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Be in Demand

Published: 10/27/2014 by By Serge Buy, CEO of the National Association of Career Colleges

» Parents and Education

Career Colleges Bridges Education and Employment


Canada’s “Skills Gap” – where there are not enough workers with the appropriate skills to fill the jobs available—is very real.  Employment Minister Jason Kenney has called for an “informed national discussion” about the condition of our labour market and suggests that steps need to be taken to address shortfalls. Now, more than ever, career colleges offer students a way to bridge the much talked about Skills Gap.


And there are jobs out there.  The Globe and Mail recently ran a 10-part series of articles on the top-10 jobs expected to be in the highest demand in the next decade in BC. The stats are startling: tens of thousands of workers needed in each of these sectors – in B.C. alone!


Career colleges have been at the forefront of career training.  Since the 1800s, career colleges in Canada have been providing students with quality education to succeed in the job market.The numbers speak for themselves: every year, across Canada, more than 150,000 students choose career colleges to get the training they need.


Partnering with Employers

It’s simple: career colleges train graduates for jobs that are available today and work directly with industries and companies to ensure that graduates have the training and skills needed to get jobs once they graduate.  

For example, many programs at career colleges are designed with industry in mind and even involve partnerships to ensure that the graduates have the skills required to fill job openings in their sector. For example, The Medical Lab Assistant program in partnership with Calgary Lab Services (CLS) offers a full-time program that prepares graduates for work in hospitals, paitent service centers or clinical laboratories.


The Medical Device Reprocessing program (formally called the Sterile Processing Technician program) is a 40-week program in partnership with Alberta Health Services (ALS). This program provides students, with at least 2 years post-secondary training in healthcare or life sciences, with technical skills and employment preparation. Currently AHS hires 96 per cent of graduates from this program.


Newfoundland’s Keyin College is collaborating with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association to develop a new Residential Framing program to fill an opening in this field.

 Saskatoon Business College has recognized a growing need in the Saskatchewan mining industry for companies to have office and administration staff specially trained in the specifics od the industry. As a result, they worked with industry representatives to develop the Mining Industry Business Specialist Program.


Recently, the federal government introduced the Canada Job Grant to help bridge the Skills Gap and help employers get qualified people to fill jobs available.  This employer-driven approach will provide up to $15,000 toward a student’s training costs.


Ensuring Quality Education

All career colleges are regulated by provincial governments and adhere to rigorous standards. Many of the programs are accredited by professional associations (like the Canadian Medical Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada). Colleges, programs and instructors are constantly reviewed and audited to ensure that they abide by regulations and provide students with quality education.


Among the reasons career colleges excel is they are flexible – programs range from condensed shorter programs to courses offered on weekends and evenings, and many schools will work with students to develop learning opportunities that fit their schedules. In addition they tend to offer smaller class sizes and hands-on practical experience.


In the steps between the job we envision as a child – and at various points along the way – and actually taking the steps to find real-life employment, career colleges serve as a platform on which that reality comes about.