What's New at BC Colleges April 3, 2013

What's New at BC Colleges April 3, 2013

It's been a busy start to the year for BC's 11 public colleges. The first quarter of 2013 saw new programs launch, new facilities open, partnerships with other post-secondary institutions finalized and relationships with communities, businesses and industry forged. Many of these activities are designed to ensure BC has the job-ready graduates to mitigate the pending skills gap and power our provincial economy.

Speaking of the skills gap, don't miss the “info-graphic” video called “Mind the Skills Gap”  on the updated BC Colleges' website. This video explains how the combination of an aging workforce and a growing knowledge based economy will result in labour shortages unless we prepare our workforce appropriately. This is where our colleges can play a vital role by ensuring supply meets demand so we don't end up in a situation where we have people without jobs and jobs without people.

In addition to the new "info-graphic" video we've also added a "Quick Facts" section to the website to provide an overview of the important role colleges play in terms of preparing a highly skilled workforce, building strong communities, enhancing BC's competitive advantage and providing an excellent return on investment.

Later this month the Provincial election campaign will be underway. This provides an opportunity for the college community to dialogue with other British Columbians on the Province’s priorities and explain how a college education is critical to the future economic and social health of communities throughout BC. I encourage you to visit our website for further details on BC Colleges’ perspective on the opportunities that new investment in college education and advanced training will generate for British Columbia.

Below are links to some of the top news articles from this month. Read on to learn more about the projects, collaborations and announcements from our 11 member colleges during March. For a full list of this month's news,  please check out  "In the News" on the BC Colleges website. As always, I welcome your feedback, you can reach me by e-mail.

Jim Reed, President BC Colleges

CTC’s First Dental Assisting Students Fit Right In At College of New Caledonia
College of New Caledonia Media Release, April 2, 2013
CNC’s Career Technical Centre can now include dental assisting to its programs of choice for high school students. Melissa Goulding and Caitlin McCreadie, both 17, completed their Grade 12 entrance requirements a year earlier in Grade 11 at Kelly Road secondary. That allowed them to enroll in the one-year dental assisting program at CNC in September, 2012. In June, they’ll graduate with their college certificates, a year ahead of their Grade 12 peers. Read more.

Become a Professional Pilot with Douglas College
Douglas College Media Release, March 25, 2013
Want to fly the friendly skies – in the cockpit? If you have a passion for aviation and want to fly for a commercial airline, Douglas College’s new Associate of Arts Degree for Future Professional Pilots is for you. A partnership between Douglas and Professional Flight Centre, in Delta, this degree will give you the academic background and flying and ground instruction you need to enter a career in aviation. Read more.

Camosun’s New Trades Facility Helps Meet Future Skills Gap
Camosun College Media Release, March 25, 2013
Ship builders, mechanics, sustainable construction workers –Camosun College of Victoria will train close to 2,750 skilled trades and technical workers every year, thanks to new investment from the Province of BC, Western Economic Diversification Canada and local industry partners. Read more.

NIC Hosts National Transfer Summit
North Island College Media Release, March 25, 2013
North Island College is leading the way in its approach to ensuring military personnel and their families have seamless educational pathways, and last week, NIC shared its successes with others from across the country. Read more.

Okanagan College Provides Desirable Technology Training to BC First Nations
Okanagan College Media Release, March 22, 2013
A high-tech certificate program designed particularly for First Nations students interested in the field of Geographic Information Systems has drawn interest from students across the province. The 20-week (500 hour) GIS Certificate program was developed in conjunction with the First Nations Technology Council’s Project Raven, and is funded in part by Human Resources Skills Development Canada. Read more.

VCC, BCIT, SFU Sign Unique Collaboration Agreement
Vancouver Community College Media Release, March 17, 2013
On Wednesday, March 13, Vancouver Community College (VCC), Simon Fraser University (SFU) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) signed a trilateral agreement designed to better enable and encourage student mobility between institutions. With a common interest in student success, VCC, SFU and BCIT are opening doors to share expertise, remove barriers that might exist from one school to the next and explore new methods of program development, which could result in more laddering opportunities for students or joint program delivery. Read more.

Harper Government Strengthens Training for Mining Sector in British Columbia
College of the Rockies Media Release, March 9, 2013
Training for jobs in the mining sector will be easier, thanks to federal funding announced today by the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "Our Government’s top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Yelich. “This investment will help to increase the number of skilled Canadian workers available to western Canada’s booming mining sector.” Federal funding of more than $1.7 million will allow the College of the Rockies to acquire haul-truck training simulators which will train entry-level workers in the mining sector. Read more. 

Selkirk College RDI Announces The Selkirk-SME Adoption of Digital Technologies (ADT) Pilot Project
Selkirk College Media Release, March 8, 2013
Selkirk College has announced that its application for funding to support the Adoption of Digital Technology (ADT) by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Columbia Basin and Boundary region has been approved. The college will receive up to $306,644 in funding through the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP) to support ADT activities from January 2013 to February 2014.  Delivered by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, DTAPP is a component of the Government of Canada’s overall strategy to boost the productivity of SMEs and improve Canada’s digital economy. Read more.

Skills Canada BC Connects Industry, Students Through Trades Competitions
Northwest Community College Media Release, March 5, 2013
Northwest Community College’s Terrace Campus recently hosted the Skills Canada BC regional competition, exposing students and spectators to the finest in skilled trades talent the region has to offer. “This is a big event for us in Terrace,” says NWCC Trades Chair Brian Badge, “We get to expose our students to trades and see their creative thinking. But more importantly for our region, young people are exposed to the trades in a fun and engaging way.” Read more.

Langara Welcomes Hundreds of Students for Annual Vancouver District Science Fair
Langara College Media Release, March 4, 2013
Langara hosted over 200 students at the 2013 Vancouver District Science Fair on Friday ­– one of the largest science fairs in Canada. Students from grades seven to 12, representing over 15 schools from the Lower Mainland, showcased more than 130 projects at Langara’s Main Campus. The mission of the fair, organized by Vancouver School Board, is to serve as a connecting point between science industry professionals, science fair alumni, mentors, educators, and students. Read more.

Smaller Post-secondary Campuses Get More Bandwidth
Northern Lights Media Release, March 1, 2013
Students, faculty and staff at six regional public post-secondary campus locations in B.C. will enjoy faster, higher quality, more reliable online services thanks to network connectivity upgrades to increase bandwidth to their institutions. The upgrades will increase bandwidth from 2.5 to 10 times current levels and will benefit campuses in Golden and Invermere operated by College of the Rockies, and campuses in Hudson’s Hope, Tumbler Ridge, Chetwynd and Dease Lake operated by Northern Lights College. The increased bandwidth supports educational technologies required by today’s learners, allowing institutions to expand their programming and instruction options to better serve the needs of students. For example, some campuses will gain a greater capacity to provide remote learning opportunities, allowing students to stay closer to home while they get the education, skills and training they need to succeed. Read more.

BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving almost 200,000 students annually with campuses in over 60 communities throughout British Columbia. BC’s colleges offer a comprehensive range of programs from university studies and baccalaureate degrees to career, technical and trades education. All of BC’s colleges offer programs that are designed to be accessible, affordable and responsive to the evolving needs of BC communities and industry. For more information, visit our website.