to long-term solutions.


- 30 -

Media can contact:

Fareedah Rasoul Kim
Marketing and Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 7538

Online learning takes apprenticeships to the next level

Posted on August 30, 2018



Did you know that formal apprenticeships have been around for centuries? In the Middle Ages, an apprentice would even live in a master craftsman’s household for seven years before setting out on their own.

Today, thanks to industry standards and educational programs, the life of an apprentice isn’t much different than that of any other worker. With Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) online learning programs, apprenticeship training is also now more efficient than ever.

Automotive collision repair instructor Robin Popow is a pioneer of online trades training at VCC, having launched his first online curriculum in 2004. “There wasn’t even broadband internet across B.C. back then,” he says.

Over the years, these efforts have resulted in an online, video-enhanced curriculum for automotive collision repair Level 1 which is currently being used in high schools outside Vancouver as part of the Industry Training Authority’s (ITA) Youth Train in Trades program.

In February 2018, VCC launched a similar option for Level 2 apprentices currently working in shops across the province. While Level 2 apprentices normally spend five weeks in class, VCC’s new Flexible Learning program was delivered online for 20 weeks followed by one final week at VCC (soon to be two weeks).

‌‌‌The main benefit for both apprentices and employers participating in this program is maximizing time spent on the job. “Vancouver is just so expensive,” says Robin. “It’s travel, lodging, and loss of work, too. One of my students is a single dad. There’s no way he can take five weeks off.”

Another apprentice, Kaleb Hennicke, completed the Flexible Learning program in June 2018, spending the majority of his time on the job at Carstar/TC Valley Collision in Courtenay B.C. “I worked all day and got paid,” says Kaleb. “It was great. Everyone I worked with wanted to help me learn.”

While students are located in shops across the province, they still connect regularly online, not only with the instructor but also with each other. They keep journals, upload pictures and videos, and comment on each other’s work. “Two of the guys were from shops in my own town,” says Kaleb. “I got to know them and see where they worked.”

At 82 per cent, the Flexible Learning class average held up well against ITA’s provincial standard, and VCC now plans to offer the program annually.

According to Robin, online learning technology benefits on-campus classes too, with all students now doing quizzes on their smartphones and accessing course content on through screens right on the shop floor. “We’ve come a long way since 2004,” he says.



Considering a career in auto trades? Drop in at one of our regular, free information sessions or RSVP now for our upcoming open house, Experience VCC, on Oct. 24.

Where's my class? Fall 2018

Posted on August 20, 2018

 Welcome to VCC! Use this chart to look up start dates and room numbers for your first day of school.

Program Start Date Campus Classroom
ASL/Deaf Studies Sept. 4 BWY Building B, G222
Acute Care Health Care Assistant Oct. 31 BWY Building B, 2206 
Architectural Technician Certificate Sept. 4 DTN 714
Asian Culinary Arts Sept. 4 DTN 205C
Automotive Collision Repair Sept. 4 BWY TBA
Automotive Refinishing Prep Sept. 4 BWY TBA
Automotive Service Tech – Harmonized Foundation  Sept. 4 BWY Building B, 2206
Nursing (BScN) – Year 1 Sept. 4 BWY Building B, 1231 
CAD and BIM Technologies Architectural Technician Diploma Sept. 4 DTN  717 
CAD and BIM Technologies Civil/Structural Technician Diploma Sept. 4 DTN  717 
CAD Technician Citation Sept. 4 DTN   717 
Career Awareness Sept. 4 DTN  309
Civil/Structural Technician Sept. 4 DTN  725
Culinary Arts Professional Cook 1 – ESL  Sept. 4 DTN 305
Dental Assisting   Aug. 27  DTN  240 
Dental Hygiene – Year 1  Sept. 4  DTN  501 
Dental Hygiene – Year 2 Sept. 4  DTN  502 
Dental Reception Coordinator  Sept. 4  DTN  526 
Food Service Careers  Sept. 4  DTN  400 
Graphic Design – Year 1  Sept. 4  DTN  719 
Hairstylist (73616) Sept. 4 DTN  201 (Salon and Spa) 
Hairstylist (73615) Sept. 6 DTN  201 (Salon and Spa)
Health Care Assistant Sept. 10  BWY  Building B, 2209 
Health Care Assistant – ESL (73602) Sept. 4  BWY  Building B, 2230
Health Care Assistant – ESL (73605) Sept. 4  BWY  Building B, 2231
Heavy Mechanical Trades Foundation   Sept. 10  ANN  Front Entrance 
Hospitality Management – Year 1 Sept. 5 DTN 321 (The Bistro)  
Hospitality Management – Year 2 Sept. 6 DTN 204 
Hospitality Management – Year 3 Sept. 5  DTN 321 (The Bistro) 
Hospitality Management – Year 4 Sept. 5  DTN  321 (The Bistro)
Jewellery Art and Design – Year 1  Sept. 4 DTN 162 
Jewllery Art and Design – Year 2 Sept. 4 DTN  142 
Job Readiness – Deaf and Hard of Hearing  Sept. 4  BWY  Building A, 2607 
Legal Administrative Assistant Sept. 4  DTN 618 
Medical Laboratory Assistant Sept. 17  BWY  Building B, 3205 
Medical Office Assistant  Sept. 4  DTN  629 
Medical Transcriptionist  Sept. 4  DTN  829 
Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant – Year 1 Sept. 4  BWY Building B, 4205
Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant – Year 2  Sept. 4  BWY  Building B, 4210 
Practical Nursing  Sept. 4  BWY  Building B, 1228 
Professional Cook 1 + Catering Oct. 22  DTN  305B
Professional Cook 2 (72812) Aug. 27  DTN 207
Professional Cook 2 (72823) Aug. 27 DTN 205B
Professional Cook 2 (72834) Aug. 27  DTN  218B
Professional Cook 2 (72845) Aug. 27 DTN  237
Retail and Hospitality Careers  Sept. 4 DTN  311 
Skin and Body Therapy (70743) Sept. 4 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Skin and Body Therapy (70771) Sept. 6 DTN 201 (Salon and Spa)
Steel Detailing Technician Certificate  Sept. 4  DTN  718
Visual Communications Design Sept. 4  DTN 819 


Want to show your new campus to family and friends? Everyone is welcome to join us at our free open house, Experience VCC, on Oct. 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. 

New courses offer social media instruction at convenient times

Posted on August 21, 2018



Originally published in The Georgia Straight 

Social media and analytics are transforming the business world. 

Fortunately, Vancouver Community College is making it easy for entrepreneurs and their staffs to make use of these applications at affordable prices.

This year, VCC Continuing Studies has launched four introductory courses offered at times that won’t intrude on the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekday work schedule. And they all take place at the Downtown campus, which is easily accessible via the Expo Line and various bus routes.

Social Media: Marketing and Branding is a one-day course being offered on two Saturdays: September 29 and November 24.

Program coordinator Sid Khullar says that it will touch on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.

“It helps people learn how to create consistent messaging for your brand promotion,” he explains. “It’s well-suited for individuals who have their own business who want to expand into the social media realm.”

The second new course, Google AdWords Training, is offered over five consecutive Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., starting Oct. 24.

“[Google AdWords] is a pay-per-click model, so anytime somebody clicks your advertisement, then you pay,” Khullar says. “It also provides geographic controls, so you can have your advertisements targeted to a local area or you can make it available across the globe.”

The third new course, Visual Analytics With Tableau, takes place on five consecutive Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., starting on Oct. 11. Tableau enables users to create interactive dashboards, graphs, and illustrations.

“You can produce meaningful visualizations,” Khullar says. “You can quickly navigate into the details within that big picture.”

He points out that Tableau is quite heavily used in marketing, journalism, health care, geography, and other fields.

The fourth new offering, Introduction to Python Programming, takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. over five Tuesdays, starting on Oct. 23. According to Khullar, Python is relatively easy to learn in comparison to other programming languages, and it can be used on social-networking sites.

A fifth course, SEO and Google Analytics, has been offered before. SEO stands for “search-engine optimization”, and this course takes place on five Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., starting on Sept. 19.

Khullar points out that all the instructors are working professionals in the fields in which they teach. He adds that students' evaluations have been positive and they enjoy face-to-face interactions with the faculty.

"We try to keep the courses affordable so that anybody—whether it's a personal hobbyist who wants to expand in knowledge or somebody who is being sponsored by an employer or Work B.C.—is able to engage in this learning," Khullar says. "We want to make sure it's accessible to a wide segment of the population."


Learn something new. Choose from hundreds of Continuing Studies courses in business, design, languages, and more in our Fall 2018 catalogue. 

VCC delivers skills needed to work as licensed pharmacy technician

Posted on August 20, 2018



Originally published in The Georgia Straight

Pharmacy technician Despina Staikos had always had a passion for science, so it made sense for her to enroll in a university biochemistry program.

But after a while, she concluded that this wasn’t going to lead to a career, so she left university and found a job as an assistant at a pharmacy. That’s when she realized she could develop a career in that industry.

Staikos heard great things about Vancouver Community College (VCC) from her peers, so last year she enrolled in the 30-week, full-time certificate program to become a regulated pharmacy technician.

Prior to her graduation in July 2017, she did her practicum at Royal Columbian Hospital. She quickly found a job at Vancouver General Hospital and also works at the B.C. Cancer Agency.

“We had this prestige being VCC students because people in the field know that VCC students are held to a really high standard,” Staikos says. “We receive a really high level of education.”

Pharmacy technicians are licensed by the College of Pharmacists of B.C., so Staikos is permitted to prepare, process, compound, and conduct final checks on prescriptions. She can also take patient histories.

“I absolutely love what I’m doing right now,” she says. “I’ve never had a bad day at work.”

One of her VCC instructors, Wayne Rubner, says the program consists of 22 weeks of classes and an eight-week practicum. There are 20 seats for each program, with one running from September to April. Another starts in January, and a third intake occurs in May.

Rubner points out that about 60 percent of the students’ training is activity-based, with much of this taking place in simulated community and hospital pharmacies at VCC’s Broadway campus.

“We’ll do some theory in the morning, and then in the afternoons they’re in the lab filling prescriptions and preparing intravenous medications like they would do in a retail pharmacy like London Drugs or a hospital pharmacy like St. Paul’s,” Rubner says. “What we try to do here is set up our learning environment to be a simulated workplace as much as possible.”

There's also an eight-week practicum in a community or hospital pharmacy. This hands-on education gives students the skills to ensure products are prepared safely and accurately.

Rubner and other instructors in VCC’s pharmacy technician program are pharmacists; the program advisory committee is made up of employers and people who accept students on practicums.

“They meet with us a couple of times a year and give us feedback on things they would like us to teach more of or something new that has come up,” Rubner says. “So we can keep our program current and relevant.”

The pharmacy technician program is part of VCC’s School of Health Sciences.

“You can come into our program directly from high school if you meet all the entrance requirements,” Rubner adds.

Staikos says that all of those who graduated with her had no difficulty finding employment in the field. And she’s happy to report that there are opportunities at the B.C. Cancer Agency to branch out into different specialties, such as being a technician for clinical trials or drug evaluations.

“Right now, I’m in the process of being trained to mix chemotherapy, which is something that is really interesting to me,” Staikos reveals. “So I’m going to build on that and see where that takes me in the next five years.”


Visit our campus and chat with VCC instructors and students in health sciences, culinary arts, auto trades, and more. Register now for our Fall 2018 open house, Experience VCC, on Oct. 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. 

The Chef’s Table pop-up kitchen comes to VCC Broadway

Posted on October 15, 2015

Chef's Table will be running at the Downtown campus in the Bistro from April 19 - June 29 2016.

Click here to see current event information and menus.



‌VCC’s International Culinary Arts students are recreating the Chef’s Table at VCC’s Broadway campus!‌

This pop-up style restaurant is located at VCC’s Broadway campus in the Quizine Kitchen. Patrons will be seated at a communal dining table while VCC’s International Culinary Arts students create a five-course set menu before their eyes.


Running until Dec 18
Time: 6:30 p.m. seating
Cost: $45 set menu, $60 with wine pairings
Location: Quizine Kitchen entrance on Glen Dr. at E. 8th Ave.


To be added to the wait list, or to find out about future launches please call 604.871.7000 ext. 7333, email or sign up here.


VCC Student Awards recap: celebrating success

Posted on May 29, 2018

Twice a year, Vancouver Community College (VCC) holds student awards ceremonies to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of talented and deserving students enrolled in a vast range of programs.

On Friday, May 25, the spring 2018 awards ceremony took place at VCC's Broadway campus where the VCC Foundation awarded in excess of $134,000 in scholarships and awards. VCC’s scholarships and awards recognize academic excellence and acknowledge students who demonstrate leadership in the classroom or in their community.

Dr. Kathryn McNaughton, Vice President, Academic, Students and Research was present to congratulate each student. "It is one of my favourite events of the year and I am honoured to represent VCC in recognizing our students' successes," she said in her address.

At each awards ceremony, the VCC Foundation highlights one award in a video presentation. This season's video featured the recipients of the Dr. Kes Chetty MOSAIC scholarship. Dr. Chetty was a compassionate man of integrity who was committed to social justice. These scholarships recognize students from a non-English-speaking country who are continuing their education in Canada. Having good grades is always an important part of student success, but these awards seek to recognize those who are kind and generous of spirit. The 2018 award recipients are Masoud Nabizadeh from Iran and Joanne Meng Yang from China.

