February 24, 2009: Capilano University students reap benefits from MOU with Tourism Whistler

      February 24, 2009
      Contact: Stephanie Wells
      Tel: 604.986.1911, local 5813

      (SQUAMISH, B.C.)—A memorandum of understanding signed last October between Capilano University’s Destination Resort Management Co-op diploma program and Tourism Whistler is paying big dividends for five fortunate students.

      Tivohn Cox, Nicole Etherington, Kathleen Green, Kathryn Holden and Karen Weihs have landed full-time paid jobs at Tourism Whistler for the summer of 2009, where they will continue to work once a month throughout the fall. After graduating in December, all five will receive two- to four-month contracts with Tourism Whistler that will see them working in leadership roles at the largest event in the world – the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

      “This is a fantastic opportunity that is uniquely offered to our students based on the MOU” says DRM instructor, Stephanie Wells. “Tourism Whistler recognizes that Capilano provides an excellent education and has looked to us to meet their need for qualified employees.”

      The 16-month DRM diploma program helps students build a career path towards managerial and supervisory positions in the resort industry and ladders into the University’s Tourism Management degree program. It offers 19 courses directly related to the industry and which prepare job-ready graduates.

      The program’s popularity attracts students from across North America. The five scooped up by Tourism Whistler come from Squamish, Vancouver, Ontario and Washington State. They will be working in Tourism Whistler’s departments of Visitor Services, Research and Communications.

      “These students will gain an in-depth understanding of how a destination marketing organization works and why the information they collect is so important,” Wells added. “This is proof positive that Capilano is continuing to meet the needs of employers in the corridor, providing tourism professionals that have the skills and knowledge they require.”

      Approximately $1 billion of the province’s $10 billion annual tourism revenue is generated by Whistler tourism. The province hosts more than 22.5 million overnight visitors each year, with Whistler accounting for more than one million of those room nights.

      “There is always a demand for well-trained, highly-skilled people in the tourism industry,” said Barrett Fisher, president and CEO of Tourism Whistler. “Programs such as this one not only ensure that the important educational component is delivered, but that those students in the program are able to experience the workplace first-hand.”

      Uniquely positioned at the gateway of the Sea-to-Sky Corridor and with its Squamish campus lying within the heart of the Corridor itself, Capilano was the first public institution to announce that it will be extending its reading break for the duration of the Games.

      “By extending our reading break during the 2010 Winter Games, our students will have the chance to gain the kind of real-life experience that could not be taught in a classroom,” said Capilano’s president, Dr. Greg Lee. “We are prepared to help the 2010 Games, our communities, and most of all, our students, through this exceptional opportunity.”

      With one of the oldest and best established tourism departments in the country, Capilano University has been training students to enter the tourism industry for more than 35 years. More recently, the University has been working to make Squamish a learning destination for people from around the world. As a co-host of LinkBC, the provincial education network for tourism and hospitality, people have come to recognize that Capilano University is delivering the types of quality programs and services that they need to succeed in today’s workforce.

      Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing and sales organization representing Whistler, operating the TELUS Whistler Conference Centre, the Whistler Golf Club, the Whistler Visitor Centres and tourismwhistler.com, as well as 1-800-WHISTLER and whistler.com - Whistler's official source for visitor bookings and information. As the convention and visitors bureau for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler represents more than 7,000 members who own, manage and operate properties or businesses on resort lands including hotels, restaurants, activity operators and retail shops.