What's New at BC Colleges: October 18, 2012

Message from  - Jim Reed, President BC Colleges
This morning I shared the BC Colleges’ budget proposal with the Select Standing Committee (SSC) on Finance. The SSC is appointed by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and is tasked with obtaining public input on the Provincial budget. Many of BC Colleges’ 11 member institutions presented to the SSC during a series of province-wide public consultations held during the past two months. This provided the Committee with an understanding of the regional challenges and opportunities facing BC’s colleges and allowed me to focus on the system-wide issues facing colleges and on how colleges as a whole can contribute to the health, well-being and economic prosperity of British Columbia.

The specifics of the presentation can be found in this Full SSC Report and in this SSC Summary Report.

My submission centered around the fact that the college system requires a multi-year, sustained approach to budgeting in order for it to help meet BC’s labour market demand for a skilled and educated workforce. Long term, stable funding will ensure our colleges can plan and develop programs, build capacity, plan staffing and meet the emerging needs of our students, communities and employers. Colleges have been running lean operations for some time now and are under-resourced for the job they are expected to perform.  A multi-year funding commitment needs to be made now to ensure our college system can meet the needs of the future.

Colleges not only provide graduates that are highly skilled and job-ready, but a college education is the most accessible and affordable pathway to post-secondary education in BC. A large number of our graduates are critically needed to fill the close to 1 million job openings predicted by 2020. BC Colleges shares the post-secondary sectors’ commitment to the principles of increased access to affordable, quality education and training for students in every region of British Columbia. We continue to look for innovative ways to partner and collaborate with communities, businesses, industry, the K-12 system and other post-secondary institutions to address the significant human capital challenges that face the province.

There is a direct link between BC’s ability to produce the necessary skilled and productive workers and its ability to increase the provincial GDP at a rate that sustains or enhances our social programs and prosperity.

With the adoption of a new multi-year investment in education and advanced training, I am confident that BC Colleges can help British Columbia develop a skilled and educated workforce, build strong and vibrant communities, enhance BC’s competitive advantage and ultimately, help BC remain nationally and globally competitive.

I realize these are not easy fiscal times.  However, I believe that a skilled and educated workforce is the 21st century’s most critical resource. Investing now in post-secondary education is essential to BC’s social and economic growth and prosperity.

Jim Reed
President, BC Colleges

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.

Northwest Community College celebrates graduates and renews School of Exploration and Mining agreement with Smithers Exploration Group
Northwest Community College Media Release, October 17, 2012

The School of Exploration and Mining at Northwest Community College (NWCC) today renewed an agreement with founding partner Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) and is celebrating a fresh class of 35 graduates from the school’s Workforce Exploration Skills Training (WEST) program, and the B.C. Aboriginal Mine Training Association’s Environmental Monitoring Program which prepare students for jobs in the minerals industry.  “This agreement marks more than a decade of collaboration with industry in Smithers,” said NWCC president Denise Henning. “The goal is to build on the valuable relationships we’ve developed over the years that have benefited our communities and the industry in Northwest B.C. We are so very proud of the more than 900 graduates from the School of Exploration and Mining and look forward to continuing our role in helping them advance in any career path they choose.” Read more.

Waitlist Over for Langara Nursing Students
Langara College Media Release, October 16, 2012

Students applying for Langara’s popular Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN) will be pleased to learn that the program’s waitlist has been eliminated for the 2013 intakes. The previously long waitlist has been cleared and will not exist in the future, thanks to a new curriculum initiative and a revision of program pre-requisites. Students are now welcome to apply to start in January or September 2013. “It is very exciting for me to see our School of Nursing once again taking applications for our baccalaureate program,” said Margaret Heldman, the Dean of Langara’s Faculty of Science. “I expect students entering our renewed program will enjoy learning a curriculum carefully designed to prepare them for successful entry to practice.” Read more.

CNC receives $288,000 for Light Warehouse Training program
College of New Caledonia Media Release, October 15, 2012

Minister Pat Bell and Minister Shirley Bond were at the College of New Caledonia today to highlight funding to date for the Employment Skills Access (ESA) initiative. Under this funding training will be provided for 56 people to attend the College of New Caledonia’s Light Warehouse Training program. The 18-week Light Warehouse Training course will provide participants with a detailed understanding of the various duties of a warehouse person. Training in shipping and receiving will give graduates certification in five areas: forklift operating, occupational first aid - level one, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), occupational health and safety and transportation of dangerous goods. Read more.

