Lakeland College’s interior design technology program continues to gain recognition as it received another award.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) named Lakeland as the 2019 College of the Year. The award was given to a post-secondary based on the excellence in education category which looked at the highest scores from each university. The college has won the award once before in 2017. 

Instructor Rochelle Horne says their students are the reason for winning the award.

“It’s a huge honour and there are years of hard work from students in previous years that have gotten us to this point.”

Horne says the recognition helps Lakeland’s program stand out from others which in turn helps the students stand out when entering the workforce.

“Industry has become more aware of our program. Members of the NKBA have definitely become more aware of our program specifically. I think it helps give our students a leg up when they’re out looking for jobs.”

The 2-year program is based out of the Vermilion campus and has evolved from the home design program in the 70s. The program was later readapted in 2000 and received the NKBA’s accreditation. Lakeland College was also the first Canadian college to receive that accreditation.

On top of this award, students in the program have received awards every year for the past 16 years. In 2019, Emily Hartley and Shaelynn Brisbourne placed in the top three in their categories and received awards along with scholarships.

Horne says the 16-year streak can put some pressure on the students to live up to a level of expectation. However, with its small size classrooms, instructors and students are able to work together more often.

“We’re really proud of [our students] and hopefully they continue to work hard and don’t feel pressure.”

Horne says the program will continue to evolve and sees the industry becoming more reliant on design software. She says they will ensure students are trained in that software and are prepared to enter the industry.