This is a personal blog post from EDAC’s Executive Director, Owen Brierley, about why we offer programs that are 10 months long.
I have been training and mentoring people since 2002. I have had the pleasure of training some of the best people working in the industry today. I have also worked in a variety of schools from NAIT to the U of A. I have seen many different models and approaches to post-secondary education. Over time, my mission has been to figure out how to best offer an optimized educational experience for adults who want to develop real skills that are needed in the creative industries today. No fluff. No irrelevant topics. No wasted time.
At EDAC, we offer career focused diplomas. Our diploma programs are designed to make our graduates ready for entry-level roles in the creative industries. We fit into the overall post-secondary education continuum by offering diploma programs that work for recent high school graduates, recent post-secondary graduates, and mature learners.
My quest has been to find the “Goldilocks” solution for the kind of education we offer. Not too long. Not too short. Just right.
After years of refining and reviewing, we have discovered that the sweet spot for the kind of educational model we use (mentor-based studio environments) is 15 students per class maximum, 7 hours per day of mentored studio time, 10 months overall duration.
15 students per class maximum:
In order for a mentor to develop a strong relationship with a student, there needs to be enough time in the day for the mentor to have high value interactions with each and every student. Around 15 seems to be, from our experience, the most that a mentor can handle. 20 is too many.
7 hours per day of mentored studio time:
Building the stamina to work a full day in a studio requires practice. Time management is a key factor we have seen in successful graduates. When you work in a company you need to be skilled, but more importantly, you must be reliable. Reliability trumps skills every time. The more you develop a reliable work ethic, the longer your career will last. Reliable and skilled is the ideal of course, but contrary to what some might think, I know quite a few highly skilled individuals who lack reliability and they are often seen as a liability instead of an asset.
10 months overall duration:
In order to develop a set of skills, knowledge and attitudes that make you industry ready, we have discovered that 10 months is necessary to take an applicant from student quality work to professional quality work. If the program is too short, the students don’t have time to develop a lasting discipline that can lead to fulfilling careers. We run all our programs in three phases. Each phase take about 3 months to complete. Each phase is designed to help our students develop an independent work ethic that employers and clients require from them.
There are many other factors that make EDAC one of the best places to develop your attitudes, skills and knowledge, but this structure is the framework that allows us to provide the best learning experience possible in an environment that models the stamina, work ethic, self-discipline, and focus that the creative industries require.
If you ever want to talk more about this and our programs, you can talk to me in person at any one of our Open Houses or be a Student for a Day and learn first-hand what it is like being immersed in the EDAC experience.