Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, is a day to recognize the diverse range of affordable, accessible and applied education programs that B.C. colleges offer students in every corner of the province.
Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark was joined by post-secondary students and college presidents at the parliament buildings in Victoria to celebrate the second annual BC Colleges Day. The provincial proclamation recognizes the vital role that colleges have in the post-secondary system.
“Our colleges are an important part of our education ecosystem,” said Mark. “Education is a powerful tool that puts people on pathways to opportunity, employment and better lives. I’m proud to help celebrate BC Colleges Day.”
B.C. is home to 11 public colleges, with more than 60 campuses and learning centres throughout the province. With over 250 academic, trades, technology and vocational programs, public colleges serve more than 125,000 students annually, plus thousands more through continuing education.
“B.C. college graduates are highly skilled by the time they complete their credentials because of the depth of experience they get through their program, which includes applied learning, and real-world, hands-on experience,” said John Bowman, BC Colleges chair. “Over 90% of our graduates are employed within six months of graduation.”
B.C. colleges have also responded to demand for flexible delivery options by offering options such as online delivery, video conferencing and hands-on learning through practicums and apprenticeships.
"As a single mom, it was important for me to be able to go to school in my home community," said Jaimie Davis, a Gitxsan/Nisga'a second-year student in Northwest Community College's Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. "Northwest Community College offered me a way to do both. Because I can take care of my family and still get an education, it helps me build my career as an Indigenous woman."
Over the next decade, 917,000 job openings are expected due to a combination of retirement and economic growth. About eight out of 10 jobs will require some post-secondary education or training: 42% will require a diploma, certificate or apprenticeship training, while 36% will require a bachelor, graduate, or first-professional degree and/or significant work experience. Many of those bachelor degrees are started at B.C. colleges, where students can take their first two years of university-transfer credits before moving to a university.
BC Colleges is an association of British Columbia’s public, post-secondary colleges. The role of the organization is to facilitate collaboration between the colleges, so they can more effectively produce a well-educated and highly skilled workforce for British Columbia.