Vancouver Island University (VIU) Powell River has entered into a partnership to offer a new tourism program. According to campus administration, the venture will create new possibilities and job opportunities for students as well as new revenue for the city.
“This is a new kind of arrangement where you have a private college partnering with a public institution,” said Greg Cran, VIU Powell River campus administrator.
Eton College Canada is cooperating with VIU to offer a two-year dual credential tourism-studies diploma.
Eton’s registrar John Brouwer said the college was established in 2003 by businessman Shih-tao Lu to offer international students programs in hospital, tourism and business administration.
According to Cran, if successful, students will receive two diplomas, “one from Eton College and the second one from us. If they wish to go on and do a degree, then that option will be there.”
Brouwer said career and education options for students are key to the program’s success.
“Providing options for students and economic development for Powell River through collaborative education with VIU is a key goal,” he said.
In year one of the course, students partake in Eton’s travel, tourism and flight attendant preparation program.
“What’s unique about that particular program,” said Cran, “is the training for those wanting to become flight attendants is a hands-on experience.” He added that the flight attendant program is different than any other tourism-related program he has seen.
In year two, students complete VIU’s tourism studies diploma, a program previously offered only at VIU in Nanaimo.
Until now, Eton’s diploma course was only offered at its school in Vancouver. Both programs will be taught at the Powell River campus and, according to Cran, 30 students per year are expected to enrol.
Based on federal government projections, the job market report for flight attendants with Canadian airlines is expected to remain small and steady. The forecast encompasses a nine-year period from 2015 to 2024 and shows projected job openings of 1,700 compared to 1,600 jobseekers.
The relationship between the two schools further expands Lu’s business interests in Powell River. Lu has purchased a large parcel of land in Wildwood and has offers pending on other land in the area for various development proposals.
According to Brouwer, Lu wants to develop more tourism-focused education programs with VIU.
Applications are now being accepted for the new program at VIU Powell River.