NLC celebrates completion of Simulated Well Site Facility/Drilling Rig
Northern Lights College Media Release, October 12, 2012

Almost a decade of collaboration involving approximately 50 industry partners, government agencies, and Northern Lights College (NLC) has resulted in an unparalleled training facility for current and prospective workers in the oil and gas industry. The Simulated Well Site Training Facility is the only one of its kind in British Columbia, and it is a key element of the Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre/ Oil and Gas Centre of Excellence at NLC’s Fort St. John Campus. Read more.

Silver is savoury for VCC's Olympic culinary team
Vancouver Community College Media Release, October 11, 2012 

Junior Culinary Team Canada earned two silver medals at the 2012 IKA Culinary Olympics held in Erfurt, Germany Oct. 5-10. The team is made up of Vancouver Community College (VCC) student chefs -- all under the age of 25 -- and their chef instructors. Going head-to-head against 28 teams from all over the world, the team won silver in both the cold plate and hot plate categories. "It was the experience of a lifetime for all of us," said JC Felicella, team manager and department head for VCC’s culinary arts programs.  Read more.

Camosun celebrates new Medical Radiography program and facilities
Camosun College Media Release, October 9, 2012

Camosun's School of Health and Human Services celebrates the official opening of its new Island Medical Radiography Technology (MRT) program and facilities at the Lansdowne campus, October 9. The 24-month program started in September 2012 with a class of 16 full-time students, most of them from Victoria and up-island. It is the only Medical Radiography program on Vancouver Island. The new curriculum was developed in collaboration with BCIT and the College of New Caledonia in Prince George. "This is very exciting for Island students and for Camosun College," says Dr. Barbara Herringer, Dean of the School of Health & Human Services. Read more.

Energizing the Kootenays: Workshops on Clean Energy Innovations
Selkirk College Media Release, October 5, 2012

Selkirk College is pleased to be hosting “Energizing the Kootenays: Workshops on Clean Energy Innovations with Mark Jacobson, Bill McKibben and Guests” on October 26 & 27, 2012. Environmental engineer, Dr. Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, will provide the keynote address, discussing his acclaimed 2009 Scientific American cover article which proclaims it is possible for the entire planet to switch to renewable energy in a spectrum of 30 years, with greater energy reliability and a much smaller environmental footprint. Read more.

Federal Social Science and Humanities Research Council Deems NIC Eligible for Funding
North Island College Media Release, October 4, 2012

Jan Carrie, Vice President Education at North Island College, was recently notified that North Island College has met all the Tri-Council eligibility requirements for potential research grant funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). SSHRC is the federal agency that promotes and supports research and training in the humanities and social sciences. The designation of North Island College as a SSHRC-eligible institution means its researchers are now able to apply for a broader range of the grants, scholarships, and fellowships distributed annually by the Tri-Council. Read more.

College of the Rockies Offers Older Worker Program
College of the Rockies Media Release, October 4, 2012

College of the Rockies’ Kimberley Campus, along with the Invermere and Fernie Campuses, will be offering training to older workers thanks to a funding of $840,000 provided by the governments of BC and Canada through the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers. The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers Program will provide training for individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 who are currently unemployed and looking to return to the workforce. Read more.

Building on trades training at Okanagan College
Government of British Columbia Media Release, September 26, 2012

The B.C. government is providing $28 million under B.C.'s Skills and Training Plan to expand and renovate trades training facilities at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College, ensuring future welders, heavy-duty mechanics, electricians, plumbers and other skilled workers will get the training they need. The existing shops and classrooms will be fully renovated and retrofitted to modernize and better utilize the space. A two-storey addition will more than double the size of the complex, providing needed student space and innovative classrooms for trades and technology programs specifically focused on skills development, training and upgrading. The project responds to a growing demand for trades-related training. Read more.

BC Hydro Investing $1-million in NLC Foundation
Northern Lights Media Release, September 21, 2012

BC Hydro is providing the funding to the Northern Lights College Foundation over a five-year period to support the development of skilled workers in the north, targeting those students who may not otherwise have access to post-secondary education. The Northern Lights College Foundation will use the $1-million in funding to provide student bursaries, focusing on recruitment and retention of students. Fifty per cent of the funding for bursaries will be dedicated to Aboriginal students. Applications will start being accepted in early 2013, with bursaries being awarded for the fall 2013 school year. Read more.

Workplace Training Program Helps Retail, Tourism Staff
Douglas College

A provincially funded program will upgrade the industry and job-specific skills of 1,200 eligible participants working in tourism and retail sectors in British Columbia. As part of the BC Jobs Plan, government has invested over $4.2 million in the Workplace Training Program which provides training and development opportunities to individuals employed in the retail and tourism sectors. The program is delivered by a group of post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. Douglas College developed the curriculum, in consultation with the affiliated institutions and current employers and employees. The essential skills training program is designed to upgrade the industry or job-specific skills of employees in these sectors. 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 .