See all programs with space available

Posted on June 24, 2019



Considering college? Don't wait! These VCC programs still have space available for Fall 2019. Programs start in September unless noted. Apply online now or learn more by attending an upcoming info session or speaking to a program advisor.

(Updated June 3, 2019)

Applied Business and Office Administration

Administrative Assistant (Aug 2019)

Medical Office Assistant

Medical Transcriptionist


Baking and Culinary

Asian Culinary Arts

Baking Foundation - High School (Aug 2019)

Baking & Pastry Arts - Pastry

Professional Cook 1 Plus (Aug and Nov 2019)

Professional Cook 2 (Aug 2019)



CAD & BIM Architectural Technician (Diploma)

CAD & BIM Civil Structural Technician (Diploma)

CAD Technician

Civil/Structural Technician Certificate

Steel Detailing Technician Certificate

Graphic Design (Certificate)

Graphic Design (Diploma)

Jewellery Art and Design


Hair, Esthetics and Makeup

Hairstylist (Sept and Oct 2019)

Esthetics (Sept and Nov 2019)


Health Sciences

Access to Practical Nursing

Dental Assisting - Certified

Dental Reception Coordinator

Dental Technology Sciences

Health Unit Coordinator

Health Care Assistant — ESL

Occupational/Physical Therapist Assistant

Practical Nursing



Hospitality Management (Diploma)

Bachelor of Hospitality Management (Executive Cohort)


Sign Language Studies

ASL and Deaf Studies



Computer Systems Technology


 Transportation Trades

Automotive Collision Repair Technician 

Automotive Refinishing Prep Technician 

Automotive Service Technician



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 BCLions.ca 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! 

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.


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

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.

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. 

Web: www.bcchr.ca 
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.

Web: www.vcc.ca/fashion
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 www.vanfashionweek.com/media
Instagram: @vankidsfashionweek
Facebook: @vankidsfashionweek


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Medica can contact:

Sarah Murray
Co-Program Coordinator, Recruitment and Industry Relations, Fashion
Vancouver Community College
E: smurray@vcc.ca

Tiffany Reeve
Strategic Initiatives Research Manager, Healthy Starts
BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
E: treeve@bcchr.ca



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

VCC students rank high at WorldSkills Kazan 2019

Posted on August 30, 2019



For the first time, two Vancouver Community College (VCC) students have ranked among the best in the world in their skilled trades.  

After six days of Olympic-esque ceremonies and intense competition, WorldSkills Kazan 2019 wrapped up on Tuesday, August 27 in Kazan, Russia with VCC baking and pastry arts apprentice Clarissa Roque placing 5th out of 23 competitors in her category, and VCC culinary apprentice Leah Patitucci placing 11th out of 48.

Of the 32-member Team Canada competing in Kazan, 14 were also awarded Medallions of Excellence for their work, including Clarissa and Leah. In total, over 1,300 young professionals from 63 countries and regions competed in the event. 

Over the past two years, both Clarissa and Leah have continuously won their way into higher and higher levels of competition, starting with regional Skills Canada competitions, then provincials, nationals, and finally earning spots on WorldSkills Team Canada 2019.

In addition to school and work, both competitors spent countless hours training in VCC kitchens alongside chef instructors and other culinary experts and coaches. Both students also generously gave their time to local media for news and radio interviews (see more below). 

Upon her return to Canada, Leah will continue her work in fine dining at The Pear Tree Restaurant in Burnaby, B.C., and Clarissa will continue perfecting her craft at Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie.

Please join all of VCC in congratulating these women for their outstanding performances on the international stage, and stay tuned for more stories from Russia! 




Media Release: Canada’s first Gladue report writing credential to be offered at

Posted on August 15, 2019

VCC Downtown campus with sun and reflection


VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Community College (VCC) and consulting firm IndiGenius & Associates have partnered to pioneer a credentialed Gladue report writing program from an Indigenous perspective, the first of its kind at a post-secondary institution in Canada.

The part-time certificate program launches in October 2019.

Intended to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canada’s criminal justice system, Gladue is a sentencing principle that takes intergenerational traumas and systemic discrimination into account during sentencing.

“It is truly an honour to be part of a journey in instructing and creating curriculum for Gladue training with VCC, but also in helping pave a path for a national standard in Gladue training for our people,” says Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow, Founder & President, IndiGenius & Associates. “Despite a majority of reports being court-ordered, there hasn’t been a program in Canada that has allowed writers to receive a certificate or recognition of credentials to be acknowledged as a professional – until now.”

A Gladue report is an individual’s ‘Sacred Story’. It shares with the courts the personal history and relevant factors that give detail of the individual’s life continuum that could possibly give insight to why he/she became involved in the justice system. This sacred information plays an important role in crafting recommendations in accordance to the individual’s needs to assist the judge in making well-informed decisions. It also plays another crucial role in creating a healing journey for the individual. 

Across Canada, courts have identified a demand for certified Gladue report writers as well as common standards and increased funding for Indigenous justice initiatives.

VCC’s Gladue report writing program was offered as a three-month, part-time pilot in 2018, and has now been expanded to a full certificate program designed for law students, lawyers, advocates, judges, First Nations Court workers, Indigenous community members, and anyone interested in writing Gladue reports. The program can be completed in one year and training is delivered at VCC’s Downtown campus and online.

“We are grateful to be part of this collaboration”, says David Wells, Vice President Academic and Applied Research at VCC. “The Gladue report writing program is the perfect opportunity to build capacity within Indigenous communities, reinforce the importance of Indigenization within the post-secondary system, and honour our commitments to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the Indigenous Education Protocol.”

The program advisory committee overseeing the design and development of VCC’s Gladue report writing certificate includes representation from the Legal Services Society of B.C., the Gladue Writers Association of B.C., the Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General, MediateBC, and VCC's Indigenous faculty members and Elders.

VCC is committed to addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and fulfilling its commitment to the Indigenous Education Protocol through existing services and the development of unique programs.


VCC Continuing Studiesmission is to connect everyone in our diverse city to high-quality, flexible, and practical learning opportunities with industry practitioners. VCC Continuing Studies offers certificate and diploma programs, industry certifications, and professional development courses that are designed and delivered to develop skills that can be quickly applied to the workplace. Our over 60 program areas teach skills that translate into increased job opportunities for students, based on the need and feedback of Vancouver employers. No matter the area of study, whether it is related to administration, business, design, health, or human services, our expert instructors teach course content so that students develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to succeed in today’s workplace.


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. 

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Media can contact:

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


Mark Marsolais-Nahwegahbow
IndiGenius & Associates
T: 613.366.2268
E: indigeniusandassociates@gmail.com

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
E: lekramoddoullah@itabc.ca

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.


Welcome to VCC – Fall 2019

Posted on August 30, 2019



Welcome new and returning students to Vancouver Community College! Let's make sure you have a great start. See below for information and resources to help you now and throughout your studies.

Where's my class?

Know where to go on your first day. Use this chart to look up your building and room number on the first day of school.

If you have questions, find one of our friendly Peer Helpers wearing a VCC T-shirt.

Student email

Get access to your myVCC student email:

  • Log in to my.vcc.ca and click the "Email" icon.
  • If it's your first time logging in, your password will be your birthday (MMDDYY).
  • Important notifications may be sent to this email address, so please check it regularly or forward your myVCC email to your personal email account.

You can also use myVCC to look up grades, order transcripts, access tax forms, and receive campus news and alerts.

Welcome Days

Welcome Days is a fun and interactive carnival meant to help new and returning students learn about life at VCC. Join us for music, games, and snacks, enter to win great prizes, get to know classmates and staff, and learn about the many on-campus services available to you.

Welcome Days will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at the Broadway campus and Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the Downtown campus.

VCC Welcome Days collage, musicians, cotton candy, hot dogs, games

Student services

VCC offers a wide range of services to help you meet your educational goals and make the most of your studies.

Student services

Eat, shop and more

VCC also offers breastfeeding rooms and prayer spaces, please check with campus security for location information.

Safe and respectful campus

VCC expects students to conduct themselves responsibly and respectfully. As such, students are required to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct policy and procedures.

Smoking and cannabis use

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 prohibits smoking and vaping on all campus property, and 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 (including cannabis) while engaging in educational activities at one of our campuses or at an offsite location. Learn more >

Let's connect

Follow VCC on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to keep up-to-date on college news like student success stories, campus closures, and other announcements. Feel free to send us messages and questions, or share your own photos and stories using the hashtag #myVCC.

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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

VCC students join forces with leading female chefs for a cause

Posted on August 23, 2019

Photo: Vision Event Photography

Five VCC students, led by Culinary Arts instructor Kimberly McNeill, had the opportunity to work alongside some of Vancouver’s top female chefs and sommeliers at the YES Shef! long-table fundraising dinner on Monday, August 12 at the Chambar Restaurant.

The event, hosted by the WORTH Association (women of recreation, tourism and hospitality), aims to empower women in the local food and wine industry by having leading female chefs mentor the next generation of up-and-coming female culinary talents.

This was also a chance for the students to build their networks in the industry and each of them received a monetary gift of $400 from WORTH to use at VCC to further their culinary careers.

VCC Students

  • Jaqueline Guadalupe
  • Katherine Aguilar
  • Sarah Moroso
  • Anne Nguyen
  • Jeraldine Sarmieto



View the full photo gallery of the Yes Shef! event on Flickr.

Do you see yourself making your mark in Culinary Arts? Visit our state-of-the-art kitchens and talk to our award-winning faculty members at our next tour

Seats now available! Complete your science prerequisites

Posted on August 22, 2019

If you still need to complete prerequisites for entry into your post-secondary program, it’s not too late to get started this September. Credits transfer across B.C.

Classes begin September 3, 2019.

Seats are currently available in the following courses:

Apply now or attend the University Transfer info session to learn more on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2 p.m., Broadway campus, building B, room 1227.


Media Release: VCC celebrates the accomplishments of Red Seal graduates

Posted on August 19, 2019



VANCOUVER – Vancouver Community College (VCC) is celebrating alumni who have received their Red Seal endorsement (RSE) at its inaugural Red Seal recognition event, held today at the VCC Downtown campus. While most academic accomplishments are celebrated with a graduation ceremony, that isn’t usually the case when it comes to receiving a Red Seal – the interprovincial standard of excellence in the skilled trades. 

VCC recognizes that the work that goes into earning a Red Seal should be celebrated. 

“BC’s future will require carpenters, chefs, welders, and Red Seal trades professionals, just as much as we will need nurses, doctors, and teachers in order to build, and sustain a strong economy,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Trades workers are in high demand in B.C. and we expect more than 70,000 trades job openings in the next decade. 21St Century skills, like the ones achieved through trades training, apprenticeships and Red Seal designations, give students the tools they need to be industry ready, and be part of building the best B.C.”

“The goal of the event is to recognize and honour the hard work and dedication it takes for grads to obtain their Red Seal,” says VCC Associate Director, Alumni Relations Carolyn Hornell. “For many graduates, receiving their Red Seal is incredibly meaningful and VCC is thrilled to celebrate their accomplishments. We anticipate this will become an annual celebration.”

VCC’s first Red Seal recognition event includes all those who have received their Red Seal at VCC in the past five years. Six Red Seal trades are offered at VCC: cooking, baking, hairstyling, auto body and collision, automotive refinishing, automotive service, and heavy duty equipment. 

“A Red Seal is the sign of true excellence. By formally recognizing VCC students who have received their Red Seal, we honour the dedication these skilled tradespeople have to their craft and their commitment to the industry,” says VCC President and CEO Dr. Peter Nunoda.  

VCC is also well-known for producing winning Skills Canada competitors at the regional, provincial, and national levels. This week, two VCC graduates, a cook and a baker, will be competing at the WorldSkills Kazan 2019 competition in Russia. This is the first time a Canadian school will have competitors in both categories. 

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) provides funding to the VCC trades training programs, including Red Seal-recognized trades. This funding has helped lower the financial barriers to give students a more affordable way to start their journey into a career in the trades. 

The ITA is honoured to join in the recognition of VCC Red Seal graduates. “The dedication that goes into earning a Red Seal is cause for celebration,” says ITA CEO Shelley Gray. “A career in the trades opens up many pathways – be it as a journeyperson, business owner, or educator. Achieving the Red Seal gives this group the opportunity to not only further their career growth, but also support the success of the next generation of skilled trades professionals.”


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 in East Vancouver, Downtown Vancouver, and on Annacis Island, students can choose from hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades, and music.


About Industry Training Authority 

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) leads and coordinates British Columbia’s skilled trades system. The ITA works with apprentices, employers, industry, labour, training providers, and government to fund training, issue credentials, support apprenticeships, set program standards, and increase opportunities in the trades. For more information, visit itabc.ca


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Media can contact:

Fareedah Rasoul Kim
Vancouver Community College
Marketing and Communications Officer
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7538
E: frasoulkim@vcc.ca


Nicole Adams 
Director of Communications 
Industry Training Authority 
T: 604-364-1039 
E: nadams@itabc.ca

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.


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

Posted on May 31, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Counselling programs at VCC offer pathway for helpful people considering a career change

Posted on March 18, 2019

Originally published in the Georgia Straight

Vancouver Community College makes it relatively easy for prospective students to determine if they’re well suited for a career in counselling.

A 12-week introductory course called Basic Counselling Skills is offered to anyone interested in the field, providing insights into client-centred counselling and offering foundational skills for most models of counselling and practice under the supervision of someone experienced in the field.

According to program coordinator Matt Stevenson, this course is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to enroll in a counselling certificate program. It’s offered on a part-time basis during days and evenings starting in April, September, and January.

“We market it as an opportunity for anyone who wants to do any sort of personal development or anyone who is working in a people-facing role,” he told the Straight by phone. “We feel that it’s very beneficial for anyone who wants to upgrade their communications skills.”

In September, VCC will launch its revised counselling-skills foundational certificate. It incorporates core aspects of certificate programs in addiction counselling and community counselling, which are being wound down.

“One of our mandates is to evaluate programs on a regular basis and update them as necessary,” Stevenson explained.

He said that the decision to bring them together came in response to discussions with people in the industry, who felt that it was important for graduates to be familiar with both components, in part because substance use and addiction are very prevalent.

The counselling-skills foundational certificate is offered on a part-time and full-time basis at VCC’s downtown location at 250 West Pender Street. Courses are offered in the evenings.

Depending on how quickly students want to finish, they can take between one and four courses per week, Stevenson said. “The full-time option enables students to complete our program in one year to get them in the field right away.”

Stevenson said that all the instructors are practising counsellors who are up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. And he noted that they bring real-life examples from their practice into the classroom.

VCC has made certain that the new program includes courses ensuring that students become familiar with traditional and contemporary Indigenous practices, as well as diversity, different cultures, and inclusion. Stevenson also said that VCC is looking at developing an advanced certificate with a focus on addiction. The average age of VCC counselling students is about 40.

“They have this desire, ultimately, to help people,” Stevenson said. “That’s what brings people into our program.”

He said some mature students were previously involved in manual labour but are looking for a new career that won’t take such a toll on their body as they get older. He said the school is aware that making the transition back to school after many years in the workforce can be challenging—and it tries to ensure that this takes place smoothly.

