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Originally published in The Georgia Straight
As exciting as it can be to have the world at your feet, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. But if you’re unsure of which direction you’d like to take your career, finding out your options can be a really good place to start.
On Wednesday, April 24 from 3 to 6 p.m., Vancouver Community College (VCC) is opening the doors of its Downtown campus (250 West Pender Street) to help prospective students understand the possibilities available to them should they choose to pursue further education.
The event, called Experience VCC, is open to the public and free to attend. More than 120 of the school’s programs will be represented, giving visitors a unique opportunity to meet faculty from university transfer, health sciences, trades, arts, and more in one go. Better still, attendees will have the chance to win $500 toward tuition, and anyone who applies to a program at the event doesn’t pay the $35 application fee (limited to one per person).
Monique Paassen, VCC’s department head of hospitality management, is a big advocate for talking to prospective students and their parents. She advises anyone who is interested in the programs to come to the open house to really get a sense of school life and speak to the teachers, students, and alumni, who will also be in attendance.
“We show people around and that’s the nice thing,” Paassen says. “It’s not just giving them another pamphlet. We really want to engage them and chat with them. It’s a wealth of information that we share.”
All four of VCC’s industry-recognized hospitality programs—hospitality management, culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and Asian culinary arts—will be highlighted at the open house. To showcase the college’s experiential learning style, Experience VCC will give visitors the chance to try some fun and interactive activities at “Passport to Hospitality” action stations.
In fact, VCC is so committed to helping students plan their studies that there are a range of additional support services and information sessions available so you can learn more. And that’s an ethos that Paassen is willing to take a step further.
“I tell people that if Experience VCC is not enough to convince you, or you need more information, or you’re still not sure, come sit in a class,” she says.
Paassen also stresses the importance of knowing which jobs a program might lead to and there are many for a hospitality management graduate. And one thing that really puts VCC on the map is the relationship and support it has from the industry, which is always seeking skilled employees.
“The diploma is a two-year program full-time and it consists of 20 courses,” she explains. “We really train our students and we set them up for success with the goal of becoming a manager within the industry. And it’s not just through theory, it’s hands-on. We have our own kitchen and restaurant that the students have to run and operate like a usual restaurant.”
RSVP now for Experience VCC on Wednesday, April 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Downtown campus (entrance at Dunsmuir St. and Hamilton St.)