College and Public Relations

News Release

Red River College Students Win Top Spot at Financial Planning Competition

April 9, 2018

Move over, Warren Buffet. A team of students from Red River College’s (RRC) Business Administration program recently proved they have the know-how to assess a person’s situation and deliver successful financial planning advice when they won first place at the 2018 Canadian Institute of Financial Planners Case Challenge in Calgary, Alberta.

This was RRC’s first time participating in the challenge, which saw the team, made up of four students specializing in Financial Services (three competitors and an alternate), competed against five teams from three other Colleges in the Western Canada division.

“Competitions like this are as close to real life as the students are going to get,” said Maria Vincenten, Financial Services Instructor at RRC. “The feedback and experience is unbelievable for the students, and it helps the industry to recognize our program as having strong learning outcomes. We are applied learning – so any time we can showcase what we’re doing here (at the College) helps us evolve the program further.”

Beginning in January, Shelby Joss, Vitor Machado e Melo, Virginia Giesbrecht, and Shannon Krahn would practice as if they were competing in the challenge that day. In the morning they would receive the details of a case and spend two hours discussing and strategizing the best way to help the ‘client’ and hand in their materials to their instructor. In the afternoon they would be able to briefly review their notes before giving a 20 minute presentation, followed by notes and discussion with Vincenten.

“Practicing looking at cases and making recommendations for different clients was a fantastic way to pull together everything we were learning in class and apply it to real life situations,” said Shannon Krahn, the team’s alternate. “Aside from honing my teamwork skills, the experience also helped me grow in my understanding of financial products and how to deal with clients.”

The types of cases, and the skills necessary to provide strong advice, being practiced by the group matched the curriculum of what they were learning in class – which was another advantage of taking part in the competition.

“I wanted to improve my teamwork and rational thinking skills,” said Vitor Machado e Melo. “At school you learn a lot of important information, and the additional work – being able to practice and compete – helped us link everything. I think for me the biggest strength that I acquired is being able to see a problem and apply it to a client’s big picture.”

The Financial Services specialization in the Business Administration program is designed for those interested in banking, insurance and finance as a career. It is also the only program in Manitoba that offers three certified courses, allowing students to become certified in Canadian Investment Funds (CIFC) and the Life License Qualifcation Program (LLQP) through the Investment Funds Institute of Canada, and certified in the Fundamentals of Insurance through the Insurance Brokers Association of Manitoba.

By placing first at the Western region competition, the team is now working to improve their skills before facing off against the Eastern champions at the first ever national event this June in Halifax.

“We need to keep honing the skills and finding new ways to tackle problems,” said Shelby Joss. “If I want to be a financial advisor, what better way to be recognized by an employer than to say I won a national competition in financial planning.”

Learn more about Red River College’s Business Administration program here:

Red River College Students Demonstrate Research at Second-Annual Event

April 5, 2018

Winnipeg, MB – An alternator-driven electric bicycle, a study on lullaby therapy for infants, an online divorce agency, and a social media assessment for the Winnipeg Police Service, are just a small sample of the close to 30 student-led research projects that will be on display today at Red River College’s Applied Research Innovation Day.

This event, now entering its second year, welcomes close to 200 participants from the College, and its partners in business and industry, to learn about the College’s many research initiatives and to learn about the student’s experiences and successes in applying their work – in many instances – in a real-world environment.

“We started our applied research initiatives a little more than a decade ago, and today we’re leading the way in applied research here in Manitoba, and across Western Canada,” said Paul Vogt, President and CEO, RRC. “More and more the idea of teaching and learning is moving away from students sitting and desks and taking notes and towards hands-on, collaborative projects. Applied Research & Innovation Day strongly showcases the success of that approach to learning.”