Some students are eligible for full funding through Work B.C., provided they meet its requirements for completion of the program within a certain time frame.

“It’s a great option for those students that qualify,” Stevenson stated.

VCC Continuing Studies also offers professional-development courses in counselling for professionals working in a wide range of fields, including youth work, settlement services, social work, and health care.

“We’ve had nurses who work with clients facing substance-use challenges,” Stevenson revealed. “They have contacted us in the past to see if they could take those select courses from our program to get that knowledge so that they can better serve their clients in their professional life.”

He added that some of these courses are prerequisites for those who are planning to enroll in a university master’s program in counselling psychology.

Are you ready for a career transition in the human care and family services industry, or interested in advancing your career in counselling? Apply now to gain the confidence you need in your role as a counselling professional. 

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
778.296.1511, abasi@rickhansen.com 

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

Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification VCC logos



The top five things we love about nursing

Posted on May 7, 2018

This National Nursing Week (May 7 – 13, 2018), we at Vancouver Community College (VCC) are shining a light on this time-honoured yet ever-changing profession. Here are the top five things we love about nursing:



1. Nurses literally save lives

Nurses go through a lot of studying and training; typically four years for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN). The job can also be demanding, exhausting, and emotionally draining, but nurses around the world will tell you that nothing is more personally rewarding than the work they do.

“I’ve saved lives,” says VCC alumna and licensed practical nurse (LPN) Sarah-Zoe Pichette. “You go to bed knowing that you’ve been productive and you’ve been a good person every day.”



2. Nursing is so many things

Just as the nursing uniform has evolved from aprons and caps to scrubs and sneakers, the profession itself has also expanded into countless areas.  

Today, nurses can specialize in psychiatry, neuroscience, community health, paediatrics, gerontology, or emergency care, to name only a few. Nurses can also choose practice settings that range from hospitals and schools to research labs, disaster sites, refugee camps, the military, and even cruise ships and resorts.  



3. Nurses won't be replaced by robots

While many workers out there may be wondering if or when their jobs will be taken over by automation or artificial intelligence, nurses can rest assured they’ll always be needed. Predictions indicate that jobs requiring empathy, human interaction and dealing with unpredictability will be safest from the “robot workplace invasion.” 



4. Nurses are good for our health

Nurses have a massive amount of knowledge about the human body, and it isn’t confined to their hospitals or clinics. A nurse’s knowledge and experience will naturally extend into his or her family and wider community, whether by treating scraped knees, giving nutrition advice, or even offering guidance for addiction treatment options.

“Nurses don’t just go to work and come home,” says VCC nursing instructor Sarah Desbiens. “Nurses are part of an international community of people committed to health and wellness.”



5. Nursing can start (and take you) anywhere

You’re a natural caregiver, you’re not afraid of hard work, and you’re thinking of getting into nursing. What next? 

VCC’s 32-week pre-health sciences program is a combination of introductory biology, chemistry, mathematics, and other courses specifically designed to introduce learners to a wide variety of health sciences careers before they choose an individual path. 

For those already working as accredited health care assistants (HCA) or resident care attendants (RCA), VCC offers a condensed, 13-month curriculum that recognizes past training and experience while earning a Practical Nursing diploma.

Nursing doesn’t have to be a final destination, either. According to Sarah, nursing opens doors to further degrees in education, leadership, research, administration, and others. Many nurses also go on to attend medical school or law school. “Nursing is a great ticket into a great job,” says Sarah, “but it can also be a jumping-off point into so much more.”


Read more about National Nursing Week and join us in celebrating VCC’s health care professionals.



VCC graduates will go for gold at WorldSkills competition in Russia

Posted on August 7, 2019



Originally published in The Georgia Straight

Vancouver Community College (VCC) baking and pastry arts graduate Clarissa Roque did something amazing in May at the 2019 Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax.

She created seven different pastries over a 14-hour period in two days, wowing the judges and winnning a gold medal in her category.

This has enabled her to advance to the WorldSkills competition in August in Kazan, Russia.

But that wasn’t the only VCC–related accomplishment in Halifax. One of its recent culinary arts grads, Leah Patitucci, also won a gold medal in her category.

This means that for the first time, one school—Vancouver Community College—has Canadian bragging rights in both of these categories for the upcoming global event. It takes place every two years and attracts competitors from more than 60 countries.

VCC’s dean of hospitality, food studies and applied business, Dennis Innes, told the Straight by phone that the success of the students doesn’t reflect only the quality of the culinary and baking and pastry arts programs. It’s also a testament to the commitment and dedication of the two former VCC students.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Innes declared. “They really have to want to do it.”

He pointed out that Roque and Patitucci were both enrolled in high school programs created in partnership with VCC. These programs provide an opportunity to earn academic and trades training credits before going to college.

Innes is on the board of Skills Canada B.C. and will be in Kazan for the WorldSkills Competition. But this is not the only chance for students and recent grads to demonstrate their mettle. According to Innes, they’ve competed for the national Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship and in the Culinary Olympics.

“In both the culinary and baking programs, we have our own internal top-student competition,” he added.

VCC has the largest culinary arts and baking and pastry arts programs in the province. Because it receives funding from Industry Training Authority B.C., VCC is more affordable for students than other schools that don’t have this affiliation.

Continue reading in The Georgia Straight


Get a taste of VCC's world-class training. Sign up now for an upcoming baking or culinary arts info session.

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

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 vcc.ca/news

mLearning pilot program

Posted on November 20, 2018

The future of education will have a familiar ring to it when Vancouver Community College (VCC) launches education program delivery by cellular phone (mlearning).

VCC will be providing language learning to 600 students who otherwise may not have access to classrooms due to distance or waitlists.

In partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the project starting this November will test mlearning as an alternative to traditional education.

“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 immediate goal of the VCC project is to provide language learning to refugees and immigrants currently on the waitlist to attend VCC’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Participants will be able to learn on a cellular phone on their own schedule and pace using the Cell-Ed English language training platform.

“We believe in innovative technologies that create more access to education,” said VCC President Dr. Peter Nunoda. “Although we’re the first college in B.C. to deliver mlearning, it has a proven track record in the USA, Europe and Africa. Many people are comfortable with the use of cellular phones. And they’re more accessible than computers ”

VCC has partnered with Cell-Ed, an experienced, award-winning provider of mlearning, to enable learners access to courses anywhere and anytime. The program will also allow participants to connect with supportive coaches through face-to-face workshops and the phone to provide additional learning support.

The program will be evaluated after two test phases of approximately 300 students each. The pilot project is expected to be completed by April 2020.

- 30 -

Media can contact:

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

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.

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 practical nursing program builds on previous health care skills

Posted on July 8, 2019



Originally published in Start 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.

Spring 2019 Convocation recap

Posted on July 2, 2019


Passion is what has pushed you over the finish line and it is passion that will guide you through your career. Do not underestimate the value of the education you have just received.

– Curtis Krahn, VCC drafting alumnus

Among photos, flowers, and family members, on Thursday, June 27, proudly gowned Vancouver Community College (VCC) graduands proceeded from the Downtown campus to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to celebrate one of their biggest academic milestones. 

Over 1,250 guests were in attendance to celebrate the graduation of 1,335 students in this Class of 2019.

VCC awarded degrees, diplomas, and certificates to the following program 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

This spring, Samuel Dabrusin of the Bachelor of Applied Music program gave the valedictory address:

Our graduating class is extremely rich in diversity. The VCC experience was one where the open exchange of ideas could be shared respectfully. It was a place where we could take risks and pursue our passions. Thanks to the supportive environment created by the staff and students, we experienced a reinvigorated energy to learn, create and play. It was a place where we could make friends to inspire us one day and humble us the next.

Curtis Krahn delivered the alumni address, offering some words of wisdom to the Class of 2019:

Throughout your career, remember to always celebrate your successes, big and small. They are often hard-earned, often involve a team effort, and are fun to share! Passion is as individual as you are, and it has no limits.

Curtis is a local architect, an alumnus of VCC's drafting program, and recipient of a 2018 VCC Outstanding Alumni Award. He continues to stay connected with VCC's CAD and BIM (drafting) programs by offering mentorship and serving on the program advisory commettee.

View the full photo gallery online. 

Replay the Facebook Live broadcast

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

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 give@vcc.ca 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.  

Healing history: Enhancing Indigenous health care at VCC

Posted on June 19, 2019



As a child, Lawrence (Larry) Becker spent a lot of time in hospital. Even though he suffered from a rare metabolic disorder, he has only positive things to say about the care he received. It was this experience that motivated him to start a career as a medical office assistant. “I want to give back what was given to me,” he says.

Good health care leaves a lasting impact, and it’s quite common for students entering the field to be driven by past experience. As an Indigenous person in Canada, however, Larry’s story stands out.

In October 2018, Larry enrolled in a pilot medical office skills program offered jointly by Vancouver Community College (VCC) and the Musqueam Indian Band, his home community. As part of the program, Larry completed a three-week practicum at Lu’ma Medical Centre, an Indigenous family clinic in East Vancouver. 

Here, he got to know first-hand the anxiety that many Indigenous patients feel in a health care setting. “People had a lot of discomfort just going in for any type of medical service,” he says. According to Larry, this often leads to avoidance of important treatments and is a major issue facing Indigenous health today. 

As an empathetic person, Larry was intimidated at first, but he made it his job to create a welcoming environment. “It’s really important to make sure people are taken care of rather than leave feeling ignored,” he says.

Historical harms

For many Indigenous people in Canada, Western-style health care still represents more hurt than help. As epidemics of smallpox wiped out an estimated 90 per cent of the First Nations population from contact until 1890, the smallpox vaccine, developed in 1796, was rarely given to First Nations people. As First Nations children in residential schools underwent medical experiments and abuse, they were often sent home rather than treated. As tuberculosis spread in the early 20th century, First Nations people were forced to leave their families and travel long distances to access low-quality, segregated hospitals.

Today, much Indigenous medicine, food, and survival knowledge remains greatly diminished by 500 years of chaos and grief. Without it, many Indigenous communities have become dependent on market-supplied goods and processed foods. As a result, they face elevated rates of diabetes, obesity, cancer, mental illnesses, and more, yet still shy away from professional health care.  

Realizing recovery

As Indigenous populations in Canada continue to rebound in the 21st century – now growing at higher rates than most – the need for culturally appropriate services is greater than ever.

In adapting the medical office skills curriculum for the Musqueam-based program, VCC’s Partnership Development Office added basic skills training, an Indigenous health care-specific course, contracted Indigenous facilitators, and required that all instructors participate in a cultural safety program prior to teaching. 

At the Lu’ma Medical Centre, the entire space has been deliberately designed using warm colours and traditional art to make patients feel at ease, while staff like Larry are specially trained to address the concerns of Indigenous patients. 

“With a difficult patient or an urgent situation, I use my customer service skills and keep calm,” says Larry. “Not only for myself but to make sure their needs are actually met.”




Find your place in health care. Learn about VCC’s health administration and health sciences programs, including priority access pathways for Indigenous learners. 



Richmond baker heads to Russia for world competition

Posted on June 20, 2019



Clarissa (Claire) Roque needs to work on her sugar skills. Unfortunately, the closest sugar experts are in Seattle and Los Angeles, and the pastry chef she would really like to learn from is based in Belfort, France.

Roque, 19, has about two months to perfect her sugar skills before she needs to make a sugar piece extraordinaire at the World Skills bakery competition in Kazan, Russia.

The Richmond resident is fresh off a national win in Halifax, N.S., where she went head-to-head with another Canadian baker-in-training at the Skills Canada national competition. She created six items over two days and eventually beat her competitor for a spot to the world championship.

The recent post-secondary national competition gave her a good taste of what it will be like competing internationally. For the national competition, Roque trained five days a week, up to 10 hours a day, for three months with her Vancouver Community College instructor, Wolfgang Dauke, perfecting her timing and technique.

Roque said she was running on adrenalin, rarely taking breaks, eating while working. "When you don’t think about it, you’re fine,” she said.

On the first day of the national competition, Roque had to make two identical marzipan figurines – she had practised animals, fruit and a clown during her training. The day before, though, she found out she had to make two teddy bears. She had brought along some fondant, the thick layer used typically on wedding cakes, and practised making one that night in her hotel room.

She also had to make eight petit fours – small bite-sized cakes – and four plated desserts. For the latter, she made a platter with rose peach semi-freddo, a pistachio buttermilk sponge, peach raspberry coulis and chocolate soil.

Continue reading in the Vancouver Courier


Learn more about VCC's wide range of baking programs including Youth Train in Trades, specializied certificates in baking or pastry, apprenticeship levels, and part-time casual courses


Pastry practice: behind the scenes with Team VCC

Posted on May 24, 2019

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is proud to be sending a solid team of competitors to the 2019 Skills Canada National Competition (SCNC), happening Monday, May 27 to Wednesday, May 29 in Halifax, NS. 

Earlier this week, we visited the top-secret Skills Canada practice sessions happening inside the VCC bakeries. Meet two of our most talented and promising pastry artists:



Clarissa Roque

Team Canada candidate – WorldSkills 2019

Clarissa is a Level 3 baking and pastry arts apprentice who is no stranger to intense competition. Having participated in Skills BC “just for fun” in Grade 10, Clarissa soon found herself repeatedly topping the podium in the secondary school category. 

This year, with three SCNC appearances already under her belt, Clarissa will be trying for an opportunity to represent Canada at WorldSkills 2019 in Kazan, Russia. 

Clarissa, who inherited a love for baking from her parents, brings to the competition deep creative skills in drawing and sculpting, a sophisticated flavour palette, and remarkable organization and focus. “Competitions are really stressful but somehow I kind of like the stress,” she says.

During the WorldSkills Team Canada trials in Halifax, Clarissa will have to produce seven different types of pastries in 14 hours over the course of two days.



Farzin Irani

Baking competitor – SCNC 2019

Farzin is a Level 1 apprentice who started the VCC baking and pastry arts program in April 2018. After high school, Farzin first entered a science degree program but switched to baking after only one semester. “I took the risk and fell in love with it,” she says.

In addition to having great organization skills and extraordinary attention to detail, Farzin stands out by using Persian flavours like saffron and rosewater that she grew up enjoying. “I don’t want to use the same things as everyone else, like strawberries,” she says. “I use flavours that I like and I know well.”

Since January, Farzin has been going above and beyond her coursework to train in the VCC kitchens multiple times per week. She appreciates the helpful feedback offered by her instructors, as well as their willingness to work with her after hours. 

During the SCNC competition in Halifax, Farzin will have to produce five different types of pastries in a single, eight-hour session. 


Did you know you can begin a baking apprenticeship while still in high school? Learn more about the Youth Train in Trades program offered at VCC.

Student perspective: health care assistant Natasha Wilson

Posted on June 12, 2019



My name is Natasha Wilson and I’m from the Heiltsuk Nation. I recently completed a health care assistant program (HCA) that was offered through the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) in collaboration with Vancouver Community College (VCC). 

I have always wanted to be involved in the health care field and this program gave me an opportunity to begin my new career! 

