The New Year is a time for both reflection and goal-setting. With our winter 2017 programs officially launching yesterday, I want to take a moment to share BrainStation’s story, and say thanks to you, as a valued member of our Community, for being a part of this journey. In order to understand our progression into 2017 it’s essential to understand where we started.
As 2012 came to a close, BrainStation was simply an idea. Born from our own personal pain points, Duncan, Apoorv and I wanted to create a better way for people with different backgrounds to acquire digital skills despite their busy schedules. We saw a wealth of opportunity stirring for those willing to enhance their skills, and knew that traditional education wasn’t built to produce the digital leaders needed for the dramatically shifting economy.
It felt ambitious, but we set a goal to build an organization that would empower one million people by 2025.
This idea became a reality in 2013 when we launched community workshops and learning opportunities across co-working spaces, high schools and universities in Toronto’s downtown core and across Ontario. This gave us the insight needed to better understand how BrainStation could become an integral part of the ecosystems we aimed to impact positively. We spent a lot of time in the classroom with our Educators and Students and focused a critical eye on how digital skills should be taught. It became evident early on that we had to help break the bad habits that years of traditional lectures and standardized testing had formed. As interest in our approach grew, so did we. We were able to evolve from a portable projector and a white wall to the next phase of our journey.
In 2014, we kicked off our part-time courses and connected our students with relevant digital content from industry professionals at some of the top digital firms in the world. The BrainStation brand was gaining clout, which helped solidify relationships with digital and traditional companies looking to get on board. Our hypothesis that hands-on and project-based learning taught by industry practitioners was validated when we saw exceptional results and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Our students went on to make drastic transitions within their organizations, create completely new occupations or kickoff startups of their own!
2015 brought an explosion of change as we expanded our offerings to Vancouver, New York, and San Jose, Costa Rica. We were now bi-lingual, offering our course content in Spanish. We launched our full-time Web Development and UX Design vocational based programs and helped equip students with skill-sets to land them roles as designers or developers.
With all of that being said, 2016 was by far our best year to date as we:
- Transformed a backpacker hostel into BrainStation’s campus of the future in Toronto
- Developed 500+ hours of new learning content
- Trained organizations such as Telus, AOL, and PayPal
- Became a private school in British Columbia and Ontario
- Empowered 25,000+ people with digital skills
As BrainStation celebrates its 5th year at the end of 2017, I cannot wait to reflect on all of the amazing things that our teams are going to accomplish this year together. Stay tuned as we have a few things up our sleeves.
Here’s to a lot of hard work, big smiles and plenty more empowered through BrainStation.
CEO & Founder, BrainStation