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Capilano University, Tourism Whistler sign MOU

Tourism students to work 2010 Games internships



Capilano University tourism students working with Tourism Whistler during the 2010 Games is a natural partnership.

That was the message on Friday, Oct. 17, when Tourism Whistler and Capilano University signed a memorandum of understanding to provide Tourism Management Co-op students paid internships during the Games.

“This is an incredible partnership,” said Barrett Fisher, Tourism Whistler president, during the ceremony inside Whistler’s Information Visitor’s Centre.

“When you look at Whistler, it is a Mecca as a tourism resort… What better place than the tourism school to partner with. The partnership and opportunity is an absolutely natural one.”

Fisher said with the large demands associated with the 2010 Games, Tourism Whistler has to make sure they have well trained people.

She also said that hiring qualified people who already live within the Sea to Sky corridor helps address Whistler’s housing crunch.

“We hope that while this is a stepping stone for 2010, in fact it is also going to continue on into the longer term,” said Fisher.

Tourism Vancouver also signed a similar agreement with Capilano, and more than 70 students are expected to fill these “visitor services” co-op positions. The students will work at the satellite visitor centres in both Whistler and Vancouver during the Games. At least six work experience positions are with Tourism Whistler.

Capilano University president Greg Lee said that Capilano has a long history working within the corridor, including a program with the Lil’wat Nation in the early 1980s.

With its change from college to university status earlier this year, Capilano wants to further reach out to the region.

Two alumni from Capilano’s 16-month tourism program who now work in Whistler were present during the MOU announcement : Gillian Mitchell, human resources coordinator with Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, and Robyn Louwe, assistant to the general manager of guest services with Whistler-Blackcomb.

“One of the areas we looked at when we began was to continue providing programming that will assist the corridor,” said program convenor and instructor Stephanie Wells.

“(The two alumni) are both great examples of why a program like this works in the area.”

Over 400 students are enrolled in Capilano’s tourism department, located in Squamish.