Hospitality Tourism Education in Canada
Canada has made hospitality and tourism an art, and many of the country’s educational institutions specialize in preparing people for careers in this dynamic sector. It’s easy to understand why. Tourism has always played an important role in Canada’s economy, as for centuries people have enjoyed visiting this vast, beautiful country. Now every year millions of people visit hotels, restaurants, resorts and clubs across Canada - injecting millions of dollars into a sector that supports thousands of businesses and jobs.
Canada’s colleges and universities have in turn responded to the growing need for highly qualified staff with a wide variety of programs from basic hospitality training to the postgraduate management degrees. Because of its national importance, hospitality and tourism training in Canada achieves high, international standards. Training often combines both European and international traditions of quality and service coupled with models of North American efficiency and use of advanced technology.
Hospitality and Tourism encompasses numerous sub sectors including accommodation and lodging, food and beverage service, tourism, travel and transportation, and event management.
The extensive variety of programs in Canada mirrors the endless possibilities associated with a career in the hospitality and tourism industry. From short programs which can vary in length from ten to forty weeks, to the apprenticeship model, to one-year, two-year or three-year college vocational models, to four-year undergraduate, post-diploma and graduate degrees, the educational opportunities are limitless.
The wide range of programs ensures prospective students have a variety of career options. Hospitality and Tourism education in Canada can be accomplished through public and private institutions. The Canadian colleges offer a strong practical focus to prepare students for front-line positions in the industry. In addition industry-based partnerships result in extensive apprenticeship programs in cooking and baking. Specific colleges also cater to specific niche markets such as festival and event management and culinary specialties including Aboriginal, Chinese, Italian, Patissier, and Sommelier programs.
An easy path to obtaining a university degree, known as two plus two’s, combines hands-on skills acquired in a college program with university courses to make a highly employable individual. University undergraduate degree programs include either a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Business Administration, or a Bachelor of Applied Sciences. Graduate programs are in areas of administration and management.
Potential students should invest time, energy and resources to carefully research the program that best suits their needs. A careful review of curriculum is only one aspect of choosing the best hospitality program. Other factors to consider include institutional reputation, student awards, faculty publications and involvement in the industry, and graduate employment. Location and size are big factors as well. Metropolitan locations offer students the opportunity to benefit from the country’s rich and extensive multicultural communities and offer high quality work experience. Suburban and rural locations give students the benefits of a natural setting.
Students should also carefully consider facilities and resources available. The industry is ever-changing and the currency of the faculty should be reflected in its labs, theaters, computer technology and library. Furthermore, support services such as peer-tutoring programs, faculty mentoring, student advisory, housing and residency and financial aid are indicative of an institution’s service to a student.