In December 2018, I successfully completed the 41-week HCA program with an ‘A’ average. This program was tough, and I had to sacrifice my time with family and friends. The program also entailed a lot of extra study time and clinical testing – which was done after school hours. 

I was very fortunate to have the constant support of ACCESS and the VCC Indigenous Education team, as well as the use of VCC’s Gathering Space, which was very useful for doing assignments to maintain my 3.8 GPA. 

Midway through the HCA program, it became very clear that I wanted to go further with my education and am currently completing more courses. After my prerequisites are done, I will go through the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BScN) to work towards becoming a registered nurse. 

I am very grateful to ACCESS and VCC for allowing me to participate in the health care assistant program and begin my health care career. 

Sincerely yours, 

Natasha Wilson 


Learn more about opportunities and services available at VCC for Indigenous learners, such as priority enrollment, Gathering Spaces, advising, and more by visiting VCC Indigenous Education and Community Engagement.


New Computer Systems Technology program opens doors to software careers

Posted on June 10, 2019



If all goes according to schedule, the first grads from Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) new Computer Systems Technology Diploma (CST) program will be entering the workforce shortly after Amazon opens its doors only a block away from VCC’s Downtown campus.

Will VCC grads be crossing the street into ready-made jobs? CST head instructor Reza Nezami believes it’s definitely possible, but also knows there are plenty of jobs in Vancouver’s growing tech industry ­­– even if the new neighbours aren’t hiring.

"Software engineer and developer jobs in Vancouver just keep opening up. It’s endless right now,” says Reza.

According to WorkBC, computer programmers continue to be in high demand with more than 8,000 job openings predicted between now and 2028. The B.C. Tech Association estimates there are 100,000 people employed provincially in the sector with a median salary of more than $80,000 per year.

New work, new space

CST students this September will also be the first to study in VCC’s new, state-of-the-art computer labs featuring a street-level entrance, plenty of natural light, and cutting-edge equipment.

Taught by industry professionals, the two-year, full-time CST program will offer students hands-on instruction in software solutions, mobile apps, and website development, while introducing the latest concepts in enterprise systems, cloud computing, machine learning (AI), and security.

Who is best suited for this in-demand career? According to Reza, creative problem-solvers and team players will thrive in this industry. “Writing, updating, or debugging code can be a long process and it requires a great attention to detail,” says Reza, “but it’s very rewarding for those who have an interest in creating new and innovative products.”

Learn more and ask questions about the widely-recognized Computer Systems Technology Diploma at an upcoming free info session.

New funding equips trades and technology students for the future

Posted on June 7, 2019



Vancouver Community College (VCC) is pleased to be one of 19 B.C. post-secondary institutions to receive $160,000 to fund technologically advanced trades equipment, as announced Thursday, June 6 at the VCC Downtown campus.

The announcement was hosted at JJ’s, VCC’s recently refurbished on-campus fine dining restaurant, and was emceed by Vancouver-Fraserview MLA and B.C. Minister of State for Trade George Chow. Speakers included B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark, VCC president and CEO Dr. Peter Nunoda, VCC culinary arts department head Chef Collin Gill, and VCC culinary student Jefferson Bueno. 

“By investing in up-to-date equipment, we’re ensuring students at VCC and throughout the Lower Mainland and the province are developing the skills they need to be the next generation of tech and trades leaders in B.C.,” said Minister Chow. 

Prior to the announcement, Minister Mark toured many of VCC’s training kitchens and on-site bakeries, meeting with dozens of students and sampling their creations. 


See more photos.‌



BC Government News: Cooking up success for trades and tech students

Jefferson’s story: from curious kid to molecular mastermind


Are you interested in a career in trades or technology? Learn about these in-demand industries at a free program info session


Meet Experience VCC tuition winner Woori Chae

Posted on May 29, 2019



Congratulations to Woori Chae, the grand prize winner from our recent Experience VCC open house! Woori won $500 in VCC tuition after attending the event and filling out our survey. We find out what’s in store for her at VCC.

What will you do with the $500 tuition credit? 
I’d like to use it for the health care assistant program this September. I’m starting to feel really good about studying at VCC.

What do you do right now?
I am working at Starbucks now and also looking for a new career in the health care industry. The reason I chose health care is that I'd like to have more responsibility in my job. It will also let me get more education in the future.

Why did you come to Experience VCC?
At first, I was planning to take the medical lab assistant program and I visited the coordinator to see if I can transfer any of the credits I already have. Unfortunately, she said no but she told me about the open house and how I could apply for free at the event. That’s why I came. 

Did you expect to win the grand prize?
No! I usually don’t write down my name in those kinds of draws but this time I thought, ‘why not, who knows?’ And it worked! After winning, I felt that this is the right decision; I’m on the right track.

How do you feel about going back to school?
I hope I can make good friends. I’m living here by myself and I would love to make some longtime friendships with my classmates. I also want to keep improving my English at VCC.


Did you miss our Experience VCC open house? Stay connected for details on our next event in Fall 2019 or sign up now for a free program info session


Top Skills Canada performances launch VCC students onto the world stage

Posted on June 3, 2019



Following career-topping performances at the WorldSkills Team Canada qualifying event last week in Halifax, two Vancouver Community College (VCC) students have earned spots on the team heading to WorldSkills Kazan 2019 in Russia. 

VCC culinary arts apprentice Leah Patitucci and VCC baking and pastry arts apprentice Clarissa Roque have worked incredibly hard for this opportunity. Both bring years of past competition experience, including standout performances at Skills Canada 2018, which qualified them to try out for the national team. Both women also benefit from quality industry experience and significant extra-curricular training and practice with VCC chefs.

Leah (@leah_patitucci), whose credits include both baking and culinary training at VCC, brings remarkable focus to her craft as well as mentorship from numerous well-known, gourmet restaurants across Vancovuer. 

Clarissa (@roqueclarissa), who began competing already in high school, is known for combining creative drawing skills, impeccable taste, and precise organization in her pastry creations. 

Stay tuned for updates from WorldSkills 2019, held August 22 to 27, and share your support with Team VCC and Team Canada online using the hashtags #myVCC and #WSTC2019.

Skills Canada 2019

The Team Canada qualifying event was held in conjunction with the Skills Canada National Competition 2019 (SCNC) from May 27 to 29 in Halifax, NS.

VCC sent eight provincial champions to this year’s SCNC, and we are extremely proud to congratulate the following national medallists. Well done, everyone! 

Automotive collision repair – post-secondary
Ricky Guan – SILVER 

Baking – post-secondary
Farzin Irani – SILVER

Car painting – secondary
Reilly Ouwerling (Elgin Park Secondary) – BRONZE

Culinary arts – post-secondary
Anh Tran – BRONZE

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


Can you picture yourself in the skilled trades? Learn more about apprenticeship options at VCC at an upcoming free information session

VCC’s six-day Tooth Trolley gives kids a reason to smile

Posted on June 3, 2019



From Tuesday, May 21 to Tuesday, May 28, Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) on-campus dental clinic opened its doors to hundreds of children from across the Lower Mainland during the 13th annual Tooth Trolley. 

During this year’s event, VCC’s certified dental assistant (CDA), dental reception coordinator, and dental hygiene students and instructors welcomed 315 pre-registered children from 15 local schools for free dental checkups, preventive services, and oral health education.

Traditionally held over four days at the end of May, this year’s Tooth Trolley was expanded to six days in order to allow for greater participation. In total, over $45,000 in dental care was provided. 

“It’s heartbreaking to see how many children are in need but never have an opportunity to seek dental care in a safe and fun environment,” says VCC Dental Clinic coordinator Ling Lo Yan. “Extending the program also allowed our students to have a greater number of patient experiences before starting their practicums.”

In addition to offering free checkups, VCC’s Tooth Trolley also aims to reduce children’s anxiety about dental care. The day is filled with fun and positivity, starting with a morning ride on an old-fashioned Vancouver Trolley Company bus, followed by appointments with VCC’s “tooth fairies,” and finishing with educational activities and crafts, and a healthy snack.

"The attitude changes we see are sometimes quite transforming,” says Ling, highlighting one particular patient who had avoided dental care for many years due to past experiences, but felt safe coming with classmates. “She was very happy throughout the whole appointment,” says Ling. “This is the kind of transformation we are striving for.” 

The 2019 Tooth Trolley was made possible thanks to enthusiastic participation by the Vancouver Trolley Company and a generous $15,000 donation by Telus. 

See the photo gallery.


Do you have a heart for helping people? Learn about the many program options in health sciences available at VCC. 


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.


Media Release: Making a child’s first dental visit fun

Posted on May 21, 2019


‌VANCOUVER – Vancouver Community College (VCC) is preparing to welcome children and their families to its 13th annual Tooth Trolley event from Tuesday, May 21 to Tuesday, May 28.

With funding from the 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, offering them free dental assessments and preventive services. 

The fun begins when the old-fashioned trolley bus picks the children up, and continues when they are greeted by VCC “tooth fairies” – students from the college’s certified dental assistant (CDA), dental reception coordinator,  and dental hygiene programs. 

“Tooth Trolley provides children the opportunity to experience their first dental visit in a fun environment,” says Sofia Fung, instructor, CDA program.

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.

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 campuses located in Downtown Vancouver, on East Broadway, and on Annacis Island, VCC offers hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades, music, and more.

 - 30 - 


Video and photo opportunities available:

Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 10 - 11 a.m.
Location: VCC dental clinic, room 348, Downtown campus, 200-block Dunsmuir at Hamilton

Media can contact:
Reg Romero, Marketing and Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
T: 604.871.7000, ext. 7133  C: 604.612.6237
E: rromero@vcc.ca

Media Advisory: 13th Annual Fair in the Square

Posted on May 22, 2019

Fair in the Square logos

13th annual Fair in the Square – Sunday, May 26 in Victory Square Park

VANCOUVER – 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 St. and Cambie St. on Sunday, May 26, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Hosted by Central City Foundation in partnership with Vancouver Community College (VCC), this year's annual celebration of the Downtown neighbourhood will feature live music, an expanded artisan and social enterprise market, and dozens of community groups with information to share.

There will also be thousands of burgers and cupcakes prepared by students from the VCC culinary arts and baking programs, family and kids activities, Brazilian dancing lessons, contests, prizes, and more.

Fair in the Square brings people from across the region to the inner city to offer a meeting place and a space of respite, remembrance, and renewal. This event is an opportunity for neighbours to come together, 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 26, 2019, 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 rockers Ronnie and Dynamix Band, Indigenous drumming group Wildflower Women of Turtle Island, rock/fund group Trilojay, and Latin dance group Brazilian Swag.


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 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 112 years.



Media contacts:

Carla Shore
Central City Foundation  

Danielle Libonati
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 7531

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 shines at Skills Canada BC 2019 provincials

Posted on April 23, 2019


Congratulations to Vancouver Community College (VCC) students for winning 19 medals in the Skills Canada BC 2019 provincial competition held in Abbotsford on Wednesday, April 17. 

After weeks of preparation and training, all 38 members of Team VCC spent the full day putting their skills to the test in front of industry judges and the general public at the Abbotsford Tradex.

In the end, VCC’s auto collision and refinishing department swept the podium, earning gold, silver, and bronze in the categories of Automotive collision repair (post-secondary) and Car painting (secondary).

Students from VCC and associated high schools also earned gold medals in the areas of Esthetics (post-secondary), Baking, (secondary and post-secondary), Culinary arts (secondary and post-secondary), and Hairstyling (post-secondary). See the full list of medallists below.

Check out the photo album and share your support using the hashtags #myVCC and #SkillsBC as our winners head to Halifax for the Skills Canada National Competition on May 28 and 29.

Automotive service – post-secondary
Mitchell Eastman – SILVER

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

Automotive collision repair - post-secondary
Ricky Guan – GOLD
Milton Javier Davis Flores – SILVER
Steve Bakirgis – BRONZE 

Automotive collision repair - secondary
David Zamora (Moscrop Secondary) – BRONZE 

Baking - post-secondary
Farzin Irani – GOLD
YeJin Park – SILVER 

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

Car painting - secondary
Reilly Ouwerling (Elgin Park Secondary) – GOLD
Antony Harrington (Victoria High School) – SILVER 
Mark Alcantara (John Oliver Secondary) – BRONZE 

Culinary arts - post-secondary
Anh Tran – GOLD 

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

Esthetics – post-secondary
Nicole de Lima Girardello – GOLD 
Sierra Jin Lee – SILVER 

Hairdressing – post-secondary
Kennedy Pabuaya – GOLD

Hairdressing – secondary
Kala’i Seaman – BRONZE 


Can you picture yourself on the podium? Learn more about skilled trades at VCC by joining a free information session in the area of your choice. 

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. 






Technology shapes this year’s jewellery student exhibition

Posted on May 10, 2019

Woman looking at jewellery display


See the artistry of 27 up-and-coming designers at the VCC Jewellery Art & Design Student Exhibition. The annual show runs from Thursday, May 23 to Thursday, June 13 and promises to offer a peek into the future of jewellery design.

Each year, students finishing first and second year of VCC's jewellery art and dessign program are given five weeks to create a collection for the exhibition. This show acts as a capstone project, showcasing the technical and design skills they have learned throughout the year.

Each student designs and creates five pieces within a chosen theme. The display is also an important part of the project, and each student creates a display-case “environment” in which to show their pieces.

This year, technology forms the basis of several collections, with jewellery that speaks to the ways it shapes our lives. One collection is inspired by 1980’s space art. Another features kinetic jewellery for fidgeting fingers, designed to soothe the anxiety felt by so many in the digital age. Other themes include “Monsters of the Deep”, “Otherworldly Flora,” and cultural influences from students’ Scottish, Persian, Chinese, and Mexican heritages.

“We believe the best way for young designers to set their line apart from other jewellery collections is to look outside of jewellery for inspiration,” says VCC jewellery art and design department leader Karin Jones. “The broad range of inspiration is reflected in the diversity of styles seen at our year-end show.”

This year’s exhibition begins with a gala opening on Thursday, May 23 from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring award presentations, canapés, and a cash bar. Each year, the gala opening is a who’s who of Vancouver’s jewellery world, as alumni, jewellery professionals, and industry leaders mingle with students, friends, and family.

This year will also be the fourth year that Wade Papin and Danielle Willmore, founders of Pyrrha Jewellery, present the Pyrrha Scholarship, the largest award given to a VCC jewellery art and design student, consisting of one year’s tuition plus mentorship from the successful duo.

Audience looking at jewellery, display case, single ring


The VCC Jewellery Art & Design Student Exhibition runs until Thursday, June 13 and is open Monday to Friday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Atrium at VCC’s Downtown campus. (Enter at Dunsmuir and Hamilton Streets).



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.

Film re-release offers resources to fight Canada’s opioid crisis

Posted on May 6, 2019



This National Nursing Week, (May 6 - 12, 2019) Canada’s National Film Board (NFB) is re-releasing Bevel Up, an innovative documentary featuring the day-to-day work of street nurses who provide care for people who use drugs in Downtown Vancouver. 

