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TOTA & Okanagan College Hospitality Program Partnership

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

For Immediate Release

September 8, 2023

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Okanagan College Announce Fall Intake for Fully Funded Virtual Hospitality Certificate Program

Photo Credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig

Kelowna, B.C. - The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and Okanagan College are once again investing in the future of regional tourism and hospitality with the third intake of the fully funded Hospitality Professional Program. The initiative is open to current professionals looking to elevate their career path, and those interested in securing skills and experience to land a job in the region’s vibrant tourism and hospitality sectors.

The Hospitality Professional Program comes with no financial burden, ensuring students can focus on gaining the skills and experience needed to unlock new and elevated roles. The partnership between TOTA and Okanagan College is made possible through federal funding in order to address major industry downturns and the ongoing skilled labour shortage facing tourism and hospitality businesses across the country.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for current and hopeful hospitality professionals to level up their skill set - at no personal expense,” shared Ellen Walker-Matthews, TOTA CEO. “Okanagan College offers timely, relevant, and meaningful education and skills that can quickly elevate a career. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for career change and advancement.”

This comprehensive part-time program has been specially designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the dynamic world of tourism hospitality. The blend of live online learning sessions rapidly covers many topics of the evolving landscape, providing an introduction to marketing, social media, accounting, project management, human resources, and management. This is coupled with self-led online industry certifications including WHMIS; FoodSafe; and Serving It Right.

The first 30 - 34 weeks are spent in a virtual classroom and is followed by 10 weeks of on-site work experience, mentorship, and a job placement at a local business. From guest services to event management and beyond, students will receive top-notch training, networking opportunities and on-the-job training that will open many doors to tourism careers in the Thompson Okanagan.

Participants can choose from one of two part-time live online training schedules:

  • Schedule 1: Monday to Friday mornings from October 2023 to May 2024

  • Schedule 2: Evenings and Saturdays from October 2023 to June 2024

  • Both schedules include work experience & mentorship: May – July 2024

Two information sessions will happen on September 15 at 1pm and September 21 at 7pm.

Interested participants can register at The deadline for program intake is Friday, September 29, 2023. Students will be interviewed and accepted as applications are received until the program is filled.

Don't miss out on this chance to jumpstart a career in tourism and hospitality. Interested individuals are invited to embark on a journey of growth, excellence, and success. Learn more and apply at

*Applicants must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or protected persons legally able to work in Canada. The virtual portion of the program can be taken from anywhere across Canada, but participants must be in, or relocating to, the Thompson Okanagan for the work experience and job placement portion of the program.


About Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association:

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) is a not-for-profit society that represents a geographic area nestled in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. The region’s name is derived from two major geographic features: the Thompson River and Okanagan Lake. TOTA plays a support, leadership, and growth role in the tourism industry as a regional destination management organization. It aims to stimulate ongoing sustainable growth by embracing the value of tourism through community engagement, innovative leadership in promoting authentic experiences, and inspiring creative collaboration. Key initiatives include; Biosphere Certified Gold Destination, 7 Affirmations Pledge, and Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.

For more information about TOTA visit, or visit the consumer facing website Connect socially at @Thompson_Okanagan

About Okanagan College:

Okanagan College is committed to empowering individuals and communities in the region to make positive change through exceptional learning experiences, applied research, and innovation. Students and their communities are at the centre of everything that they do.

Okanagan College has been embedded in the social, cultural, and economic fabric of the region since 1963. It has grown and developed with the region and, in turn, has impacted the growth and development of the region in meaningful ways. Looking forward, Okanagan College will design intentional change to meet the learning needs of urban, rural, and remote students throughout the region as well as nationally and internationally.

For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Krista Lochhead



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