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


See the photo galleries:

May 25, 2018 – 9:30 a.m.
School of Health Sciences
School of Hospitality, Food Studies and Applied Business
School of Trades, Technology and Design

May 25, 2018 – 1:30 p.m.
Centre for Continuing Studies
School of Instructor Education
School of Arts and Sciences


Learn more about the scholarships and awards available to VCC students by visiting Financial Aid. 

Interested in donating or establishing an award to encourage VCC student success? Connect with us via the VCC Foundation.

Giving back to the community

Posted on May 22, 2018


On Friday, May 11, 20 students from VCC’s Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) Technology program, along with project lead, Kelly Whitman, department leader, Bruce McGarvie, instructors Maurice Della-Savia and Ron Palma, and program coordinator, Timothy Conklin, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Greater Vancouver.

Students from VCC's civil/structural, architectural, and steel detailing technician programs spent the day laying joists, building a deck, demolishing a shed, and then rebuilding a new shed, framing doors, and relocating approximately two tons of building materials. When complete, Habitat for Humanity and their many volunteers will have built six detached homes for families who are currently living in substandard housing, with a combined family income of $40,000 or less. When the families move from their Habitat for Humanity home, the organization returns 80% back to the family in order to aid help with purchasing their own homes.

Attend an upcoming CAD & BIM technology info session to learn how you can be employed in just 10 months.

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering in your community, VCC offers a part-time Volunteer Management program.

For more photos, visit the CAD & BIM technology Facebook page.


Enter our VCC TV Facebook contest

Posted on May 5, 2014

VCC TV Facebook contest

Calling all frugal guys and gals!
To celebrate our Live Well for Less video series, we're looking for your thrifty tips and tricks for living it up without busting your budget. Five winners will receive VCC summer kick-off swag bags filled with goodies such as sunglasses, T-shirts, a frisbee and a gift card to the VCC Salon & Spa or JJ's Restaurant.
One winner will have their tip turned into a video and will get their shot at the video's starring role!

To enter, submit your tip here with the #LiveWellForLess hashtag on our Facebook page.


Solid foundations: ShakeOut BC disaster simulation

Posted on July 9, 2018


Traditionally, VCC's Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program taught disaster nursing like any other course – using mannequins in labs. But while the mannequins were perfect patients in everyday class, students requested that emergency scenarios be a little more… lifelike.

Nursing instructor and certified health care simulationist Shirley Clarke began by recruiting other students to be "walking wounded" in small-scale exercises. By 2016, her initiative had expanded to include VCC facilities, communications, counselling, and security departments. Today, the ShakeOut Health Sciences Interprofessional Education Team (IPE) orchestrates an annual earthquake simulation on a scale unlike any in the province.

Held immediately following the annual Great B.C. ShakeOut earthquake drill, VCC's ShakeOut disaster simulation involves a full evacuation of the Broadway campus, after which students from eight different health sciences programs re-enter to find multiple "casualties" with realistic-looking wounds and blood. Some are pregnant, unconscious, or experiencing seizures. The electricity is cut, elevators are off, windows are "cracked," furniture is toppled, and a loop of chaotic noise plays on loudspeakers, all to simulate the aftermath of a major earthquake.

Facilitators guide groups of students through the building where they must work together to triage the victims. "Students learn about each other's roles," says School of Health Sciences practice education coordinator Jo-Ellen Zakoor. "Our goal is to enhance communication between health care professionals."

Following its launch, VCC's ShakeOut simulation ran for a second time in 2017, more than doubling participation by faculty, students, and volunteers.



Find out if nursing is for you. Earn prerequisites while learning about the many roles in health care through VCC's program.

VCC updates sexual violence and misconduct policy

Posted on June 21, 2017

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:

Fareedah Rasoul Kim 
Marketing and Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T. 604.871.7000 ext. 7152

Spring 2018 convocation recap

Posted on June 22, 2018



"The key to feeling fulfilled is to recognize that you are a contributor for the betterment of this world."

- Nelly Gomez, BScN

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is proud to announce the graduation of more than 1,300 hardworking and dedicated students on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The ceremony took place at 1 p.m. at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre with more than 500 friends and family members in attendance.

Distinguished guests present were The Honourable Bruce Ralston, B.C Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, 2017 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient Nelly Gomez; and representing Tsleil-Waututh Elder Deanna George, her daughter Carleen Thomas.

Areas of awarding degrees, diplomas, and certificates included:

  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Hospitality, Food Studies and Applied Business
  • School of Trades, Technology and Design
  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • Continuing Studies
  • Library and Teaching and Learning Services

Following the Presentation of Graduates, valedictorian Eiji Yoshikawa addressed the Class of 2018 with an unforgettable speech. A retired professional boxer, filmmaker, writer, and nonviolence advocate, Eiji came to VCC to study cosmetology. His goal is to provide hair and skin care services to boxing gyms in the Philippines, where many competitors live in poverty.

During his address, Eiji shed his graduation gown like a boxer entering a ring. Then, to surprised cheers from the audience, Eiji leaped across the stage and demonstrated a routine of handstands, punches, and push-ups.

“The heart is your power,” he said, after returning to the podium. “When you believe in yourself, the power of the heart is bigger than the universe.” 

He then challenged his classmates to use their power to give hope to those who are less fortunate. 

“Everyone is against bullying, but if you’re not taking any action to work on it, you’re part of the bullying system. The world will not be destroyed by tyrants and dictators. It will be destroyed by those who keep their mouths shut.”




See the full photo gallery.

Watch the video recording.


Congratulations to our VCC grads! Learn about the perks and benefits you now receive as VCC alumni.


B.C. government announces $1.5 million for disability career programs

Posted on June 14, 2018


Vancouver Community College (VCC) was pleased to welcome The Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and The Honourable Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to the Broadway campus today. Following a classroom tour, Minister Mark announced $1.5 million in funding for B.C. post-secondary institutions to develop career programs for students living with disabilities. 

“Today’s announcement is about students at the centre,” said Minister Mark in her speech to over 100 VCC students, faculty, and disability advocates in attendance. “We have to break down barriers, open up doors, and create opportunities and a sense of belonging for people to succeed and thrive.”

VCC’s funding will include $75,000 for a pilot program called Access to Baking and Kitchen Careers that will provide students on the autism spectrum with specialized training for in-demand jobs and lasting employment. “This accessibility funding will change the lives of students across the province,” said VCC president and CEO Peter Nunoda. 

Representing VCC students with disabilities at today's announcement was Russell Jang, a recent graduate of Food Service Careers, one of VCC’s existing Community and Career Education (CACE) programs. As part of the program, Russell completed a practicum placement at Tacofino Restaurants, where he now works full-time as a prep cook.

Tacofino hosts an ongoing rotation of VCC practicum students and has hired a total of five CACE graduates thus far. Human resources manager Taylor Chobotiuk has nothing but praise for the diversity that these students bring to their kitchens. “This relationship is so meaningful to all of us,” he says. “Everyone in the world has a different way of learning, and we try to adapt to each individual we hire. For myself and for our chefs, we’ve gone from being managers to being teachers, and that’s a really great perspective to have.”


Left: Hon. Shane Simpson, Dr. Peter Nunoda, Hon. Melanie Mark, Elder Deanna George, and students
Right: Russell Jang and Taylor Chobotiuk


Related links:


Smoking on campus policy: updated policy notification

Posted on May 17, 2018

Effective immediately: Please be informed that last week VCC President, Dr. Peter Nunoda accepted the revisions to college policy B.3.8: ‌Smoking on Campus. The policy has been updated to identify new modes of ingestion (vaping and e-cigarettes) and identifies designated smoking areas on each campus, thus restricting smoking in any other areas on college property. Please review the revised policy for full details, as well as potential actions for repeated violations. 

VCC at the TD International Jazz Festival

Posted on June 11, 2018

It’s that time of year again; when venues across the city welcome world-class musicians to their stage as part of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. This year's Jazz Festival takes place from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, July 1 including free concerts at Granville Island, David Lam Park, and downtown Vancouver. Over half of the 150 musicians and bands performing throughout 10-day festival involve VCC music alumni, faculty, or current students. Here is your official VCC guide to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2018:


Friday, June 22 

Russ Botten Quartet
Frankie’s Jazz Club
(Joe Poole, alumnus) 


Saturday, June 23

Air Stranger
Railway Stage
(Sebastian Chamney, Colin Sankey, Ashley Ashrafian, Riley Johnson, alumni)

Aryad & Francois Houle Trio
Civic Plaza
(Francois Houle, faculty)

David Blake Quartet
Robson Stage
(Joe Poole, alumnus) 

Enemy Pigeon
Robson Stage
(Kevin Romain, Roisin Adams, Dominic Conway, alumni)


Sunday, June 24

BM4 with Jennifer Scott
Robson Stage
(Brad Muirhead, alumnus / Bernie Arai, faculty)

Camaro 67
Georgia Stage
(Jimmy Baldwin, Tim Sars, Brendan Krieg, alumni / Georges Couling, alumnus and current faculty)

The Malleus Trio
Robson Stage
(Dominic Conway, Geordie Hart, Ben Brown, alumni) 

Lynn Valley Village
(Robin Layne, Chris Couto, Malcolm Aiken, Niho Takase, alumni) 

Natasha D’Agostino Quartet
Robson Stage
(Paul Rushka, Bernie Arai, faculty)

Ndidi O
Georgia Stage
(Skye Brooks, alumnus)

Star System
Georgia Stage
(Skye Brooks, alumnus) 


Monday, June 25

Steve Lloyd Smith Quartet
Performance Works
(Joe Poole, alumnus)


Tuesday, June 26

Duo Trio
The China Cloud
(Francois Houle, faculty / Skye Brooks, alumnus)


Wednesday, June 27

The Big Coast
Railway Stage
(Patrick Barnett, Guy Wilkins, Arthur Delahooke, Devon Clarke, alumni)

Kids’ Table Quartet
The China Cloud
(Jeremy Page, Kenton Loewen, alumni)

PJ Perry Quintet
Frankie’s Jazz Club
(Joe Poole, alumnus)


Thursday, June 28

Pugs and Crows
Performance Works
(Ben Brown, alumnus)


Friday, June 29

Elisa Thorn’s HUE
Granville Island
(Justin Devries, alumnus) 

Fond of Tigers
The Imperial
(Skye Brooks, alumnus)

Keith Bennett and Miles Black
Presentation House
(Joel Fountain, alumnus)

Ken Vandermark, Kenton Loewen, James Meger
The Ironworks
(Kenton Loewen, alumnus)

Peregrine Falls
The Imperial
(Kenton Loewen, alumnus) 

Sam Taylor Quintet
Frankie’s Jazz Club
(Paul Rushka, faculty)

Sick Boss
The Imperial
(Jeremy Page, alumnus)


Saturday, June 30 

Coco Jafro
Civic Plaza
(Sangito Bigelow, Chris Couto, Dominic Conway, alumni)

Hard Rubber Orchestra
Performance Works
(John Korsrud, faculty /the band rotates members; faculty members who have played in this band include Alan Matheson, Rob McKenzie, Francois Houle, David Branter, Bernie Arai, Jack Duncan; also alumnus Kerry Galloway)

Jillian Lebeck Trio
Performance Works
(Jillian Lebeck, Paul Rushka, faculty)

Only a Visitor
(Kevin Romain, alumnus)

Queer as Funk
(Alison Gorman, alumna)

Sam Taylor Quintet
Frankie’s Jazz Club
(Paul Rushka, faculty)

(Malcolm Aiken, Sangito Bigelow, Chris Couto, Theo Vincent, alumni)

(Bernie Arai, faculty)


Sunday, July 1

(Elise Boeur, alumna) 

Aeroplane Trio
(Skye Brooks, alumnus) 

Granville Island
(Robin Layne, alumnus)

BC Double Quartet
Performance Works
(Bernie Arai, Paul Rushka, faculty)

Black Gardenia
Granville Island
(Andrew Smith, alumnus)

Freedom Muzik
(Giorgio Magnanensi, faculty)

Jasper Sloan Yip
Granville Island
(Stephanie Chatman, alumna)

Kate Hammett-Vaughan
Performance Works
(Kate Hammett-Vaughan, faculty) 

Marianne Trudel and Francois Houle
Performance Works
(Francois Houle, faculty)

Nikki Carter, Clyde Reed, Kenton Loewen
(Kenton Loewen, alumnus)

Paul Plimley, Clyde Reed, Kenton Loewen
The Ironworks
(Kenton Loewen, alumnus)

Robin Layne Band
Granville Island
(Robin Layne, Malcolm Aiken, alumni)


Download the full festival guide.  


Are you interested in a career in music? Attend an info session on Wednesday, June 20 to learn about VCC's range of music offerings from community courses to diplomas and degrees.

Follow VCC Music on Facebook to get the latest news on performances, events, and auditions.  

Media release: VCC's Tooth Trolley keeps kids smiling

Posted on May 24, 2018

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Community College (VCC) is preparing to welcome children and their families to its 12th annual Tooth Trolley event from May 23 to May 28. With funding from Chevron Canada and Telus Community Board, and in partnership with the Vancouver Trolley Company, VCC will open the doors of its downtown dental clinic to pre-registered children and their families from across Vancouver and Burnaby, offering them free dental assessments and preventive services. 