Today’s event will feature an industry luncheon with a keynote from Paul Soubry, President and CEO of New Flyer Industries – recently named Canada’s top CEO of the year by the Financial Post. The luncheon will also feature a high-speed student quick-pitch competition – similar to what you would see on CBC’s Dragon’s Den – where the top four group projects from the morning’s student showcase will explain how their research created a sustainable solution to a real problem.

While today marks an important milestone for our students’ research projects, it’s also an important milestone for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – one of the many federal partners who support RRC’s applied research initiatives – as they prepare to announce their 10,000th Engage Grant at today’s luncheon in support of colleges and universities across Canada.

At the College these grants have helped RRC students and grads to develop new products, especially in the College’s culinary research program that created the macaroons being served as dessert for today’s luncheon and were developed with NSERC funding at RRC by Piccola Cucina.

“There are some amazing products being made in Manitoba that start with locally-sourced ingredients and turn into something elevated. We’re proud to be able to announce here at Red River College that NSERC has been able to provide more than 10,000 Engage Grants – up to $25,000 per project – to colleges and universities across the country. It’s research like this that is pushing the country forward and adding value to our already rich resources,” said Bert van den Berg, Director, Colleges, Commercialization, and Portfolio Planning Division.

Engage Grants are designed to give innovative companies that operate from a Canadian base access to the unique knowledge, expertise and capabilities available at Canadian universities and colleges.

The Applied Research and Innovation Day event has doubled in size this year with the addition of external exhibitor booths including Bioscience Association Manitoba, Cypher Environmental, New Media Manitoba, North Forge Technology Exchange, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and many others.

All of today’s activities are being hosted at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus with the student showcase beginning at 9:00am in the mall level, and the keynote and quick-pitch competition taking place in the Voyageur Dining Room starting at 11:30am.

Red River College hosts Indspire students from across Canada

March 23, 2018

Indigenous high school students will receive interactive, hands-on tour of 11 potential career paths

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Today, over 200 Indigenous high school students from across Canada will be participating in the Soaring: Indigenous Youth Empowerment Gathering,and will visit Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus to tour classrooms and program areas, meet instructors, and explore the many career opportunities and supports available to them.

“Engaging more aspiring Indigenous students and providing more pathways to post-secondary education and training is a key priority at the College,” said Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

“The College is charting a new path forward focused on elevating Indigenous student success and achievement, and we are creating new and enhanced programs and supports in order to recruit and retain more Indigenous students, and ensure they have the tools and wraparound supports they need to succeed and thrive.”

As a Host College Sponsor for Soaring, students will spend the day on campus and explore 11 different program areas RRC has to offer or is developing, including Social Indigenous Enterprise, Construction Trades, Allied Health Sciences, and Civil Engineering Technology. They will also meet and hear from Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy, and enjoy lunch and entertainment by local artist, Darius Parenteau.

“We are excited to welcome high school students from coast-to-coast to our province and our school, and provide an opportunity for them to visit our campus, meet our industry leading instructors, and interact with the many rewarding career paths and supports available to them here at Red River College,” said Chartrand.

Soaring is an Indigenous youth empowerment gathering that provides First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students in grades 9-12 the opportunity to learn about the many career and post-secondary education options available to them. Gatherings are held across Canada, and students participate in motivational career workshops, learn about financial support, and meet Canada’s top employers.

Red River College receives CME Manitoba 2018 Partner Award

March 22, 2018

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Today, Red River College (RRC) is proud to accept the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) Manitoba distinguished Partner Award – recognizing the College as a leader in training, programming and applied research for the province’s robust aerospace and manufacturing industries.

“As Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning we are proud to play a critical role in driving Manitoba’s economy,” said Paul Vogt, RRC President and CEO.

“Since we first opened our doors, the College has been central to the growth and success of our Province, and has continually responded to the ever-increasing demand for highly trained and highly skilled graduates to meet the needs of businesses and industry. We are honoured to be recognized by CME Manitoba for our efforts, and to accept the Partner Award this evening.”

Each year, CME Manitoba’s Partner Award is presented to an organization that has made a notable contribution to the Manitoba manufacturing and exporting community.

