Culinary Arts grad takes top honours at Gold Medal Plates competition

November 9, 2017

Mike Robins, Gold Medal Plates 2017For the second year in a row, a Red River College grad has taken the top prize at an annual competition showcasing the local culinary scene’s best and brightest.

Chef Mike Robins (Culinary Arts, 2010), of Osborne Village eatery Sous Sol, claimed the prime podium spot at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition in Winnipeg. He now advances to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna.

Robins edged out the competition with a perfectly seared scallop dish that judges described as “so simple [and] so delicious” — though they went on to concede the rest of the elements on his plate were anything but basic.

“Headlining in terms of umami-saturated flavour was a superb sauce — a beurre blanc made from a dashi broth and enriched with miso, [Robins’] homemade Dijon-style mustard, lemon, wine, and the liquor from the raw scallops,” reads a rave posted to the event’s blog site.

“Button-sized slices of zucchini, pickled in apple cider and cider vinegar flavoured with turmeric and mustard, stood upon dots of puréed carrot. A half teaspoonful of pickled mustard seed was carefully judged — not too tangy — while fresh dill fronds and a cool herb oil made with sorrel, dill and chives brought a little chlorophyll to the party.

Mike Robins' seared scallop dish“Potato also featured, but in a most unexpected way. They had been put through a Chinese turning slicer, emerging like string, which [Robins] dyed black with cuttlefish ink, wrapped around a cannoli tube and then deep-fried into crispy spirals.”

Each year in cities across the country, Gold Medal Plates regional events find chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their culinary creations to a crowd of 600.

Dishes are then judged by a panel of food critics and culinary experts. This year’s judges included RRC’s Jeff Gill (Director, Food Services), former College staffer and MasterChef Canada contestant Mike Green, and last year’s regional winner, Culinary Arts alum Jeremy Friesen, of Pizzeria Gusto.

The events also double as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s athletes.

The national competition takes place Feb. 2 and 3, 2018.

Photo credits: Peg City Grub/Mike Green

College picks up Long-term Achievement Award from Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

November 3, 2017

Last weekend, in front of a crowd representing all sectors of the provincial economy, Red River College was honoured with a Long-term Achievement Award by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

Presented as part of the 34th annual Manitoba Business Awards gala, the designation recognizes the College’s unwavering dedication to education and to community — a tradition, point of pride, and driving force that has led RRC to become Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning, and a global leader in research and innovation.

“It may seem unconventional to regard Red River College as a business, but we haven’t achieved this level of success by following convention,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“Part of what makes the College such an outstanding place to study, teach and work is our ability to continually push the boundaries and shape Manitoba’s economy every day.”

The Long-term Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievements made by the Manitoba business community. Nominees are evaluated on sustained growth, contributions to Manitoba employment, and community involvement, demonstrating a commitment of at least 50 years in operation.

From its beginnings in the 1930s as the Industrial Education Centre, to the opening of the Notre Dame Campus in 1963, to the ongoing expansion projects currently underway today, the College has long been celebrated as an institution that’s committed to meeting the needs of Manitoba growing economy.

“We are very proud of our growing partnership model and working relationships with industry — many of whom are also members of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce,” says Vogt.

“We are proud of the entrepreneurs, products, services and innovations that we continue to bring to the market in Manitoba and on a global level, and we look forward to continued successes as we look toward the future.”

Shown above (from left): Judy Murphy, Board Chair, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce; Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic, RRC; Tim Silversides, Board Chair, CPA Manitoba; Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy, RRC.

RRC named top research college in Western Canada

November 2, 2017

Canada's Top 50 Research Colleges logoRed River College is now the top research college in Western Canada, according to Canada's Top 50 Research Colleges, an annual ranking conducted by Re$earch Infosource Inc. that was released today.

“It’s fantastic to once again be recognized for our overall research efforts and successes in building research and innovation capacity for Manitoba,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Our research programming has never been more important as we work to support the increasingly sophisticated needs of current and future graduates, employers and industry.”

This has been a marquee year for the College, with major infrastructure announcements for both its Exchange District and Notre Dame campuses. Applied research has been the impetus for much of the recent growth.

“We now have so much research-related activity happening at the College – all in response to expressed needs by industry and our community,” says Ray Hoemsen, RRC’s Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation. “Being recognized as the top Research College in Western Canada validates that we are not only playing a key role in economic development, but also that our knowledge, expertise and facilities are highly relevant.”

Visit our Research Partnerships & Innovation blog to read more about the top 10 research-related highlights from the past year.

