The strength of the regional college system has long been the ability to quickly adapt new programming to meet localized needs.
Large educational institutions such as the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan are simply not able to change the programming as quickly as a local college, and therein lies one of the most important reasons to maintain the regional college system.
We see the adaptability of the system again in the recent announcement from Parkland College regarding a new training course targeted at the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The Enhanced Career Bridging Program aims to connect unemployed individuals to the labour force and obtain employment, notes a College release. This project will provide career training for 16 participants, covering key areas including job readiness, fundamental workplace skills, and credit towards a designated trade with Saskatchewan Tourism Education Council (STEC).
Randy Goulden executive director of Tourism Yorkton said the course is welcome given the importance of tourism to the Saskatchewan economy, generating more than 63,000 jobs provincially, and 1600 locally.
Goulden also noted that, “here in our city we bring in $38.1 million annually from tourism.”
The Yorkton Chamber of Commerce also sees value in the new program.
“The Chamber considers this funding a positive for the College, the students and potential employers,” said Chamber Executive Director Juanita Polegi.
When both the local tourism group and Chamber see value in the training it’s a pretty good indication the program is a good one since they represent the sectors the graduates will be looking to enter.
In a similar vein the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Southeast College on a new initiative which will also see new programming offered to meet an identified need.
The Saskatchewan Chamber has announced a provincial partnership to provide essential management skills training to Chamber members across the province.
The new training partnership with Southeast College will be made available through Chambers of Commerce province wide.
“One of the clearest messages from our Membership has been the need to upskill their people,” noted Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce CEO Steve McLellan in a release announcing the partnership. “Growth is key to business success, and a big part of that is developing and retaining the best people.”
The Business Management Essentials program was developed in partnership with Southeast College and will be delivered in strategic locations across the province. Modules are one-day workshop style classes that focus on skills such as supervisory, workplace bullying/harassment, time management, leadership skills, etc.
It is this type of programming, developed by local colleges to meet needs as they arrive that makes the regional system such a vital ally to business as these two new initiatives show.