It recognizes partners and service providers who demonstrate a measureable impact on the growth, sustainability or mission of manufacturing companies. Recipients are widely recognized for their integrity, dedication and collaboration in service to manufacturing.

“One of our key priorities at the College is to foster strategic partnerships that allow us to drive research and innovation by matching industry problems and needs with College expertise, resources, capabilities, and facilities,” said Vogt.

“These partnerships are the backbone of the advancements we are seeing in the aerospace and manufacturing industries here in Manitoba. We must continue to grow and compete here at home, and on the global stage, with the latest research, state-of-the-art technology, and a highly trained workforce that has the knowledge and skills to meet the needs of industry today, and the future.”

RRC President and CEO, Paul Vogt, will accept the award this evening on behalf of the College at the 2018 CME Gala Awards Dinner, held at the RBC Convention Centre during Manitoba Manufacturing Week.

Innovation Centre worth federal support

March 19, 2018

Red River College’s new Innovation Centre. (Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

(Originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press on March 17, 2018)

By Paul Vogt

The new Innovation Centre that Red River College is building in Winnipeg’s Exchange District has been making headlines recently but for all the wrong reasons.

The Winnipeg Free Press has covered extensively the uncertainty this crucial project is facing due to unrealistic construction deadlines set by the federal government. Despite raising alarm bells with Ottawa in recent weeks and months, RRC is still waiting for a resolution.

This is unfortunate because the better story is what the new Centre will bring to our city and our province – what it will mean to the students it will serve; to the surrounding cluster of start-ups and leading edge industries in Innovation Alley; and to the unique, urban ‘gem’ the revitalized Exchange District is quickly becoming.

The $95 million, 100,000-square-foot Innovation Centre, announced last April, is merely Red River’s latest contribution to the ongoing revitalization of our historic Exchange District.

(Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

It started 15 years ago when RRC took a risk and opened its first building on Princess Street, bringing 2,000 students, faculty and staff downtown and creating a catalyst for the renaissance that has been taking place in this iconic neighborhood ever since.

That building, later named the Roblin Centre, set a high bar for RRC’s presence in the Exchange, preserving the architectural heritage that makes the area a unique and appealing destination while incorporating modern classrooms, labs and equipment. Behind the facades of the old mercantile shops, a state-of-the-art campus was built for students in computing, business, design and communications.

Five years ago we did it again, taking the old Union Bank Tower on Main Street – vacant and derelict for 17 years – and transforming it into a leading-edge culinary and hospitality training school with dining areas and a 90-bed student residence. Now known as the Paterson Global Institute, the school has helped spark an emergence of exciting new restaurants in the area, many involving RRC alumni.

(Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

Our new Innovation Centre will live up to the standards of its award-winning predecessors. It will be located on a site that includes an old market warehouse on Elgin Avenue. It is a century-old structure built to serve for another century. Our design will preserve this heritage building in its entirety, while incorporating a new structure that is modern, green and outfitted to meet the needs of 21st century education.


The very design of the new facility is central to the Innovation Centre story. It is also the story of Red River College and how we have always been about turning major challenges into new opportunities and historic pivot points.

Our mandate is to provide students with job-relevant skills; to produce graduates who can hit the ground running wherever they are hired. We are, in fact, a little obsessive on this point. We survey our students six months after they graduate and the results show that 94-96 per cent of our grads are employed in the fields they were trained for.

We also get high marks from employers, but are also constantly reminded that we cannot rest on our laurels, that RRC must keep changing in order to meet the needs of our students, employers and match the accelerated pace of today’s workplace.

Across all sectors of our economy, workplaces are undergoing rapid transformation, driven by the introduction of new technologies and process or product innovations. Employers are looking for technical skill sets that match their innovation strategies. They are also looking for a more general set of skills – the so-called “power skills” – that contribute to an employee’s resilience and adaptability. These include the abilities to problem-solve, work effectively within a team, communicate well and acquire new competencies as needed.

