Career goals became within reach, with upgrading options and Business program at Okanagan College
Kelowna – As a high school student, Travis Holmes couldn’t wait to leave school. But now the Okanagan College alum has brought his education full circle and is back in the classroom, encouraging secondary high school students as a careers and entrepreneurship teacher at Rutland Secondary School.
Holmes, who completed his Bachelor of Business Administration from OC in 2020, says his journey to finding the right career path has taken some time.
“High school wasn’t for me, and I dropped out of high school in grade 11,” says Holmes. “My gap year stretched into seven as I explored careers and industries. I got to the point where I wanted more, but without further education, I couldn’t achieve the career levels I wanted.”
With a plan to pursue a business degree, Holmes needed to complete a few courses in Adult Upgrading before enrolling in his program.
“There are misconceptions around upgrading,” says Holmes. “People think that upgrading just means you didn’t pass a class. But in my experience, upgrading is training that opens doors and it gave me the opportunity to build the skills I needed to be admitted into the business program.”
“The instructors I had really made the difference for me with their flexibility and kindness,” says Holmes. “In particular, I give credit to one of my instructors, Andrew Pulvermacher, who really took the time to teach and guide me.”
“There are many different reasons students choose to take Adult Upgrading courses through OC,” say Pulvermacher, now Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs. “We support each person in achieving their educational goals, whether they are pursuing further education, advancing in their careers, or simply enjoying education as a way to enrich their lives. Travis’s story and his achievements are inspiring, and they exemplify the ways education has value and purpose at every stage of our lives. I am honoured to be a part of his story.”
Holmes completed his business degree and went to work in early 2020, just as COVID-19 was changing so many aspects of the workplace.
“I quickly realized I wasn’t enjoying my work,” says Holmes. “I spent time looking at my values and what makes me happy. I kept coming back to teaching and educating. I decided that with Covid still affecting so much, there was no better time to do more schooling.”
Holmes was accepted into the University of British Columbia’s Education program in Vancouver and graduated in 2022.
Now Holmes is back in the classroom as a secondary high school teacher and sharing his experience with students as they plan for their futures.
“Try to understand what your end goals and motivations are,” says Holmes. “That will give you some flexibility to explore your options. There may be more than one way of getting there.”
Know an OC alum doing something remarkable? Nominate them for recognition at https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/60thNominations.