In less than a year, Douglas College will become the first public educational institution in the province to offer a program that specializes in sales training.
In September, Douglas College's Coquitlam and New Westminster campuses will welcome the first batch of students to the Peter Legge International Institute for Sales Excellence.
Developed by the Douglas College marketing department, the institute will offer a wide range of full-and part-time educational programs, industry services and events and activities such as customized hands-on industry training, research, seminars, conferences and sales aptitude testing open to students and the public.
Gail Tibbo, chair of the marketing department at Douglas College, said the demand for a sales-specific institute comes in response to an increasingly complex industry that is in need of well-trained employees.
"We want to raise the professionalism of sales," said Tibbo. "[The industry] is becoming more complex - it's not only closing a sale, it's about creating a relationship and understanding the customer.
"It's an area that, because there are so many people in it, there needs to be more training."
In the future, Tibbo hopes the institute will transform Douglas College into a destination school for professional sales knowledge and training.
Tibbo said prominent businessman, community leader and long-time Coquitlam resident Peter Legge was the obvious choice to name the institute after.
"We decided that if we wanted to become a known force in sales - we had to name it after someone who could bring recognition and credibility to the institute," she added.
Legge, who also has a library named after him, said he is honoured by the new title.
"I was raised in New Westminster and I live in Coquitlam, and there are two campuses, so to have anything by Douglas College named after me is a double honour because it's the two communities that I was raised or now live in," he said.