Originally produced in 2007 with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), Bevel Up is a raw and impactful 45-minute film offering a first-hand look at street nursing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Vancouver Community College (VCC) nursing instructor Caroline Brunt is featured prominently in the film, demonstrating non-judgemental, compassionate, and trauma-informed health care to people who use drugs.

“There was really nothing but love and support from people in the DTES,” says Caroline about the making of the film. “They kept telling us ‘people don’t understand us,’ and ‘this film needs to get made.’”

The re-release of Bevel Up is a timely effort to offer education to health care workers and the public in the midst of today’s unprecedented overdose crisis. The digital version offers greater online accessibility and additional learning resources, including bonus interview clips with health care practitioners and people who use drugs, as well as a 100-page Teacher’s Guide.

“The stigma exists today as it existed back in 2007,” says Caroline. “The issue of substance use will never go away. This film teaches how to accept, love, and care for people where they’re at.”

Bevel Up was created in collaboration with Canada Wild Productions Ltd. and directed by award-winning filmmaker Nettie Wild. The 2019 re-release was made possible with additional support by the British Columbia Women’s Hospital & Health Centre, the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR), and VCC.


The public is welcome to attend a free screening of Bevel Up followed by a panel discussion on Thursday, May 9, 5:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Hospital. REGISTER HERE >

Please note: this film contains coarse language, open drug use, and subject matter that some people may find disturbing or triggering.


Do you have a heart for health care? Learn more about prerequisites, programs, and career options in VCC Health Sciences.

Evonne’s story: Cultivating community

Posted on April 1, 2019


If you're a VCC hospitality management student with a question about anything, you go to Evonne Strohwald. As department assistant, Evonne knows as much about the program as any instructor, and thanks to her unique blend of kindness and efficiency, she'll always find an answer.

When Evonne first came to VCC as a student, however, she says she was a different person. Looking for a better job to support her young child, she enrolled in the administrative assistant program, not even knowing how to type. The initial encouragement she received from a VCC advisor has remained with her to this day. "I still remember his face and leaving VCC feeling like I had a hope," she says.

After graduating, Evonne got a job in VCC's Continuing Studies department, then worked for the School of Instructor Education (SIE) before moving on to hospitality management. Over the past 24 years, she's not only become a major asset to VCC but also a champion in her community.

Part of the Klub

With a passion for protecting urban green spaces, Evonne has volunteered extensively for sustainability and environmental organizations including Evergreen and the Edible Garden Project. In her North Vancouver community, she leads by example, having raised chickens as part of the Canadian Liberated Urban Chicken Klub (CLUCK) and converted her own front lawn into a neighbourhood flower garden.

Most recently, Evonne has developed her own eco-tourism destination on the Sunshine Coast featuring sleeping cabins, a flower farm, a goat pasture, and, of course, chickens. She also plans to open the land this summer to campers via the website campertunity.com.

Evonne says just being a part of VCC’s hospitality management department has given her the knowledge and confidence to pursue these projects. "It's endless what I've learned, even as an employee," says Evonne. "They want to see you succeed here. That's what makes the difference at VCC."

Get to know VCC's outstanding faculty and staff at our next open house. Register now for Experience VCC at the Downtown campus on April 24.

Media Release: Coast Capital supports higher ed for cognitively challenged youth

Posted on April 30, 2019

News-2017-CASE Students-0089-800

VANCOUVER – Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union has donated $20,000 to support Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Gateway to Post-secondary (GPS) program. The program provides an opportunity for cognitively challenged youth to bridge their education between high school and post-secondary.

The GPS program was developed in partnership with the Vancouver School Board (VSB) to prepare students for VCC’s industry-specific Adult Special Education programs such as Food Service Careers and Retail and Hospitality Careers. The program is customized to serve diverse learners needing to complete and/or advance their education and includes a mix of classroom and supported field activities.

“This funding addresses a significant education gap where education assistance for students with developmental disabilities drop off after high school,” says Ingrid Defert, VCC Community and Career Education (CACE) department head.

According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, students with learning disabilities enroll in post-secondary programs at one-tenth the rate of the general population. Their post-secondary graduation rate is 3.6 per cent compared to post-secondary students without disabilities, who graduate at 62.1 per cent. 

“Student outcomes from GPS have been outstanding due to the experiential, hands-on learning that students participate in over the course of the program,” says Pan Neuman, VSB district resource teacher, secondary transition. “The program offers students a necessary bridge between high school and college life that facilitates a successful transition. Students, parents, and teachers at VCC often comment on how prepared the students are for college once they complete the GPS program.”

The $20,000 donation is provided by Coast Capital’s Youth Get It Community Investment program, which aims to empower Canadian youth to break down barriers in their journey to independence.

“Coast Capital Savings is committed to supporting youth in our local communities,” explains Maureen Young, Director of Community Leadership at Coast Capital Savings. “Through our Community Investment Grants, we are able to support youth-serving organizations like Vancouver Community College, who provide essential programming and support to local youth who need some extra help. We are thrilled to enable programs like VCC’s Gateway to Post-Secondary program that provide young people with access to resources and supports that help them navigate post-secondary education and find success.”

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 campuses located in Downtown Vancouver, on East Broadway, and on Annacis Island, VCC offers hands-on instruction in culinary arts, business, design, health sciences, hospitality, transportation trades, music, and more.

About Coast Capital Savings

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership and B.C.’s first credit union to be granted federal credit union status.  An Imagine Canada Caring Company and a certified B Corporation in recognition of its social performance, the credit union invested $5.9 million into local communities in 2018, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, and is a winner of the Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club designation. In 2018, Coast Capital was awarded the Corporate Responsibility Award at National Philanthropy Day by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Vancouver Island Chapter. It has 52 branches serving its 555,000 members in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions of British Columbia. Product innovations include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution. To learn more, visit coastcapitalsavings.com.

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Media can contact:

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


Red Seal hairstyling opens door to higher pay and greater career mobility

Posted on March 11, 2019

Originally published in the Georgia Straight

Many British Columbians don’t realize that in 2003, the B.C. government deregulated hairdressing.

This meant anyone could pick up a pair of scissors and work in this field.

But according to Emma Rasmussen, instructional assistant in the hairstylist certificate program at Vancouver Community College, this is expected to change now that hairdressing is recognized as a Red Seal trade.

“The Red Seal is recognized as the interprovincial standard of excellence in skilled trades,” Rasmussen told the Straight by phone.

She pointed out that this designation is a requirement for being a hairstylist in other provinces. And Vancouver Community College is offering a two-level Red Seal training program this year. This means graduates will be able to work as a hairstylist anywhere in Canada.

Level 1 involves 10 weeks of training, with intakes starting in May and September. Level 2 lasts five weeks, with intakes in April and July.

Rasmussen explained that a person needs to spend 3,600 hours of workplace training in the hairstyling apprenticeship program before obtaining the Red Seal designation.

She added that anyone who has already completed VCC’s hairstylist certificate program can use this as the equivalent of doing the Level 1 apprenticeship.

“You actually accumulate 900 hours in the hairstylist foundation program,” she pointed out. “Then you can go on to complete the hairstylist apprenticeship Level 2.”

The first thing a prospective student must do is register with the Industry Training Authority as an apprentice and obtain an ITA identification number.

About 80 percent of the time in a Red Seal hairstyling apprenticeship is spent in on-the-job training and about 20 percent involves classroom instruction. This enables students to earn money while pursuing their trade certification.

Level 1 involves 300 hours of classroom instruction at VCC’s Downtown campus and covers the foundations of hairstyling, including basic hygiene, sanitation, and disinfection practices, as well as the use and maintenance of tools.

In addition, Rasmussen said, Level 1 students receive an education in client services, hair and scalp care, basic cutting, hairstyling, colouring, chemical waving, and business management. At the end of Level 1, students take an ITA standardized written exam, and if they pass, VCC instructors recommend that they find a job.

This starts them toward accumulating the necessary training hours before returning for Level 2. “It’s building on the foundations taught in Level 1 but with more advanced technique and more advanced mastery of those skills that you learned,” Rasmussen stated.

These include learning about customized haircutting using specific tools and techniques, designing updos, performing more in-depth colour corrections, and resolving client concerns and complaints.

“One general misconception is that it’s an easy job and that hairstylists don’t require a lot of skill,” Rasmussen said. “There’s actually a lot of science and biology behind what we learn.”

She said that VCC hairstyling instructors all have been in the industry for at least 10 years and love what they do. The college provides them with professional-development training, which enables them to attend trade shows and take courses to stay on top of what’s happening in their field.

When asked what types of people thrive as hairstylists, Rasmussen replied that it’s ideal for those who are artistic, creative, and interested in fashion or visual arts.

“It’s an ever-evolving industry,” she said. “Like how fashion changes, so do hairstyles.”

She encouraged anyone interested in pursuing a Red Seal hairstyling certification to go to vcc.ca/hair for more information.

Interested in working as a professional hairstylist anywhere in Canada? Apply now for our full-time hairstylist apprenticeship program beginning in April 2019.

Jackie’s story: success in style

Posted on January 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Flourish Gala 2019 recap

Posted on March 18, 2019



A fabulous night was had by all at the third annual Flourish gala, held on Wednesday, March 13 at the Vancouver Community College (VCC) Broadway campus. VCC's signature "green-tie" fundraiser has quickly become a popular evening where hundreds of alumni and supporters come together for one great cause.

This year's event featured 16 culinary action stations operated by prominent local chefs, 14 Okanagan wineries, a live band, silent auction, photo booth, fashion art competition, spa treatments, and a Nespresso coffee bar. Proceeds from the Flourish gala support student scholarships and awards through the VCC Foundation. This year’s contributions will serve students in our hair design and esthetics programs.

Flourish guests enjoyed innovative tasting plates from chefs including culinary olympian Poyan Danesh of Ocean Mama Organics, Top Chef Canada finalist Mark Singson, The Great Canadian Baking Show judge and VCC instructor Bruno Feldeisen, rising star Heat Laliberte of One Arrow Meats, and many more. For VCC baking, culinary arts, and hospitality management student volunteers, this was also a coveted opportunity to work alongside some of B.C.'s biggest names in food and wine.

We were privileged to have CBC personality Fred Lee return to emcee the event, while a VCC alumni band entertained the crowd with groovy energy. Among the generous selection of silent auction items were six original illustrations by VCC fashion students, all of which had been part of an online competition in the weeks leading up to the Flourish gala. Congratulations to winner Nataly Kingsley, who claimed the $750 prize.

This year's gala also marked the beginning of a new educational partnership with Nespresso Canada and a scholarship from Hy's Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar.

In his address, VCC president and CEO Dr. Peter Nunoda shared the college's deep gratitude for the support of guests and alumni alike. “Your contributions help the students we serve," he said. "Your impact is wide-reaching and we're very proud of the excellence you all strive for.”

The VCC Foundation would like to thank the many other sponsors who contributed to the night’s success, including Loungeworks, Naramata Bench Wineries Association, Ocean Mama Organics, TD Insurance, White & Peters, Color Compass Corporation, Craftsman Collision, and The Georgia Straight.



See the photo gallery >


Want to make a difference in the life of a deserving VCC student? Learn about the many ways to give through the VCC Foundation.

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.

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

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


For interview opportunities, media can contact:

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

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









Experience VCC open house offers a taste of hospitality careers

Posted on April 10, 2019



Originally published in The Georgia Straight

As exciting as it can be to have the world at your feet, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. But if you’re unsure of which direction you’d like to take your career, finding out your options can be a really good place to start. 

On Wednesday, April 24 from 3 to 6 p.m., Vancouver Community College (VCC) is opening the doors of its Downtown campus (250 West Pender Street) to help prospective students understand the possibilities available to them should they choose to pursue further education.

The event, called Experience VCC, is open to the public and free to attend. More than 120 of the school’s programs will be represented, giving visitors a unique opportunity to meet faculty from university transfer, health sciences, trades, arts, and more in one go. Better still, attendees will have the chance to win $500 toward tuition, and anyone who applies to a program at the event doesn’t pay the $35 application fee (limited to one per person).

Monique Paassen, VCC’s department head of hospitality management, is a big advocate for talking to prospective students and their parents. She advises anyone who is interested in the programs to come to the open house to really get a sense of school life and speak to the teachers, students, and alumni, who will also be in attendance.

“We show people around and that’s the nice thing,” Paassen says. “It’s not just giving them another pamphlet. We really want to engage them and chat with them. It’s a wealth of information that we share.”

All four of VCC’s industry-recognized hospitality programs—hospitality management, culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and Asian culinary arts—will be highlighted at the open house. To showcase the college’s experiential learning style, Experience VCC will give visitors the chance to try some fun and interactive activities at “Passport to Hospitality” action stations.

In fact, VCC is so committed to helping students plan their studies that there are a range of additional support services and information sessions available so you can learn more. And that’s an ethos that Paassen is willing to take a step further. 

“I tell people that if Experience VCC is not enough to convince you, or you need more information, or you’re still not sure, come sit in a class,” she says.

Paassen also stresses the importance of knowing which jobs a program might lead to and there are many for a hospitality management graduate. And one thing that really puts VCC on the map is the relationship and support it has from the industry, which is always seeking skilled employees.

“The diploma is a two-year program full-time and it consists of 20 courses,” she explains. “We really train our students and we set them up for success with the goal of becoming a manager within the industry. And it’s not just through theory, it’s hands-on. We have our own kitchen and restaurant that the students have to run and operate like a usual restaurant.”




RSVP now for Experience VCC on Wednesday, April 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Downtown campus (entrance at Dunsmuir St. and Hamilton St.)

Explore the ever-changing world of dental technology at VCC

Posted on April 12, 2019



Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver 

The dental technology industry has been changing dramatically, demographically, and technologically and the dental technology program at Vancouver Community College has revised their program to meet these demands.

“As in all professions, candidates interested in dental technology should embrace lifelong learning, a desirable trait allowing for adaptability to rapid changes in technology and materials,” says Ken Izumi, department head of the dental technology department at VCC.

“The new dental technology program was designed to reflect the ever-changing conditions of our industry and we are committed to continuing on this path.” 

VCC has recently committed substantial funds to create a new, dedicated dental technology computer room with a 3D scanner to enhance the students’ learning experience and give them valuable skills for the workplace. 

“Possessing skill sets in digital software and technology applications will enable graduates to assist and even train existing laboratory owners on how to maximize the use of their digital software and equipment,” says Izumi. 

Izumi says this program is especially suited for those individuals who are able to focus on tasks for extended periods of time and have an appreciation for accuracy, detail, and a sense of esthetics.

He adds that most students from this program have secured employment before graduation. 

“It is not unusual for students to be working part-time after school during their third and fourth semesters,” says Izumi. 

“Many of the VCC Alumni have become dental laboratory owners or key personnel in the laboratories.”

This is a five-semester diploma program and the next start date is September 2019. 

To experience which other programs VCC has to offer, be sure to check out the next free open house, Experience VCC, on Wedbesday, April 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. 

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet with department heads and tour program areas. 

Anyone who applies to a program during the open house will not have to pay the $35 application fee, and could also have a chance to win $500 towards their tuition.


