Four hundred new places will be created at Lakeland, Keyano and Portage Colleges.
Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides says the work healthcare
professionals do, especially in rural parts of Alberta is essential, and he’s thrilled to see a strengthened partnership between the province, and post-secondary institutions.
“Through this investment, we are supporting over 400 new and enthusiastic students as they pursue fulfilling careers in health care, animal health and more, to the benefit of their communities.”
The funds are being invested in seven programs covering health care aide training, practical nursing and animal health technology over three years.
The breakdown shows:
• Lakeland College: $990,000
• Keyano College: $1.3 million
• Portage College: $1.7 million
Lakeland College President and CEO Alice Wainwright-Stewart says the need for more seats was evident this past year, with 255 applicants vying for just 96 program spots in the animal health technology program alone.
“Adding these extra seats with the financial backing to go with it is going to really help us. We are very grateful for this money. It will make a big difference in student access and it will also help us as we try to navigate our way to provide access for more students.”
Wainwright-Stewart says this funding will also allow more graduates to enter the health sector given the shortage of health care aides and registered veterinary technologists in Alberta.
“For the health care aides, we are looking at 111 new students coming into our program over the next three years. What we are going to do is because we serve a fairly big region, we are going to look at where the need is.”
Wainwright-Stewart says they have a cohort in Lloydminster and they are looking at Wainwright and other areas to have greater student access to the program. She adds as they can produce more graduates this will go to alleviate the shortage.
Garth Rowswell, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright credits the role of Lakeland College in supporting student development.
“The faculty at Lakeland College have played an integral role in not only building up their community, but also enriching Alberta’s younger generations as they prepare to enter the workforce. It is essential we support leaders in education as they meet the needs of students, and this means providing educators with the tools they need to reach as many students as possible. This funding will help Lakeland College expand their operations, and enable them to continue to do what they do best.”
The Alberta at Work initiative since inception in April has created nearly 10,000 seats without maxing the startup budget of $171 million, according to officials.