“Tooth Trolley provides children the opportunity to experience their first dental visit in a fun environment,” says Sherry Messenger, instructor, VCC certified dental assistant (CDA) program. “The fun begins when the old-fashioned trolley bus picks the children up, and continues when they are greeted by our tooth fairies – students from our dental hygiene, CDA, and dental reception coordinator programs.” 

Throughout the day, families will also attend seminars held by a public health CDA, participate in fun activities focused on nutrition and dental health, and receive a take-home bag of wholesome snacks and health care products before their return trolley trip.




Video and photo opportunities available:
Date: Monday, May 28, 2018
Time: 10 – 11 a.m.
Location: VCC dental clinic, room 348, Downtown campus, 200-block Dunsmuir at Hamilton

For interview opportunities, media can contact:
Kristy Neville, Marketing and Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 778.772.1823

Vancouver’s 2nd annual Korean Culinary Competition to take place at VCC

Posted on May 23, 2018

As originally posted in The Georgia Straight

Korean food is becoming a popular mainstay in Vancouver’s food scene—there’s probably always someone in your friend circle who is craving tofu soup, bibimbap (hot-stone rice bowl with various toppings), or haemul pajeon (seafood pancake).

The love for this Asian cuisine is real, so it’s fitting that a Korean cooking face-off returns to the city next month. 

In its second year, the Korean Culinary Competition hosted by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea and Vancouver Community College will take place at VCC (250 West Pender Street) on June 14 at 2 p.m. The public will be invited to try the dishes and enjoy food activities and catering from 3:30 p.m. 

Amateur and professional chefs (separated into two groups) are invited to join in on the food-centric event—each contestant will be allotted 90 minutes to whip up a tasty Korean food item, which will be judged for its taste and presentation.

Ingredients and essential kitchen equipment will be provided, but you can bring in your own rice cooker if need be (we think rice is a pretty important accompaniment for Korean cuisine).

First, second, and third place winners in each group will be awarded a significant cash prize. The first place professional competitor will be invited to a week-long trip to Korea to compete against other winners around the world (this particular cooking competition takes place in various countries), and will have the chance to travel to renowned restaurants around the Asian nation.

2017 korean culinary judges

The judges will rank each competing dish based on its taste and presentation.

“The reason we do this competition is to promote Korean food to foreigners, not just Korean nationals living in Canada,” said Kangjun Lee, Consul at the Korean Consulate, to the Straight in an interview at a local Vancouver restaurant. “Cultural affairs, especially food, are the gateway and connector between Asian heritages with local communities. With food, we don’t have any language barriers.”

The list of judges for this year’s event haven’t been confirmed yet, but we can expect to see Consul General Gunn Kim (Consul General of the Republic of Korea), Dr. Peter Nunoda (president, VCC), chef Collin Gill (department head, VCC Culinary Arts), and perhaps a local Korean restaurant owner/chef decide on the winning dishes.

If you’re not confident enough to join this year’s competition but still have a passion for Korean food, then check out the gimbab (Korean seaweed and rice roll)-making activity that will be happening from 3 to 4 p.m.

“We [Koreans] have a big presence in Asian communities, but we think politically and socially we are underrepresented,” said Lee. “There is still a long way to go to be proactively engaged with local communities.”

What better way to engage and interact with Vancouverites than with mouth-watering foods, right?


The cooking competition’s submission deadline is May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. For more information and the online application, click here.


Loving my job

Posted on March 6, 2013

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 program guides students’ next steps

Posted on May 18, 2018

As originally posted in Star Metro Vancouver


Starting this September, learners who want to explore the field of health science before committing to further education and a specific career path will have the opportunity to do so when Vancouver Community College (VCC) launches its pre-health sciences program.

“The program ultimately helps students to succeed by preparing them for the next step,” says Debbie Sargent, the dean of VCC’s School of Health Sciences. “Because the program gives students exposure to options, it will benefit those who are thinking about health and aren’t sure which program would be best for them, (such as) recent high school graduates and those who are considering changing their current career path.”

During the 32-week program, students will gain an appreciation of professional roles and responsibilities in the health-care system while also acquiring the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to help them succeed in a health-science career that is best suited to them.

“Some courses offer foundational knowledge such as biology, chemistry and math,” says Sargent. “While others look at the roles within a health-care team, the importance of interprofessional collaboration, medical terminology and career planning. It’s a wellrounded introduction to health science.”

Delivered through a combination of lectures and practical learning, the program leaves room for hands-on application throughrole playing, field trips and group work. It also allows for flexibility, as some courses are presented in a hybrid format, which combines in-person and online learning.

Pre-health sciences grads will have the advantage of having two seats in eight VCC health science programs reserved for them. Among these are: health care assistant, practical nursing, health unit co-ordinator, dental reception co-ordinator, dental assisting – certified, pharmacy technician, medical laboratory assistant and occupational/ physical therapist assistant. In particular programs, there are also opportunities for exemptions from certain coursework that students complete in the pre-health sciences program.

Get ahead in healthcare. Learn the fundamentals of health care systems with VCC’s new pre-health sciences program. Learn more at an upcoming info session. Classes start in September.

Media Advisory: 12th Annual Fair in the Square

Posted on May 17, 2018

Fair in the Square logos

12thAnnual Fair in the Square ~ Sunday, May 27 in Victory Square Park


Vancouver, B.C. - Neighbours from around the city are invited to Fair in the Square in downtown Vancouver for a 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 27, 2018, 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 downtown neighbourhood will feature live music, dozens of community groups with information to share, thousands of burgers and cupcakes prepared by students from the VCC culinary arts program, artists and artisans displaying and selling their wares, kids activities, contests, prizes and more.

These last couple years have been challenging for Vancouverites struggling to overcome the devastating opioid crisis and the lack of affordable housing. The Downtown Eastside has felt the losses and struggled valiantly in the face of these challenges. This year at Fair in the Square we will offer a space of respite, of connection, remembrance and renewal for all our neighbours. Fair in the Square will be an opportunity for neighbours to come together, to see the great things happening in the inner city, and to build hope. 

WHAT:         Fair in the Square, a celebration with free food, music, arts market and more

WHEN:         Sunday, May 27, 2018, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE:       Victory Square Park, Hastings and Cambie in Gastown, Vancouver

WHY:           Neighbours celebrating with neighbours

WHO:           Performers include folk/rock musicians Sarah Jickling, the East Van Marimba All StarsRumba Calzada, 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 111 years.

About Vancouver Community College:

VCC has been inspiring students to reach their career and educational goals for over 50 years, offering 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.



Media contacts: 

Carla Shore
Central City Foundation  
P: 604.329.0975
Danielle Libonati
Vancouver Community College
P: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531



Indigenous reconciliation dialogue May 7–10

Posted on May 2, 2018

In 2015, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Canada released its final report on the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system. The report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future, contains 94 Calls to Action to advance and sustain the process of reconciliation in Canada. At VCC, we recognize that the majority of these Calls to Action are directly related to post-secondary education. 

During the week of May 7–10, VCC's Indigenous Education and Community Engagement department will be hosting a series of workshops including a keynote presentation by Kevin Lamoureux, national education lead, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba. The workshops focus on reconciliation through education and include interactive sessions, circle dialogues, and presentations. Our path to reconciliation will be the focus of our week as we acknowledge and celebrate the good work of many people.

Please join us in one or more of these free events. Registration is required for all sessions.

We acknowledge that we are on the traditional, unceded and shared territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. 



Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
9 a.m. - 12 p.m. & 1 - 4 p.m.

Keynote presentation: Reconciliation in Education
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Curriculum Enhancement
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
1 - 3 p.m.

"River of Silence" - Film Screening & Conversation with Writer/Producer Petie Chalifoux
Thursday, May 10, 2018
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

A discussion with Tamara Starblanket, author of "Suffer the Little Children: Genocide, Indigenous Nations and the Canadian State"
Thursday, May 10, 2018
1 - 3 p.m.

VCC wins big at Skills Canada BC 2018 provincials

Posted on April 23, 2018

We are proud to announce that students from Vancouver Community College (VCC) and associated high schools earned 18 medals in the Skills Canada BC 2018 provincial competition held in Abbotsford on Wednesday, April 18.

VCC’s medallists emerged as top-skilled competitors in the areas of baking, culinary arts, hairdressing, esthetics, automotive service, automotive collision repair, and car painting. Congratulations especially to our VCC competitors who swept the podiums in baking (post-secondary) and car painting (secondary).

According to VCC Baking instructor Kimberly Tada, the secret to success is being fully prepared. "Our students were successful because of the level of commitment and dedication they demonstrated while practicing for this event. The support of the college, instructors, and instructional assistants to make the weekly practices possible was also a key ingredient." 

A total of 35 students represented VCC and its Youth Train in Trades programs at this provincial competition where more than 600 competitors demonstrated skilled trades for industry judges and a live audience. 

See the photo album and share in the celebration using the hashtags #myVCC and #SkillsBC.

Baking – post-secondary 
Clarissa Roque (@roqueclarissa) – GOLD
Kayla Wenzek (@kayla_vancity) – SILVER
Angela Wu (@tinypatissiere) – BRONZE

Baking – secondary 
Queenie Li – GOLD

Culinary arts – post-secondary
Leah Patitucci (@leah_patitucci) – GOLD

Culinary arts – secondary
Carmen-Rosa Bilodeau – GOLD

Hairdressing – post-secondary
Tanya Gatus – BRONZE

Hairdressing – secondary
Hanna Croswell – SILVER
Kayla Raymond – BRONZE

Esthetics – post-secondary
Alesha Johal – GOLD
Audrey Telek – SILVER

Automotive service – secondary
Mary Joy Siscar – SILVER

Automotive collision repair – post-secondary
Jason Sherle – GOLD

Automotive collision repair – secondary
Patrick Bucu – GOLD
Hajrudin Dzebic – SILVER

Car painting – secondary
Anthony Harrington – GOLD
Aaron Tagaca – SILVER
Rabin Rosario – BRONZE


Do you dream of being at the top of your trade? Explore your options in VCC's apprenticeship programs. 

VCC competes at Skills Canada BC 2018 provincials

Posted on April 16, 2018

Please join us in wishing all the best to our VCC teams heading to the Skills Canada BC 2018 provincial competition on Wednesday, April 18!

Held at the Tradex in Abbotsford, the Skills Canada BC provincial competition welcomes more than 600 competitors who will demonstrate their skilled trades for industry judges and a live audience. 

This year, 35 secondary and post-secondary students will represent VCC as regional winners in the areas of baking, culinary arts, hairdressing, esthetics, automotive service, automotive collision repair, car painting, and heavy equipment service. 

Send your support to our teams online using the hashtags #myVCC and #SkillsBC. Stay tuned for updates on our medallists and go VCC!

Baking – post-secondary 
Yejin Park (@yejimon_)
Clarissa Roque (@roqueclarissa)
Kayla Wenzek (@kayla_vancity)
Angela Wu (@tinypatissiere)

Baking – secondary 
Queenie Li

Culinary arts – post-secondary

Leah Patitucci (@leah_patitucci
Corina Zoro 

Culinary arts – secondary
Carmen Rosa Bilodeau

Hairdressing – post-secondary
Tanya Gatus
Martin Tran

Hairdressing – secondary
Hanna Croswell 
Kayla Raymond
Morgan Hurlock (entered under Killarney Secondary)

Esthetics – post-secondary
Alesha Johal
Audrey Telek

Automotive service  post-secondary
Mackenzie Moulton

Automotive service  secondary
Mary Joy Siscar

Automotive collision repair  post-secondary
Eric Hennecke
Jason Sherle

Automotive collision repair  secondary
Tyson Bittner
Jaiden Black
Patrick Bucu
Hajrudin Dzebic
Taylor Grenier
Nancy-Anne Lawton
Blair Mangles
Carter Mulligan

Car painting  secondary
Anthony Harrington
Kenneth Kory
Jason Peers
Rabin Rosario
Aaron Tagaca
Lydia Terry

Heavy equipment service  post-secondary
Benjamin Pok
Colby Poss 


Think you might shine at a skilled trade? Join us at our Experience VCC open house on April 25 for workshops, demonstrations, and campus tours. 

MGHN receives Vancouver Fashion Week scholarship

Posted on April 18, 2018

Vancouver Community College (VCC) Fashion grad Meghan Buckley, operating under the brand MGHN, was the recipient of an inaugural scholarship awarded last month at Vancouver Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 by Sue Randhawa of The Optical Boutique.

Sue Randhawa is a notable Vancouver Fashion Week attendee and an advocate for self-expression through fashion. “I’m so impressed with the talent coming out of our city,” Sue announced. “I believe that you should go after your dreams, buck the system, do what you want to do. Congratulations Meghan, you deserve it.”

Sue surprised Meghan right after she showcased MGHN’s debut collection, I N I T I A L S. “I was shocked when Sue announced my name,” said Meghan. “Fashion Week can be overwhelming for a newcomer, so her words of encouragement meant a lot to me. I hope I can live up to them with the next collection.”