Sign up now to join us on April 24 and meet instructors from all of VCC’s health sciences departments, get campus tours, and more.


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 tə mem̓ən̓əsʔewtxʷ (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 lsehgal@vcc.ca or 604.871.7000 ext. 8307 to register by April 23, 2019.

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. 

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Media inquiries:

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


Fashion program inquires:

Sarah Murray 
Fashion Program Coordinator, Recruiting and Industry Relations
Vancouver Community College
E: smurray@vcc.ca





Nespresso national competition finds pastry prodigies at VCC

Posted on March 18, 2019


After months of practice that put all their pastry training to the test, on Wednesday, March 13, six VCC baking and pastry arts students competed in the Nespresso Café Gourmand semi-final, held this year for the first time in Western Canada. 

Their challenge sounds simpler than it was: create two bite-sized pastries, or mignardises, to pair with Nespresso coffees. One pastry had to harmonize with a Nespresso “Master Origin” coffee from either Ethiopia, Indonesia, or India. The other was required to contain Nespresso coffee as an ingredient. 

Prior to the competition, our six VCC competitors attended workshops with Nespresso Coffee Sommelier Élyse Lambert where they learned the science behind coffee fermentation, roasting, and blending as well as professional tasting techniques and culinary tips. 

On competition day, family, friends, and fellow students gathered in VCC’s Downtown baking lab for a (literal) taste of the action. Each competitor had three hours to create six portions of their signature mignardises. The bakers then bravely presented their dishes to a panel of prestigious industry judges including Thomas Haas, Lukas Gurtner of Sonora Resort, Adam Chandler of BETA5, and Marie-Andrée Pelletier representing Nespresso Canada.  

In the end, the judges selected Level 2 apprentice Angela Wu as Vancouver’s semi-final winner. Second place went to Megan (Youngheon) Lee and third place to Sammy Zheng. Congratulations to all competitors including Joshua Nacar, Rea Lopez, and Joyce Peng (pictured below) on stellar perormances.

Following her victory, Angela will travel to Toronto to compete in the Nespresso Café Gourmand National Finale on Monday, April 1 against semi-finalists from George Brown College and Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ).

See more photos >



Think life would be sweet as a pastry chef? Come chat with VCC’s world-class baking and pastry arts instructors at our next Experience VCC open house on Wednesday, April 24.


VCC Outstanding Alumni Awards 2018 winners

Posted on March 20, 2019

Congratulations to Vancouver Community College's (VCC) most recent Outstanding Alumni Award winners! These are the latest in a long line of VCC alumni and others who have made significant contributions to their industries and communities. Honorees represent four categories and each winner stands out with unique stories of success, inspiration, and dedication.


Curtis Krahn, Community Contribution

Founder/Principal, Synthesis Design Inc.

An early start in drafting led to a career in architecture. Curtis opened Synthesis Design Inc. in North Vancouver in 1993, and has been designing residential homes ever since. Over the years, he has employed many VCC grads, and continues to stay connected with VCC’s CAD and BIM (Drafting) programs through the Program Advisory Committee and by offering tours to current students. Curtis is actively pursuing building methods that are more affordable, follow green building practices, and are less intrusive to neighbourhoods during the building process.


Jeremy Inglett – Changemaker

Co-director, The Food Gays

Jeremy has taken a VCC baking diploma and created a whole new paradigm for success in the field. Jeremy is a food blogger, photographer, and author. He is one of the duo behind The Food Gays, having created a virtual empire, complete with television appearances, books, and over 62,000 followers on Instagram. Jeremy’s success is blazing a new path in an ancient tradition.


Alan Matheson – Career Success

Musician, VCC music instructor

Alan is a professional and multi-talented jazz and classical trumpet player, a pianist, composer, conductor, and teacher. VCC students and faculty are extremely fortunate to have such a world-class expert on the history of jazz in their midst. In addition to teaching, Alan enriches the lives of countless music lovers by leading his own big band, nonet, septet, and trio, and writing arrangements for such jazz legends as Clark Terry and Bud Shank.


Kyoung Yong Lee – One to Watch

Clinical Informatics, Vancouver Coastal Health

Kyoung is a proud member of VCC’s very first Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) cohort. After VCC, she went on to complete a graduate degree at the University of Victoria in health informatics. Kyoung is demonstrating strong leadership in the development of health care in a way that empowers clients and addresses health inequities through the innovative use of technology. Most of her work focuses on treating older adults with chronic illnesses. Kyoung has presented her findings in a number of forums; she is definitely one to watch in the field of disease management for those with significant barriers to localized care.


Do you know a VCC alum or community member who deserves recognition? Learn about our awards nomination process through the VCC Foundation.

Get the tools to launch careers in CAD, BIM

Posted on March 12, 2019

Originally published in the Star Metro Vancouver 

At Vancouver Community College (VCC), learners in the area of study dealing with computer aided drafting (CAD) and 3D building information modelling (BIM) are receiving the latest know-how to enter various careers.

When she graduated from VCC in 2006, Christine Pimpao was one such student. Today, not only is Pimpao a project systems specialist, she is back at the college in a much different role.

"As an alumnus I was asked to sit on the Program Advisory Committee to give VCC advice about what’s happening in the industry and offer guidance to ensure the programs are completely up to date," she says. "That’s one of VCC’s strengths, ensuring courses are relevant and comprehensive."

At VCC, the CAD and BIM area of study — which covers the technology being used in residential and commercial architecture, public infrastructure and engineering — includes six full-time programs. Among these are architectural technician certificate, civil structural technician certificate, and computer aided drafting and building information modelling architectural diploma.

Pimpao says that while topics vary among programs, a staple she experienced during her studies, and which continues to be emphasized today, is practical application.

"Throughout the program, every project, every lecture, everything we did was to work towards a portfolio," she says. "It wasn’t just learning subjects, but creating a professional portfolio we could present to companies."

As a woman in a male-dominated field, Pimpao says VCC gave her the tools to confidently launch her career. She says today there is a shift in the CAD and BIM industries as more women are entering the field.

"As long as you have the type of solid understanding VCC offers, you’ll gain the respect anyone deserves,” she says. "Be confident because there are lots of opportunities."

To learn more about this area of study, attend VCC’s March 20 info session at 4 p.m. For more, visit vcc.ca/info.

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 vcc.ca/gala 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

A taste of history: Introduction to Chocolate

Posted on February 19, 2019



What’s your favourite type of chocolate? Have you ever wondered how it came to be? VCC instructor Caroline Griffiths shares a few flavourful facts ahead of her new evening course, Introduction to Chocolate, starting March 20.

The cocoa bean originated in Mexico (Mesoamerica), and was cultivated by Indigenous peoples for use in beverages and other rituals as far back as 1900 BC. In 1502, Christopher Columbus was the first European to find cocoa beans but he didn’t recognize their value at first, calling them “almonds.” 

Cocoa consumption soon caught on in Europe, however, and by 1580, the first chocolate factory opened in Spain. In 1617, chocolate was produced for the first time in Switzerland, and by 1679, France was manufacturing chocolate as well. It was Daniel Peter of Vevey, Switzerland who invented milk chocolate in 1865. 

Cocoa production today

Today, the Ivory Coast supplies 30 per cent of the world’s total cocoa, leading the rest of the world by over half a million metric tons with a total crop of 1,448,992 tonnes. Ghana has the sec­ond largest cocoa plantation in the world.

A tropical environment with an average temperature of 26 to 28°C and high humidity is required to grow cocoa. The trees take about three years to produce fruit, and for the first few years, the young trees need to be grown under cover. The cocoa flower buds only remain open for four days and it takes about five months from a flower being pollinated to develop into a fully ripe pod.  

Know your chocolate

Do you know what the shelf life for chocolate is? For both white and milk chocolate it’s six to eight months. Dark chocolate can last for up to a year. Also, chocolate with fat content below 33 per cent is best suited for decorations, dessert mousses, shavings, and ganaches while chocolate with fats above 33 per cent is best suited for desserts, fillings, enrobing, and molding.

Ready to learn more? Registration is now open for VCC’s new Introduction to Chocolate course. Join us Wednesday evenings starting March 20 to learn top techniques for working with one of the world’s favourite and most in-demands foods.

Other new VCC Continuing Studies courses starting in Spring 2019 include: 

Baking and Hospitality


Business Communications

Creative Writing

Early Childhood Care and Education


  • Personal Pattern Making 2: Tops and Dresses


Building Service Management


Learn something new. Pick up the Spring 2019 Continuing Studies course catalogue at any VCC campus, download the PDF, or explore the full selection of Continuing Studies courses online. 



Immigrant women find “Sewmates” in new VCC business program

Posted on March 1, 2019



Shiva Kharajiani immigrated to Vancouver from Iran in January 2017. Even though the city was beset by ice and snow, she was thrilled to be here. “It felt good. Very good,” she says. 

Within a month, Shiva had enrolled in English as an Additional Language classes but her only social connections were still her husband and teenage daughter. In Iran, Shiva ran her own dressmaking business. She was eager to continue her profession but didn’t know where to begin. 

It was through her daughter’s school that Shiva learned about the Make It! Sewing Business Program, a new, no-cost opportunity delivered jointly by Vancouver Community College (VCC) and DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society with funding by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Set up via VCC’s Partnership Development Office and offered at the Downtown campus, the Make It! program is designed to help immigrant and refugee women create and operate a sewing business collective. 

In October 2018, the Make It! program’s first 12-member cohort started daily, part-time courses in communication, business, and sewing skills. Childminding and transportation were available. By Christmas, the women had produced an original collection of handmade bags and hosted their first public craft sale. 

“In my country, I established my business but I didn’t know about the Canadian market,” says Shiva. “Now I know how to find customers and what they need. This is a big opportunity for me.”

Their first phase complete, the collective, under the brand Sewmates Craft, continues to produce and sell bags and accessories while meeting regularly at VCC for business, production, and marketing planning. 

A pattern for success

Make It! program facilitator and DIVERSEcity employment specialist Florence Kao draws on both her professional experience and hobby sewing skills to lead the group. “I would be sewing at home anyway. It’s what I love to do,” she says. 

Florence, who has worked with newcomers for over nine years, sees great potential in business programs that are intentionally designed for women. While community sewing circles or cooking groups offer valuable social connections, there is little to no business training. Likewise, typical small business programs expect participants to come with refined, professional skills, such as cooking or landscaping. According to Florence, even immigrant women with past work experience often lack the confidence needed for entrepreneurship in Canada. “They don’t realize what they’re capable of,” says Florence. 

By combining skills training and business management in a safe and supportive space, Make It! offers the best of both worlds. “We help women connect, communicate, and get their confidence back,” says Florence.



Follow Sewmates Craft on Facebook or Instagram to know about their upcoming sales and see their latest products including coffee “huggers” and patterned zipper pouches. 

Want to buy or distribute Sewmates Craft products? Connect with them via email at sewmatescraft@gmail.com.


Our current Make It! session is working with women who want to refine their cooking skills and start their own business. Download the brochure


Meet other inspiring immigrant and refugee women from the VCC community:


Top five Valentine’s Day gift ideas from VCC Salon & Spa

Posted on February 11, 2019

When you fall for a beauty product, that relationship that can last a lifetime. This Valentine’s Day, VCC Salon & Spa instructors are letting us in on their long-term love for five hair and skin care products.

Whether you’re shopping for a special someone or boosting your own beauty routine ahead of the big day, check out these top picks, all available for purchase at VCC Salon & Spa.



AG Fast Food $24 

Recommended by: Keeleigh, VCC Salon and Spa program assistant

Silk and keratin proteins work together in this super popular leave-on conditioner. Fast Food adds moisture deep into the hair cuticle for strong, silky hair that stands up to everything February throws at it!   

Salon tip: Use a quarter-sized amount and apply to damp hair focusing on the ends. Comb through.


Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Styling Oil $22.50

Recommended by: Emma, VCC hairstyling instructional assistant

Tame frizz for a smooth, shiny, Valentine’s Day selfie-ready look with this keratin-rich styling oil.  

Salon tip: Start with a minimal amount and apply to hair focusing on ends. Add more if needed. 



Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant $80

Recommended by: Paula, VCC skin and body therapy instructor

Natural rice bran is the secret ingredient in this fresh exfoliant that helps to smooth and even out skin tone. Highly recommended after a box of chocolates.

Spa tip: Use daily after cleansing to unclog pores and get rid of dry skin.


Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer $74

Recommended by: Tyra, VCC Salon & Spa business manager

Prevent sun damage and aging with this SPF-30 powerhouse primer. Skin is left looking smooth, feeling hydrated, and loving you back. 

Spa tip: Mix with your moisturizer for a light tinted coverage.



Eminence Stone Crop Hydrating Mist $44

Recommended by: Chika, VCC skin and body therapy instructor

Hydrate and calm irritated skin with this fresh, fragrant toner. A gentle bouquet of stone crop, aloe, and bearberry help leave your face clear, invigorated, and free of impurities.

Spa tip: Use morning and night after cleansing to keep your skin hydrated.



VCC Salon & Spa Gift Card

Honourable mention

Can't choose? Go with a VCC Salon & Spa gift card, redeemable for VCC Salon & Spa services including manicures, pedicures, facials, massage, hairstyling, and more.


Do you love helping people look and feel their best? Learn more about VCC’s hair design and esthetics programs at an upcoming free information session.


Student T2202A tax forms available

Posted on February 27, 2019

Updated 2018 Student tax forms (T2202A forms) for VCC students are available.  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 "To Reset Password" 

myVCC login box

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

Transforming kitchen culture at VCC

Posted on February 25, 2019


As a young chef in Switzerland, VCC honorary alumnus Bruno Marti recalls a men-only kitchen culture of intimidation and competition where apprentices did their assigned work and little more. Bruno, who began cooking as a teenager, tells stories of spying from a staircase just to learn the recipe for his chef's coveted Café de Paris butter.

A few decades later in Delta, B.C., Bruno had established his famed countryside restaurant La Belle Auberge and earned a reputation as one of the region's top culinary mentors.

At seventeen, VCC culinary arts student Scott Jaeger was one of Bruno's first apprentices. While Scott admits to conducting investigations of his own to unearth certain recipes, he also considers Bruno to be one of the most generous chefs in the business. "He would help us out in a heartbeat," says Scott.

For Bruno, departing from a cutthroat kitchen was ultimately due to his love of cooking. "If you're not happy, you're not a good cook," he says. "I was happy mentoring. Eventually your apprentices make you look better, too, so why would you not?"

Today, in his own Burnaby fine-dining restaurant The Pear Tree, Scott carries on Bruno's mentorship tradition, which, continues to diverge from the stereotypical "cook culture" of overwork and burnout. Scott says his apprentices' enthusiasm is what keeps him striving for excellence. "Young chefs are what keep me alive and wanting to do this," he says.

Award-winning VCC alumna and The Pear Tree apprentice Leah Patitucci has already worked in several notable restaurants throughout her training, including Hawksworth and Temper Chocolate & Pastry. She finds that if a kitchen has a good teaching environment, everyone contributes. "It's a family feel," she says.

