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FOL Bow Valley College

Laura Jo Gunter is Bow Valley College’s president and chief executive officer. Photo credit: Wil Andruschak © Postmedia Network Inc.

When it comes to getting the skills Calgarians need for a great career, Bow Valley College has long been at the forefront of providing job-ready education. 

“What we like to say is, ‘We’re fast, focused and flexible,’ and the whole idea is to make all learning count,” says Bow Valley’s president and chief executive officer Laura Jo Gunter.

Bow Valley College provides vocation-focused learning for students seeking full-time, multi-year programs in fields such as nursing, addiction counselling, business administration and computer programming.

“But our average student age here is 27, so we also aim to help people who need to upskill or reskill."

The school, based right downtown, has a strong track record of helping existing workers to upgrade skills, as well as assisting Canadian newcomers with their English language proficiency to boost their career opportunities.

Proof of its success, for all learners, is Bow Valley’s 94 per cent satisfactory rating among graduating students.

Chief among the reasons Bow Valley has been a career builder of choice for tens of thousands of students since its formation in 1965 is its commitment to innovative education.

Among its many pioneering initiatives is the use of a new artificial intelligence software platform that evaluates learners’ existing skillsets. Gunter says the new AI-based system determines what courses students require to learn only the skills they are missing to pursue the career they desire.

“That may not sound like much, but it’s huge,” says Gunter, adding that the program helps students save time, money and effort because they do not end up taking unnecessary courses.

“It’s a very powerful idea around how we can help students capture the knowledge they already have and work only toward the skills they need.”

Allowing students to include their existing skills as credit toward graduation, while taking only courses to acquire the new skills they need, ensures they get to their career goals faster.

Gunter adds that employers benefit, too, as they get faster access to the skilled workers they need.

“The bottom line is it’s all about supporting learners so they can achieve their goals.”

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

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