Our response to these emerging needs is college-wide, but the new Innovation Centre is where the changes will be most apparent. Modeled on a similar facility recently opened at Waterloo University, our Innovation Centre is designed to facilitate an approach known as collaborative- or problem-based education – where teams of students learn by working directly or “colliding” with local firms, social enterprises and entrepreneurs.

In one sense, we are just doubling down on the college’s existing strength, which is our close industry partnerships. The growth of Red River’s applied research program – to the point that we are now the top applied research college in Western Canada – has added a new dimension to our partnerships, supporting Manitoba companies and enterprises in product and process development.

At our Exchange District Campus we work closely with Innovation Alley (now North Forge) to provide entrepreneurs and start-ups with facilities and expert advice. The pay-off to the college, of course, has been to expose our students to leading-edge innovations and the real-world challenges of getting ideas off the ground. The Innovation Centre will feature this form of collaboration on a much grander scale.

In another sense, this is about the changing face of education. The Innovation Centre won’t have many traditional classrooms, where rows of seats are aligned to face “the sage on stage.” The rooms are designed for collaboration, with open space to mingle, wall-to-wall whiteboards, and connected alcoves where industry partners can set up shop and become part of the learning process.

(Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

The Centre will bring an additional 1,200 students to the Exchange District. It will allow us to accommodate rising demand for our existing programs in computing, business and communications.  We will also be bringing our language training programs to the Exchange and adding new programs in Indigenous entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Most importantly, we will be breaking down boundaries between our program areas, offering RRC students the opportunity to acquire different combinations of skills, with an emphasis on problem-solving and innovation.

This model of education is taking root across Canada and North America. If Red River College loses this opportunity, we run the risk of falling behind other jurisdictions when it comes to modernizing and innovating our college system. We need the federal government to honor its promises to Manitoba and ensure our students and employers have the same competitive advantage as others across the country.



Red River College shows a ‘ladle’ love with creation of new soup for Stone Soup Fundraiser

March 14, 2018

Culinary Arts instructor and students collaborate on holiday season inspired soup in support of child nutrition in Manitoba

Winnipeg, MB – The Soup’s on today at Manitoba Hydro Place as Red River College (RRC) Culinary Arts students join 11 other talented Winnipeg chefs and restaurants for the sixth annual Stone Soup Fundraiser in support of the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba.

Chef instructor Karl Oman and Culinary Arts students Sophie Thibodeau and Colin Stone will serve up over 40 litres of a brand new ‘Holiday Sweet Potato Turkey’ cream-based soup. It’s packed with turkey and cranberry flavours and was created and prepared by 17 first year students who are currently learning short order style cooking. The soup will be served with a stuffing flavoured focaccia bread created by RRC Professional Baking and Patisserie students.

“The Stone Soup Fundraiser is a great opportunity for our students to work together and to apply their learning and culinary skills to make a difference for those in need,” said Chef Instructor Karl Oman. “This is just one of the many ways we work to give back to the community. Whether it’s through our work with Siloam Mission, or delivering the After Schools Leaders Program for at risk youth, we’re a community partner and we’re very proud to help encourage people to come down, try some delicious student-made soup and support such an important cause.”

The event will run from 11:15am – 1:15pm today at Manitoba Hydro (360 Portage Avenue) in the Main Floor Gallery. Judges will be present to sample all the soups and select a winner, and the public is also invited to select a favourite for the People’s Award. The cost is $10 per person and includes samples of soup from three different chefs or restaurants participating.

Click here for information about the Stone Soup Fundraiser.

Winnipeg Jets exec talks mental health with Red River College students

March 13, 2018

RRC welcomes Craig Heisinger (Zinger) as part of Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative

Winnipeg, MB – Today, Winnipeg Jets senior executive Craig Heisinger (Zinger) traded the local hockey arena for an auditorium full of Red River College (RRC) students and staff, eager to hear his personal connection with mental health and why it is so important to keep the conversation going.