Meghan graduated from VCC’s Fashion Arts Diploma program (now the Fashion Design and Production Diploma) after having first completed a B.A. in psychology at the University of British Columbia. This background has given her a unique perspective, which often includes exploring the forces at work behind our thoughts and behaviours through visual or constructional elements.

Her creative brand MGHN takes a visually minimal and androgynous approach to design, striving to achieve both material and emotional comfort regardless of gender. “To me, clothing doesn’t need to be complex to be fashionable,” says Meghan. “It’s also important the clothes are compelling without needing to fit into traditional gender confines, which can seem outdated.”

MGHN’s debut collection, I N I T I A L S, showcased the brand's core design trademarks of oversized silhouettes, clean lines, and contrasting pop elements. The pieces took inspiration from the playful yet coherent style of team sportswear and recreational attire. Using repetitive motifs and consistent shapes, I N I T I A L S created a personal “uniform,” providing a base on which to consider the ideas of a changing identity and the isolating nature of self-doubt.

With the scholarship and Sue’s encouragement fresh in her mind, Meghan is already hard at work on her next collection. “I’m excited to see how the brand’s aesthetic will evolve,” says Meghan. “I think the best is still to come.”


VCC Fashion students design, prototype, produce, and market items in real-life retail environments. Visit our Downtown Vancouver design labs and learn more at an upcoming info sesion.

Summer fashion tips from VCC style experts

Posted on July 21, 2014


Sizzling summer temperatures have finally reached Vancouver, and this season’s styles are the only things hot enough to match this heat wave.

VCC fashion insider Sarah Murray, program coordinator for VCC’s fashion arts program, has seen summer’s trends firsthand on both the catwalk and the sidewalk, and recommends these as the five must-have items for summer:
Summer style tips

  • Crop tops
  • Florals
  • Full-circle skirts
  • Cutoffs
  • Luxe sweatshirts

Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to acquire these trends. Murray has a few tips for fashionistas looking to get their hands on these styles for less:

  • Transform an old T-shirt into a fab new cutoff or crop top with helpful DIY videos on YouTube. Watch VCC TV’s T-shirt hacking video to spiff up a worn-out favourite.
  • Hit the racks of your nearest vintage or consignment store, like Value Village, to find secondhand gems such as kitschy sweatshirts and floral dresses. Another VCC fashion insider offers up her tips for scoring bargains from your local thrift shop.
  • Take advantage of festival season. From the food truck festival to farmer’s markets, Vancouver is rife with festivals full of vendors hawking their wares. Shoppers with a keen eye can find great deals on items such as skirts, dresses and rompers. For a carefree summer hairstyle to match your new look, check out our video to help you achieve the perfect beachy waves.

A master of these flowy, bohemian looks is VCC alum and superstar swimwear designer Anna Kosturova. Her crocheted dresses and bikinis have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, the pages of major fashion magazines and are donned by many a fashionable celeb.



To celebrate the summer season, we’re giving away one of Anna’s latest looks: a hand-dyed silk coverup (seen above). To enter, please visit VCC’s Facebook page.

VCC Outstanding Alumni Award winners 2017

Posted on March 23, 2018

Vancouver Community College (VCC) has announced the winners of the prestigious 2017 Outstanding Alumni Awards.

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

This year’s award winners include:

Jim Storie (Lifetime Achievement)

President and CEO (retired), The Vancouver Trolley Company
A preeminent figure in Vancouver’s hospitality, tourism,
and arts and culture scene.



Doreen Wong (Changemaker)
Faculty member, auto collision and refinishing, VCC
The only female instructor of auto collision in western Canada,
Doreen is a trailblazer for women in trades.




Nelly Gomez (Community Contribution)
Faculty member, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, VCC
Human rights’ activist / psychologist turned community
health nurse / instructor.



Neal Russell (Career Success)
President & General Manager, Protec Dental Laboratories Ltd. 
Dental technology graduate who founded one of the largest
and most successful dental laboratories in Canada.



Leah Patitucci (One to Watch)
Chef, The Pear Tree Restaurant
Award-winning Red Seal chef / baker who loves her craft 
and most recently was invited to participate on Culinary Team Canada.




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.

VCC joins important anti-violence initiative

Posted on April 11, 2013


Everyone has the right to feel safe.

VCC has become a proud partner in an 18-month campus project to take action against gender-based violence.

Under the leadership of Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) -- a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of violence -- a volunteer taskforce will be formed to help build awareness about campus safety issues and explore new ways to ensure VCC is a safe place to learn and work. The taskforce is expected to begin its work in the fall.

Throughout the spring and summer, WAVAW representatives will be around VCC campuses spreading the word about this collaborative safety project and inviting staff and students to get involved.

All faculty, particularly those in health services, transportation trades, and ESL, are encouraged to volunteer class time to discuss violence issues such as: dealing with sexual assault, gender-based discrimination in the workplace or gender-based violence and cultural differences.

To coordinate a class presentation or find out more information about volunteering for the taskforce email or call 604.255.6228, ext. 222.

Project funding is provided by Status of Women Canada.

Record participation at 2017 Baking Congress

Posted on June 14, 2017

Originally posted at World Bakers

Participation figures at BAC’s Bakery Congress 2017 Trade Show and Conference show an increase in attendance of more than 25%: 2,200 baking and food industry professionals took part in the two days of trade show and conference. About 35% more bakers and foodservice representatives joined the Congress, compared with the last time the event was held in Vancouver.

The show floor included baking industry products and services by Canadian and US companies representing domestic and international products and brands; however, the show also had a good number of direct international exhibitors that included companies from UK, Spain, Japan, France, China, UAE and South Africa. 

The sold out event and high participation figures in 2017 indicate a positive performance of the bakery business in Canada, especially independent bakery/cafe businesses including artisanal bakers, the organizer considers.

The event are location and timing also contributed to the event’s success: the downtown Vancouver Convention Centre appealed to the participants and proved to be very convenient in terms of access, hotels, evening engagements for business and personal meetings and entertainment.

(Baking and Pastry) students and instructors of Vancouver Community College and Vancouver Island University presented their demos in the feature area both days. Highlights included baked products production, desserts, sugar craft and various machine operations.

The event, organized by The Baking Association of Canada (BAC) was held April 23-24, in Vancouver B.C.

BAC is currently planning the next event, Bakery Showcase 2018, a two day trade show and conference to be held in April 29-30, at the International Centre, Toronto (Mississauga) Canada. 

baking congress demo 800

New heavy duty training facility

Posted on January 27, 2014

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.


The facts on adult upgrading and ESL grants

Posted on July 30, 2015

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

Media release: Hairstylist apprenticeship a new option for VCC trades

Posted on November 6, 2017

News-Hairstyling-Red-Seal-292VANCOUVER, B.C. – In celebration of Apprenticeship Recognition Week (Nov. 5 – 11, 2017), Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new hairstylist apprenticeship pathway and Red Seal Endorsement (RSE). 

Starting in January 2018, students will have a new, streamlined option to enter a formal hairstyling apprenticeship through VCC. As in other trades, the hairstylist apprenticeship combines approximately 80 per cent on-the-job training with 20 per cent classroom learning. This allows students to earn money and receive professional mentorship as they complete their education.

Following the new pathway, students will complete 11 weeks of classroom learning followed by 3,600 hours of on-the-job training to complete the two-level apprenticeship. This provides an alternative to the traditional 10-month hairstylist certificate and leads to trade certification from B.C.’s Industry Training Authority (ITA). 

“People want to work, and they want to work straight away,” says Lucy Griffith, department leader for VCC Hair Design and Skin and Body Therapy. “Especially in rural communities, people can’t come to Vancouver for 10 months of school. With this 11-week apprenticeship option, they can go back to their communities and into their salons while still earning hours and continuing their education.”

Upon completing Level 2 of the hairstylist apprenticeship, VCC students will now also have the opportunity to earn a nationally recognized Red Seal Endorsement (RSE), giving them the option to work anywhere in the country without re-examination for provincial licenses. VCC is currently the only college in the B.C. Lower Mainland to offer an RSE in hairstyling.

“A Red Seal is hugely important for your career,” says Griffith. “It shows what kind of education you’ve been through and recognizes all the work that goes into becoming a stylist. This puts the profession on the world stage and in line with other trades.”

As required by the ITA, hairstylist apprentices must demonstrate a wide range of skills including cutting, styling, shaving, chemical treatments, and sanitation as well as customer service, marketing, and business operations.

As part of the formal apprenticeship system, VCC hairstylist students and sponsor employers will also now have access to government financial supports such as the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) and the B.C. Training Tax Credit

About VCC Salon and Spa 

Hairstylist apprentices receive their training in VCC’s full-service luxury salon and spa using the latest equipment, techniques, and products. Located in Downtown Vancouver, the VCC Salon and Spa is the largest Green Circle Salon in Canada, recycling everything from metal and plastic to chemicals and human hair.


Media can contact:

Fareedah Rasoul Kim
Marketing and communications officer
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 7538

Win two tickets to Flourish!

Posted on February 16, 2018

UPDATE March 13, 2018: Warmest congratulations to the winner of the VCC Foundation's TAG AND WIN ticket giveaway! Kathryn Gidluck is duty manager (and VCC hospitality management alumna) at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Tickets are still available for VCC's signature, green-tie fundraising gala. Join us this Wednesday, March 14 for fabulous food, wine, music, fashion, and a silent auction. This year's proceeds will seed an award for an emerging female student leader in culinary, baking, or hospitality. PURCHASE TICKETS >


Original article:

Here’s how you and your date can attend Flourish – The VCC Foundation's annual 'green-tie' fundraising gala – for free!


How to enter: 

  • Visit the Flourish 2018 event on the VCC Alumni Facebook page.
  • In the discussion stream, tag a friend who you'd bring to the gala.
  • Contest closes on Wednesday, March 7 at 12 p.m. 

The VCC Foundation will randomly select one entrant to win two (2) tickets to the 2018 Flourish gala. The winner will be notivied via Facebook. Retail value of this prize is $400 [tickets are not transferrable and have no cash value]. Official rules and regulations.

What is Flourish?

At VCC's signature 'green-tie' fundraising gala, we celebrate our talented alumni and support current students while sampling culinary stations hosted by:

  • Hawksworth
  • Poyan Danesh
  • Jen Peters
  • Erin Vickars
  • Tobias MacDonald
  • Hamid Salimian
  • Bruno Feldeisen
  • Tret Jordan
  • Laura Dawe
  • Scarlet Gaffney
  • Andrew George
  • Dennis Green
  • Carol Chow
  • Karen Gin
  • Marlo Romey
  • Miki Arambulo
  • Shelome Bouvette
  • Sandy Chen
  • Esther Kosa
  • Nancy McRae

Be sure to check out the Cactus Club Café corner for a special menu item and cocktail creation.

Our VCC band will keep you jumping from food to wine station! Tom Arntzen is lead vocalist, backed by VCC faculty members Laurence Mollerup (bass), Bernie Arai (drums), Daryl Jahnke (guitar), and Sharon Minemoto (keyboard).

You’ll also enjoy tastings by 14 Naramata Bench Winery Association wineries. 


Enter to win our Tag and Win contest today or purchase tickets at We look forward to seeing you in your best 'green-tie' attire!

Date: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Time: 7 - 11 p.m.

Location: VCC Broadway campus, Building B, 1120 East 7th Ave.

A welcome shift in the industry

Posted on March 20, 2018

News-Doreen-embed-292In the early 1980s when Doreen Wong, an instructor in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) automotive collision repair technician program, decided to turn her love of cars into a career, she says that, as a woman, she faced various challenges.

Despite the negative reactions she received from some, Wong became a journeyperson certified in motor vehicle body repair, received her automotive paint certificate of qualification, and obtained her Red Seal designation. And, throughout her 30 years of industry experience, she says she has seen a welcome shift in the industry to one that is much more accepting and receptive of women.

“When I first started, a lot of men, even during job interviews, tried to turn me off from taking certain jobs, but I was stubborn and I really loved cars,” says Wong. “Eventually, I noticed an attitude shift and people became fascinated that I was able to do the job as well as anyone. Today, our female students are snapped up quickly. They are often very meticulous and detail-oriented and employers notice that.”

Since joining VCC’s Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing department in 2004, Wong has taught foundation and apprenticeship levels in-class, online, and via distance learning. She says no matter a student’s gender, she has the same words of wisdom for everyone.

“My advice is always to do their best but not be afraid to ask questions,” she says. “We want students to be well equipped when they enter the industry and that takes being curious and clarifying anything they don’t understand.”

VCC’s automotive collision and repair technician program offers training in a wide range of skills relevant to today’s advanced automobile collision repair industry.

Students learn the latest techniques in modern facilities with equipment they will encounter in the field.

The program is accredited for apprenticeship and graduates receive an industryrespected certificate.

Originally published in Metro News Vancouver (print edition)


Read more about the new generation in automotive trades. 

Women’s work: meet the new generation in automotive trades

Posted on March 5, 2018

On their first day of school in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) automotive refinishing technician program, Meghan Kelsi, Aleah Simensen, Lydia Terry, Jolene Orr, and Jessica Jensen (pictured, left to right) each fully expected to be the only woman in the room.

