GPRC Office Administration Changes Lives!

GPRC Office Administration Changes Lives!

Are you looking for a steady career? Wanting to change your life in only one year? GPRC Office Administration offers its students specialized programs designed to provide you with the critical skills required to succeed in a career you’ll love.

Our graduates of the Office Administration program attain professional knowledge and skills that are highly sought after by a wide range of employers. Obtaining superior skills in communications, interpersonal relations, and office administration; our graduates open the doors to excellent opportunities to enter and advance in careers with the hours, benefits and flexibility they want.

Check out what Lee Wrigley, Practice Manager at South 40 Dental had to say about the program and its students.

“We have participated in the GPRC Dental Administration work placement program since 2014, and it has been instrumental in providing us insights into our own training program, as well as a great way to introduce students into a fast paced, technology-rich environment.

At times, we have taken on two students at once for their work placements, and our team loves being able to share their experience, as well as show them the level of customer care, and cohesive teamwork we strive to achieve everyday. Out of our placements over the years, we have hired four students out of this program, and of the two that are still currently working with us, they are a valued part of our admin team. The training that they received with the GPRC Office Administration program better prepared them for their work placement with us, and was a very valuable time saver with regards to the students already having a lot of dental terminology and knowledge of the industry.  This is such a value to me, as we have a very large practice with five dentists and a team of 35 employees, so hiring someone from this program is almost always a sure bet that they will be able to perform at a level that suits our needs!

I would strongly recommend any administration managers to participate in this work placement program!”

So, what are you waiting for?

Apply today and start on your way to a career in one year.

Learn more about the Office Administration program here. 

A Taste of the Real World

A Taste of the Real World

The Office Administration (OA) program at GPRC is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in a business or office setting.  Graduates of the program attain knowledge and skills in communications, office professionalism, interpersonal relationship management, and office technology.

An awesome component of the OA program is the work experience placement, during which local sponsor companies give GPRC students practical experience in their field of study, offering mentorship and guidance along the way.

Students are able to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world during a 120-hour practical placement, where they get a taste of what a career in their desired profession would be like.

On April 13, the department was able to celebrate the year-end with their students and work experience sponsors with an awards ceremony and luncheon. OA students and work placement sponsors were able to speak to how important this component of the program is to them.

Here’s what the students thought about their experience:

“The work experience module is not a requirement to graduate, but I wanted hands-on experience before entering the workforce. I had an excellent placement that focused solely on bookkeeping where my mentors strived to help me succeed. They were very accommodating with my school schedule and always thanked me for my contributions. During my last week of work experience, I was offered a position in the firm after completion of my studies. I am very thankful for the experience I’ve gained and the friendships I’ve made during the work experience program!” – Kendra Sharp

Kendra with her work experience mentors from Trans Dynamic Services Ltd.

“Being able to experience an office administration position really helps put all the schooling we worked so hard at into perspective. Everyone at my placement was great; helping me get settled, learn the office ways, and get comfortable with all my responsibilities. I even got to show off my software knowledge and teach a few of the ladies some new tricks and tips with Microsoft Word and Excel. After I completed my hours I was even offered a full time position. I am super excited to start my new career!” – Shelby Schack

Shelby with her work experience mentor from Deck It Towing and Hauling.

“I was very nervous to start my work experience, but after a few days at my placement, I loved it! I was placed at CNRL (Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.) and they are amazing people; they are always friendly and willing to help you no matter what you need help with. I think one of the most valuable aspects of the OA program is the opportunity to get hands-on work experience. It allows students to put the skills we learn in class into practice in a real world setting. Overall I have enjoyed my year with the OA program and am grateful for the work experience opportunity.” – Robyn Hanson

Robyn with her work experience mentor from Canadian Natural Resources.

