Laura Jo Gunter, CEO and president of Bow Valley College, says that many of the programs provide flexible learning opportunities that focus on what students want and need to advance their careers and lives. Photo by Wil Andruschak

Joel Schlesinger © Postmedia Content Works

Calgary’s Bow Valley College has long been the go-to post-secondary institution to help Albertans upgrade their skills.

But these days, the school — which stretches across seven campuses, including Banff and Strathmore — is about more than helping its students pursue higher educational opportunities.

“Our reason for being as a college has always been providing access, so we started out as a college to provide people with access to education,” says Laura Jo Gunter, CEO and president of Bow Valley College. “But now we also provide access to better jobs and careers through education.”

Equally important is the post-secondary institution’s goal of creating learning opportunities to help its students quickly get a leg up in an increasingly competitive job market and ever-shifting economic landscape, in which the skills acquired a few years ago may not be enough to keep pace.

That’s why Bow Valley College has a variety of programs as short as just a few weeks in length to more than a year. All aim to assist learners in acquiring new skills quickly so they can move up the ladder with their current employer, or even change careers entirely. Among the offerings are innovative diploma and certificate programs such as Creative Technologies that include digital design and computer programming. Its Chiu School of Business is also blazing bold new trails, including offering a new certificate program in supply chain management.

Gunter adds all of Bow Valley College’s programs are designed for what its students want and need to advance their careers and lives.

But within that goal is another. And that’s offering flexible learning opportunities, including online learning. The idea being many of its students are leading busy lives, raising families and often working full-time.

Bow Valley College also recognizes previous learning so students will not be required to learn what they already know.

“There are many ways that we provide flexible access to education,” Gunter notes. “As our economy shifts to a more gig-oriented job market, access to this type of education becomes more and more important.”

Central to this strategy is a concept called ‘pivot-ed’.

“This is aimed at helping people who need to pivot to a new career, or to advance their career with their current employer,” Gunter adds.

“The idea behind that is to offer very quick up-skilling and re-skilling, and to help ensure students get the proper recognition for that education afterward.”

More than anything, however, Bow Valley  College is about creating opportunities for its students to build their careers and better lives.

“It’s about making all learning count toward your goal,” Gunter says.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of Calgary Economic Development.

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