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UBC Okanagan media program feeds demand for tech-savvy workers

UBC Okanagan media program feeds demand for tech-savvy workers

Media-studies-ubc-okanagan

There’s a new program at UBC’s Okanagan campus linking the tech industry to academia.

UBC's newly-introduced Bachelor of Media Studies is now accepting applications for entry in September 2017. Graduates will earn a BMS.

“Kelowna’s tech industry is flourishing, with start-ups alongside established companies like Disney and Bardel Entertainment having offices in the valley,” says Deborah Buszard, deputy vice-chancellor and Principal of UBC’s Okanagan campus. “The industry needs graduates with tech talent as well as creative and managerial skills and entrepreneurial spirit. Our new media studies program will provide the bridge from academic study to industry success.”

Media studies graduates will become skilled in many high-demand areas, including game development, web design, interactive media, film production, and graphic design.

“The growth of the tech sector in the Okanagan, creating a base of highly skilled workers here, will encourage more companies to move into the area and take advantage of that pool of expertise,” says Robert Eggleston, acting dean of the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. “The Okanagan offers a highly desirable lifestyle, and if we can match that to industry growth and skilled graduates, the whole community will benefit.”

The Okanagan tech industry brings in $1 billion to the economy annually.

Students enrolled in the program will study digital media arts, visual art, computer science, the social sciences and humanities. Through applying to the co-op education program, BMS students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience to expand their skills and understanding of new media and technology by working with a variety of companies in the field.

“When designing the BMS, it was important for us to consult and work with local players in the industry, to ensure we understood exactly what kind of graduates they would need now and in the future, to give our students the best chance to contribute to and succeed in this industry— an industry that is quickly becoming a major player in our region,” adds Eggleston.

Early supporters of the BMS include Accelerate Okanagan, a Kelowna non-profit that helps technology entrepreneurs start and grow their companies. A study conducted by Accelerate Okanagan shows the Okanagan tech industry brings in $1 billion to the economy annually.

“UBC’s BMS program will be integral in the role of training students for employment in the field of new media and Internet technology,” says Brea Retzlaff, Accelerate Okanagan's operations manager. “The program will give students the education they need, matched with real industry experience, which will make them highly desirable.”

The BMS is offered jointly by the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies and the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences. To find out more about the program, visit: bms.ok.ubc.ca.

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