March 21, 2019
With tourism employers across much of BC feeling the pinch when it comes to finding experienced managers, Okanagan College is launching a new applied diploma designed to help students advance their careers in the tourism sector.
“I think this program will be extremely valuable to employers, as the co-op terms take place in the busy season, when our tourism employers need employees the most,” says Meghan Tabor, Marketing Director for Tourism Revelstoke. “This will also be a great opportunity for the employers to mentor these students and help them find their niche in the tourism industry.”
“This diploma has been designed with a great deal of industry input,” says Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “Our goal is to provide students a program that will help advance their tourism careers, while helping employers find the skilled workers they need – and what better place than Revelstoke for this kind of program?”
“Revelstoke is the ultimate four-season tourism destination. It’s the place to be if you’re looking to get experience that will help advance your tourism career.”
“Tourism is one of the biggest growth sectors in the province. Workers are in-demand. It’s a great time to be thinking about a career in tourism and, specifically, to be thinking about your next steps and how to open up opportunities for growth into supervisory and management roles,” says Peter Nielsen, VP Operations for Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR). Nielsen is one of the many local tourism experts who has worked with the College over the past year to ensure the program would hit the mark – for students and for those who’ll be hiring them.
“From the location, to the access to tourism employers, to the quality of instruction at Okanagan College, all the components are there to set students up for success and help them distinguish themselves in tourism management roles. I couldn’t be more excited to see the program roll out this fall – and to be able to tap into this new pool of talent before and after they graduate.”
One way to ensure the training was relevant to needs of employers like RMR and many others was to incorporate work-integrated learning, Rouse notes. A carefully timed winter co-op component is an integral part of the learning. “Students can take advantage of co-op with a local employer to build on their experience and build their network. It’s a win for students and a win for employers who get access to talent.”
It’s expected that the program will not only help draw students to Revelstoke, but world-wide attention for the region as a tourism training destination as well.
“We’re excited to shine a light on Revelstoke through this program,” says Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean for Shuswap-Revelstoke. “For those students who already live in the region, it’s another opportunity to stay close to home and pursue their education at the College. For those who will be coming from other parts of BC and internationally, it’s a chance for us to showcase to new audiences what a dynamic and world-class place for tourism Revelstoke is. So, it’s a program we expect will be very beneficial to the community on a number of fronts.”
The first intake of the College’s Tourism Management Diploma will take place at OC’s Revelstoke Centre this fall. Those interested in learning more about the program can attend an information session on April 16 at 7 p.m. More information about the program is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/tmd.