Grad profile

Ryan Kennett

“Taking these courses has given me insight into components of the job that some others might not necessarily have."

After 15 years in the driver's seat, Ryan Kennett decided it was time for a change. With help from BC Transit, he completed the Next-Generation Transportation Certificate and made a successful transition to the position of transit scheduler.

What were you doing before you started the Next-Generation Transportation program?

I was a transit operator for BC Transit, working as a bus driver. Transportation has always been in my blood, so I knew at some point I would probably start looking for a directional career change. After I talked with one of our HR reps and my boss, we all realized I needed some further education to solidify moving out of operations and into the office, and that’s where the Next-Generation Transportation program came in.

How is “transportation in your blood”?

Well, put it this way, my parents remind me constantly that my first word was bus. I think I’ve always been fascinated with the transportation industry—now more than ever because of how integrated it is with everything in an urban setting. When I travel, I’m always interested in how transportation is handled in other cities and one of the first things I do is obtain a copy of the regional transit map. It may sound weird, but it’s just how my brain functions. I love finding out what’s going on with their systems and how they work into the daily lives of everyone.

What did you enjoy most about the Next-Generation Transportation program?

Very early on in the program it was obvious there are a lot of people out there who are passionate about trying to make transportation better. I’m not just talking about public transportation, but the full integration between walking, cycling and transit. It’s really interesting seeing the different perspectives from the entire world. We had instructors from New Zealand and classmates from all over, there was a worldwide outlook and we were able to see that the challenges we face here are also experienced in other places. Seeing the broader picture and that there are a lot of other passionate people trying their hardest to do better was really beneficial.

Photo by Greg Ehlers.

Was it challenging to balance work and school?

I had no idea what to fully expect out of the program. Once I got into it, I realized that it wasn’t as time consuming as I thought it would be. I’d say it was the perfect amount of learning, while you still maintain a full-time career and social life. It had been years since I was in any sort of educational arena, but I was really happy with how the program was laid out. It was really well done.

Do you use any of the skills you learned in the Next-Generation Transportation program in your day-to-day work?

Taking these courses has given me insight into components of the job that some others might not necessarily have. I think it’s also given me the ability to think more like a planner and I think that complements their work more than it conflicts with it. I may be a scheduler, but I understand the theory of the direction we’re going and I understand how we need to work together for ultimate success.

Who would you say the Next-Generation Transportation program is for?

Anybody who is in the public transportation industry would benefit from this program. Whether you’re a planner, manager, safety and training officer, a cycling advocate, or even a transit operator who is just interested in understanding why decisions are made the way they are. If there’s any sort of extra interest in those things then you’ll benefit from this program because you are exposed to ideologies you might not have thought of on a daily basis otherwise. I would recommend it to anybody who is interested in a little bit of extra education as it will surely go a long way.

“Taking these courses has given me insight into components of the job that some others might not necessarily have."