With tourism employers across much of B.C. 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.
The first intake of the college’s Tourism Management Diploma will take place at the Revelstoke Centre this fall. Those interested in learning more about the program can attend an information session at the Revelstoke campus, 1401 First Street West, on April 16 at 7 p.m.
“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?” says Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s director of Food, Wine and Tourism, in a news release.
The program was designed using industry and stakeholder input.
“Revelstoke is the ultimate four-season tourism destination,” Rouse said. “It’s the place to be if you’re looking to get experience that will help advance your tourism career.”
One of those employers who can speak to the need for more skilled workers is Peter Nielsen, vice-president of operations for Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
“Tourism is one of the biggest growth sectors in the province,” he said in the news release. “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.”
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,” Nielsen said. “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 the resort and many others was to incorporate work-integrated learning, Rouse noted. 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,” said Rouse. “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,” said 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 B.C. 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.”
More information about the program is available at okanagan.bc.ca/tmd.