Instead, there were five. “It was weird, all these women just kept funneling in!” says Jolene, 23, who came to VCC for her apprenticeship training, after already earning an auto body certificate from a private facility.

“I walked in and was like, yeah ladies!” says Aleah, 19, who already had five years' experiece working in a friend's auto body shop, and always knew this career was for her.

While this cohort may seem unique today (women represent only 4.5 per cent of Canada’s trades workforce), many colleges, government bodies, and industries are hoping to radically increase the number of women in trades in the near future.

One recent effort by the B.C. government is its Women in Trades labour market project, through which it worked with industry partners to identify barriers like bullying and harassment that prevent women from entering or staying in trades careers. It also offers solutions for improving workplace culture and increasing mentorship opportunities. 

Do women already succeeding in trades think such initiatives are needed? VCC’s auto refinishing techs say yes.

Talking shop

Meghan, 24, started automotive trades training while still in high school and graduated at the top of her class. She was nearly finished her third year of an automotive service technician apprenticeship when she decided her work environment was simply too hostile and switched into refinishing. “It’s easy to get jobs, but getting taken seriously and treated humanely—that’s a different story,” she says. 

Regarding the government project, Meghan believes it’s something that should have been done 50 years ago, but is glad it's happening now. The others agree, each sharing workplace stories ranging from getting ignored or stared at inappropriatel to being outright told that she belongs ‘in the kitchen.’

Lydia, 18, admits to having her work scrutinized more often than she’d like, but wonders if her age may invite more criticism than her gender. “I’m inexperienced, fresh out of high school,” she says. “I really don’t like to think it’s because I’m a girl.”

None of these issues is clear-cut, and women debate amongst themselves as well. How much of it is only generational? When exactly does joking around cross the line? Would a gay man have the same problems?

A new road

The women do agree that the work environment in trades can be tough for anyone. “You have to have a pretty thick skin, whether you’re a woman or a man. It’s how the trades are,” says Aleah.

It’s how they are now, anyway, and these women are prepared for it, but they also see change on the horizon. With a younger generation gradually taking over, they’re already noticing more acceptance and respect in the shop, and it’s at VCC where they see it most of all.

“I was extremely nervous to come here after what I’d been through,” says Meghan, “but they’re so good.”

At VCC, these five women say they’re treated like any other student, even regarded for their previous industry experience. They’ve had instructors support them in the classroom, intercede for them in the workplace, and they've made lifelong friends.

Above all, they love what they do. Refinishing and painting are highly suited to individuals who are aesthetically minded, creative, and detail-oriented. Many of these women's hobbies include makeup, drawing, or painting—all of which translated extremely well into the trade.

For all their experiences, these women would also still recommend an automotive refinishing career to any girl who was interested. Their advice is to start early, take advantage of high school programs where possible, talk to other women in trades, and stand up for yourself in general.

“If you’re unhappy and you don’t wake up every day excited to go to work, don’t go!” says Aleah.

“Yeah make a change,” says Meghan. “Your toolbox has wheels on it for a reason.”


Take a look inside our shop and see the future of automotive collision and refinishing at VCC.

VCC’s fashion program gives back to Dress for Success

Posted on October 20, 2017

News-Dress-for-Success-292Each year, students in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Fashion Design & Production Diploma program participate in an activity that uses fashion to give back to the community. This year, the class chose to design and donate suites to Dress for Success Vancouver (DFS), an organization that provides professional attire, career services, and skills development for women entering or rejoining the workforce. 

“It might not be the part of the industry that gets the media attention, but the fashion industry is filled with examples of generosity,” said Andrea Korens, program coordinator, VCC Fashion. “We feel it is important to cultivate a sense of community-mindedness in our students.”

Using the skills they developed in their first 10 months at VCC, students designed, drafted, and constructed a four-piece business look specifically for a client of the charity.

The suits feature fabrics donated by Our Social Fabric and local businesses like Arcteryx, Plum Clothing, Jason Matlo, and Nicole Bridger. Both looks include a tailored jacket, dress pants, and a blouse. The designs feature materials like a navy crepe and a brown pinstripe, and wardrobe additions of a vest and a casual turtleneck.

This project is the final in a series completed during VCC’s first-year fashion cycle courses in which students experience a fast-paced production process including design, drafting, construction, marketing, and sales.

VCC Fashion’s partnership with DFS also highlights the organization’s longstanding service to the VCC student population. DFS has provided approximately 480 VCC students and graduates with job interview outfits since 2012.

“Dress for Success’ ability to assist recent graduates on their job hunt is a service we offer that often goes under the radar,” said Jennifer Halinda, executive director, Dress for Success Vancouver. “Working with VCC Fashion allows us to highlight this demographic, and those from VCC that we have assisted in their careers. The two beautifully designed suits were happily received by our client, Aerin Hack [pictured].”

“We are amazed by our students’ ability to create professional suits in their first year of studies,” said Korens. “For them, it’s a great feeling to be supported by generous industry donations, and then pay it forward.”


Want to use your fashion flair to benefit the community? Learn more about fashion diplomas and certificates at VCC.


Order baked goods online

Posted on February 27, 2018

VCC's Downtown campus bakery, Seiffert Market, will accept online orders from February 27 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.

Learning to fight the opioid crisis at VCC

Posted on January 22, 2018

News-opioid-crisis-292-smallA lot of dark, rocky years passed before Jeremyah Clark figured out what he truly wanted to do with his life: what his own experiences and predilections would make him good at. It turns out he is good at helping people—specifically, those struggling with drug addictions.

After all, the 29-year-old Comox, B.C., resident has a kind of expertise, stretching back to childhood. “I was addicted to mainly cocaine,” he recounts. “It became opiates in the end. I was using various forms of pills... Oxys and Percocets and that kind of stuff... did that for, well, my whole life.”

In 2013, Clark—who has been sober for the past five years—ended up in a psych ward at Richmond Hospital for two weeks, then a detox centre for another 10 days or so. When he left the facility, he sought counselling through an organization called Transitions. He began working as a support and outreach worker with the Turning Point Recovery Society, which provides residential support services to recovering addicts. “That was the job that changed my life,” says Clark. Admitting he’d been self-centred until that point, “it switched me from thinking about myself to thinking about others and giving back.”

That’s a drive motivating many of the students who register for the addiction counselling skills certificate program at Vancouver Community College (VCC), says program coordinator Matthew Stevenson. The average age of students in the program, a part of VCC’s continuing studies program, is 40. “A lot of them have been working for 20 or 30 years and they have decided they want to make a difference. Their passion is in helping people.”

VCC has offered an addiction counselling program since 1980. Over the years, reflecting the college’s growing emphasis on experiential learning, the program has evolved to give a greater dose of reality and practical learning to prospective counsellors.

Continue reading at


Want to make an impact on your community? Explore your options for professional training and hands-on experience in VCC's counselling programs.

New program teaches the skills to rate building accessibility

Posted on January 29, 2018

News-RHAF-Brad-292Brad McCannell remembers using a beautifully designed wheelchair-accessible washroom in a Vancouver public building. Everything seemed to be in place. But when he went to flush the toilet, McCannell, a quadriplegic who is Vice-President of Access and Inclusion at the Rick Hansen Foundation, discovered the flushing mechanism was a pedal on the floor.

"What was I supposed to do?" he says with a laugh. "I tried rolling over it with my wheelchair, but that didn't work. I thought, 'Wow, they came so close to universal accessibility and they dropped the ball right at the goal line.' "

It's those small but crucial details that make a big difference when it comes to designing truly accessible spaces. They are what individuals learn to look for in a new course created by the Rick Hansen Foundation. Launched this past fall at Vancouver Community College, the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program teaches participants the skills needed to gauge a building?s accessibility and rate it according to a universal scale – akin to LEED certification. Following the course participants are able to take an exam, and conduct field experience to become designated RHFAC Professionals. The college will offer the next course in April.

Rating a building's accessibility doesn't just mean checking to see whether it has a wheelchair ramp and an oversized washroom cubicle. "Most access consideration today is for people using wheelchairs," explains McCannell, a course instructor and a design consultant for more than 25 years. "But we're less than 20 per cent of the population of people with disabilities."

The program is built around the idea of "meaningful access," a holistic approach that looks at all aspects of a site and takes into account a range of disabilities, including visual, and hearing impairment, as well as various mobility issues.

The two-week, 60-hour course begins by exposing participants to challenges posed by different disabilities. Students are sent out onto the VCC campus in small groups. Some are given wheelchairs; others are equipped with goggles and white canes to experience various levels of blindness. Some will better understand hearing loss through simulation. And the able-bodied get an idea of what it's like to have reduced mobility. "We take a tensor bandage and tape up your right knee so you can't flex it," he says. "And we do the same with your left elbow. Then we put you in oven mitts, give you a set of crutches and tell you to go open a door."

Continue reading in The Globe and Mail


Are you ready take accessibiltiy to the next level? Register now for .

VCC students win big B.C. challenge

Posted on November 8, 2013

Vancouver Community College is all about real world training and tackling real world problems. So when it comes to tough questions facing B.C.'s burgeoning travel and tourism industry, VCC hospitality students are ready for the challenge.

And it shows.

Four students in VCC’s degree program finished in first place at the 7th annual LinkBC Student Case Competition held at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Oct. 27.

vcc hospitality management degree students win linkbc student case competitionEach year, hospitality majors from colleges and universities across B.C. gather to participate in the challenge where students put their heads together to solve tough problems facing their chosen line of work. VCC entered teams from the hospitality diploma and degree programs.

Degree students Khaled Attalaoui, Caitlin Cindric, Emma Dagg and Kathryn Gidluck put together a plan to recruit hotel employees in a sector that’s facing a shortage of 100,000 workers. Their case study won first place out of 16 teams.

"Earning first place at the LinkBC Student Case Competition is a prestigious accomplishment for our students and says a lot about the quality of our hospitality degree program at VCC," said Bob Aiken, VCC interim dean, hospitality and business programs. “We’re proud of all VCC students who participated.”

VCC is widely recognized as a leader in hospitality management training. In the Georgia Straight’s annual Best of Vancouver issue released in September, VCC was chosen as the region’s top institution for career training in travel and tourism.

Photo courtesy of LinkBC, an organization that works with tourism and hospitality programs in the province to strengthen B.C.'s competitive edge as a tourist destination.

Funding announcements launch Apprenticeship Recognition Week at VCC

Posted on November 1, 2016


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


Carlos’ story: a smart calculation

Posted on January 16, 2018

News-Carlos-292As a new immigrant to Canada from Cuba, Carlos Suarez’ first goal was to learn English. Like many newcomers eager to start their Canadian lives, he was a quick study. After only two years in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) English as an Additional Language programs, he had brought his language skills to a university level and was ready to choose a career path.

Originally, Carlos considered nursing—he had always enjoyed health sciences and his sister had studied in VCC’s Health Care Assistant program—but when a friend shared her plan to become a pharmacist, Carlos developed an interest in the field as well.  

Before starting a pharmacology degree, however, Carlos needed to earn prerequisites in math and science, which he was able to do through VCC’s Adult Upgrading and University Transfer programs. By this time, Carlos had been away from these subjects for almost a decade, and picking them up again wasn’t easy.

Carlos says the high school math courses in his home country focused on skills needed for everyday life, while Canada’s curriculum is more academically focused. He found calculus particularly challenging at times and would struggle to finish his homework. That’s when he learned he could access free tutoring at the VCC Learning Centre (VCCLC), and began visiting regularly.

“I wanted to know, what’s the math that I’m learning good for?” he says.

In the end, Carlos says the VCCLC tutors offered different perspectives that let him understand the material better. The math he was doing, for example, could be applied to everything from computer programming to quality assurance.

Carlos completed his final VCC course in the summer of 2017. Soon after, he was accepted into a health sciences program at Langara College.

Carlos says he found VCC’s University Transfer process to be quite easy, and he’s especially excited to continue studying microbiology and biochemistry as he pursues his dream of becoming a pharmacist.

“I’m now the mathematician of my family,” he says. “I’ve learned that it’s always possible to get back into learning.”


Need a hand? Visit the VCC Learning Centre at either the Downtown or Broadway campus for free academic tutoring and career support. 

VCC and Adler University partner to expand educational, health services

Posted on December 14, 2017

VANCOUVER, B.C. - In the spirit of collaboration and shared community health goals, Adler University Vancouver is teaming up with VCC to expand opportunities for students.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed this week that articulates a commitment to explore partnership possibilities that improve health, educational advancement, and community connections. Among the agreement's initial goals is to establish at VCC Adler Community Health Services (ACHS) - a division of Adler University that, until now, was exclusive to its Chicago Campus.

"Adler Community Health Services is eager to begin impacting community health and wellness in the greater Vancouver region," said Kevin Osten-Garner, Psy.D., and executive director of ACHS. "We look forward to our collaborative pilot project at VCC that will expand mental health wellness for students."

Although the institutions vary in makeup, leaders have pinpointed several opportunities for VCC and Adler University Vancouver to collaborate, including, but not limited to:

  • Providing new flexible and client-centered ACHS services at VCC;
  • Developing joint funding proposals to support the new health services, and other shared initiatives;
  • Creating pathways for VCC graduates and employees to pursue advanced studies at Adler University;
  • Providing scholarships for VCC graduates and employees to study at Adler University;
  • Sharing community partners to extend the institutions’ reach and impact within greater Vancouver; and
  • Organizing and promoting seminars, conferences and workshops for faculty, staff and students.