Nursing students prep for international skills competition in Shanghai

November 1, 2017

RRC Nursing students and instructorsA pair of future nurses will soon take their training to the next level by having their skills and knowledge tested on an international stage.

Next week, a team of Red River College students will travel to Shanghai, China, to compete in the seventh International Nursing Skills Competition, hosted by the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences. There, they’ll face off against teams from more than 40 colleges and universities from around the world, in a series of intense nursing scenarios.

Elyse Griffith, a second-year student, and Rachel Rubin, who’s in her third year, will represent Red River College — and Manitoba — in the competition. This year marks the first time a Manitoba school has competed, and only the second year teams from Canada have taken part.

“I’m looking forward to engaging with students from other countries and learning about their experiences,” says Rubin. “There will be different procedures for the same scenario, and I think you can always learn from the way other people find solutions. It will be interesting to share knowledge and find common ground.”

Rubin and Griffith have been meeting weekly with Nursing instructors Myrna Davis and Sandy Alguire — and with Chris Hofer, a second-year student selected as the team’s alternate — to prepare for the competition.

“Most of the learning happens in the scenarios,” says Griffith. “A lot of the skills we’re learning are things I haven’t done in clinical [training)] yet. It’s really helpful, knowing what we might be walking into.” Read More →

New financial awards launched to support student success at RRC

October 23, 2017

Red River College has launched a number of new bursaries and awards aimed at supporting Indigenous learners, those committed to social justice, and those pursuing studies that support the environment.

Last year, a total of 2,300 financial awards ­­— worth more than $1.5 million — were distributed to students enrolled at RRC.

“Many of our students benefit from access to the awards, bursaries and scholarships made available through the support of local businesses, industry partners, and community organizations and individuals who have made an investment in our students,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“This type of an investment not only benefits our students, it helps continue to support the province’s economy, as Manitobans are able to access the skills and training they need to join the workforce.”

In addition to support from donors and industry partners, student awards are also made possible through investments from the province, including matched funding amounts provided to participating post-secondary institutions.

“Manitoba’s economy relies on the success of our students — as about 98 per cent of our alumni live and work here after graduation — and financial awards help alleviate the pressures that many students face,” says Vogt. “This is one of the ways we support student success, which is a key strategic priority at the College.”

Students who are considering applying for a financial award are encouraged to explore the full list, which includes eligibility requirements and application deadlines.

New scholarships and bursaries available this year include: Read More →

Instructors showcase emerging classroom technology with 'early adopters' from across Manitoba

October 20, 2017

RRC's Jon Ferber (centre), showcases drone technologyWhiteboards and overhead projectors are some of the things that come to mind when the average person imagines a classroom — but that image is quickly changing. Today, educators from across Manitoba are at Red River College learning how they can incorporate new and emerging technologies — including drones, video games and virtual reality — in their classrooms.

“These are the early adopters,” says Dr. Eva Brown, Emerging Technology instructor for RRC’s Teacher Education department. “Our goal with this [workshop] is twofold: to prepare educators for the expectations and learning styles of their students, and to show how educators can prepare learners for what is in front of them.”

“Today’s learners are more familiar with technology than a pen and paper. Their pen and paper is a tablet or a computer. We need to embrace technology as a mechanism for engagement and 21st century learning.”

The workshop was developed by Brown and fellow instructor Daryl McRae — along with new media technician Jonathan Ferber, from the College’s eTV Learning Technologies media lab — in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Computer Educators, as part of a year-long project supported by RRC’s Program Innovation Fund.

Focusing on emerging drone technology, the team members have been researching feasibility, interest, regulations and legalities — while also becoming certified drone pilots themselves — to assist in the development of drone-based curriculum at the College.

Rounding out the roster are RRC media technicians Murray Toews and Dylan Smitzniuk, who’ll lead the virtual reality and games components of today’s workshop.

“Evolving education is about sharing knowledge,” says Norm Gould, President of the Manitoba Teacher's Society. “Today, teachers are attending different workshops across the province to learn new skills and will share that knowledge in their classrooms, at their schools and across their divisions.

“The fact is that most students in the K-12 system have grown up with technology in their hands. It's important for us as educators to understand technology and adapt it to our lessons to meet the needs of our students.” Read More →

Pathway program lays foundation for solid futures in construction

October 18, 2017

Pathway Program to Construction Skills students (second cohort)Today, students in Red River College’s Pathway Program to Construction Skills provided a helping — and skilled — set of hands during a Habitat for Humanity build that doubled as their introduction to practical training.

The students are refugee newcomers to Manitoba who enrolled in the program to enhance their English skills and gain practical experience, with an eye on securing full-time employment in the construction sector once they’ve completed their training.