Heisinger’s visit is part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, which was established four years ago with a goal to create a healthy college community, to better meet the mental health needs of the students, staff, and faculty, and to enhance mental health literacy within the College.

“Events like this are an integral part of our Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative because it lets those who may be struggling know they are not alone, and there are supports available. Mental illness knows no boundaries – it affects all of us, from post-secondary students, to NHL hockey players,” said Breanna Sawatzky, RRC Mental Health Coordinator. “We are honoured to have such a well-known and respected member of the hockey community, and the mental health community here today to help us keep the conversation about mental health awareness on campus going.”

Craig Heisinger (Zinger) is the Senior Vice-President & Director, Hockey Operations/Assistant General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets. He was also very close with Manitoba Moose forward Rick Rypien who struggled with mental illness and ultimately died in a tragic event. Rick’s legacy lives on through the True North Youth Foundation, Project 11, and Zinger, who visits countless local schools every year sharing Rick’s story and raising awareness for mental health.

“Every time I have the opportunity to speak to schools about mental wellness it helps remove the stigma,” said Heisinger. “I commend Red River College for their commitment to mental health awareness among students and staff on campus. The Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative provides the tools and supports for students to practice their own positive mental health, and to know that they can reach out for help when needed – this is a true sign of strength.”

All students, staff and faculty members were invited to the event, which was held over the lunch hour at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus and live-streamed to the greater College community. Those in attendance were treated to a self-care pizza lunch sponsored by the RRC Students’ Association.

RRC Partnership Creates Access to Opportunity for Newcomers in Thompson

March 8, 2018

English language training for newcomers in Thompson is now possible through a partnership with Red River College’s (RRC) Language Training Centre and University College of the North (UCN).

“We’ve welcomed about 200 people to Thompson in the last year, and many of the newcomers have valuable skills to offer – the only barrier keeping them from the kind of job they’re qualified for is language,” says David Williamson, Acting Dean of Access at UCN. “Partnering with Red River College means we are giving our newcomers access to knowledge and resources that will help them confidently integrate into our community.”
As of today there have been 65 applications to the Language Training Centre in Thompson, with 48 students already beginning their training.

“What this partnership allows us to do is provide the students with the language and communication skills they need in order to achieve their professional and educational goals,” said Anna Janik- Kelly, Program Manager for Thompson and Arborg at the Language Training Centre. “We want to help them become thriving members of the Northern community, who can use their skills and experience to enrich and strengthen the workforce and help fill some of the labor market gaps.”

The program is an expansion of the Language Training Centre in Winnipeg, which sees approximately 1,000 students per year improving their English to enroll in a program at the College, gain employment, or to become more independent in everyday life. The Centre also offers English for Specific Purposes programs, which focus on learning English in a way that will further training opportunities, or employment in a specific job market. Over the past year the Centre has expanded to Arborg, Steinbach, Selkirk and Thompson – areas which were identified as having the most need for a language training program.

“In the past two months since the program has begun we’ve felt a new burst of life on campus,” said Williamson. “We’re hoping to spread the word about what the Language Training Centre can provide, and welcome more newcomers to improve their skills.”

Through the partnership in Thompson, UCN is providing space for the classes, space for an administrative assistant, storage, laptops and access to printing and photocopying – all of which are essential to helping the program run smoothly.

Classes administered by the Language Training Centre are five-months in length, though students can continue taking a class if they feel they need additional training.  The programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Red River College recognized as national leader for diversity in the workplace

March 2, 2018

Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning awarded Best Diversity Employer award in 2018

Winnipeg, MB – Today, Red River College (RRC) is proud to be recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the fourth year in a row. RRC joins 70 other organizations across the country highlighted as employers that stand out through their efforts to create diverse and inclusive workplace.

