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As Interior employers struggle to recruit and retain staff, International Gateway Kelowna is trying to assist in filling that need

IGK can help find workers

International Gateway Kelowna is the city’s oldest language school, also offering career college diploma and certificate programs.

From its 20-year history it has created a vast network of international recruitment agents and immigration consultants. By utilizing the needs of those clients in obtaining work placements for either travelling individuals wanting to work abroad or for those looking to immigrate to Canada, there is a wonderful opportunity for both training domestically and recruiting internationally to support local businesses with a desperate need for trained staff.

“We receive requests from international agents who have clients wishing to come to Canada from Switzerland, for example,” IGK director of recruitment Blaine Melnyk says. “These clients want to do up to 18 months of work abroad experience as part of the International Experience Canada program offered by the Canadian government. They want to come for an intensive English language study program with us first and then go to an employer for the next year or, in some cases, up to two years.”

Along with ESL language study programs, including university pathway and summer camps, IGK offers a diploma in business administration, certificate in cryptocurrency professional, certificate of hospitality and tourism management, and a certificate of winery assistant and sales. Programs range in length from six to 18 months, with paid co-op and university transfer credits available. Additional certificate programs in UX and UI design, along with a diploma of cybersecurity specialist, are available for the January intake period.

“Career colleges can effectively adapt and adjust to the market quicker, offering theoretical and practical knowledge, and partnering with industry leaders to determine and develop the courses to ensure proper training for their field’s needs,” CEO Onur Guler says.

If interested in finding out how to partner with IGK agents currently looking for local businesses, or for any of IGK’s programs, they suggest a quick phone call.

IGK is offering local students’ scholarships if applying and accepted before July 1. You can meet them at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association hiring fair taking place today, call 250-868-4827, email [email protected] for more information or stop by the college at 618 Bernard Ave.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Regency Retirement Resorts looking for trades to help build its latest luxury seniors' home

Regency building on success

Regency Retirement Resorts has become synonymous in the Okanagan with luxury senior living.

The private business, started by the Hall and Kornell families, has been building on its successes for more than 20 years, as it provides some of the best living for those who really want to enjoy their retirement years. Regency Retirements Resorts has constructed seven retirement resorts in the Okanagan, and it is getting ready to build its eighth on Valley Road in Kelowna’s Glenmore neighbourhood. It will be the fifth Regency home in Kelowna when completed.

And just like the rest of the Regency resorts, it will offer cruise ship living "without getting seasick." It will feature everything anyone could possibly ever want, from in-house theatre, woodworking shop, winemaking area, sports lounge, fitness studio, hair salons, putting course, bocce and much more.

“We describe ourselves not being in the seniors’ housing business and not being in the construction business, but being in the life enrichment business,” Regency Retirement Resorts co-founder Ed Hall says. “So we’re creating another another opportunity for people to enrich their lives.”

All told, Regency currently provides homes for more than 1,100 seniors across the valley.

The newest site, at 340 Valley Rd., has been cleared and is ready to build, so Regency is looking for tenders from local trades contractors who would like to work for the trusted Okanagan company and help build the future residence.

The project is a 180,000 square-foot, five-storey, wood-frame building with a 40,000 square-foot suspended concrete slab. Some of the sub-trades needed include forming and foundation, framing, electrical, mechanical, drywall and finishing.

Those who work on constructing the home will enjoy the benefits of working for a locally owned, trusted company as well. Decisions are not being made in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver. Payment is prompt. The owners are never far away.

Regency is accepting tenders from sub-trades who would like to work on the newest Regency resort. Those interested are invited to contact Roger LeBlanc by phone at 250-258-8814 or by email at [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

It's never too early to think about donating part of your will to charitable cause

Plan your good will

Supporting your community can take many forms. One is by simply showing kindness—and in our community, we see people showing their kindness to others each and every day.

No matter what your path in life, everyone who wants to make a difference, even a little, can find a way. Change happens through ripples big and small. And philanthropy—the love of humankind—is one way to effect change.

This is how philanthropy is for everyone.

Whether it’s inspired by gratitude, duty or our shared humanity, philanthropy is rooted in goodness we want to see nourished for future well-being.

During May, there is a focus on wills and charitable giving as ways to make a difference.

Kelowna residents Jessica Dichow and Tyrel Hansen set about making their wills as their family grew. Their lawyer asked if they had considered making a charitable bequest. They loved the idea. “When you are young, it’s not often that you think about your ‘legacy,’” shares Dichow. “It seems as though that’s something decades away. However, planning now, while building a family and ensuring your children are cared for also gives space for introspection about the impact we can make through charitable giving.”

They had trust that their lawyer was on to something and, with confidence, they confirmed a gift in their will to the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.

As a patient in labour and delivery at Kelowna General Hospital, Dichow saw first-hand how hard everyone was working and how much they cared about their patients. Later in the newborn intensive car unit, which was full, Dichow remarked, “This is something good we can do—provide funds that will help patients and make the nurses’ jobs easier with more or better equipment.”

A little bit from a lot of people makes a big difference.

Allisa Wu, a lawyer at Montgomery Miles & Stone Law Firm, offers trust and estate planning services. Her clients often raise concerns about whether or not they will have enough for their heirs if they donate a specific amount to a charity.