Many participants took up residence in Manitoba after being forced to flee their homes in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. Though some had to leave almost everything behind, they brought with them their experience in construction and the skilled trades. Now they’re hoping to put those skills to good use as they begin their new lives in Canada.

“Most of us can’t even begin to imagine moving across the world to a new place where we speak a different language, and not being able to pursue employment in a career or industry we’ve spent our lives working towards,” says Stuart Schwartz, Program Manager at RRC’s Language Training Centre. “But this is a reality for many.”

“Other students may not have previous experience, but [they] have the desire to learn. This program aims to bridge the gap and remove the language barrier by providing students with the essential language training, technical skills and experience they need to gain employment working in Manitoba’s construction sector.” Read More →

Inaugural Hospitality Homecoming set to celebrate alumni achievements, prep current students for success

October 16, 2017

Jane's restaurant, Paterson GlobalFoods InstituteYou’ve heard the phrase ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’? Well, for one day next month, the more cooks, the better.

On Tue., Nov. 7, the College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts will host its first Homecoming Dinner for graduates of the Culinary Arts, Professional Baking and Patisserie, and Hospitality and Tourism Management programs.

The event will celebrate the achievements of the school’s alumni, while raising money for the Student Travel Opportunity Fund, which helps Baking and Culinary Arts students compete in national and international competitions, and provides Hospitality and Tourism Management students with opportunities to enhance their skills through travel.

Recently, the Fund allowed two Baking students to attend a four-week-long course in Germany, and six Culinary Arts students to participate in the Cook the Books competition in Toronto.

“Participating in competitions motivates students to strengthen their technical skills, learn new techniques and practice at elevated skill levels,” says Karen McDonald, Chair of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at RRC.

“Our programs are strengthened when students can participate in high-level competitions, and bring back new skills they’re eager to share in the culinary labs. Similarly, students in Hospitality and Tourism programs benefit from educational travel by experiencing local cultures.”

 Read More →

RRC grads vie for podium placement at skilled trades competition in Abu Dhabi

October 5, 2017

Ashley Weber and Silas MeechesAshley Weber and Silas Meeches are no strangers to performing under pressure.

Between them, the Red River College grads have six gold and silver medals from provincial and national skills competitions under their belts. Now they’re taking their talents to the international level.

Weber and Meeches will travel to Abu Dhabi next week to compete with Team Canada in the 44th WorldSkills Competition, which will host 1,259 competitors from 58 countries and regions.

Held every two years, it’s the biggest vocational education and skills excellence event in the world based on global industry standards, and the best opportunity for competitors to demonstrate technical abilities while executing tasks they’d perform in their workplaces.

“It feels completely different,” says Meeches. “Part of it is being in a different country, but the competition is a lot more advanced. It’s longer and the rules are a lot more strict.”

The 21-year-old will be competing in the CNC Milling category, where he’s hoping to set a new record.

“The highest a Canadian has placed in my skill is seventh,” he explains. “Ultimately I want to win the gold, but placing sixth and setting a new record would be incredible.”

Weber, 20, has been passionate about car painting from the moment she got her hands on a spray paint gun in high school. She’s hoping this month’s opportunity will earn her a new credential for her resume.

“I’m aiming to receive the Medallion of Excellence,” says Weber. “It means that you’ve met or exceeded the industry standard in your trade. I feel confident that I have the most knowledge to do the best that I can in the competition, but I hope my best will earn me the medallion.” Read More →

College engineering team to watch sparks (and SpaRRCky) fly at international eco-marathon

October 4, 2017

RRC Shell Eco-Marathon teamA rush of electricity will race through Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus this winter.

For nearly two years, a team of students from the College’s Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs have been meeting every Wednesday to design and build a battery-electric race car.

This April, the vehicle will make its raceway debut at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Sonoma, California, where it’ll compete against more than 1,000 student-made cars from high schools, colleges and universities across North and South America.

The RRC team’s goal? To build the car that can go the furthest distance while using the least amount of energy.

This morning, students offered a sneak peek of their work to RRC President Paul Vogt, while officially announcing the car’s name: SpaRRCky.

“This is one of the best examples of applied learning,” says Vogt. “When you combine industry-led training with highly motivated students and faculty expertise, you can achieve great things. I am very proud that our College is a place where we can turn vision into reality, and I can’t wait to see how our racer performs in California.”

Students can enter the competition in one of two vehicle categories: Prototype, which challenges teams to enter futuristic-looking vehicles with maximized efficiency, or UrbanConcept, which focuses on practical road designs.

For both categories, teams can use any of seven official energy sources, including conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel, or alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG), and battery electric technologies. Read More →