"This partnership is especially wonderful because it's about students helping students," said Kathryn McNaughton, Ph.D., and VCC vice president — academic, students and research. "Adler University doctoral students will provide additional mental health support that we know VCC students will benefit from."

"We are excited about the potential of this pilot project at VCC that can complement the existing student services to further our joint commitment to better meeting the mental health needs of our students," added Jenelle Davies, Executive Director of Students' Union of Vancouver Community College.

Adler University President Ray Crossman, Ph.D., and VCC President Peter Nunoda, Ph.D., formally notarized the memorandum at a signing ceremony on Vancouver Community College’' Broadway Campus. Effective immediately, the agreement will remain in place for three years.

About Vancouver Community College

Vancouver Community College 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.

About Adler University

Adler University educates students to engage the world and create a more just society. Established in 1952, it enrolls more than 1,400 students in master's and doctoral programs for social change through its three campuses: Chicago, Vancouver and Online. The Vancouver campus offers master’s degrees in Counselling Psychology, Counselling Art Therapy, Organisational Psychology and Public Policy and Administration, as well as a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. Adler University's mission is to continue the pioneering work of Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities and advancing social justice.

VCC English tutor publishes guide for newcomers

Posted on December 15, 2017

News-Kari-book-292‌Congratulations to Kari Karlsbjerg, English tutor at the VCC Learning Centre, on publishing a new book, My New Life in Vancouver. Written with input and translations from former VCC student Yi Zheng, this book is a guide to life and everyday culture in Vancouver, written specifically for newcomers from China. 

Over the years, Kari has helped hundreds of Chinese newcomers to Canada learn English. Countless times, she’s seen that, while learning the language is important, it doesn't enable someone to fully participate in society. This inspired her to write a book assisting newcomers to meaningfully participate in local life in Vancouver.

The book has almost 400 entries about Vancouver schools, parks, clubs, and venues, tips about the local lifestyle (laid back), customs (what to expect in everyday situations), how to get around, pieces of advice from other immigrants (including Zheng), and many small English lessons and words of encouragement for taking on a new language and living in a new country.

Each entry in the book is presented in English and Chinese, so it will be a valuable guide to even the newest language-learners. 


Get My New Life in Vancouver on and in select bookstores in Vancouver. 


Korean Culinary Competition reveals new stars at VCC

Posted on December 8, 2017

On Dec. 6, 2017, Vancouver Community College was pleased to host the Korean Culinary Competition, a black box challenge open to students, hobby cooks, and professionals.

Starting at 2 p.m., the 19 participants had 90 minutes to prepare three Korean-style dishes, all utilizing the mystery ingredient of oysters. Dishes were then presented to a panel of judges including VCC culinary department head Chef Collin Gill, Chef Eric Lee, Chef Sung-Hee Ahn, Korean Consul General Gunn Kim, and VCC president Dr. Peter Nunoda.

“I was honoured to be a judge and I thoroughly enjoyed tasting this amazing Korean food. It was a pleasure to experience the level of expertise from both students and professionals in creating these culinary masterpieces,” said Nunoda.

In the student category, first prize ($1500) was awarded to Ingyu Kim, second prize ($1000) to Minjoong So, and third prize ($500) to Denis Lim.

In the professional/hobby cook category, first prize ($1500) was awarded to Jessica Anamaria Tan of Haru Korean Kitchen, second prize ($1000) to Jinsu Yun of Miku Vancouver and Torafuku, and third prize ($500) to hobby cook Nancy Moon.

VCC recognizes and thanks the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, Chef Poyan Danesh, VCC alumnus and Culinary Director of Ocean Mama Seafood, as well as VCC’s culinary and hospitality departments for their partnership in this outstanding event.





Want to shine in Vancouver’s Asian food industry? Get your start in VCC’s acclaimed 5-month Asian culinary arts program.

Fall 2017 convocation recap

Posted on December 4, 2017

"You're here today to celebrate your accomplishment. The Premier, John Horgan, and I are so proud of you. You are the future, you're innovators, you're our builders. You are going to service our community. So thank you so much for your sacrifice and your leadership."

- Honourable Melanie Mark
Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training
Video address

Vancouver Community College is proud to announce the graduation of 1,195 hardworking and dedicated students on Thursday, November 23, 2017. 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 and Applied Business
  • School of Trades, Technology and Design
  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • Centre for Continuing Studies
  • Division of Library and Teaching and Learning Services

Valedictorian Melanie Bredo, Dental Reception Coordinator program, addressed the graduating class with a motivating message:

“Look at what we have all accomplished; the knowledge we have gained, the relationships we have developed, the confidence in ourselves to try something new. This sense of pride and accomplishment is something that I can only hope will carry us all forward and prepare us for whatever changes come in our lives. To the graduating class, I ask that you inspire change in others and enjoy the opportunities that will present themselves to you.  And to use those opportunities to lay the path for success."

VCC alumna Roshni Kashyap, an Outstanding Alumni Award winner, offered some heartfelt advice to this year's graduating class:

"Follow your passion, whatever it may be. Listen to your heart. Nothing comes easy, so work at it. Think big and you will be big. Make it happen for yourself. If I can do it, each one of you can do it too." 


Full photo gallery:‌‌

convocation fall 2017 gallery

Media release: VCC’s fashion program gives back to Dress for Success

Posted on October 18, 2017

News-Dress-for-Success-292VANCOUVER, B.C. – Each year, students in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Fashion Design & Production Diploma program participate in an activity that uses fashion to give back to the community. This year, the class chose to design and donate suites to Dress for Success Vancouver (DFS), an organization that provides professional attire, career services, and skills development for women entering or rejoining the workforce. 

“It might not be the part of the industry that gets the media attention, but the fashion industry is filled with examples of generosity,” said Andrea Korens, program coordinator, VCC Fashion. “We feel it is important to cultivate a sense of community-mindedness in our students.”

Using the skills they developed in their first 10 months at VCC, students designed, drafted, and constructed a four-piece business look specifically for a client of the charity.

The suits feature fabrics donated by Our Social Fabric and local businesses like Arcteryx, Plum Clothing, Jason Matlo, and Nicole Bridger. Both looks include a tailored jacket, dress pants, and a blouse. The designs feature materials like a navy crepe and a brown pinstripe, and wardrobe additions of a vest and a casual turtleneck.

This project is the final in a series completed during VCC’s first-year fashion cycle courses in which students experience a fast-paced production process including design, drafting, construction, marketing, and sales.

VCC Fashion’s partnership with DFS also highlights the organization’s longstanding service to the VCC student population. DFS has provided approximately 480 VCC students and graduates with job interview outfits since 2012.

“Dress for Success’ ability to assist recent graduates on their job hunt is a service we offer that often goes under the radar,” said Jennifer Halinda, executive director, Dress for Success Vancouver. “Working with VCC Fashion allows us to highlight this demographic, and those from VCC that we have assisted in their careers. The two beautifully designed suits were happily received by our client, Aerin Hack [pictured].”

“We are amazed by our students’ ability to create professional suits in their first year of studies,” said Korens. “For them, it’s a great feeling to be supported by generous industry donations, and then pay it forward.”


For interviews, high-resolution photos, or fashion show opportunities, please contact:

Sarah Murray
Program Coordinator Fashion, Recruitment and Industry Relations
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 8668

Danielle Libonati
Marketing and Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College

Learning while working with real customers sets VCC apart

Posted on November 10, 2017

Originally published in Metro News Vancouver 

From Nov. 5 to 11, the British Columbia government will recognize the contributions of apprentices and their employers to the province’s economy and labour force with its annual Apprenticeship Recognition Week.

Vancouver Community College (VCC), says the school’s dean of trades, technology and design, plays an important role in the apprenticed trades being recognized by facilitating a range of apprenticeship opportunities.

“We have apprenticeships in the transportation, hospitality, and hair, esthetics, and makeup trades,” says Brett Griffiths. “And what really differentiates VCC from other training providers is that our apprenticeship programs offer experiential learning that is customer-based.”

Students in the hairstylist apprenticeship, for example, practice their skills in a full-service salon, while baking and pastry arts and culinary arts apprentices provide food services at the college’s campuses, and students in programs such as automotive collision repair service vehicles through VCC’s auto shop.

“Because our students interact with real customers, it allows them to take their technical training to the next level by gaining soft skills. That is a huge advantage for our grads to have,” says Griffiths.

Apprenticeship training, says Griffiths, differs from full-time programs because of its workplace-based entry. To enroll, students must be working in the field in which they want to apprentice, be sponsored by their employer and complete the training under their employer’s guidance. And while the length of an apprenticeship varies by trade, the outcomes are typically the same. 

“Generally, the goal of apprenticeships is to acquire a greater level of technical training, which usually results in higher pay,” he says. “Additionally, many apprenticeships are a pathway to a Red Seal designation — the benchmark set out by the Industry Training Authority for skilled trades of professional practice in various industries. The Red Seal allows you to work across Canada, so it provides a lot of portability.”


See which VCC programs allow you to "earn while you learn" as a registered apprentice.

VCC Student Awards - Fall 2017 recap

Posted on November 20, 2017

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, Nov. 17, the fall awards ceremony took place at VCC’s Broadway campus where the VCC Foundation awarded in excess of $163,000 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 Rose Brooks, a student who has taken ESL Pathways, the Administrative Assistant program, and now the Medical Office Assistant program. Her award comes from Dr. Jennifer Prosser Wade, and honours a student who has overcome major life challenges to pursue their academic goals. 

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 the 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 or visit our online Catalogue of Gifts.


See the full photo galleries from all student awards ceremonies on VCC's Flickr page.

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

Posted on July 15, 2016

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 - Entry 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.



Media release: VCC’s 30th anniversary of Fiat Mode to be held at VFW

Posted on September 15, 2017

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Community College (VCC) is celebrating 30 years of fashion at Fiat Mode by showcasing the incredible talent, creativity and skills students have developed through experiential training at VCC. On Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. graduates from VCC’s fashion arts diploma program will showcase their collections on the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week (50 E. Pender St, Vancouver).

“The creativity and energy witnessed each year at VCC’s annual graduate fashion show captures Coco Chanel’s belief that fashion goes well beyond clothing. It’s about expressing individuality. It’s about being in tune with one’s environment. It’s about taking an idea, using technical know-how, and turning a concept into something concrete,” said Sarah Murray, co-program coordinator, fashion. “We’re proud of our grads and it’s thrilling for us to share their hard work and creativity.”

Nine students will showcase their men’s and women’s wear collections to a crowd of 500 fashionistas, media outlets, industry representatives, and proud family and friends.

“We are delighted to complete 30 years of Fiat Mode on such a high,” said Andrea Korens, co-program coordinator, fashion. “The collections this season feature detailed and intelligent design, often highlighted with hand embroidery and surface design elements.”    

VCC's fashion arts program ran from 1986-2017 and has graduated students like Sports Illustrated swimsuit designer Anna Kosturova and those who have gone on to work for major brands like Arcteryx and Aritzia. In 2016, VCC launched a new fashion design & production diploma program in response to the needs of the fashion industry and to ensure VCC students continue to be the most sought after graduates. These students will be recognized and celebrated under a new banner succeeding Fiat Mode in 2018. 

Fiat Mode 30 is open to the public. Tickets are available at

Photo and interview opportunities available on-site post-show:

Date: Wednesday, September 2017
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Vancouver Fashion Week Media Lounge (Upstairs at the Chinese Cultural Centre, 50 E. Pender St.)
More info:

To RSVP for the show and for interview opportunities and high resolution photos, please contact:

Sarah Murray
Program Coordinator Fashion, Recruitment and Industry Relations
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 8668

- 30 –

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. 


Chef's Table tickets are now sold out

Posted on October 12, 2017

Chef's Table is now SOLD OUT - thank you for your support!

VCC’s International Culinary Arts students are bringing the Chef’s Table pop-up kitchen to the VCC Broadway campus.

When: Oct. 24 - Nov. 17, Tuesday - Friday 
Time: 6:30 p.m. seating
Where: Quizine Kitchen - VCC Broadway Campus cafeteria, 1155 East Broadway, Vancouver, B.C. (Entrance at Glen Dr. and 8th Ave.)

$30 for a five-course menu designed by Chef Hamid Salimian.

$45 for the five-course menu, paired with a selection of B.C. wines. 

Sign up here to receive future culinary updates, including Chef's Table releases.


Open Door Group relocates to VCC’s Downtown campus

Posted on October 4, 2017

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Open Door Group, a registered charity, recently opened the doors to three new WorkBC Employment Services Centres in the Downtown Eastside, including a satellite office to deliver employment services on-site at the Vancouver Community College (VCC) Downtown campus.

The new collaboration provides many opportunities for VCC students and the neighbouring community. The employment centre is open to all local job seekers within the Downtown Eastside catchment, spanning the full distance from Gastown to Nanaimo Street. The move will increase access to direct employment services for those who frequent VCC.

Open Door Group is now located on the second floor of VCC, above the entrance at 250 West Pender St. The scope of services offered at the employment services centre includes one-on-one career counselling and case management, workshops, assessments, and job placement services.

