Confident in their new skills while venturing into an uncertain labour market, more than 400 Bow Valley College students celebrated graduation Monday.

The school awarded professional diplomas and certificates to recipients in its Business, Health and Community Care and Academic Foundations programs.

“I feel ready and I feel confident,” said Health & Community Care valedictorian Danielle Janice Bravo.

Bravo, an international student who received a practical nurse diploma, said she plans to work in Calgary as a licensed practical nurse, later returning to school to complete her nursing degree.

“I want to contribute back to the Calgary community,” she told the Herald.

“They’ve well prepared me. Because of that, I feel very confident about getting into the workforce.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Business graduate Christie Corah. Corah, who received an Administrative Professional Certificate at the event, praised the school’s work placement program.

“I am actually working right now at an oil and gas company downtown. I got the job two weeks before I finished my practicum at school, which happened so quickly,” she said.

“It definitely makes a student feel more prepared when they go into the real world, and it also gives them that bit more of experience, so they feel they know what they’re doing when they start a real job.”

For Bow Valley College president and CEO Sharon Carry, the ceremonies are a proud moment for both students and staff.

With a focus on work placement, Carry said at least 94 per cent of those graduating will find work in their field immediately.

“Today’s employers like to ‘test drive’ new employees,” she said.

“Because of our work experience component, employers have seen the great skills they bring into the workplace and are much more interested in employing folks they’ve already reviewed and judged to be work-ready than they are resumes or people they’ve never seen before.”

“More than 90 per cent of our graduates stay in the city,” Carry added.

“This really is a college that primarily serves Calgary and the surrounding region.”

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