The Government of British Columbia is exploring ways to develop a community solution that improves access to post-secondary education and training for people living in the fast-growing communities of the West Shore and Sooke.
“I’m excited that we’re engaging with community partners to improve access to post-secondary education and training,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “As the first person who ever graduated from high school in my family, and who went on to college and university, I know the power of education. I know how transformative it is and how impactful it can be on our communities.”
The Province is providing $250,000 to Royal Roads University, on behalf of the three public post-secondary institutions on southern Vancouver Island, to manage the development of a report for potential program delivery options in Langford, based on need.
In 2017, the West Shore had an estimated population of about 74,000, while Sooke had a population of about 14,000. For the City of Langford, the annual average population growth rate over the last 10 years was 4.7%, making it one of the fastest growing regions in the province.
“We’ve been looking at ways to advance the delivery of post-secondary education and training to programs in the West Shore for a number of years,” said Stewart Young, mayor of Langford. “It makes a lot of sense to give students pursuing a post-secondary education the opportunity to do that in the community they live in.”
Community partners, including students and parents, School District 62 in Sooke, West Shore municipalities, Royal Roads University, Camosun College, the University of Victoria and First Nations, as well as the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, will be involved in the local planning process.
“Giving our students the ability to transition to post-secondary education or training, while continuing to live in their home community, is a great option,” said Jim Cambridge, Sooke School District 62 superintendent. “Students can stay in a familiar place where they are comfortable, can continue working locally and, potentially, save money by living at home.”
West Shore municipalities include the City of Colwood, the City of Langford, the District of Metchosin, the District of Highlands and the Town of View Royal.