Laura Jo Gunter is president and chief executive officer of Bow Valley College.
(Supplied by Wil Andruschak, Postmedia Content Works)

Shannon Sutherland-Smith
Postmedia Content Works

Bow Valley College serves its diverse student body with flexible, innovative programming created to help them succeed.

Whether a high school graduate, a long-term employee looking for a career change or a new Canadian settling in, Bow Valley is there, says president and chief executive officer Laura Jo Gunter.

“We want to help people — all people — reach their end goals through whatever means works best for them and their lives, whether they are looking at getting a new job, a better job or just learning something new,” says Gunter.

“We are innovative not only in our delivery and offerings, but also in terms of our flexibility.”

Learning happens in all kinds of places on-campus and off — in traditional classrooms and learning labs, but also in business staff rooms where people work their day jobs and in bus shelters where students participate in online learning while they await their ride home.

A cornerstone of Bow Valley College’s strategic direction is access — access to post-secondary education regardless of one’s background or location, access for graduates to employment and entrepreneurship, and access to up-skilling and re-skilling.

“We are being very proactive about how we approach education, because content is becoming ubiquitous,” says Gunter.

“It’s about knowing and trusting the content is valid and the learning experience you have and competencies you develop through that.”

The college plays a key role in city building, says Gunter, creating social and economic stability by helping residents find careers that fit their needs and serve the community.

Its programs cover a wide range of areas, and some — such as Open Studies — let students get a taste of a course before they commit to a specific certificate or diploma program.

Students can also earn credits while upgrading or taking English Language Learning courses.

Post-diploma certificates are popular with working professionals looking to upgrade their credentials or switch careers. They allow students to build on top of previous education and some programs offer work placement, to make the career shift even smoother.

Areas offering post- diploma certificates include health and human service management and digital marketing.

As well, earlier this year the college launched the School of Creative Technologies, which provides new, more flexible technology and design training to equip students with the skills they need to graduate ready to work.

Meant to inspire interest in technology and design careers among non-traditional audiences, courses include interior decorating, kitchen and bath design, digital marketing and software development.

“And more exciting announcements are in our future,” says Gunter.

“We are currently exploring partnerships with various post-secondary institutions and industry groups that will help our learners establish themselves in meaningful careers and, ultimately, that is always our goal.

“That’s why we exist and why we are committed to continuing to grow and change with our students to meet their needs.”

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