The chefs also agree that, during any labour shortage, a restaurant's culture plays a major role in retaining good staff. Alongside openness and respect, Scott also believes in finding smarter ways to cope with a sparse workforce, like adjusting opening hours rather than simply asking employees to work harder. "You need a balance," he says. "I want everyone to still love what they do at the end of the day."


Meet VCC chefs in person and learn about your options for a culinary career at our next open house, Experience VCC, on Wednesday, April 24 at the Downtown campus.

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 www.vcc.ca 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.

How to start your health care career in 28 weeks

Posted on February 6, 2019


Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

Over the next 10 years, WorkBC predicts more than 18,000 health care assistant jobs will be created. At Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) health care assistant program, students are prepared for this field in just 28 weeks. 

“In addition to the demand being caused by our aging population, the field isn’t subject to seasonality or economic booms and busts, and there isn’t a lot of room for automation to affect it,” says Lisa Beveridge, the acting leader of VCC’s continuing care department. “That creates a lot of job security.” 

Delivered through a combination of classroom and lab components, clinical experience in a complex care facility, as well as a community practicum that consolidates the application of learning into care-giving practice, the program places a heavy emphasis on experiential learning. 

“The program includes lots of engagement, discussions, and creative problem solving so students gain the ability to think critically and work in teams, which is important in health care,” says Beveridge. “There are two floors at VCC devoted to a lab environment with real equipment and we also use simulation technology, which is a good transition between classroom and helping real people.”  

Practice makes perfect 

VCC is currently in the early stages of exploring whether there is an opportunity to use virtual reality to offer students more occasions to practice communication or organizational skills prior to their clinical components.

“We’re excited to start looking at what is possible,” says Beveridge. “This is an example of the high standards we have in terms of the quality of care we seek to teach students to provide.”

According to the B.C. Student Outcomes Survey Results 2013-2017, more than seven out of 10 VCC health care assistant students find employment within two months. Additionally, 96 per cent of students said the program helped them develop skills in speaking effectively, analyzing and thinking critically, and working effectively with others.


Nurses and doctors are part of a much larger health care team. Explore the wide variety of health sciences career options at VCC.

How to make the most of Lunar New Year – with Chef Barry Tsang

Posted on January 31, 2019


For Asian families around the world, Lunar New Year is the ultimate holiday filled with family gatherings, feasts, travel, gift-giving, parades, fireworks, and more.

In Vancouver, we’re all fortunate to get a real taste of Lunar New Year festivities, but as with any major holiday, things can also get a bit hectic. Luckily, Vancouver Community College (VCC) Asian culinary arts department head Barry Tsang has some expert tips for making the most of the celebrations.

Book smart 

According to Barry, it’s not uncommon for groups of up to 40 people to descend on Chinese restaurants during the holiday period, especially on Lunar New Year’s Eve. “Some restaurants will be serving 600 to 700 people a day,” he says. “Your servers may not have much time for you, and your food will be cooked in a hurry,” he says. 

Chef Barry’s inside tip? Pick another day. Two or three days ahead is smartest, or even Lunar New Year itself. Days to avoid are New Year’s Eve as well as the few days after Lunar New Year. Especially in Canada, where we don't have a national holiday, the day itself is even more flexible. “It’s most important to have family all together,” he says.

Be ready for the rush  

For kitchen and restaurant workers, Barry advises preparation of epic proportions. “Order extra,” he says. Then cut, process, and marinade as much as you can ahead of time. 

Having worked in the industry for 38 years, Barry compares an unprepared kitchen to a row of dominoes. “One piece goes down and the whole thing falls apart,” he warns. 

Barry says communication is also key to conquering a holiday rush in any restaurant. This includes communication not only between cooks but also with the front of house. “It doesn’t matter how busy you are,” he says. “If you’re communicating and you’re well-prepared, you won’t panic.”


Learn more about the deliciously symbolic Chinese foods served on Lunar New Year so you can order like a pro. Another option is to avoid restaurants altogether by cooking something yourself. Try the recipe below for Chef Barry’s sautéed shrimp (虾), which sounds like “ha” in Cantonese and symbolizes laughter and joy.


Sautéed Shrimp

Chef Barry Tsang



A)  oil
      20 pcs shrimp meat (size 21/25, peeled and deveined)

B)  3 tbsp shallots (fine diced)
      3 tbsp carrots (fine diced)
      3 tbsp celery (fine diced)
      1 tbsp garlic (minced)

C)  5 tbsp ketchup
      2 tbsp sugar
      1 tsp Vietnamese chili sauce

D)  1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine

E)  2 sprigs cilantro



1.  Add oil to hot wok and sauté until 50 per cent cooked. Strain oil and set aside.

2.  Add oil to hot wok and sauté first. Add and sauté until thickened. Then add A, sprinkle in D, and toss until cooked.

3.  Garnish with and serve.


Do you have a passion for authentic Asian cooking? Learn more about VCC's professional, five-month Asian culinary arts program starting in February or September.





The winter CS flyer is out!

Posted on November 16, 2016

‌‌VCC Continuing Studies is pleased to announce the following new offerings for winter and beyond:CS Flyer winter 2017 cover

Makeup and Hairstyling for Indian Bridal
ECCE Workshop: Exploration with Clay
ECCE Workshop: Introduction to Ethics
ECCE Workshop: Partnership with Families
ECEBC Professional Development: Ethical Journey
Hairstyling Level 1 for Evening, Bridal and Photoshoots
• Interpreting
Introduction to Practice for Non-Registered Healthcare Workers
Make a Copper Plate in a Day
Make a Ring in a Day
Portfolio Development: Photo Shoot
Stone Setting in Jewellery 1- Bezels
Stone Setting in Jewellery 2- Pave Setting


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

The CS fall 2016 flyer is out!

Posted on August 4, 2016

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

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


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

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


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.

The Winter 2018 Continuing Studies guide is out!

Posted on November 23, 2017

‌‌VCC Continuing Studies is pleased to announce the following new offerings for January and beyond:

· Adobe Illustrator for Interior Design: Level 1
· Art of Henna/Mehndi 1
· Art of Henna/Mehndi 2
· CGA Diamond Grading
· Creative Writing – The Personal Narrative
· Cucina Italiana – Culture of Italian Cuisine
· Cucina Italiana – Pasta
· Cucina Italiana – Pizza, Bread & Italian Pastry
· Cucina Italiana – Gourmet Gelato
· Cucina Italiana – Italian Wine & Food Paring
· Ethics and Fiscal Management for Volunteer Managers
· Fashion Show Production
· Introduction to Industrial Sewing Machines
· Introduction to Revit
· Leadership and Management for Volunteer Managers
· Mend, Transform, Renew
· Microsoft Outlook: More Than Just Email
· Mutual Performance Evaluations
· Orientation, Training and Supervision of Volunteers
· Physical Assessments for Nurses
· Pojagi Workshop
· Policies and Procedures for Volunteer Managers
· RHFAC Accessibility Assessor Training
· Risk Management for Volunteer Managers
· Samsung Appliance Repair Technician – Professional Pathway
· Social Media: Marketing and Branding
· Volunteer Management Foundations
· Volunteer Recognition and Retention



If you’re ready to upgrade your skills, change careers or prepare for a promotion, you’ve come to the right place. VCC Continuing Studies offers an extensive range of diplomas, certificates and courses, scheduled during the day or in the evenings for maximum flexibility.

The Fall 2017 Continuing Studies catalogue is out!

Posted on August 15, 2017

‌‌VCC Continuing Studies is pleased to announce the following new offerings for September and beyond:

· Adobe Illustrator for Interior Design: Level 1
· Board Development
· CGA Diamond Grading
· Ethics and Fiscal Management for Volunteer Managers
· Event Planning for Volunteer Managers
· Fashion Show Production
· Introduction to Industrial Sewing Machines
· Leadership and Management for Volunteer Managers
· Mend, Transform, Renew
· Mutual Performance Evaluations
· Orientation, Training and Supervision of Volunteers
· Pojagi Workshop
· Policies and Procedures for Volunteer Managers
· Risk Management for Volunteer Managers
· Samsung Repair Technician – Entry Pathway Program
· Volunteer Management Foundations
· Volunteer Recognition and Retention


If you’re ready to upgrade your skills, change careers or prepare for a promotion, you’ve come to the right place. VCC Continuing Studies offers an extensive range of diplomas, certificates and courses, scheduled during the day or in the evenings for maximum flexibility.

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 vcc.ca/news

Q&A with VCC gemmology student Erica Dentinger

Posted on January 3, 2019



Get to know VCC gemmology student Erica Dentinger.

What brought you to the Gemmology program at VCC?
I found out about the gemmology program when I was already enrolled in the jewellery art and design program. Gemstones are my favourite part of jewellery, so I wanted to focus on that.

Why did you choose VCC?
I chose VCC because I have taken a few courses over the years and have been happy with the education. Bonus being that this program is offered in the best city in Canada and my hometown.

How would you describe your experience here?
My experience with the gemmology program has been great! I went in thinking I knew a lot about gemstones but I quickly realized there was so much more to learn. My favourite part of the program has been hands on learning with real gemstones and equipment like microscopes. (Instructor) Donna Hawrelko has been an enormous help with her wealth of knowledge, not just of gemstones
but the entire industry.

Anything unusual you’ve learned during the course of your studies?
I learned that there is an opalized dinosaur fossil!

Tell us about your designs
I use colourful gemstones in interesting shapes and design jewellery around them. I’m constantly amazed at the earth’s ability to create what are essentially beautiful rocks, so I like the focus to be on the natural beauty of gems.

What are your goals after the program?
My ultimate goal is to open my own jewellery store with a focus on gemstones. I hope to travel abroad to seek out ethical and eco-friendly gems straight from the source.


VCC offers four different Gemmology and Jewellery industry certifications as well as an assortment of part-time courses. Join us at upcoming info session to learn more.


CS Winter 2019 Guide 800‌‌ 

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 Makeup Artistry Certificate 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 

Welcome back! Winter 2019

Posted on January 1, 2019



Welcome to Vancouver Community College. Whether you’re starting a brand-new program or you’re back for another term, we want to make sure you have the information and resources you need to succeed throughout your studies.

Where's my class?

Know where to go on your first day. Use this chart to look up your building and room number on the first day of school.

If you have any questions, just find one of our friendly Peer Helpers. They’ll be around campus wearing "VCC" T-shirts.

myVCC student email

Get access to your own myVCC student email:

  • Log in to my.vcc.ca and select "Email" to access your student email.
  • If it's your first time logging in, your password will be your birthday (MMDDYY).
  • Important notifications may be sent to this email address, so it's a good idea to check it regularly or forward your myVCC email to your personal email account.

You can also use myVCC to look up grades, order transcripts, access tax forms, and receive campus news and alerts.

Welcome Days

Welcome Days is a fun, interactive opportunity for all students to ask questions and learn about life at VCC. Enjoy music, games and snacks, and win great prizes while getting acquainted with classmates, staff, and all the on-campus services.

Welcome Days will be held from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at the Broadway campus and Wednesday, Jan. 9 at the Downtown campus.


On-campus services

VCC offers a wide range of services to help you meet your educational goals and make the most of your time at college.

Student services

Eat, shop + more


Cannabis on campus

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, 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. Learn more >

Safe and respectful campus

VCC expects students to conduct themselves responsibly and respectfully. As such, students are required to be familiar with the student non-academic code of conduct. Please review the student code of conduct policy and procedures.

Talk to us


Follow and engage with your college online via VCC's official social media accounts. Mention us in your posts or use the hashtag #myVCC to share your talents, your projects, or even just the view from your classroom. 



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 give@vcc.ca or visit our online catalogue of gifts.

Fall 2018 Convocation recap

Posted on November 21, 2018


One has to endure challenges at work, home and in life. You may feel down, have doubts about yourself, but one must be strong to fulfill your dreams.” – Doreen Wong, Auto Collision

Vancouver Community College (VCC) is proud to announce the graduation of 1,146 dedicated and hardworking students on Tuesday, November 20, 2018. Over 500 supportive friends and family members filled the seats at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre before the start of the ceremony at 1 p.m.

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

Valedictorian Russell Jang, graduate of the Food Service Careers program, addressed his graduating class with an empowering message:

“In life there will be challenges and adversities, but remember to acknowledge others for supporting you in your journey. Most of all, remember to enjoy those moments that bring you fulfillment and satisfaction.”

Russell was determined to succeed in his program and in the food service industry, while overcoming personal barriers. He worked hard to expand his comfort zone and strengthened his social skills to achieve that. His positivity, leadership and commitment paid off – Russell is now a team member at Tacofino Venables.

After the procession of graduates, VCC alumna Doreen Wong offered some words of wisdom to the class of 2018.

“Regardless of your age or gender, you must not let anyone tell you that you are not good enough. You are here today in this graduating class because you have succeeded in your training and your accomplishments are recognized.”

Doreen is a trailblazer for women in trades, being one of the first women to receive qualifications in the auto collision industry. As an instructor in VCC’s auto collision and refinishing prep for over 10 years Doreen has been a role model for so many young women in trades.

View the full photo gallery online.

Watch the video recording online.

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

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 disabilityservices@vcc.ca, or by calling 604.871.7000, option 2, to discuss appropriate accommodations.

Continuing Studies Winter 2019 guide out now!

Posted on November 29, 2018


A lot of great things can happen in the hours after school lets out and before the workday ends. For many kids from working families, after-school care programs fill this gap and play an important role in their learning and development. 

Studies show that children who have access to after-school programs with caring, responsible adults:

  • develop critical thinking skills,
  • develop social and emotional skills,
  • have meaningful self-direction social time with friends,
  • feel a sense of well-being and belonging as result of having access to a consistent, caring adults and learning community,
  • are able to take part in exciting and fun group games, creative arts activities and community field trips and events, and
  • have access to nutritious snacks.

Unlike the field of early childhood education, there is no standardized training for school-age care professionals. Most often, organizations develop internal training for the new employees or hire people with varying profiles and levels of education.

VCC’s Introduction to School-Age Care course, launching in January, is your starting point to one of the most comprehensive school-age care programs available. 

Participants in this course will gain broad-based, foundational knowledge required to work successfully in school-age programs. Key concepts include child growth and development, three school-age domains (group games, self-directed social play, and creative/fine arts), curriculum/program development, care and guidance best practice including elements of the British Columbia Early Learning Framework. 

The course is taught by VCC instructor Tyler Summers who has been working in school-age care for two decades and is the executive director at Jericho Kids Club Child Care Society and a member of the School Age Child Care Association of British Columbia. 


Other new VCC Continuing Studies courses starting in Winter 2019 include: 

Business Communications
Google AdWords Training
Visual Analytics with Tableau

Creative Writing
Writing Sparks to Completion
Mystery and Crime Writing

Early Child Care and Education
Introduction to School-Age Care

Personal Pattern Making 1 – Bottoms

Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) – Wine Sommelier Level 1
World of Breads

Jewellery Repair


Electronic Discovery and Litigation Technology

Personal Finance
Building a Stock Portfolio
Financial Literacy 101
Understanding the Stock Market

Designing Infographics with Google Tools
Google Fusion Tables: Creating Interactive Visualizations and Maps
Introduction to Logic Pro
Introduction to Python Programming
Photoshop Level 1 (Mac)

Pool Operator


Learn something new. Pick up the Winter 2019 Continuing Studies course catalogue at any VCC campus, download the PDF, or explore the full selection of Continuing Studies courses online. 


