Northern Lakes College (NLC) has seen many new developments over the past year.
The college has seen an some additional funding from the province, the creation of some new programs as well as some changes to the delivery method of their educational material. Valerie Tradewell, the senior director, external relations, went through several of these new developments.
Tradewell explains that as the college grows or expands, staff will still have to be able to serve students.
“The board of governors has recognized this need, and has made it a priority over the past several years to lobby for capital funding to enhance NLC campuses,” she says.
In March of 2017 the college got word of funding from the province. Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt announced funding of $21.6 million. This money was to be used to build a new consolidated campus in High Prairie.
Tradewell says that it is important for students to have post-secondary education opportunities in their home communities.
The college plans to collaborate and explore new or innovative ways to deliver efficient services, minimize redundancies and maximize resources. The college also plans to engage the community and stakeholders to make sure that the student needs are met.
“The alignment of these principles provide opportunities to build upon, and grow our collective strengths,” she says.
As for enrollment, the college has seen some changes. The demand for academic upgrading continues to rise as there have been over 1,000 applicants. The academic upgrading courses were made available online this school year. This is a first for the college.
Tradewell explains that this made the programs more accessible. She predicts that there will be an increase in enrollment over the next three to five years.
As for specific programs to highlight, Tradewell points to business programming, health career program, human services careers, as well as continuing education and corporate training.
For business programming, the college will continue to build upon those services. The human resource management diploma is a new development in this field. It will be offered part-time. This could change based on interest.
In health career programs, the practical nurse program enrollments are strong. Tradewell explains this is because of strong labour market demands and high student satisfaction.
The enrollments are up for the primary care paramedic program. The prerequisites have been changed. Prospective students now can apply directly for the program. Later this year in June, students in the program will be the first advanced care paramedics graduates at the college.
In human services careers, the social work diploma program is at full student capacity. Tradewell says this will likely continue as this is a course offered at all Northern Lakes location. It is also offered online and in a blended format. Students will connect face-to-face once a year.
“This will make the social work diploma program accessible to students across Alberta,” she says.
In continuing education, there are new developments that focus on trades, health and business. Customized contract training is growing due to the demand. The trades and resource technology department shows the ability to expand trade pre-employment and trades preparation programs. This has led to its popularity.
The mobile trades labs are able to deliver “tailor made” training aimed at community needs. This offers hands-on trades experience in the student’s home community. This helps match a students skillset with career opportunities.
The college has seen its share of new programs this year. Last march, Northern Lakes was the first college in Canada to offer the introduction to surveying program using NLC LIVE online. This takes the traditional classroom puts it online. Instructors and students interact over the Internet from all over the world in real time.
A new delivery method for the electrician apprenticeship first period program was implemented last fall. This allowed students to attend evening classes and continue to work.
“This new delivery method give apprentices the opportunity to complete the theory portion of the program online while labs, and other required hands-on training are face-to-face,” Tradewell says.
There are two new diploma programs. These are the business administration accounting diploma and the addictions counselling diploma.
This unnamed student participates in Northern Lakes Colleges LIVE Online. This form of studying takes the traditional classroom and puts it online. Students and professors interact online from across the world.
Photo Courtesy of Northern Lakes College
Design concept for the Northern Lakes College High Prairie campus.