Wu assures them, “There are different ways of setting up a bequest,” adding, “Some clients who are passionate about a cause decide to share a portion, or percentage, of the residue of the estate, as opposed to a specific gift. This way, they know all the beneficiaries of the estate will receive their proportional share under the estate—their heirs and the cause they care so much about.”

Dichow amplifies this sentiment: “Donating a percentage of our estate eliminates the worry that there might not be enough for everybody. It makes a huge difference in the mental shift to give this way.”

“… Even if it’s one percent of somebody’s estate, that’s a little bit from a lot of people, and then, well, what about two percent, three percent, and so on?”

When clients wish to make a charitable bequest but feel their estate isn’t large enough, Wu reassures them, “Every gift makes a difference. Most clients are able to make a bequest possible through a percentage of the estate’s residue.”

Your vision of philanthropic success is what matters most.

There is the groundwork to be done, but you are not alone to make it happen. Among others, financial planning professionals, estate lawyers and planned giving officers at charities are ready to help you.

Working together to leave a gift in your will, you can build on all the good you’ve created in life.

“We want to directly impact our own community,” Dichow says. “We considered giving back for future generations. KGH services every single demographic—every age, gender, socio-economic condition, everyone. Everybody benefits.”

We’re here to help you realize your philanthropic vision.

For more information about making a bequest in your will to the KGH Foundation, visit our website at or call Colleen Cowman, director of planned giving, at 250-862-4300, ext. 27011.

Since 1978, the KGH Foundation has worked with a generous community to raise funds to support world-class health care close to home for a rapidly expanding and diverse population in the B.C. Interior. Today, the KGH Foundation is the lead fundraising organization for Kelowna General Hospital and its associated facilities, JoeAnna’s House and Central Okanagan Hospice House.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

A lawn that looks great all year round

Benefits of synthetic grass

Aside from aesthetics, there are many benefits associated with installing synthetic grass.

In addition to long-term savings associated with a reduction in maintenance and reduced water costs, there are also environmental benefits, such as water savings, especially in drier climates like the Okanagan.

As a cost-effective alternative to natural turf, synthetic grass not only looks good year-round, it’s also easier to maintain and provides a safe and weather-proof surface that won’t tie up your time with mowing, weeding and fertilizing.

“It's a low maintenance solution so you can spend time doing the things you love and enjoying the Okanogan lifestyle versus doing yard care on the weekends,” says Marcus Matthews of KelMar Yardworx, a south Okanagan-based landscape company that specializes in the installation of synthetic grass.

“It gives people more time to spend with their families and doing what they want to do.”

The list of benefits associated with synthetic grass is lengthy. Here are just a few of the benefits:

A reduction in your water bill

Everyone loves to save money and with the installation of synthetic grass, the days of big water bills during the dry summer months will be a thing of the past. In Penticton there are year-round, assigned day water conservation measures to keep up with the city's demand for clean drinking water, and water for irrigation and commercial use.

Savings on the maintenance costs associated with real grass lawns

Seeding, watering, mowing, weeding, fertilizing…the list of chores associated with lawn upkeep is never-ending for many homeowners. And then there is the maintenance of an underground irrigation system if you have one.

Savings on gardening equipment

Lawnmowers, trimmers and other gardening lawn maintenance equipment are expensive and over the years need to be maintained and replaced.

No harmful pesticides

With concern about the long-term effects of pesticides and other chemical treatments to control moss and weeds on lawns, as well as the impact of chemical treatments on pets and wildlife, an alternative to natural grass is a much healthier option.

No more mud and grass stains

Muddy footprints traipsed into the house - by both humans and pets - are a thing of the past with synthetic grass.


With no pollen count, hay fever and other seasonal allergy sufferers can rejoice when the yard is made up of synthetic grass rather than natural turf.

No shade, no problem

With shaded spots on natural grass lawns, more work is required to keep them as green as other sections of the lawn that get plenty of sunlight. With synthetic grass, you get a uniform colour year-round.


We all love our four-legged friends but sometimes they can be hard on a yard. Synthetic grass can be cleaned with a garden house and a mild detergent when needed and digging holes is a thing of the past.


Synthetic grass can provide a soft surface for children to play on, protecting little ones from trips and falls.

UV protection

Modern synthetic grass comes with great UV protection and does not fade or change colour despite what Mother Nature throws at it in the form of bright light, hot sun, cold weather, snow or rain.

Multiple uses

Synthetic grass can be used for more than just lawns. It can also be an attractive accent to the outside of your home or be used for a putting green for the golf enthusiast. And with excellent drainage, it is perfect for use any time you need it.


Unlike natural turf, wear and tear is not an issue for good quality synthetic grass. It has a long lifespan which means it will continue functioning as planned and look good for years to come.

“There really are so many benefits associated with synthetic grass,” says Matthews, whose company uses North American-made products to ensure top quality for his customers in the south Okanagan.

The estimated annual cost of lawn servicing, including annual irrigation system blow outs, mowing time, equipment repairs, water bills, landscapers, aerators etc, is around $2,500. But a switch to synthetic grass, makes the time spent doing things you love with your family, priceless.

So, if you are considering synthetic grass, or maybe planning to install a putting green for your home, contact KelMar Yardworx at [email protected] or call 250 309-3664.

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