Jeff Jewett

Owner/Operator of Bikes and Bites; and Valemount College instructor

“A few years ago, we came to Valemount for a family holiday.  We had never been here, but we were blown away when we got here.  It was a huge surprise that we didn’t anticipate.  What captured us right off was the breathtaking surroundings and the welcoming community. We just fell in love with Valemount.

I had recently been laid off from my university instructor position in Calgary, and was on a quest to re-invent myself.  Valemount was the perfect place to make that happen. 

My wife and I are now the proud owners of our own small business called Bikes and Bites; a bicycle rental, sales, repair and maintenance shop that also offers pocket food to take on the trails.  As our business grows, we will be looking for skilled and knowledgeable people, like Valemount College grads, to work on our team.

To be successful as an entrepreneur I had to have a vision, but that was only the beginning.  I also needed to understand marketing and be able to connect with people, find investors, understand financial planning, and develop a philosophy to ensure I stayed focused on why I was doing this.  I had to make sure it was something I loved.  I needed to establish a personal brand and build on that.  I managed to make this happen, and I’m proud to also be an instructor for Valemount College, where I can share my experience and give support to those who want to embark on a new journey.

The tourism sector is growing, and if you are considering a career in tourism, Valemount College’s programs can equip you with the knowledge and skills you will need to be successful, whether you are working for a tourism operator or as an entrepreneur.  If you’re considering a career change and you want to move ahead, Valemount College is there to help you take that next step so you can “remake” yourself and do what you love.  It’s so worth it!”

Curtis Pawliuk

General Manager, Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association; and Owner/Operator of Frozen Pirate Snow Services

“I came to Valemount in 2001 as a student in a college outdoor education program, and I immediately fell in love with the community.  Valemount is surrounded by mountains, with endless opportunities for hiking, biking and backcountry snowmobiling.  Valemount has an amazing vibe, is an amazing place to raise a young family and has ample opportunity for small tourism-based businesses.

 In 2006, I landed my dream job as the General Manager for the Valemount and Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA).  Working for VARDA, I manage and develop outdoor recreation opportunities for Valemount and work alongside some amazing volunteers.  I love my job because of the variety it entails and the fact that I get to spend a lot of my time working outdoors in the community, whether I’m on foot, on a bike or on a sled. Attending a tourism based college program also gave me the initial skills needed to start my own adventure business, which has been very successful.  If you are creative and hard working, there is great value in Tourism.

 The tourism industry is growing, and tourism-based jobs, especially self-employment opportunities, are all around us.  Getting an education and training around entrepreneurship and tourism through programs like the ones offered at Valemount College, is the best way to get started.  Don’t plan to be the employee – plan to be the employer!”  

Riette Kenkel

Executive Director, Valemount Learning Centre

“It’s so great to have Valemount College as part of our community. With tourism growing in Valemount, it only makes sense to offer tourism-based post-secondary education right where it all happens. Valemount College’s Mountain Adventure Tourism program provides a firsthand view on adventure tourism, in a community surrounded by three majestic mountain ranges. We are a rural and somewhat remote community, so the College’s Rural Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management certificate program captures the joys as well as some of the challenges of starting and running a small business in a community like ours. We often have clients who are looking for post-secondary education opportunities closer to home, and we are happy to refer them to Valemount College. Students get personalized services with Valemount College’s smaller class sizes. It’s a perfect mix of quality education with a small town feel.”