Here’s what some of our work experience mentors had to say:

“We’re very passionate about teaching and training people with the tools they need to be able to work for themselves,” said Jasmine Ganther, Manager at Trans Dynamic Services Ltd, who has been mentoring GPRC students for over five years. “These work placements are so important because they give the students an opportunity to see what a career would be like.”

Wendy Saban, who works for the City of Grande Prairie, Community Social Development department, has been mentoring GPRC OA students for the last three years. “I think it’s awesome to be able to give the students this experience,” she said. “It can be hard to find a job being new out of school with no experience, but these work practicums allow students to get their foot in the door.”

Canadian Natural Resources supervisor Cheryl Gawley has been mentoring GPRC OA students for over five years and has even hired a few graduates from the program.

“We appreciate having the students help us with the projects that need to get done,” she said. “These work placements are important because they give students a chance to see if this is the career path they want to take. It can open their eyes to multiple different opportunities within the field that they may not have thought of.”

A special thank you to all our work experience mentors for enriching our students’ education at GPRC:

  • Aquatera-Water Treatment Plant
  • Aquatera-Distributions and Collections
  • Aquatera-Eco Centre
  • Calfrac Well Services
  • Carter, Lock & Horrigan
  • CDN Controls
  • Cenovus
  • City of Grande Prairie-Community Social Development
  • Deck It Towing & Hauling
  • Canadian Natural Resources
  • Crown Prosecutors
  • GPRC – Business & Office Administration
  • GPRC – Community Relations
  • GPRC – Nursing
  • GPRC – Student Services
  • GPRC – Students’ Association
  • Justice and Solicitor General: Community Corrections
  • Healthy Village Wellness Centre
  • KMSC Law
  • PDQ Notary & Process Services Inc.
  • Roy and Kali Family Dental
  • Seven Generations Energy LTD
  • South 40 Dental
  • Thru Tubing Solutions
  • Trans Dynamic Services Ltd.
  • West Grande Prairie Dental

More photos here.

Crackin’ Cases

Crackin’ Cases

This past weekend, your GPRC Deans of Business Case Team competed in the 13th annual Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition in Edmonton. This year’s competition was co-hosted by Grant MacEwan and Norquest, which took place between March 22 and 24. Every spring the top business and commerce students in the province gather to solve a case regarding a specific company and it’s potential problems, with the focus being on accounting, marketing, business strategy, and finance areas of the company. The teams only get 9 hours to read, analyze, crunch numbers, prepare a PowerPoint, and present a solution to the business’ problems. It’s a fast paced, high stakes day with a cash reward of $4,000 for the first-place team that creates the winning presentation – and if that doesn’t sound intense enough, the following day you must present your PowerPoint to a panel of judges. That’s right- it also includes public speaking (gasps of horror come from all the terrified students that public speaking claims victim to).

This year’s team consisted of (from left to right in the featured picture)

  • Riley Kjemhus– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Mykel Lewsaw– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Alexis Nellis (captain)- Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Brittney Commet– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Kiersten Giesbrecht– Third year BBA SAIT collaboration, Accounting Major
  • Josh Hrushka– First year Business Admin., Marketing Major

Sound interesting? Well you’re in luck! If you read on, you’ll be walked through a summarized day-by-day play of how this weekends events unfolded, and at the end I’ll tell you how you can be a part of this prestigious event for 2019’s team.

On Thursday, the team met at GPRC and travelled to Edmonton in one of the college’s luxurious vans (thanks GPRC!). The team’s coaches rallied their husbands to be designated drivers for the weekend (thanks husbands!) and they got us there safe and sound with plenty of stops for Timmies on the way. Once in Edmonton, the first stop was the closest grocery store to gather provisions for the following day, tons of fruit and veggies were purchased to keep the team full and energized for the weekends activities. After the grocery store escapades, we made our way to the hotel where we got nice and festive for the opening ceremonies. The theme this year was Mardi Gras (interesting theme for a business competition) so on top of our business attire we donned the traditional green, purple, and gold beads and headed off to Norquest. The dinner was a delicious Cajun inspired dish of chicken, gumbo, and beignets for dessert. Following the dinner, the duo of Earth Group gave an inspiring presentation about their company and how they help children all over the world (google them, they’re amazing!) with the captains of each team picking presentation time slots to wrap up the evening. Ours was the lucky team to pick the first time slot at 7:30 a.m., which meant less time to practice and even less sleep- so back to the hotel we went to prepare for Friday’s war room.