Through the WorkBC program, Open Door Group also offers specialized services for job seekers who may face barriers to employment. These include persons with disabilities, recent immigrants, older workers, youth, and Indigenous People, among others. In addition to providing direct services, the employment centre staff advise job seekers on various skills upgrading and training programs, VCC being one of those providers. 

“At VCC, we are focused on improving opportunities at the college through partnerships with criteria based on what is good for our students, the community, and employers. This new collaboration is a great example of building strength by working with other organizations,” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, VCC President and CEO.

“Open Door Group is committed to lifelong learning and career success for all individuals,” said Tom Burnell, CEO of Open Door Group. “This move from one location to three locations allows us to increase access points to employment services in the Downtown Eastside, and continue serving the full range of diversity that exists within this community through strong partnerships with local businesses and organizations.”


VCC has been helping students reach their career and educational goals for over 50 years. With three campuses located in Downtown Vancovuer, on East Broadway, and on Annacis Island, VCC offers post-secondary training in over 120 programs including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeships in areas including culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trade, and music.

MarketSafe certification now available at VCC

Posted on April 15, 2015

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.

Local chef to compete in international cooking competition

Posted on September 11, 2017

As originally posted in the Squamish Chief


Squamish resident Tristan Toderan’s passion for cooking will be taking him overseas for an international culinary competition. 

As a graduate of Vancouver Community College’s ACE-It culinary program, Toderan will be working alongside a classmate to compete as a team in the 2017 World Master Chefs Competition for Cantonese Cuisine in Hong Kong, as well as a culinary exchange in Guangdong, China. 

Together, Toderan and his partner will be preparing a tea-smoked crocker with soy caviar and a lemon-grass broth. Their dish will go in front of a panel of judges who will be assessing food prepared from teams all over the world. 

Because Troderan and his partner know exactly what they will be cooking, they have been busy practicing. 

Toderan explains that practice has paid off and the skills they originally struggled with – such as getting the deep-fried egg the perfect consistency to compliment the rest of the dish – have been solved.

Toderan began refining his cooking skills through the ACE-It program’s Culinary Arts division, which was offered to Grade 12 students at Howe Sound Secondary. He says that the ACE-It program was an amazing opportunity to cultivate his passion for cooking – Toderan recommends the program to curious high schoolers. 

After graduating high school, Toderan went on to attend Vancouver Community College’s level-two culinary arts program and specialize in Asian cooking. 

Toderan said that, for him, cooking Cantonese cuisine was fun and that he picked up techniques quickly. This led him to get noticed and eventually invited to represent Vancouver Community College at the World Master Chefs Competition for Cantonese Cuisine. 

When asked if he ever thought he would be cooking at a competitive level, Toderan explained that being invited to a competition of this caliber was unexpected and that he is super excited to be able to go to both in Hong Kong and China.

Cafeteria closures

Posted on September 14, 2017

The Downtown campus cafeteria will close on Thursday, September 21 at 1 p.m. It will remain closed for approximately six weeks.

Other options:

Asian kitchen

Run by students and instructors in the Asian culinary program, the Asian kitchen will re-open on September 25 for lunch service.

Hours of operation:
Monday - Friday
10:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

The Bistro

The Bistro offers a wide variety of salads, sharing plates, side plates, entrees, and desserts.
The current menu has a range of comfort foods for those cold wet days, and lighter fare for those hanging onto summer.

Hours of operation:
Tuesday - Thursday
10:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
Dates: September 19 - November 30 (Closed October 24 - 31)

Call to place your take out order or reserve a table at 604.443.8352.

The Bistro is a licensed establishment. Reservations are recommended.


Beginning September 22, the cafeteria will continue to offer limited coffee and market items for the duration of the renovation. 

Hours of operation:
Monday - Thursday, 7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Fridays, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Enjoy gourmet cuisine at a fraction of the cost of other fine dining restaurants. JJ's Restaurant is run by students and instructors in the culinary arts program.

Hours of operation:
Monday - Thursday
11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Dates: Opens October 2

Reservations are recommended 604.443.8479


Love to cook or entertain? Come check out our culinary arts and hospitality management programs! See us at Experience VCC (old) on October 18. 

Premier Horgan expands tuition waiver for former youth in care

Posted on September 11, 2017

Source: B.C. Government News

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Young people leaving foster care now will have access to free tuition at all 25 of British Columbia’s public post-secondary institutions, Premier John Horgan announced today.

“We want youth in our care system to know we are looking out for them and that we believe in their potential. That’s why we are expanding access to post-secondary education for youth aging out of care so they can thrive, not just survive,” said Premier Horgan.

This program – previously only available at 11 public post-secondary institutions – provides tuition waivers to former kids in care, who are less likely to have access to post-secondary education or training than young people who grew up with family supports.

“We’re in a position to make life better for young people who grew up without family stability,” said Premier Horgan. “By bringing down barriers to opportunity, and making advanced education more accessible, we can clear the path to success for these young people.”

Students accessing the program must be:

  • from British Columbia;
  • aged between 19 to 26 years; and
  • have been in care for a minimum of 24 months.

“Education can mean the difference between a life in poverty or a life of prosperity. It’s an important equalizer because when we lift people up, all our communities benefit,” said Melanie Mark, Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister. “Giving former youth in care the opportunity to access post-secondary education and skills training along with the tools needed to complete their studies will empower them to thrive.”

“Young people who have been in care should have the same level of support as other young adults do – that’s why we are providing a stronger foundation for them to achieve their goals through the tuition waiver program,” said Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy. “Parents throughout British Columbia offer supports to their children after they reach 19. Youth in care need to know that we are looking out for them, too. That is why we are committed to further enhancing supports so we can be sure we’re helping all youth who age out, not just a few.”

The expanded tuition waiver program is the first of a number of improved supports government is developing for young people who have aged out of care.

“Former youth in care is a hard label to wear at times,” said Ruby Barclay, a fourth-year child and youth care student at Vancouver Island University. “Everyone says you learn a lot at university, but on top of the academic knowledge, I’ve also learned a lot about myself and my values and had the opportunity to explore my place in the world. Now my narrative is more than my past. I identify as a university student, professional and activist.”

The cost of waiving tuition will be covered by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training for the remainder of fiscal 2017-18.

Any eligible student who already has paid fees for September enrolment will be refunded.

A more comprehensive program, with wrap around supports, is being developed in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, as part of the 2018-19 budget process.

For more information on supports currently available for youth aging out of care, please see:

VCC university transfers open doors for prospective engineers

Posted on August 23, 2017

As originally posted in the Georgia Straight

Nowadays, one of the biggest challenges for Grade 12 students is obtaining high enough marks to get into university. A student’s average has to be in the mid- to high 80s for them even to be considered for the UBC engineering program, according to the UBC website.

The SFU website states that an average has to be in the high 80s for applied sciences, including engineering.

The dean of arts and sciences at Vancouver Community College, David Wells, says his school can help students who don’t meet those criteria to still achieve their career dream.

That’s because VCC offers a first-year transfer engineering certificate that prepares students to enter second-year engineering at both of B.C.’s largest universities.

“They have to do it within a 16-month period, but most times that’s quite easily achieved,” Wells told the Straight by phone.

He emphasized that the courses have been designed to align with what’s being offered at SFU and UBC. As long as students achieve the required grade-point average, they’re guaranteed admission to year two of these universities’ engineering programs.

“This relationship started with SFU about four years ago,” Wells explained. “It was really born out of their interest in having more students coming into the second year [engineering] because there was fairly significant attrition.”

He added that UBC also loses engineering students in second year because some find it “quite demanding” attending a large research university with large classes.

“That was the motivation to look at a guaranteed-transfer certificate,” Wells said. “We’ve, of course, developed it to align with SFU and UBC.”

One of the advantages of studying engineering at VCC is the price. Many of its courses cost less than $100 per credit hour, which is significantly lower than what’s being charged at B.C.’s research universities.

Most of the courses are taught at VCC’s Broadway campus, which is near the western terminus of the Millennium Line, but one is at the downtown campus to make use of computer-lab technology at that location.

Wells said there’s a good faculty mix of talented young PhDs with a great deal of energy experienced instructors who have “built tremendous competencies in supporting student learning”. And they don’t only teach university-transfer credit courses in engineering.

VCC also has a first-year university-transfer computing-science and software-systems certificate. There are also university-transfer certificates in environmental studies, arts, science, and health sciences. The credits can be applied not only to research universities but also to B.C.’s teaching universities, including Capilano and Kwantlen.

“There’s a lot of development work that we’re doing in the development of credentials, with the target of having students be really well prepared to transfer into degree-granting institutions,” Wells said.

The next information session is at 5 p.m. next Wednesday (August 23). For more information, visit .

Media release: Government announcement on Adult Basic Education and ESL tuition

Posted on August 9, 2017

VANCOUVER – The provincial government announced yesterday that it would be restoring funding and removing tuition fees for Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in British Columbia as of September 2017.

"We are happy to work closely with the provincial government to implement these changes,” says Dr. Peter Nunoda, Vancouver Community College (VCC) president and CEO. “VCC’s ESL and adult upgrading courses are often the first steps on a pathway to a new career, a career change or a fresh start; and I am proud of our students and employees that work together to make this a reality.”

VCC is one of the B.C.’s largest providers of adult upgrading programs and its ESL Pathways program was recently awarded national recognition by Colleges and Institutes Canada. VCC’s adult upgrading courses are a key entry point for students seeking to re-enter the education system or complete prerequisites to enroll in post-secondary programs. VCC offers self-paced or class-based courses from basic skills up to Grade 12, including English, math, sciences, humanities and computer classes.

Media release: VCC to offer Gladue report writing program

Posted on August 1, 2017

VANCOUVER – Vancouver Community College (VCC) and consulting firm IndiGenius & Associates have entered into a partnership to develop and deliver a Gladue report writing program, the first of its kind at a college in Western Canada.

Intended to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canada’s criminal justice system, Gladue is a principle that takes racism and systemic discrimination into account during sentencing.

A Gladue report is a pre-sentencing or bail hearing written report, which instructs judges to consider all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders. It also aims to incorporate community members and the victim in determining a fit sentence. 

VCC’s Gladue report writing program will be designed for law students, lawyers, advocates, judges, Native Courtworkers, Indigenous community members, and anyone else interested in writing Gladue reports.

VCC is committed to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, as well as to fulfilling its commitment to the Indigenous Education Protocol through existing services and the development of unique programs.

“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, which is critical to the success in the development of this program,” says David Wells, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences at VCC.

The program advisory committee overseeing the design and development of this program includes representation from Legal Services Society of B.C., Gladue Writers Association of B.C., Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General, Mediation Services, and VCC's Indigenous faculty and Elders.

“It is truly an honour to be part of a journey in creating curriculum for Gladue training with VCC, but also to see the potential to pave a path to set a national standard in Gladue training for our people,” says Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, Founder & President, IndiGenius & Associates. “If we are to help our people who are facing incarceration, then we need to provide qualified expert Gladue writers that are recognized by the courts. 


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 ongoing 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 multidisciplinary 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, Indigenous Education and Community Engagement
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7288

Prominent CGA Gem Conference hosted by VCC

Posted on October 13, 2015



From Oct. 16 to 18, 2015, top gemstone experts from across Canada and around the world will gather in Vancouver for the 25th annual Canadian Gemmological Association (CGA) conference. Held at the Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver, the 2015 CGA Gem Conference will welcome gemmologists, geologists, jewellers and goldsmiths as they participate in professional courses and seminars. The conference also hosts a gala dinner and graduation ceremony for newly certified FCGmA fellows from Vancouver Community College’s gemmolgoy industry certification programs.

The conference’s major educational programming is also operated via VCC Continuing Studies with all proceeds from registration fees supporting VCC gemmology students through the Vancouver Community College Foundation.

Courses of note include Geology of Gem Deposits (GEMM 8010), in which students will learn from three world-renowned geologists about the newest scientific techniques being used to analyze the formation of gemstones. In another anticipated course, Jade (Fei Cui) Identification and Valuation Workshop 2015 (GEMM 8011), Dr. Edward Liu from the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong presents techniques for the identification and valuation of this distinctive stone.

CGA president and VCC gemmology instructor Donna Hawrelko is looking forward to hosting this major conference in Vancouver for the sixth time since 1995. “There are some of the great, internationally recognized speakers coming, some of whom were also here in 1995,” she says. “We’re all looking forward to renewing old acquaintances and meeting new people. And having fun!”


Vancouver Community College has been offering Canadian Gemmological Association certification courses since 1985. Learn more about  at VCC. 

VCC Culinary students cook to feed the homeless.

Posted on October 21, 2015

‌This is the 12th year the B.C. Chefs Association, the Chinese-Canadian Chefs Association and the Hong Kong Canada Chef Club have put on a charity lunch to mark International Chefs Day, in tandem with similar events around the world.

Scotiabank Passions

READ MORE (The Province)

Santiago Cuyugan, the 2017 Savour Patissier of the Year

Posted on June 8, 2017

As originally posted in So Good magazine

Santiago Cuyugan has been named the winner of the second edition of Savour Patissier of the Year, which took place in Foodservice Australia from May 28 - 30.

