When the Province begins discussions about the future of college-level education, one of the schools in this region will be joining in. Northern College has been asked to sit at the table to share their ideas on a number of different topics. Dr. Fred Gibbons says they are thrilled to be given this opportunity.
“It seems it has taken the pandemic to get the ear of the government,” he said. “They are interested and has initiated discussion in a number of different areas that we have been talking about with them for a number of years.”
Gibbons said one area the government has shown an interest in is expanding the length of programs that colleges can offer.
“It would allow us the ability to offer three year that focus predominantly in applied learning areas which is the backbone of what colleges do in the areas of trade and technology, business and applied sciences in those type of program areas,” he said.
Dr. Gibbons says the companies have been asking colleges for employees that can join the workforce in specific areas rapidly by taking courses in 20 or 30 hours instead of being gone for a year or two. He adds this would benefit areas like the construction industry who have mentioned they may need framing carpenters and not those who are taking full apprenticeship programs.
Northern College has committed to making education as universally accessible as possible, pioneering the distance learning techniques that allowed the institution to quickly transition students into new environments.
“Any change on the horizon is one that we feel we can, not only support, but participate actively in. Given our unique perspective and the long history of challenges that we have overcome being nimble as a smaller institution than most, this is a conversation we feel uniquely equipped to participate in,” stated Gibbons. “We have a long history of providing students with opportunities to expand their learning potential through distance delivery methods as well as engaging academic partnerships with universities that allow for degree earning potential for our students.”