What's New at BC Colleges: February 15, 2012

Message from Jim Reed - President, BC Colleges

During the past couple of weeks there has been significant media coverage about the looming skills shortage and the shifting demographics that we are, and will be facing both provincially and federally in Canada. Last week university and college presidents met in Ottawa to discuss what needs to be done to ensure that we have the necessary graduates to continue to power the Canadian economy.

James Knight, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges stated in The Globe and Mail that “To meet these challenges, we’ll have to engage our marginalized communities and find ways to partner with them … like improving the educational achievements of Aboriginals, disabled and poor immigrants.” This is especially true in BC where more than 1 million job openings are forecast for the coming decade, 78% of which will require some form of post-secondary education. There is definitely going to be a shortage and we'll need to work together to ensure that we're not only graduating more students but that our graduates match the shifting labour demands of the provincial economy. This is not an easy task and, as Mr. Knight states, the only way we'll come close to achieving it is by making sure that people who may have been marginalized in the past have an opportunity to receive a post-secondary education. As the most affordable and accessible post-secondary option, colleges can make this happen. If we can get people into the right college program, we know that when they graduate close to 92% of them will transition to employment, many in high paying technical and para-professional jobs. This is what our economy needs.

Steps are being taken now to better match the supply of job-ready graduates with the labour demand in BC. Two Regional Workforce Table Open Houses were recently held at Northwest Community College and Northern Lights College. These sessions brought together government, educators, business, industry, aboriginal leaders, community groups and other stakeholders to collaborate and discuss how best to meet the labour demands regionally in BC. Much of our work during the coming months will be to expand on the findings from the two Workforce Tables and focus our efforts on how education needs to evolve and adapt to meet the labour market challenges facing BC.

Read on to learn more about some key projects, collaborations and announcements that occurred this month at our 11 member colleges. 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

Regional Workforce Table Open House in Dawson Creek
Northern Lights College Media Release, February 10, 2012

Today more than 60 representatives from area organizations, Aboriginal communities, post-secondary institutions, employers, labour and others took part in a Regional Workforce Table open house forum for B.C.’s northeast region. The goal of the event was to provide a labour market snapshot of the opportunities and challenges facing B.C.’s northeast region and to discuss how a regional workforce table could facilitate the alignment of skills training programs with the labour market needs of the region. The significant economic development opportunities both current and emerging in northeast B.C. represent a major opportunity and challenge as new projects come on line and demand for skilled workers continues to increase. Read more.

College students hungry for Gold Medal Plate Competition
Okanagan College Media Release, February 08, 2012

Eighteen students enrolled in Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts program are gearing up for what is expected to be a round-the-clock effort assisting the best chefs in the country when they arrive in Kelowna for the Gold Medal Plate Competition Thursday. “It’s going to be a madhouse, but an entertaining madhouse in an Iron Chef professional sort of way,” said Jon Garratt, a third-year Culinary Arts student and junior president of the Okanagan Chefs Association, who is organizing the students’ role in the event. First year student Nigel Tearle is handling it all with a certain style of confidence only a budding chef could offer up. “They know what they’re doing, I just have to watch them,” he laughed. “And he’s going to get run over,” said Garratt, who watched the Gold Medal Plate competition unfold when it was held for the first time in Kelowna last year. “The truth is you really can’t prepare for anything like this, because there is nothing like this.” Read more.

VCC kitchen design student wins $5,000 scholarship
Vancouver Community College Media Release, February 6, 2012

Clearly, Alicia Meeker knows all the right ingredients for creating the perfect kitchen. And it's a recipe for success in the field of interior design. Meeker, a Vancouver Community College kitchen and bath design student, won first place in an international design competition put on by the National Kitchen & Bath Association and General Electric (GE). Read more.

Langara Expands Opportunities for International Education
Langara College Media Release, February 3, 2012

This year, Langara expanded its international initiatives and welcomed over 1,200 international students to Vancouver from over 30 countries. The development of international education is a key priority at Langara, and over the next few years the College will be working to develop more opportunities for overseas students to study at Langara. The College forged four new partnerships with institutions on three different continents expanding the College’s already robust international roster of educational opportunities.The Memorandums of Understanding with INSCOL Academy and the Royal Institute of Nursing in India offer international students the opportunity to come to Vancouver to learn and experience Canada.  The College’s partnership with Griffith University in Australia and the University of Sussex in England offers all Langara students an opportunity to gain international experience. Read more.