Now the war-room is just as terrifying as it sounds. You are “locked” in a room from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with just your team, two school-provided laptops, writing utensils, food, and the case. No cellphones, no access to communications like email or Facebook, nothing but internet access for research and PowerPoint. This all took place on Friday, where the teams all gathered at MacEwan University to have a healthy, hearty breakfast and then escorted to their respected rooms by their hosts. Once in the room, the magic happens. You must identify the problem and essentially “solve” the case and have your PowerPoint presentation completed and handed in at 6 p.m. sharp- if you’re not done by 6, you must submit what you have- no extensions or exceptions! After we finished in the war room, we headed back to the hotel to start practicing the speeches for the presentation to the judges the next day. Full of Subway and adrenaline, we started preparing our speeches and presentations late into the night.

Saturday morning came far too early and fast, as we met in one of the hotel rooms at 4 a.m. for more practicing. And let met tell you- 4 a.m. is a hard time to sound excited and confident in your presentation, but our coaches kept us on our toes and eventually dragged the excitement out of us. Once we had a few more rounds of practice in, we went back to our rooms to get prim and proper in our best business attire to address the judges. 7:30 a.m. came, and your team did your College proud as we not only executed a flawless presentation but answered ALL of the judge’s questions to the point where they ran out! (did I mention the judges also have 5 minutes to ask you ANYTHING about the case, and you get marked on how you answer? Yeah, this just keeps getting better).

Feeling like kings and queens, we went straight to the closest Tim Horton’s for a victory coffee and to talk about the thrill and rush from achieving what we just did. 9-weeks of practise with nine different cases, on an average of 9-hours a week spent on these cases, and one final case being presented to the Business Department faculty the day before we left, had all lead up to this. Each one of us had poured our heart and souls into this team on-top of part time work and full course loads, and it was over in 15 minutes.

Although we didn’t place this year, the feelings we all had and the sense of family and devotion we developed towards each other made us feel like the true winners. We didn’t mind that we didn’t place, we knew that what we had just accomplished was more than most students got to experience, and we were thankful for every bit of the journey we got to participate in. We did some serious Storming, Forming, Norming this semester and although the team is officially done for another season, we realized friendships and bonds that will last much longer.

Try-outs for next years time will take place this upcoming November/December, and although you need to be nominated by faculty- I encourage all Business and Commerce students to inquire about the team and how you can go above and beyond to receive a nomination to try-out. I guarantee the extra time and effort you put out will reward you with skills, abilities, and friendships that will last a life time.

Submitted by Case Team Captain and Student Ambassador- Alexis Nellis

Reflections on Growing the North

Reflections on Growing the North

GPRC Business students attending the Growing the North Conference with GPRC President Don Gnatiuk, Minister of Energy Marg McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Economic Development Deron Bilous, GPRC Board of Governors Chair Natalia Reiman, and members of the Research & Innovation team

Thanks to support from members of the Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network and generous sponsors in the community, 16 GPRC students from the Business Administration program were able to attend the 9th annual Growing the North business conference this year. Terrilyn Parent was one of these lucky students. Here’s what she took away from this unique learning experience.

“I was sponsored by the Swan City Rotary Club to attend the Growing the North Business Conference in Grande Prairie on February 21 and 22. As a current GPRC business student, I thought this conference was such a huge success and has been one of the best things I have been given the chance to experience firsthand.

The entire conference, start to finish, was very informative and inspirational. The speakers were all incredibly knowledgeable in their fields and great at public and motivational speaking. The catering provided by Evergreen Park was also a great bonus.

