Centre for Arts and Technology is a private post-secondary institution that is focused on delivering high-quality digital arts and technology diploma programs. CAT is located in Kelowna, BC and the foundation for the school was built over 30 years ago by leaders in both media training and educational excellence. Today, they are now one of Canada’s leading colleges in digital arts and technical training, and recognized for continually having successful and employable graduates in the areas of filmmaking, animation, audio engineering, interior design, photography, graphic design, and network security.
The school prides itself on not being your typical community college or university, and is described as more than just students, hallways, classrooms and instructors. CAT nurtures students along their educational journey by providing challenges, opportunities, mentorship and motivation, all while fostering a collaborative environment where they can reach their full potential. We caught up with CAT to hear more about the programs they offer that relate directly to the creative technology industry.
How many types of courses do you offer that feed into the creative technology (video games/interactive, animation, VFX) sector?
We have a wide range of programs, most leading to careers in creative technology, however, our animation, filmmaking and graphic design programs align with emerging VFX industries most frequently. Our graduates can be found working on feature length and series projects locally in the Okanagan and around the world. Taught by current industry professionals, our programs are structured to operate as close to real-world studios as possible, giving graduates a leg up on the competition.
Are these full-time or part-time?
We primarily enroll students in full-time programs, but our programs can be taken part-time. Due to the highly focused nature of our delivery model, we see the most employability from full-time program completion; however, many students have received great value from part-time courses, especially when used for professional development.
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, are courses now fully online? Or are some held in-person?
When the pandemic first hit, we took many preemptive actions to safeguard our student body and staff, one of which included online curriculum delivery. CAT was already working on an online delivery model for several programs and COVID simply accelerated that process. Our entire roster of programs are available on-campus, in-person, while a select few are available for remote, online delivery. A few of our programs are currently not good candidates for online delivery as they feature a large amount of hands-on learning, which is hard to replicate online. In the process of evaluating our programs, we were able to identify several that were excellent candidates for online delivery and prospective students in these programs can now choose between online, remote delivery and on-campus options. Currently, we offer online options for Digital Music Production, Graphic & Web Design, Network Administration and Security, and Veterinary Hospital Assistant.
Do students need to have any previous training or work experience in a certain field before signing up?
We do not require any previous training or work experience in related fields prior to admission. However, any previous industry knowledge or involvement can improve the overall student experience and their initial learning curve. Our instructors work with individual students to ensure they meet industry standards upon graduation, and we bolster their success by providing free peer tutoring, a dedicated Student Success team, and accelerated career coaching.
Who are the instructors? How do you select them?
Our Instructors must meet the standards set by the Ministry of Advanced Education. We pride ourselves on employing working professionals in the industry of the program they are instructing in, and those relationships are even more valuable when they are able to directly recruit from our students and alumni. We aim to exceed the Ministry’s requirements and have long-term instructors on faculty who have been in industry for 40+ years. Instructors are interviewed by our Education Department to evaluate skills, personality and team fit. As we boast working professionals as instructors, we often schedule classes around their existing work schedules. This can be tricky for our Scheduling Department, but industry relevance is a key factor to our success model.
What are some of the possible jobs and career paths someone could go into after completing one of these programs?
As we offer a wide variety of programs and encourage holistic career planning, the jobs and career paths for graduates are only limited by imagination. In speaking directly to our programs that most closely relate to creative technology, you will find our graduates in junior and mid-range level positions in studios and production houses as animators, FX artists, character designers, camera operators, editors, etc.
We should also mention that a significant advantage of attending a private school is the ability for our education team to be nimble and responsive to industry feedback and needs. We are constantly evaluating our programs to ensure the best learning outcomes and industry placements. The latest program to undergo an evaluation is our 3D Animation program. It is now shorter and more focused on the areas and roles most in demand by our industry partners and we look forward to welcoming new students this October.
How are your programs different from similar ones offered at other post-secondary schools?
Our programs may feature similar curriculums as other comparable institutions, as we all align with industry expectations, but our unique value is in our staff and delivery/support model. Students who attend CAT are not simply another number. Our individualized approach meets students where they are at, to ensure their own personal success path is laid out. We offer support for students in various forms including one-on-one mentorship, coaching and goal setting, and believe this is where our strength can be found.
Many who have walked through our doors have said, “You can really feel the difference here.” We want to feel different and be different. This feeling is what makes Centre for Arts and Technology and our students special.
What is the best way for somebody to find out more information about Centre for Arts and Technology?
We have inquiry forms online for prospective students (https://digitalartschool.com/inquiry-form) that will connect them with a program advisor for assistance. Finance, curriculum, job outcomes can all be covered in a one-on-one meeting with our helpful advisors.
Industry connections and job opportunities for students and alumni are always welcome and an email to firstname.lastname@example.org will connect you with the appropriate department.
We are also very active in high schools around the Okanagan and province-wide and our recruitment team can offer customized presentations focused on our programs, instructors or job outcomes. Teachers, counsellors or students interested in a presentation can contact us through email@example.com.
We have a robust website with a lot of info for anyone curious to learn more about us and if social media is your thing, we are also very active on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.