What do the Vancouver Fringe Festival, Grouse Mountain, and BCIT have in common? They’ve all been voted winners in The Georgia Straight’s 24th Annual Best of Vancouver Awards, which recognize organizations across the city in a variety of categories. For the second year running, BCIT is honoured to have received the title of Best Digital-Tech School.
As the world’s largest tech companies converge on the city to open up their next global headquarters, and as colleges and universities stock the talent pipeline with their own technology programs, it’s gratifying and validating that Vancouverites placed BCIT at the head of the pack. These are just some of the initiatives that helped BCIT earn the title.
Adapting to industry
BCIT has always been clear on its purpose: to provide an applied education that takes a proactive approach to identifying the needs of industry and then integrating and aligning with them. For example, earlier this year, the institute established a new Industrial Network Cybersecurity diploma program.
Canada has the highest average cost of a cyber breach, and records the third highest instance of them in the world. The Institute saw a clear need for cybersecurity professionals, and responded accordingly. As Dr. Forrest Tittle, Dean of the BCIT School of Energy, notes, “The Industrial Network Cybersecurity program is the first of its kind in Canada and fills a significant skills-gap in the cybersecurity industry.”
Preparing students to be job-ready
With a BCIT education, alumni are confident entering the workforce and can have an immediate impact in their industry. Graduates like Kelsey Grant, who completed the Technical Web Designer program, are able to not only field job offers while still in school and quickly find employment, but they’re empowered to start their own companies.
“I got a job at a startup company a few weeks after I graduated. I actually had two job offers at the time and chose the startup because I thought it would be the best fit for me,” she says. “Once I knew I’d found a niche I could build a company around, I incorporated as Kelsey Grant Arts Inc. and started to build a team. I’ve structured my company to tailor to the specific needs of small business and solo entrepreneurs.”
To better support those who aspire to start their own ventures, the school has launched the Summit Centre in conjunction with the BCIT Student Association. Emerging professionals studying at BCIT have access to skills workshops, coaching, and MediaWorks resources and services, along with office spaces, project rooms, a large classroom, and a library lounge.
Shaping BC and inspiring global progress
One of the main missions at BCIT is to look further afield in leading positive change and contributing to economic, social, and environmental development around the world. The school also partners with other organizations to build and sustain a collaborative ethos. This applies to the technology sector as well—the Institute has been working with Microsoft Corp. as it expands its Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS) program Canada-wide.
BCIT has offered grants and materials to local high schools so that students and instructors alike are given the opportunity to have meaningful computer science training. “The support and expertise from BCIT in helping to bring TEALS to BC and adapt the program for Canada as a partner has been invaluable,” says Kevin Wang, Founder of TEALS at Microsoft.
A special thank you goes out to The Georgia Straight and the people of Vancouver for their acknowledgement. We appreciate your support, and offer our congratulations to all #BestOfVan winners.
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