CS Winter 2019 Guide 800‌‌ 

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

VCC Continuing Studies creates convenient pathways

Posted on November 22, 2018

fashion merchandising 800 

‌As originally posted in The Georgia Straight

Vancouver Community College has been delivering career education for more than 50 years, including through its continuing-studies division. In an effort to increase accessibility, it has decided to offer three of its eight courses online for those seeking a fashion-merchandising-associate certificate.

“Textiles is currently online,” fashion-programs coordinator Sarah Murray told the Straight by phone. “Fashion forecasting is going to be offered online for the first time in the winter. And the fashion merchandising course will be offered online in the springtime.”

She pointed out that students can take the eight courses—including fashion marketing and promotion, fashion retail management, fashion styling, history of fashion, and retail buying—in whatever sequence they prefer. Students take two courses per term and they can receive a certificate within a year.

“It’s particularly good for people who are working in the retail industry already and are looking to move up,” Murray said. “Whether they want to work at head office or be a manager or supervisor, this program is great for that.”

That’s because it provides a comprehensive overview of the business side of the fashion industry. It’s a sector that will face far more demand for workers in the coming years, according to the 2016 B.C. Alliance for Manufacturing report on the B.C. apparel industry. It forecast that the industry will lose 37.8 percent of its workers through attrition by 2025.

Murray said that some of the greatest demand will be for people who are knowledgeable about merchandising and e-commerce.

As part of VCC’s philosophy of learning by doing, fashion-merchandising students work with local designers to develop marketing plans. Students also organize a photo shoot in their styling class, lining up models, hair and makeup artists, and photographers.

These can be included in the students’ portfolio when they go looking for jobs. “It’s less than $3,000 to get the certificate,” Murray said. “It is a valuable item to have on a résumé because I do think it helps you move up the ranks.”


It’s not the only style-oriented continuing-studies program. Justin Ewart is program coordinator for the makeup-artistry certificate. There are seven courses offered, but students only need to complete five of them to graduate.

The four required courses are makeup-artistry fundamentals, evening and bridal makeup, fashion and photography makeup, and freelance and career development. Electives include airbrushing makeup, theatrical makeup, and film-and-television makeup.

In a phone interview with the Straight, Ewart explained that it can be done part-time. On average, it takes a student just less than a year and a half, though they can stretch it out to five years if they register for one course per term.

“In the fundamentals course, they learn to identify different skin tones…and how to apply makeup to them, as well as identifying different face shapes, eye shapes, and lip shapes and how to do proper application to them, or even correction to them,” he said. “We teach them how to cover a blemish.”

In addition, students learn how to properly highlight a cheekbone or nose, as well as how to give clients a more defined jawline and adjust the shape of someone’s eye.

“If you take a brush and do the eyeliner down, it’s going to pull down the eye,” Ewart said. “If they angle the eyeliner up, it’s going to lift up the eye.”

He noted that this certificate program can lead to freelance makeup work, as well as employment in the beauty industry. Prospective students should have a good work ethic, a willingness to market their skills, and an ability to work well with clients. “You have to be a people person—someone with a positive attitude.”

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 vcc.ca/makeagift - 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.




Talking shop with auto trades grad Sarah Jin

Posted on November 5, 2018



When Sarah Jin started VCC's Automotive Service Technician (AST) program in 2013, she didn't even know how to open the hood of a car. At the time, Sarah had simply noticed her university-educated friends were struggling to find work, so she decided to try automotive repair. "I figured fixing cars would be good to know, even if I didn't go into the trade," she says.

By the end of VCC's eight-month introductory program, Sarah's hard work and study skills had propelled her to the top of her class and she was offered an apprenticeship at VCC instructor Mike Coard's own business, L&S Toy Shop.

Four years later, Sarah has earned her full trade ticket and is now the shop manager, dealing with everything from customer service to payroll, as well as doing repairs. "She's good. She's really good," says Mike. "I'd give her the shop today if she wanted it."

Sarah brushes off the praise. While not currently interested in becoming a business owner, she also knows she could do it. "I'm at a loss when I'm not working," she says. "It's nice to go home and be able to say ‘I did that.'"

Thus far in her career, Sarah says she has felt nothing but respect and support in this male-dominated field. She's aware that there are still unwelcoming workplaces out there, and is grateful to have found her place in the VCC family tree. "I'd definitely like to see more women in the trade," says Sarah. "More shops like this would be nice."


Read more about transportation trades at VCC

Media release: Vancouver Foundation gift supports Deaf and hard of hearing

Posted on September 5, 2018



VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Community College (VCC) has accepted a generous gift of $150,000 from the Vancouver Foundation to support the expansion of employment training programs for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. 

This gift will enable VCC to design and offer bridging programs that provide Deaf and hard of hearing students with accessible, certified trades training in four major industries: food services, transportation trades, salon and spa, and technology.  

Deaf and hard of hearing individuals experience significantly higher unemployment rates than the general population for numerous reasons including lack of access to job training. 

“When a program can be tailored towards the needs of Deaf and hard of hearing students, it offers them the opportunity to fully participate through group activities and class discussions. VCC continues to develop important programs that are instrumental to Deaf and hard of hearing people’s lives. These types of programs prepare the students for the workforce,” says Linda Franchi, PhD, Head of Counselling Services at Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (WIDHH). 

VCC has championed Deaf education in B.C. for over 40 years, working with community service partners and local businesses to educate potential employers on the benefits of hiring a Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind individuals. Through VCC’s current Deaf and Hard of Hearing – Job Readiness program, students have participated in internships at nearly 100 businesses across Metro Vancouver, with many moving on to full employment.

About the Vancouver Foundation 

The Vancouver Foundation is Canada’s largest community foundation, working throughout B.C. to harness the gifts of ideas, money, time and energy to build a lasting legacy: healthy, vibrant, and livable communities. VCC is proud to partner with Vancouver Foundation to develop greater opportunities for people of all abilities.

- 30 -


Media can contact:

Fareedah Rasoul Kim
Marketing and communications officer
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000, ext. 7538

Disaster simulation during ShakeOut teaches students life-saving skills

Posted on October 22, 2018


For 275 health sciences students at Vancouver Community College (VCC), the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill on Thursday, Oct. 18 involved more than the usual "drop, cover and hold on."

Following the drill, which also tested the college's emergency notification system, students from eight areas including nursing, medical lab assistant, occupational health assistantdental hygiene and dental technology re-entered select areas of the Broadway campus which had been staged to look as though a disaster had occurred.

This was VCC's third annual college-wide disaster triage training, which involved about 45 "casualties" displaying life-like wounds and injuries and scattered across the third and fourth floors of health sciences Building B. 

The realistic-looking injuries, or moulage, were provided by VCC's makeup artistry instructors, who started at 7:30 a.m. making wounds, burns, and blood as believable as possible.

Some actors had lacerations or shards of glass protruding from their bodies. Others lay unconscious or acted disoriented or distraught. All of this happened in dark rooms and hallways where power was cut and furniture strewn across the floor. Chaotic audio effects added to the overall atmosphere. 

Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Martina Gueorguiva, who did the simulation for a second year running, says that for many of the students, the experience was eye-opening.

“It makes you realize you won’t always have the supplies or resources in the moment,” she says. “Here, the focus was to work together to sort, assess what’s going on, and see who needs help first and who can be delayed.”

Linda Glatts, Bachelor of Science in Nursing instructor and one of the coordinators of the disaster simulation, says these scenarios are meant to teach the importance of teamwork in a crisis situation and how to collaborate among various health care professionals.

“It stimulates thinking,” says Glatts. “What’s even more valuable is debriefing immediately after the exercise."

In debriefing rooms, facilitators and health care students reunited with their "casualties" and discussed together how a scene was handled. "Feelings, action, and thinking are explored to add to the whole learning experience,” says Glatts.

“A lot of it is about building interpersonal relationships,” she adds. “Having that presence and reassuring casualties that ‘I’m here with you’ is what we hope they can get out of this experience.”

The sight of a disaster-stricken campus had an impact not only on the simulation participants, but also the greater VCC student body who had completed the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill only minutes before.

“I walked in and it looked so real it almost scared me,” said one student passing by. “I think I need to go get my earthquake kit together at home.”

See more photos of VCC's ShakeOut BC disaster simulation.  


Do you see yourself working in the health care sector? Learn more about VCC's Pre-Health Sciences program and find out if careers like nursing, pharmacy technician, or medical lab assistant are right for you.



The 2018 Continuing Studies Spring guide is out!

Posted on March 8, 2018

‌‌VCC Continuing Studies is pleased to announce the following new offerings for April and beyond:

· Creative Writing: Sparks to Completion
· Creative Writing – The Personal Narrative
· Cucina Italiana – Culture of Italian Cuisine
· Cucina Italiana – Gourmet Gelato
· Cucina Italiana – Italian Wine & Food Paring
· Cucina Italiana – Pasta
· Cucina Italiana – Pizza, Bread & Italian Pastry
· Early Childhood Care & Education: ECCE Post-Basic Diploma
· Health: Renal Dialysis Technician Citation
· Interior Design: Introduction to Revit
· Languages: Russian 1
· Makeup Artistry: Art of Henna/Mehndi 1
· Makeup Artistry: Art of Henna/Mehndi 2
· Nursing: Physical Assessments for Nurses
· Paralegal: E-Discovery and Litigation Technology
· Rick Hansen Foundation: Accessibility Assessor Training
· Technology: Microsoft Outlook: More Than Just Email
· Technology: Social Media: Marketing and Branding 


If you’re ready to upgrade your skills, change careers or prepare for a promotion, you’ve come to the right place. VCC Continuing Studies offers an extensive range of diplomas, certificates and courses, scheduled during the day or in the evenings for maximum flexibility.

Media release: Disaster simulations at VCC

Posted on October 15, 2018

Shakeout simulation 800

Disaster simulations following ShakeOutBC

Vancouver, B.C. – On Thursday, Oct. 18, 275 health sciences students from Vancouver Community College (VCC) will be participating in a college-wide disaster triage training through 16 simulations including 45 “casualties” with life-like wounds and injuries. The simulations will begin immediately following the ShakeOutBC earthquake drill and a full evacuation of the college. 

“The importance of this Interprofessional Education (IPE) simulation is to assist the health science students in understanding the importance of working within teams where collaboration is essential in responding during a disaster,” says Meridy Black, instructor, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN).

“Many people know they should plan for the ‘big event’ but few people do it,” says Shirley Clarke, instructor, BScN. “This event will heighten the awareness of the need for preparation, self-reliance, and cooperation.”

Interprofessional simulations such as this are based on the IPE and the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL). This is a foundation for achieving safe, high quality, accessible, patient-centered care. VCC plans for this to be a building block to disaster preparedness for the entire college, then outward to our community.

Video, photo, and interview opportunities available:

Date: Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018


10:18 a.m. Shake Out drill followed by full evacuation of college

10:40 a.m. Disaster triage simulations lasting approximately 50 minutes

Location: VCC Broadway campus, 1120 E. 7th Ave., Building B with simulations on 3rd and 4th floors


Media can contact:

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



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:



Theatre production supports VCC's Deaf, hard of hearing, and visually impaired departments

Posted on October 2, 2018



Love, Loss & What I Wore is a benefit performance in support of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH), Visually Impaired (VIP), ASL and Deaf Studies, and Interpreting Services (IS) departments at Vancouver Community College (VCC).

This staged reading will not disappoint! Proving that great entertainment never goes out of style, the presentation of Love, Loss and What I Wore by award-winning screenwriters and authors Nora and Delia Ephron (based on the book by Ilene Beckerman) comes to Presentation House Theatre stage for two evenings only.

Like a long heart-to-heart with your best friend, this intimate and engaging collection of stories meanders from musings over wedding-day attire to a rant about loathing a purse and everything in between. Odes to first bras, cowboy boots, and outfits that made our mothers cringe, LoveLoss and What I Wore evokes funny memories and poignant stories about tyrannical dressing rooms, painful heels, comfy Birkenstocks, and having to choose between the two!


Love, Loss and What I Wore
Dates: Sunday, Oct 28. and Monday, Oct. 29
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Presentation House Theatre
333 Chesterfield Ave., North Vancouver
(3rd. St. W and Chesterfield)
Tickets: $30 adults, $15 students/seniors
For questions, please contact Marcia Tanaka at 778-227-2000.
ASL interpreting will be provided.
Funds raised from ticket sales and a rummage sale following the performance will go towards scholarships for Deaf, hard of hearing, and visually impaired students at VCC. 
Cast (in alphabetical order)
Nicola Cavendish
Kathy Daniels
Dolores Drake
Tai Grauman
Anna Hagen (Monday Performance)
Jenny Mitchell
Suzie Payne (Sunday Performance)
Programs will be available for download soon.
Presented by special arrangement with Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.

Experience VCC open house adopts hands-on approach

Posted on October 8, 2018




Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

With its Experience VCC event on Oct. 24, Vancouver Community College (VCC) is re-imagining the standard open house structure by offering experiences that showcase its offerings in ways that reflect the school’s hands-on nature.

And while attendees will be able to explore 120 programs at Experience VCC through workshops, demos, and entertainment, those who are especially interested in a hospitality career will gain a unique passport.

“The Passport to Hospitality event will explore where a career in hospitality can take students,” says Monique Paassen, head of VCC’s Hospitality Management department, of this particular aspect of Experience VCC.

“Attendees will get their ‘passport’ at the door and then collect stamps by visiting activity stations hosted by our department as well as the culinary arts, Asian culinary arts, and baking and pastry arts departments.”

Each activity station, says Paassen, will offer attendees an interactive way to learn about the programs, interact with faculty and alumni, and get their hands dirty.

For example, while in past years attendees were able to sample a pastry made by baking and pastry arts students, this year they may have the opportunity to decorate one or learn to properly set a table at the hospitality management station.

“We wanted to do something different that would really get the attendees involved and engaged so they understand our approach to teaching from their first interaction with us,” says Paassen, whose department offers both a two-year hospitality management diploma program and a four-year Bachelor of Hospitality Management option.

“If they fill their passport, they will have the chance to win prizes.”

Experience VCC, which takes place at the Broadway Campus from 3 to 6 p.m., will also allow attendees to explore the campus, meet students, and talk to instructors about programs in arts, sciences, certified trades, university transfer, and more.


Skip the line on Oct. 24 and RSVP for Experience VCC today.



Lin’s story: a world of opportunity in hospitality management

Posted on October 5, 2018



Lin Tang is the kind of person you'd want managing your finances. She’s good with numbers, a strategic thinker, and a natural problem-solver with an associate degree in business and a background in statistics.

Early in her career, however, Lin found that her skills were perfectly suited to another industry altogether – hotel management.

Lin was in the middle of a university statistics program when she realized she enjoyed her part-time hotel job more than her studies. “I was sitting in the lab and I had no clue what my T.A. was talking about,” she says. “At that moment, I figured this is not what I wanted.”

