NIC grad turning love of outdoors into adventure career

An NIC Tourism & Hospitality alumna is combining her love of the outdoors, adventure guiding skills and business education into an adventurous career.

Jessica Reynolds graduated from the Adventure Guiding option in NIC’s Tourism & Hospitality Management diploma program this year and transitioned directly into a degree program in business.

Reynolds was initially drawn to NIC’s Adventure Guiding program because of the range of skills and the possibilities it offered in terms of furthering her education.

“My family has always been outdoorsy,” she said. “It’s something I grew up with and thought I’d enjoy as a career. I also liked the idea of the variety – being able to do one thing in the spring/summer and something different in the fall/winter.”

She also realized the pathway she could take from diploma to degree.

“The laddering opportunities with the program was one of the things that drew me to it,” she said. “The idea that you can get a range of industry certificates, the NIC diploma and a business degree in just four years is great.”

Reynolds’ first year in Adventure Guiding was more focused on field skills alongside applied academic courses, then her second year in the diploma included a range of core courses and electives focused on the tourism sector and associated business, management, and communication skills.

“The program was a lot of fun – the outdoor trips and hands on experience really helped me gain confidence in my skills. I really enjoyed the variety of courses, especially in my second year,” she said.

Reynolds found the program not only helped with new skill development, but in advancing skills she already had.

“I got a job at Strathcona Park Lodge as their waterfront coordinator, which was a lot of fun, and I worked as a ski instructor in the winter,” she said. “I’d instructed before, but I found the program really helped me solidify my skills with client support and teaching. There’s a lot that goes into that work and there’s always more to learn so you can be better.”

Reynolds completed her Tourism & Hospitality Diploma – Adventure Guiding Option and transferred directly into third year of her business degree.

“Being able to smoothly transfer into a business degree is a big advantage to this program,” she said. “It opens up so many doors for you, including management if you wanted to do that in the future. It really expands your options.”

NIC offers three specialties for the Tourism & Hospitality Diploma: Adventure Guiding, Hospitality Management and Sustainable Tourism. All three ladder into the third year of NIC’s Bachelor of Business Administration Degree, or are transferable to other post-secondaries throughout Canada.

Learn more about NIC’s Tourism & Hospitality and Business programs at



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