Camosun International intakes swing up for 2012 Winter semester
Camosun College Media Release, February 2, 2012

Enrolment for new international students is up nearly two-fold over January 2011 and is the largest new intake for a January start, reports Camosun International director Geoff Wilmshurst. Including these 87 new enrolments, 462 international students from 51 countries chose to come to Camosun for their Canadian post-secondary studies for the 2011/12 academic year. Read more.

New milestone for College of the Rockies
College of the Rockies Media Release, February 1, 2012

On January 20 the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer granted College of the Rockies designation as a 'receiving' institution in addition to its former designation as a 'sending' institution. What this means is that COTR is able to expand its transfer pathways for students to and from the college.When the BC Transfer system was set up in the late 1960s, it was built on a traditional model in which students would complete two years at a college and then transfer to a research university to complete a four-year degree. In BC, close to 5,000 students per year follow this transfer route and COTR, through the work of its Articulation Officer, Karen Langan, has worked hard to facilitate the seamless transfer of students from COTR to other institutions through course and block transfer agreements. Read more.

UVic Just Got A lot Closer: NIC and UVIC announce Guaranteed Admission Agreement
North Island College Media Release, January 30, 2012

New and continuing North Island College students now have guaranteed admission and course transfer to many programs at the University of Victoria.   Building on the dual admission agreement signed last year, North Island College and the University of Victoria recently expanded their partnership with the signing of the NIC-UVic Guaranteed Admission Agreement for NIC Transfer Students. This guaranteed admission agreement  is a great choice for anyone interested in completing a UVic degree. Read more.

CNC board approves practical nursing diploma program
College of New Caledonia Media Release, January 27, 2012

CNC’s Board of Governor’s approved changes to the College’s practical nursing program Friday, which will see it become a diploma program next September. The changes mean the practical nursing program will increase to almost two years in length, from the current one year. “This is due to expanding scope of practice and entry level competencies as established by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of B.C. and the requirements in the Canadian Practical Nurse Registration Exam,” said Jacquie Scobie, CNC’s practical nurse program lead and faculty member. “The only admission requirement that has changed is that students, in addition to having their high school diplomas, must complete Biology 130 prior to enrolling in the program.” Read more.

Short-term programs offer employment-ready skills at NWCC
Northwest Community College Media Release, January 26, 2012

Northwest Community College’s (NWCC) Workforce Training & Continuing Studies (WTCS) department is offering several short-term training options in various Northwest communities designed to prepare students for work in a number of in-demand fields.These programs meet the training needs of Northwest BC communities, assist unemployed individuals gain employment in industry, and ensure opportunities for a well-trained local workforce for the major projects on the horizon in the Northwest. These programs begin in January and February and are being offered at NWCC campuses and, in some cases, delivered in First Nations communities. Read more.

Selkirk College Bringing Certificate Program for Community Economic Development
Selkirk College Media Release, January 24, 2012

Selkirk College is pleased to partner with SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development and the Upper Columbia Co-operative Association. This partnership will bring the highly regarded Certificate Program for Community Economic Development (CED) program to the Kootenays, starting July 2012.The SFU Certificate Program for CED accepts only 20 participants each year and has broad appeal to both economic development officers and community organizers. The program is comprised of eight, two-day courses and can be completed in 12 months. Courses will be offered in the Nelson and Castlegar campuses of Selkirk College. Read more.

Lieutenant governor opens Aboriginal Gathering Place at Douglas
Douglas College Media Release, January 19, 2012

A dedicated gathering space for Aboriginal students that showcases First Nations culture will be officially opened by Steven Point, lieutenant governor of B.C., at Douglas College's New Westminster campus today. The event will also include remarks by Chief Rhonda Larrabee of the QayQayt Nation. A 175-square metre extension built on the fourth floor of the campus's south building, the Aboriginal Gathering Place is a multipurpose facility used as a classroom, study space, student lounge and venue for traditional ceremonies. An adjoining smaller room is used for meetings, potlucks and as a staging area for Aboriginal dancers. "New Westminster has long been a gathering place for Aboriginal peoples who lived along the Fraser," says Scott McAlpine, president of Douglas. "We are excited to now have a place where First Nations students and members of the local community can come together." Read more.


BC Colleges is a consortium representing BC’s 11 public, community colleges serving more than 200,000 students annually with campuses in close to 70 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 .