Most people have heard of TED talks. Not everyone knows what TED stands for (Technology, Entertainment, and Design). TED is a non-profit organization that is owned by Chris Anderson, the founder of FUTURE magazine and started in Silicon Valley. Its previous speakers have included James Cameron, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking. In 2014 TED chose to relocate its annual conference to Vancouver, Canada. There’s a reason for that!
In 2017 Vancouver was named as the #1 city in Canada and #15 in the world for the best start-up ecosystems due to it “strong industrial foundation, enterprise data and cloud underpinning, and a remarkably diverse talent pool” (Startup Genome). There are currently 800-1100 tech start-ups in B.C. including Broadband.tv, which in three years has become the world’s third largest streaming site after Facebook and Google. Successes have exploded across multiple industries including green energy (General Fusion), sustainability (Saltworks), business tools (Slack), social media (Hootsuite), video games (United Front Games) mobile apps (East Side Games), and finance (Payfirma). It’s no wonder that tech giant Microsoft chose Vancouver as one of its largest centres outside the U.S., with Janet Kennedy, President of Microsoft Canada stating, “…We could have gone anywhere in the world, and we picked Vancouver.”
The government of B.C. wants to grow the number of tech jobs in the province to over 120,000 by 2022. They also want to increase the number of technology graduates by over 1,000 immediately. Vancouver is the new 1000 pound gorilla for “TED” (technology, entertainment, and design), but how can youth and adults tap into this growth? Feroz Ali, founder of Asia Pacific Education Group, has made a tradition of working with industry to develop talent matched for industry needs across two countries in New Zealand and Canada. “Industry knows what they need right now”, Ali says. “We cannot take five years to develop a program or another five years to produce graduates. We could lose a whole industry in that time.” Ali further explains that nimbleness and industry response can help drive the creation of post-secondary diplomas and degrees that can help propel Vancouver even further. With this in mind, one of the schools under the Asia Pacific Education Group banner, Sterling College, will be launching a new Creative Technology Diploma over the coming months- the first of its kind in the private post-secondary school sector.
Sterling College will be working alongside industry to launch a new Creative Technologies Diploma. Students will develop a strong foundation across multiple disciplines (including computer programming, computer design, and computer-based entertainment) over their first three semesters. Students will then choose one area of focus (which could be social media, Fit wear, mobile apps, or many other options) to hone their expertise over the next four semesters before jumping into industry as part of a unique co-op work experience. This new program will be headed up by film veteran William Maher. Will has over 20 years of technical expertise working on films such as the X-Men series. After working in both industry and education over the past two decades, Maher stated “private post-secondary education has the ability to really come up with something ground-breaking that propels bright and ambitious leaders to be the next Elon Musks of the world.”