Cuyugan is a pastry chef/chocolatier, who has come to Australia from Canada a few years ago. He has competed at the IKA Culinary Olympics in 2012 and the inaugural Savour Patissier of the Year 2016 competition where he won the people’s choice award for his entremet. He is currently working at Bibelot in Melbourne.

The candidates had three days to demonstrate their experience and skills in éclairs, tarts, desserts, and entremets, for a shot at winning over $50,000 in cash and prizes, along with a trip to train at Ravifruit studio with Marike Van Beurden. The winner will also be taking a trip to Ghana, where they will visit a cocoa plantation, all thanks to Callebaut, a platinum sponsor of the competition.

The decision was not an easy one for the judges, made up of World Pastry Cup Winner, author and TV star, Christophe Michalak; the renowned Best Pastry Chef in the World, Jordi Roca; the popular Miami-based chef, Antonio Bachour; and Savour’s very own Paul Kennedy. “This year, finalists were world class and the level of skill that went into all of the creations was outstanding”, according to Kirsten Tibballs, head of the Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School and organizer of the event. “Each of the competitors plated up their very best in innovation, design, and flavor, and it was mesmerizing to watch the room of pastry chefs, each wholly concentrated on the task at hand”. Finally, the candidate with the highest score and also winner of the Entremets category was Santiago Cuyugan. The winners of the other categories were Alessandro Bartesaghi (Desserts), Vincent Denis (Tarts), and Joshua Cochrane (Éclairs).


Satiango completed VCC's baking and pastry arts program in 2010 and returned to finish the culinary arts program in 2012. Want to discover where your culinary career can take you? Join us for an upcoming info session

VCC takes quake drill to next level

Posted on October 21, 2016

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


Can you picture yourslelf in a health care career? VCC offers industry-leading programs in nursing, dental hygiene, medical lab technology, and more. 


Top five entrees to try at Quizine Kitchen

Posted on May 14, 2014

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

Career move: legal administrative assistant

Posted on January 15, 2016


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 advisory: Music 40th celebration

Posted on February 27, 2015

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

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

More info:

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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

Media release: office assistants training for in-demand jobs

Posted on December 17, 2015

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:

For more information about Vancouver Community College:

Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation:

For more information on B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint:

To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan:

Random Acts of Green contest

Posted on September 24, 2014

VCC’s Random Acts of Green contest is well underway. Thank you to those who have been participating by tweeting and posting their Random Act of Green to @greenvcc and to VCC’s sustainability Facebook page. The Random Acts of Green contest is open until Monday, October 13, with prizes being drawn weekly. Don't forget that the more you post, like and retweet, the more time you'll be entered to win. 

‌Students, staff and faculty continue to support our initiative to make VCC’s campuses a greener place, and in doing so are not only helping the environment, but are winning lots of great prizes. The music department's student service coordinator, Jodi Van Brunt says "up until the new recycling program was put in place, I used to take her recyclables home".


Acts of green can be anything from:

  • Turning off the lights
  • Recycling
  • Taking transit or cycling to one of the two VCC campuses
  • Using a re-usable coffee mug
  • Printing less
  • Using less paper

These random acts of green add up. Be part of the movement and submit your act of green today! 

 Contest rules:

Prizes valued at over $500, and include VCC swag bags, gift certificates to JJ’s, the bookstore and MEC. Prizes will be randomly drawn each week with new entries from that week; must have a valid VCC ID to claim your prize. Liking or following the VCC sustainability Facebook or Twitter earns an additional entry for that week. The person in the photo is the one entered to win the prize, and will be emailed at their VCC email if they are not tagged with a social media account. Prize winners with a social media account will be announced on the VCC sustainability Twitter and Facebook pages, and contacted through personal message. 

Be proud to be green!

Posted on September 11, 2014

Starting Wednesday, September 10, Vancouver Community College (VCC) will be holding a Random Acts of Green contest, encouraging students, staff and faculty to capture themselves and others getting caught in an act of green.

VCC’s new president, Dr. Peter Nunoda was recently caught in the act of using a re-usable coffee mug.
"This is a small act that over time can help our environment in big ways", says Dr. Nunoda.


Catch your teachers, students, staff members and colleauges, then tweet the photo to @greenvcc or post to VCC’s sustainability Facebook page using #VCCActsofGreen to be entered into a weekly prize draw. The contest will run from Wednesday, September 10 to Monday, October 13.

Acts of green can be anything from:

  • Turning off the lights
  • Recycling
  • Taking transit or cycling to one of the two VCC campuses
  • Using a re-usable coffee mug
  • Printing less
  • Using less paper

These random acts of green add up. Be part of the movement and submit your act of green today! 


Contest rules:

Prizes valued at over $500, and include VCC swag bags, gift certificates to JJ’s, the bookstore and MEC. Prizes will be randomly drawn each week with new entries from that week; must have a valid VCC ID to claim your prize. Liking or following the VCC sustainability Facebook or Twitter earns an additional entry for that week. The person in the photo is the one entered to win the prize, and will be emailed at their VCC email if they are not tagged with a social media account. Prize winners with a social media account will be announced on the VCC sustainability Twitter and Facebook pages, and contacted through personal message. 

Team Canada lays it all on the line at Culinary Olympics

Posted on November 14, 2016

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

Media release: VCC Film Camp

Posted on June 23, 2016

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



Create a new tradition with #GivingTuesday

Posted on November 30, 2015



Join the movement – be a part of #GivingTuesday!

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. After the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a single day dedicated to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non-profits. 

For 50 years, VCC has provided individuals from every walk of life with education and training that is recognized and respected by employers across Metro Vancouver. We built this city.

The average VCC student is in her 30’s, raising a family, from an immigrant population and upgrading her job skills. These students deserve every opportunity to succeed. When they do, they make our community a better place.

You can help a VCC student by making a donation to the VCC Foundation.
Every donation goes directly to scholarships, bursaries and classroom teaching materials through the 50th Anniversary Fund.

Donate on #GivingTuesday and win

This Tuesday, December 1, 2015, anyone who donates of $20 or more to the VCC Foundation and shares about it on social media will be entered to win one of three great prizes:

  • $50 Minami restaurant gift card
  • $50 Joey restaurant gift card
  • $50 Plum clothing gift card

To donate:
Visit the VCCF secure online donation page.
Print and deliver your donation. (PDF)

To share:
Celebrate your donation and/or encourage others to give on Twitter or Facebook. Be sure to tag VCC Alumni Relations (@VCC_Alumni) so we see it!

Draw will take place on Thursday December 3. A tax receipt will be issued for donations $20 and over. Thank you to Canadian Direct Insurance and Mianmi for donating these gift cards.


Media Release: VCC instructor awarded Certified Master Chef status

Posted on July 8, 2015

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 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.

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For interview opportunities and high resolution photos, media can contact:

Danielle Libonati
Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7531

Congratulations OHI Top 30 under 30 winner Taka Li

Posted on April 6, 2017

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.

VCC's revamped culinary program focuses on active participation

Posted on July 19, 2017

Students are encouraged to take more responsibility for learning, reflect on work and incorporate modern techniques

As originally posted in Metro Vancouver

New instructional strategies resulting in a more learner-driven curriculum have revamped Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) culinary arts (professional cook 1), and culinary arts (professional cook 2) programs, says the culinary arts department head at the college.

“A major emphasis of the new program is active student participation,” says Collin Gill. “While students have always received hands-on learning, we’ve taken it a step further by encouraging students to become self-directed and responsible for their own learning, and to come to class well prepared for active participation in classroom and kitchen activities.”

The programs, which can be completed as part of the pathway to a Red Seal designation — the benchmark set out by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for skilled trades — also use a combination of lecture, class discussion and independent study to promote the development of professional practice in the food industry.

“We’ve added a reflection component that sees students spending more time on assessing what they have made,” says Gill. “So while students are still getting the learning outcomes set out by the ITA, they also explore questions such as what is interesting to them about a certain food, which might then be researched and presented or take on the form of a class discussion.

“We are also imparting more modern techniques and teaching more to technique. For example, if we are examining braising, which is French technique, we teach how it can be applied to world dishes rather than just French cuisine. This change was driven by student interest.”

The changes to the program are being supported by an update to VCC’s fully operational industrial kitchens, which over the course of last year were outfitted with all of the latest kitchen equipment, including smart ovens and blast chillers for cook-chill production.

Gill says a new, flexible delivery — which was also implemented due to student demand — rounds out the program changes. “Our classes are now Monday to Thursday in the a.m., as opposed to both morning and afternoon,” says Gill. “This gives students more time for other responsibilities. We believe this, combined with our new instructional strategy, is a more engaging experience for our students.”


Love to cook? Come check out our culinary arts programs! Join us at our next free infosession and tour.


VCC brings home medals in baking and hairdressing

Posted on June 14, 2017

VCC's four Skills Canada B.C. provincial competition gold medal winners were in in Winnipeg, MB May 31 - June 3 to represent British Columbia at the Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC). 

Congratulations to all of the students who competed, as well as the Baking & Pastry Arts and Hair Design faculty who support their tireless journey to success. 200 medals were awarded to the top students and apprentices in the country including Courtney Edwards who won bronze in hairdressing and Angela Wu who brought home gold for the second year in a row in baking.


Full competition results here. For photos of the weekend event, visit the Skills Canada Flickr page.


Gold - Angela Wu, VCC

Shoshawna Patel, New Westminster Secondary (ACE-IT) 



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

Kai Khuan Teoh, VCC


The 2018 Skills Canada National Competition will be held at the Edmonton EXPO Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, June 3 to 6.

SCNC is the only national multi-trade and technology event of its kind for young students and apprentices in the country.

Alumni Profile - Daniel Ruiz

Posted on November 29, 2013

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.

Media Advisory: 11th Annual Fair in the Square

Posted on May 24, 2017

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

Spring 2017 convocation recap

Posted on July 7, 2017

‌“Make your vision so clear that fears become irrelevant. Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.”

- Futurist, Joel Barker

Vancouver Community College is proud to announce the graduation of 1,327 hardworking and dedicated students on Thursday, June 29, 2017. This year’s spring 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 Shauna McGoldrick, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, addressed the graduating class with a motivating message:

“It is now our opportunity to use our new strength to become the supportive springboard for others to achieve success and well-being. We must approach this privilege with humility and fierceness and with our sincerest compassionate hearts, which I know we will continue to share."

After Aboriginal studies at UBC and working as a community health worker in the Downtown Eastside, Shauna enrolled in the Access to Licensed Practical Nursing program at VCC in order to do more for marginalized populations. During her time at VCC, Shauna was awarded the Pat Smith Award, an award for the student who best demonstrates a passion for nursing.

VCC alumnus Scott Jaeger, chef/owner of The Pear Tree Restaurant, offered an inspired alumni address:

"Be convicted to your goals. Don't abandon them, but don't allow yourself to be handcuffed by them. Be open to what the world is going to bring you."

Scott is well regarded by his industry peers as a leader and a mentor. He doubts there has been a time in the last ten years that he hasn't had a VCC student or graduate in his kitchen. Scott recently won VCC's outstanding alumni award in the category of career success.

Full photo gallery:‌‌


Celebrating student success

Posted on June 14, 2017

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 or visit our online Gift Catalogue at

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

fall 2016 awards ceremony mobile

Q&A with Experience VCC tuition winner Mildred Petate

Posted on June 1, 2017

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

Posted on May 31, 2017

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 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 Release: ESL Pathways program recognized with national award

Posted on May 15, 2017

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




VCC and CUPE reach tentative agreement

Posted on May 3, 2016

‌‌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: <>

2017 BC Skills Competition

Posted on April 10, 2017

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

Posted on April 4, 2017

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

Carolyn Jack
Senior Project Manager, Communications
Emily Carr University
T: 604.970.3234

Gastown boutique partners with VCC fashion design

Posted on March 16, 2017

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 

Samsung Tech Institute Grand Opening Contest

Posted on February 17, 2017

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

Posted on March 27, 2017

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

Posted on March 21, 2017

‌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

Posted on January 27, 2017

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

Student T2202A tax forms are available online

Posted on March 2, 2017

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 with your question and student ID or call 604.871.7000, ext. 7002.

New Awards of Achievement by VCC Continuing Studies

Posted on November 3, 2015

‌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

Posted on February 23, 2017

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


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


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

Paula’s story: from addiction to inspiration

Posted on May 13, 2015



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.






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

Posted on September 24, 2015


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 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:


Media can contact:

Jane MacCarthy
Associate Director, Alumni Relations
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.360.3325

Media Phone: 604.612.2653


An awarding experience

Posted on June 9, 2015



‌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 or visit our online Gift Catalogue at


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



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

Posted on October 22, 2015

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

Posted on October 16, 2015

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.

Scheduled website maintenance

Posted on February 16, 2017

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

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

Posted on September 21, 2015

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:

Media Release: VCC serves DTES community

Posted on January 16, 2017

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

- 30 –

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

Marianne Hicks
Manager of Community Resources
The Salvation Army Harbour Light
T: 604.646.6813


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

Posted on January 12, 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

Posted on January 25, 2017

‌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

Posted on January 9, 2017

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

Posted on May 22, 2015

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

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

Posted on July 17, 2015


“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 for registration info.

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

Posted on August 30, 2016

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

Posted on October 5, 2016

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.