Local college checks pulse

The number of families which rely on resource-based income in the Lakes District is 264 per cent higher than the provincial average.

The College of New Caledonia (CNC) Lakes District campus advisory committee met recently and the college presented members with some interesting facts regarding the college’s local impact, the role it plays, and the challenges it faces.

“The questionnaire was an interactive informational tool with a learning focus for advisory committee members,” said CNC’s marketing, recruitment and linkages manager Lynn Synotte. “It informed members of the number and types of programs offered at CNC, the key outcomes of our graduates [and] helped illustrate who and where CNC serves.”

More than 240 students are registered in 11 full-time programs at the local college. From carpentry, and introduction to trades programs, to professional cook programs, the local campus has a focus on providing training that matches regional employer need.

The resource economy and related construction trades are the backbone of life in the

Burns Lake area; the number of families which rely on resource-based income in the Lakes District is 264 per cent higher than the provincial average.

Post-study employment outcomes are good for CNC graduates. Welding and millwrighting programs placed 91 and 86 per cent of graduates respectively. The administrative assistant program placed 90 per cent of graduates. The professional cook program (level one) placed 67 per cent of its graduates, and their mining industry certificate (MINE Certificate Program) placed 60 per cent of its graduates.

“The consensus was that we are delivering the right programs at the right time,” said Synotte. “There was also some concern regarding education funding and addressing the training needs, priorities, and skill demands of the North, [with] the dilemma being the immediate need for fully skilled workers immediately without accounting for the 4 to 6 years it takes one to become red seal certified in a trade.”

A challenge faced by the region concerns the gap between the education and skills levels required by employers and what is actually possessed by job seekers.

As reported by Lakes District News (‘Preliminary regional skills gap data in’, Nov. 6, 2013), a recent skills gap analysis commissioned by the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako showed a high rate of high school drop-outs in the region. The CNC survey confirmed those findings, reporting the Lakes District beats out the rest of the province for the percentage of its adults who have never finished high school.  We have a 133 per cent higher high school incompletion rate than the provincial average.

The college addresses challenges faced by those who might find their career pursuits stymied by lack of education through adult education. Fifteen students graduated with their adult high school graduation certificate – adult Dogwood – last year.

Besides being Burns Lakes’ local post-secondary resource, CNC Lakes District campus contributes to the local economy.

It took 186 full-time and part-time employees last year to run CNC Lakes District campus and its program offerings last year. Wages and benefits for that local workforce totalled $4,112,755. Most employees live within the region.

Statistics for the survey were sourced from CNC research and Statistics Canada.


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