What's New at BC Colleges - December 2013

Welcome to the final edition of “What’s New at BC Colleges” for 2013. It has been a busy year for our college system.

In 2013 we continued our focus on building a college system that is well-prepared and positioned to “mind the skills gap” and meet the labour force challenges predicted to impact BC to the tune of one million jobs by 2020.  We are working hard to get ahead of the demand curve and ensure our colleges are able to provide the skilled and educated employees that will be required. This is no small feat as 42 per cent of new job openings will require college or trade certification. Plus, the skills gap impacts all areas of the province. Regional delivery is always a challenge for educators but our colleges are uniquely positioned to meet this regional demand. Our consortium, representing 11 member colleges with more than 60 campuses and learning centres throughout BC, will help capitalize on the predicted growth by educating people close to home and close to where the jobs are. Studies consistently show that people are more likely to remain in a region if they study in the region. This will be vitally important in the coming years as many of the predicted jobs associated with LNG and other industries are located outside of BC’s major centres.

Looking ahead to 2014, we will continue to explore ways to better serve students, employers and the communities we call home. This will involve working collaboratively with our stakeholders, industry, business, the K-12 system and other post-secondary partners. The coming year will bring much change to our province and our college system but I am convinced that through win-win collaborative efforts we can meet the demands of the market and position BC for success in the future.

On that note, I wish you success in your future and all the best for a happy and healthy 2014!

Jim Reed

Read on to learn more about the accolades, projects, collaborations and announcements from our 11 member colleges during the past month. 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.

Northern Lights College Offers Special Intake Of Health Care Assistant Program In January
Northern Lights College Media Release, December 9, 2013
Health Care Assistants are in demand in northeastern B.C. Are you a compassionate individual with a sincere interest in helping others? Are you looking to train for a career that is in high demand in the health services field? Northern Lights College (NLC) is offering a special intake of the Health Care Assistant (HCA) program available to students in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, thanks to a one-time funding contribution from the Ministry of Advanced Education. Read more.

Douglas College Helps Psychology Student Transition To University
Douglas College Media Release, December 9, 2013  
The jump from high school to university can be a big one. Not every student is ready for larger class sizes or a sprawling campus. For Fathima Bahar, heading straight to university after Grade 12 didn’t seem like the right move. Instead, she came to Douglas College. Read more.

DigiTalks North To Be Hosted By CNC
College of New Caledonia Media Release, December 6, 2013
CNC is hosting DigiTalks North on February 1, 2014, a trade show for local technology providers. “The concept is to connect local businesses to local technology providers, and provide an
opportunity for small and medium businesses to attend a variety of workshops on different types of technologies, all for free,” said Zelda Craig, Industry Liaison at the College of New Caledonia. Read more.

Langara Breaks Ground On New $50 Million Facility
Langara College Media Release, December 5, 2013
Langara welcomed provincial and city officials to campus today for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction on the College’s new Science and Technology Building. Representatives from the BC Government, the City of Vancouver, and the Musqueam First Nation joined students, faculty, and staff to mark the occasion. Among them were: Elder Shane Point and Chief Wayne Sparrow, who opened the ceremony with an official blessing of the land; the Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education; MLA for Burnaby North Richard Lee; Langara Board Chair Anne Lippert; Deputy Mayor for the City of Vancouver Tony Tang; and Langara President and CEO Roy Daykin. Read more.

Selkirk Is Pointing High School Students In The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Direction
Selkirk College Media Release, December 4, 2013
The Selkirk College School of Environment & Geomatics offers students exciting learning paths and graduates career opportunities. High school students from around the region had the opportunity to learn more about the program last month during GIS Day. Selkirk College has helped guide some young minds through the tangle of choices they are headed towards. Read more.

Okanagan College First In The Province To Offer Expanded Heavy Mechanical Trades Program
Okanagan College Media Release, December 3, 2013
Okanagan College is the first B.C. College to respond to industry needs by offering a revised Heavy Mechanical Trades program Heavy Duty Shop developed to train students in four separate trades in high demand. “We have been providing training in Heavy Duty Equipment and Commercial Transport Mechanics for five decades,” said Randy Werger, Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “Heavy Duty was one of our first programs and a lot has changed in 50 years. We have constantly adapted the curriculum to meet industry demands. Read more.

North Island College Hosts Minister of Advanced Education
North Island College Media Release, December 2, 2013
The Honourable Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education, accompanied by the Honourable Don McRae, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation and MLA for the Comox Valley, visited North Island College on Monday, December 2nd. “As this was our first occasion to introduce Minister Virk to the college, we took the opportunity to discuss our numerous successes and the progress we have made with respect to many initiatives such as in-community programming, our partnerships with other post-secondary institutions and our local school districts, applied research and international education,” said John Bowman, NIC’s President. Read more.

College Of The Rockies Gains Eligibility For Research Funds
College of the Rockies Media Release, December 2, 2013
College of the Rockies recently met all of the requirements for eligibility for funding research initiatives through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The SSHRC of Canada is a federal research funding agency that promotes and supports post secondary-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Read more.

Camosun DECA Team Wins First aA International Leadership Conference
Camosun College Media Release, November 26, 2013
Camosun’s School of Business DECA members received a first-place International Business and Finance award at DECA’s Collegiate Leadership Academy in New York City on November 14-16, 2013. Read more.

Northwest Community College Offers Health Care Assistant Program
NWCC Media Release, November 25, 2013
Northwest Community College (NWCC) will once again offer its Health Care Assistant (HCA) program in Smithers starting January 2014, in response to a shortage of qualified care workers in the area. Read more.

VCC's Not-So-Hidden Gems
Vancouver Community College Media Release, November 24, 2013
Jewellery teacher and graduate win Mayor's Arts Awards. You might say these ladies are VCC's not-so-hidden gems. Dominique Bréchault, a faculty member in VCC's full-time jewellery art and design program, won a 2013 Mayors Arts Award in the craft and design category. Read more.

BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving over 160,000 students annually with campuses in more than 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.