My favourite quote that will forever change the way I look at the world was when keynote speaker, writer and community builder, Chris Fields mentioned, “We need to be the pink shirt at a table full of white shirts.” This really made me look at my own self and no longer judge my creative skills, even if my ideas are different from those of my peers. I learned that it’s okay to allow my creativity to come out in my personal and professional life and not to fear my differences.

During this conference I was given the opportunity to network with so many business professionals as well as members of the Chamber of Commerce and local government leaders. This networking gave me a bigger perspective on how the economy is running in Grande Prairie and how businesses are trying to recover after the recession we just had. I also got to see how the economy has affected local businesses in all industries and was given some great tips on how to strategically survive through future recessions.

Many of the speakers touched on the topic of fearing change and how fear can inhibit professional and personal growth. This really hit home as I often fear changes in my own life and find I thrive best in routine. Changes often throw me for a loop, but now I see these moments of change have also brought about the most growth in my life and have shown how resilient I can be when it feels as if the world is crashing down. The speakers have influenced me to believe it’s okay to be brave during these challenging times and push through, even though I may not know what the result will look like.

One final takeaway from this conference that really hit home was a quote by Bruce Vincent, President of the non-profit organization Communities for a Great Northwest. He mentioned in his speech, “The world is run by those that show up and when people lead, leaders follow.” This reminded me that showing up in life is half the battle. Whether it’s class, work or some other area of my life, the important part is that I show up and give my best in all that I do. I also took this to mean that I need to look up to and follow those that stand out of the crowd if I want to one day be considered a leader in my own career.

Overall, I really feel like this conference has changed my perspective on life and will have a great impact on my future. I will be using this newfound knowledge and change of perspective in April as I embark on a new journey to pursue my business hopes and dreams. If you are given the opportunity to attend this conference, do not let the opportunity pass you by. It is worth the commitment and the time spent.”

 

– By Terrilyn Parent, GPRC Business Administration Student

GPRC Business student Terrilyn Parent poses with Brian Glavin, President Elect of the Swan City Rotary Club, who sponsored Terrilyn’s conference experience.
Behind the Scenes of Peace Country Idol: A Student Perspective

Behind the Scenes of Peace Country Idol: A Student Perspective

This fall, the students of GPRC Instructor Cibylla Rakestraw’s Marketing Project Management class successfully put together the annual local singing competition Peace Country Idol, which has been running at the College for over a decade. The event raised over $10,000, which the students chose to donate. Funds were split between the Swan City Rotary Club and the upcoming student-organized Business Conference to be held in March 2018.

Business Administration Students who led this year’s Peace Country Idol present a cheque worth $5,000 to club president Dave Cook and Chris Andersen of Swan City Rotary Club.

Terrilyn Parent is a student in the College’s Business Administration program. Her experience organizing such a large scale event was far from easy, but so worth it. Here’s what she had to say about what she learned from the experience.

“I got the pleasure of being a part of Peace Country Idol through my Marketing Project Management class at GPRC. Peace Country Idol is a local singing competition hosted by students to increase skills in entrepreneurship, management and team building. We had a lot of great talent participate in this event, both from the contestants as well as the students, who showcased their skills and expertise in advertising, designing program materials, networking and planning the many fine details.

“This class has challenged me and has brought about the most growth, not only in my career building but also in my personal life. I learned how to personally connect with my peers as well as in the community to collaborate on our skills in a harmonized way to make this event successful. I learned how to push through stressful moments and find solutions immediately on the fly under any given situation. I learned time management skills and how to balance two jobs, a daughter, my social life and my other classes. Finally, I learned how hard work and a combined dedication from all members can make a very successful project shine.

“If I had to choose one thing to do differently, it would be to have more time to invest in the planning process, to increase the event’s success rate. I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity and look forward to using my new skills in my future career.”