Lin then began researching post-secondary hospitality programs and found that Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Bachelor of Hospitality Management (BHM) program was the best fit. “I wasn’t interested in tourism. I wanted to learn hotel operations, cost controls, and accounting. That’s why I chose VCC.”

Keeping the peace

Thanks to her past jobs as well as practicum experiences in the BHM program, Lin has also discovered a special talent for dealing with “drama.”

During a recent windstorm and power outage, Lin remembers running the halls with flashlights, reassuring panicked guests, and carrying luggage through stairwells. “It was so fun!” she says.

On another occasion, her hotel’s computer system was unexpectedly cut off, leaving the staff without access to bookings, accounts, or even housekeeping schedules. “We had over 350 rooms and did everything manually,” she says, smiling. “I’m so glad that I went through that. Now, whatever happens, I know I can handle it.”

Going global

Today, Lin works as a reservation agent at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre – a part of Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel chain. Lin’s long-term goal is to move into hotel revenue management. “This is it,” she says. “This is the industry I’ll spend my life in.”

Lin’s other passion is travelling, so getting employee discounts at more than 6,500 properties in 127 countries is a definite perk. “I really enjoy my staff benefits,” she says.

Lin feels that the academic knowledge and industry connections she gained at VCC have set her up for success. Now with 12 years of hotel experience, she’s excited about the future. “Right now, I feel like I have so many opportunities,” she says. “It’s just up to me to figure out what I want to do next.”

Where can a hospitality career take you? Find out at Passport to Hospitality, a series of interactive workshops (with prizes!) at our Experience VCC open house Oct. 4 at the Broadway campus.


Five ways VCC supports international students

Posted on October 3, 2018


It takes unique and courageous individuals to learn a foreign language, leave their families, and travel overseas to pursue an education. At Vancouver Community College (VCC), we’re proud to educate about 1,500 international students annually from over 40 countries. We value the many things they teach us as well—about their lives, their goals, their cultures, and the world outside our city.

As one of British Columbia’s longest-standing public colleges, VCC is committed to supporting international students in many ways:



1. Extensive student support

At VCC, international students can access many services to support their cultural and academic transition:

  • VCC’s international office offers daily drop-in advising hours to answer students’ questions and address concerns.
  • Highly trained VCC staff have the ability to assist international students with topics ranging from new student orientation to medical insurance, educational planning, and working in Canada.
  • In select international programs including Hospitality Management and Canadian Business Management, English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors are available in-class to provide language and cultural support at no extra cost.
  • VCC has recently launched the position of Regulated International Student Immigration Advisor (RISIA) to help students with immigration-related inquiries.



2. Competitive tuition fees

Studying in Canada is widely considered to be more affordable than many other English-speaking countries (e.g. United States, United Kingdom, Australia). At VCC, any increases to international tuition over the past three years have matched domestic increases (to a maximum of two per cent).



3. Students get jobs

VCC’s interactive, career-oriented programs are taught by highly qualified instructors with experience and connections in their respective industries. In class, students learn practical, hands-on skills, becoming fully qualified to enter the workforce upon graduation. VCC’s cohort structure also assists students in making personal and professional connections in Canada.



4. Great campus services

Life is good on VCC campuses. Thanks to our wide variety of trades and professional programs, the whole community benefits daily from affordable, fresh-made food in our cafeterias, bake shop, and restaurants. Students can also receive professional hairstyling in our on-campus salon as well as discounted dental care, automotive service, and more. See the full list of free and low-cost services at VCC.



5. Location, location, location

We love our city! Located in the heart of Vancouver, VCC is accessible by public transit from across the region. Many of our classrooms have beautiful mountain views and our students enjoy quick access to beaches, hiking trails, and parks. Alongside its natural beauty, Vancouver boasts clean water, a mild climate, high-quality health care, safe public spaces, and world-class arts, entertainment, food, and shopping.

Vancouver is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable places and was named one of the 20 Best Student Cities in 2018 by QS World University Rankings.


Ready to start your VCC journey? View the full list of programs for international students or connect with our international office by emailing study@vcc.ca.

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

Amir’s story: finding refuge

Posted on September 10, 2018



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 in school, learned to cook, and even goes to the gym.

His sponsors and friends are duly impressed. 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.

Amir says he’s always been a “troublemaker.” Growing up in Iran, he was considered a political dissident by the time he was a teenager. “I like to question things,” he says. “I want to change things that don’t work.”

At only 15 years old, Amir fled Iran and went to Malaysia. A few years later, he travelled to Indonesia, and from there to Australia, hoping to claim asylum under United Nations regulations.

No man is an island 

Instead of starting a new life in Australia, however, Amir was shipped to Manus Island, a detention centre off the shores of Papua New Guinea, where he joined 1,500 other men from around the world. 

“They fed us disaster food,” he says. “There was no hygiene. The dorms were overcrowded, filthy, and mouldy. It was a tropical, humid island with 35 to 40-degree heat. We were fenced in and they treated us worse than animals.” 

Amir says he and his fellow detainees were harassed and beaten regularly. Some were even killed, yet the Australian guards faced no repercussions.

Even under these conditions, Amir emerged as a leader, staging protests and helping people write letters. At one point, he smuggled a cell phone into his dorm and gave a live interview on Australian radio. Afterwards, he was put in solitary confinement for 14 days.

In researching his options for escape, Amir eventually discovered Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. He then connected via Facebook with a Canadian immunization nurse who had previously worked on the island. Soon, her whole family became involved in sponsoring Amir to come to Canada.  

Strong and free

In November 2017, Amir landed in Vancouver as a full Canadian resident. Within days, he was giving interviews to Australian news. By February, Amir was ready to return to school – something he had not done since he was 15. 

To start, settlement organization MOSAIC referred Amir to Vancouver Community College (VCC) for an assessment. Despite his limited education, Amir, now in his mid-20s, tested at Grade 11 English, entirely surpassing the need for English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Within two months, he had also upgraded from Basic to Grade 10 math through VCC’s self-paced Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs. “My teachers really assisted me to find my way,” he says.

Despite these accomplishments, Amir continues to struggle with trauma and institutionalization. “When you’re imprisoned for five years, it’s very hard to enjoy freedom anymore,” he says. 

Amir says his transition to an independent life has also felt isolating. “On that island, I had 1,500 people that were constantly in contact with me, needing my help." he says. "In Vancouver, people are so reserved.” 

Still, Amir looks ahead with hope. “It will be a matter of time,” he says.

With full high-school credentials on the horizon, Amir is now considering a university degree in law or psychology, with plans to continue fighting for refugees and human rights around the world. 


Everyone deserves an education. Adult Basic Education (ABE) courses are tuition-free in British Columbia as of September 2017. Learn more at UpgradeBC.ca.

Read more about The Many Faces of Adult Basic Education.

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 >



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Legal administrative assistants in high demand

Posted on September 11, 2018



Originally published in Star Metro Vancouver

With a growing demand for legal administrative assistants in the Lower Mainland, now is the time to enroll in Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) legal administrative assistant program, says the head of the school’s business department.

“Law firms and employment agencies are scrambling to fill positions,” says Helen Roberts. “We have job postings that we send to our graduates and recently we’ve had twice as many job postings as we’ve had graduates. I don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon.”

Taking just five months to complete, VCC’s legal administrative assistant program requires applicants to have finished the college’s administrative assistant program or have administrative assistant experience. This prerequisite allows the program to dive right into topics relevant to the legal realm.

“We essentially cover six topics: law office management, the court system, corporate law, conveyancing, litigation, and family law,” says Roberts. “We also teach about wills and estates. The program is very hands-on and students work on simulated files to complete the documents they will encounter once they graduate.”

In addition to hands-on practice through assignments, students are exposed to the industry through field trips to the B.C. Supreme Court and to a law firm office, through guest speakers, and a unique opportunity to interact with legal professionals during a job skills seminar day.

Students also complete a two-week practicum to put their skills into practice in a real-world setting.

“The job skills seminar day is a really valuable experience because students get to ask these professionals about careers and job searches while networking,” says Roberts. “And, of course, practicum ties it all together. We want them to be as workplace-ready as possible so the transition into the field is as smooth as it can be.”  


Apply now for the next intake of VCC’s legal administrative assistant program starting on Feb. 4, 2019.


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



Clinton’s story: from trauma to triumph

Posted on February 10, 2016


‌It’s not easy to hear Clinton Rivard talk about his childhood. Born in the small Northern B.C. community of Fort St. James, Clinton grew up in an Aboriginal family plagued by drug and alcohol abuse. Even so, he considers himself to be among the lucky ones. “Many of my friends have ended up homeless,” he says, “but I’ve always had a house key, and I’m really grateful for that.”

Now in his mid-thirties, Clinton is a promising student in VCC’s health unit coordinator program. When he speaks, you can tell he was a smart kid. He brims with proud stories of his parents and grandparents surviving the residential schools era. Sadly, generations later, his own life would also be scarred by tragedy.

A fresh start

At 14, Clinton witnessed what he calls a “traumatic incident” in his home. After giving statements to police and recovering from the initial shock, he soon realized the experience had affected him so deeply that he had lost his ability to concentrate in school. Before entering Grade 8, he dropped out in order to seek psychiatric help.

It took more than a decade of therapy and healing, both with Aboriginal medicine people and professionals as far away as Washington State, before Clinton was ready to resume his education.

Determined to leave Northern B.C., in 2010, Clinton began researching colleges across the province. His criteria were simple: quality adult upgrading courses, a variety of career programs, and close to public transportation. “I sold everything I had and moved to Vancouver specifically to come to VCC,” he says.

A naturally compassionate person, Clinton envisioned a career in health care, possibly nursing. Having no high school education, however, he knew he had plenty of work ahead of him.

Clinton was already enrolled in math and English upgrading courses when he met one of VCC’s Aboriginal advisors one day in the hallway. He then learned about Aboriginal Gateway to Health Careers, a program offered jointly by the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS) and VCC that gives academic and career support to Aboriginal students pursuing careers in health care.

“The Aboriginal Gateway program was awesome,” says Clinton, “not only for the extra skills training but also for introducing me to other like-minded Aboriginals. Some of them are my very best friends now.”

With a new support network, Clinton finally regained the focus needed to let his intelligence shine. Despite his Grade 7 education, Clinton’s initial assessments already placed him in Grade 9 math and Grade 11 English. Another testament to his perseverance, it took less than one year for Clinton to achieve all the high school-level grades required to enter VCC’s health unit coordinator program. In November 2015, Clinton was awarded both the Karl Vetter Scholarship and the HSBC Bank Canada Aboriginal Scholarship for his effort and achievement.

Lighting the way

Having recently completed a practicum at UBC Hospital, Clinton is now participating in the hiring process for Nursing Unit Assistant positions with Vancouver Coastal Health.

While pleased with how far he’s come, however, Clinton prefers to draw attention to his peers, like others in the Aboriginal Gateway program as well as his friends and siblings.

“Some have been through even more than me,” he says. “And they’re now finishing social work degrees, nursing degrees, they’re elected representatives for their First Nation bands, they’re raising awareness about missing and murdered Aboriginal women.”

As for Clinton himself, he simply hopes to further the inspiration. “A lot of good people I met along the way have held their light up high for me in my darkest times," he says. “Now hopefully I can add my light to help others find their way."


VCC welcomes learners at all levels of education and from every walk of life. Learn more about tuition-free Adult Basic Education (ABE) and other upgrading options.  


Lesley’s story: from home-school to health science

Posted on July 27, 2015


Meeting Lesley Miller, you’re immediately struck by her intelligent eyes, quiet confidence and strong, healthy demeanor. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she’s studying health and nutritional science.

Like many young people diving into post-secondary education for the first time, Lesley’s face lights up as she talks about her chosen field—the biochemistry of foods and how diet relates to the aging of cells and chronic diseases. Speak to her for a few minutes, and you can’t help but share her anticipation to start a Bachelor of Science program in Food, Nutrition and Health at the University of British Columbia this fall.

Unlike many students, however, Lesley’s path did not follow a straight line from high school to university. In fact, her educational journey took its first of many twists and turns before she was even old enough to choose the course.

Out of the system

With mixed feelings, Lesley describes growing up in Ohio where she and her brother were home-schooled. Even though her father had worked as a schoolteacher, Lesley remembers her parents disapproving of many aspects of the American public school system, and wanting to give their kids the freedom to focus on their own talents and interests. “There was method to the madness,” she says.

Even today in the state of Ohio, however, home-schooled students do not automatically obtain a recognized high school diploma. And so, following a lifelong love of books, reading and school supplies, at the age of 17, Lesley finished studying without any official documents or transcripts. While she still had the option to write equivalency tests and obtain a GED, Lesley remembers being confused about the process, as well as insecure about entering an academic institution for the first time in her life.

Food for thought

While still in her early 20’s, Lesley ended up moving to Vancouver with her husband who works in the film industry. “We just packed up the car and said ‘Here we go! We’re moving to Canada!’”

Only a few years into her new Canadian life, however, Lesley’s father passed away, much too young, from cancer. According to Lesley, her father’s death had a major impact on the whole family. While there was no way to know what specifically caused her father’s illness, Lesley, her husband and her mother all experienced it as a wake-up call to drastically improve their food and lifestyle choices. It was then that Lesley also developed her passion to study the relationship between food systems, nutrition and health. “It changed me forever,” she says.

With a newfound drive for learning, Lesley immediately began looking into Bachelor of Science programs specializing in nutrition. When talking to university advisors, however, Lesley soon learned that most admissions systems had no way of accommodating someone without official high school records to submit. “They weren’t really sure what to do with me!” she says. “And so, I came to VCC.”

After speaking with a VCC program advisor, however, Lesley says she was instantly encouraged and relieved. “It was the first time that I didn’t have to explain myself,” she says. “Everybody here comes from a different place. There are so many types of students, filling in holes, taking the classes they need. I just felt accepted.”

Tiny steps, big results

It’s been about a year and a half since Lesley first entered the self-paced Academic Upgrading/High School programs at VCC. She’s worked especially hard in mathematics and sciences—areas that never received much focus at home. Through courses both at VCC and at Langara College, Lesley has now earned the credentials needed to enter university and been accepted to UBC’s Bachelor of Science program in Food, Nutrition and Health.

When asked how she feels about tackling subjects like calculus and chemistry at a university level, Lesley doesn’t hesitate for a moment. “I’m excited,” she says, laughing. “It’s like a big demon that I will slay!”

Looking back on her winding, decade-long journey from home-school in Ohio to university in Vancouver, Lesley finds she’s gained a unique and valuable perspective. “It’s taken me this long to really become comfortable with obstacles,” she says. “So you want something? The first thing you need to do is break the process down into tiny little steps and start with the smallest thing. Don’t let obstacles overcome you. Overcome the obstacles.”


VCC offers programs for students of all skills, abilities and levels of education. Learn n more about academic upgrading courses including Grade 12 diploma and university transfer

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 Medical Office Assistant (MOA) program, but when Chieko spoke to an advisor, she learned that her English skills didn’t quite meet the program’s Grade 12-level requirement.

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

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

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

Seeing success

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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).