NIC trades training in demand, more options in development

North Island College smoothes out some issues that were clogging up the system

So, how are things at North Island College (NIC) these days?

With the push by the government(s) to get more people into trades and heavy-industry-based careers due to shortages of trained workers in many fields, you may expect the local training facility to be bustling with activity.

You’d be right.

“Things are certainly busy,” said Patricia Rokosh, Dean of Trades. “In a lot of areas, our disciplines are 100 per cent full.”

NIC, according to Rokosh, recently reviewed their programs and offerings and were given the opportunity to smooth out some issues that were clogging up the system.

“We recently got additional funding from (the Ministry of Advanced Education), to put towards addressing wait lists in high-demand areas,” she said, and therefore had the opportunity to add sections and offerings to relieve some of those wait list pressures.

“What we’re doing is looking at the demand coming in, seeing where we have capacity where we know the demand is – where we know that students will be able to get jobs,” by talking to industry and doing their research, she said, and then looking at how they can go about getting the funds to open up further spaces to be able to train the people to fill those roles.

It’s a matter of being able to show the demand to their funding partners she said, both in terms of “industry need” and “interest in training” – such as long wait lists for courses or programs in order to get the funding to add course sections.

“My understanding is that we can have another round of those discussions in the next month or so,” she said, so they will hopefully be adding even more capacity for an upcoming entrance term.

“We’re also, through our Continuing Education Department, looking at shorter-term certificate kinds of programming,” she said, to help relieve some more of those pressures, and get people into some sort of training that will be of benefit to them, even if it’s not a full program.

“These would be things like First Aid, Marine Operator, Drywall Training, Painter/Decorator Training, or Construction Craftworker Training, for example,” she said. These are short programs that will give students some extra skills to help get them into the workforce quickly, and, in some cases, may also cut back on the amount of training needed to complete a full program if they choose to enter one somewhere down the road.

Theoretically, getting one of these certifications to get into a job more quickly, would also then allow the student to get into a situation where their employer would indenture them and put them through school.

That’s Rokoch’s hope, anyway.

“Hopefully people will be able to impress their employer and show them that they’re bright, and they’re willing, and they’ve shown that they’re willing to invest in that company, and the employer will turn around and be willing to invest in them in return.”

For more information about NIC’s programs and offerings, check out nic.bc.ca and watch future editions of the Mirror for upcoming features about what’s happening at the college.