“We often spend the majority of our waking hours at our places of work, that’s why creating an environment that is open, welcoming, and safe for all our staff and students is a priority for the College,” said Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer. “Equity and inclusion are embedded in our practices and demonstrated throughout the College – it’s part of the fabric that makes up our College community. We’re honoured to be recognized with this distinction once again.”

There are a number of programs and initiatives that encourage diversity and inclusivity that the College was recognized for this year, including RRC’s Indigenous workshop series’ developed and delivered  by the College’s Elders in Residence; LGBTT* initiative; Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative; Girls Exploring Trades and Technology (GETT) Camp Program; and a workforce audit to determine representation of designated group members in the RRC workforce.

New and noteworthy achievements this year include the addition of Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy to the College’s leadership team. This new role is responsible for leading and developing RRC’s Indigenous strategic framework that will guide the College to a bold, inclusive new future, creating new pathways to support Indigenous achievement and student success.

The College created a new online Gender & Sexual Diversity Awareness Course – the first of its kind in Canada – which provides 24/7 access to awareness building courses and training to all staff and students.

RRC also completed an Inclusive Campus Climate Review that gave members of the College community a voice in shaping and developing an inclusive and supportive workplace for everyone at RRC.

As the College continues to make improvements in the area of diversity and inclusivity, a new Inclusion Coordinator position has been created. This new position will be responsible for leading the College’s ongoing commitment to inclusion with a focus on Indigenous recruitment and retention strategies, while also coordinating RRC’s ongoing work coordinating the College’s Accessibility initiative that will enable RRC to continue to be an open, safe, and supportive environment.

“We continue to see expansions across the College with the opening of new campuses, and rapid growth and enrolment in program areas like our School of International Education,” said Gudmundson. “We must look ahead for more effective ways to integrate, expand, and enhance Diversity and Intercultural services across the College and support more staff and students than ever before.”

To read more about Red River College’s 2018 Best Diversity Employer award click here.

Cupcakes, Condoms and Education: Students at RRC Learn about Healthy Relationships

February 13, 2018

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, students at Red River College (RRC) had the opportunity to talk about intimate relationships and related issues, such as the importance of consent, in an interactive workshop designed to promote greater health and well-being.

The Cupcakes and Condoms workshop was facilitated Klinic Community Health and the Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC) and brought to the College as part of the Healthy Minds Healthy College (HMHC) Initiative. Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC, said it’s important for students to have access to workshops like this so they can feel empowered to make healthy decisions and know how to protect their well-being.

“We know that strong healthy relationships, whether intimate or platonic are key to personal well-being,” she said. “The Public Health Agency of Canada found that Adults with strong relationships are more likely to report high life satisfaction and good mental health. Conversely, experiencing disrespect, harassment, abuse, and sexual assault take a toll on one’s mental health and well-being and are risk factors for developing certain mental illnesses.”

Through the HMHC initiative, RRC hosts several events per year with the aim to meet the demands of students, faculty, and staff with mental health problems and illness while promoting wellness, recovery and resilience for all. For Sawatzky, whose role was created in 2016, that means creating a comfortable environment for students, and staff, to learn and share.

“When students are here at College, we want them to be safe from harassment, abuse, and assault; to know what to do if they experience these; and importantly, know how to form and sustain healthy relationships,” she said. “Klinic and SERC are leaders in promoting sexual health through education so they’re a natural fit to educate our students on these important topics. Including free cupcakes, supplied by Lilac Bakery, and condoms for all who attend is a way to make this learning fun and enjoyable.”

February 12 to 16, 2018 is also SERC’s 15th annual national Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness week, with the theme of ‘Minding our Business’: Sexual Health & Mental Wellness, highlighting the interconnectedness of mental health and sexual health in our bodies and within our communities. The group will be hosting a number of events in Winnipeg and Brandon as well as posting self-care tips on social media.

To learn more about RRC’s Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative, click here: