Tuesday September 02, 2014

EDITORIAL - College's importance grows


The importance of Parkland College to the city of Yorkton continues to grow.

The idea of local post-secondary education opportunities are well known, and have been for years.

While it important in terms of providing local education access for students, which you hope reduces the cost of moving to larger centres, it is also a good thing business wise.

That was reiterated in a recent Yorkton This Week interview with 2014 Yorkton Chamber of Commerce president Don Rae.

Rae said when a business looks to locate in the city, schools, recreational facilities and health care are all critical factors because those are the things staff look for.

When it comes to education Rae said the Parkland College Trades and Technology Centre to be built this year is a big part of the picture.

“I think totally they made the right decision,” he said.

“Number one it’s going to bring a lot of talent into the community,” adding hopefully a lot of the graduates can be retained by local businesses.

In Rae’s vision the importance of bringing students to the city is obvious. If you get students here for their education, they get to know the city, and are more apt to stay locally once educated, especially if businesses here do a good job of recruiting from the college.

So the more courses which are offered locally, the better, since it broadens the potential for both students and areas business.

That is where a recent announcement regarding nurse training is important.

Prospective nursing students in Yorkton will have the opportunity to get their full four-year degree at home starting September of this year.

Delivering the program locally is important in addressing local needs, said Dr. Lois Berry, U of S acting dean of the College of Nursing.

“Learn where you live is about addressing needs in society where they are and, for us in nursing, it’s particularly important because if you bring students into an urban setting and teach them nursing, you’re teaching them about it in the context of that urban setting and so much of what we do is beyond that,” she said.

The training itself will be delivered jointly with classroom instruction by video from the University’s Regina campus and hands-on instruction provided in Sunrise health facilities.

That Sunrise is involved means nursing students will have a good feel for working in the region should they chose to stay here after graduation.

Similarly last week Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced the launch of the Agricultural Operator Program at Parkland College.

“Producers have indicated that they need more skilled labour for their operations and this program directly responds to their needs,” Stewart said in a release. “Farmers can send current or potential employees through the program to develop or help fine tune their skills. Additionally, general labourers without a farm background will have an opportunity to gain the experience needed to get involved in the industry.”

The first three modules will be seeding, spraying and scouting, and harvest to be delivered at Parkland College in Yorkton. Additional modules will be developed for the livestock industry including haying, beef cattle reproduction and calving, and cattle husbandry and handling.

In Yorkton we know the importance of farming with two canola crushing plants, a facility processing flax oil, an oat processing plant, and two farm equipment manufacturers located here.

Having education geared to serving the needs of agricultural producers is clearly good for the city and region.

It’s the same good news for the mining sector in our region following an announcement Friday by the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification (WED).

Mining and manufacturing companies in Saskatchewan will soon be able to hire more Power Engineering graduates thanks to a $950,000 WED investment in a new training laboratory at Parkland College,

With the federal investment, Parkland College will purchase and install equipment to provide technical training in the Power Engineering Lab at the College’s Trades and Technology Centre in Yorkton. Construction on the facility will begin early this spring and will be complete in time for classes beginning in September 2015.

It is support investment like that which will continue to see the importance of the college continue to grow as it provides expanded education options, and possible staff for a growing range of local business and industry.



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