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Colleges promote programs to area high school students

By Randy Thoms Oct 4, 2023 | 4:38 PM

Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting

Recruiters with Ontario’s Colleges are hitting area high schools for prospective students.

They are on a six-week tour, promoting their colleges and programs.

Confederation College Recruiter Erin McRea says it is an opportunity to meet face-to-face with students.

“It’s a really great opportunity for high school kids to still be familiar with where they’re going to go to post-secondary. We offer some great programming out of the Rainy River District campus, like our practical nursing program, but we do also offer a number of programs through distance education. So even if students didn’t want to leave their hometown or their home community, they could still attend programming through Confederation College,” says McRea.

The tour allows students to learn about careers and programs offered, get information about campus life, housing and student services and advice on how to pay for their education.

Georgian College’s Sylvia Lauderbach says the colleges benefit.

“It’s sort of a service of the Ontario college sector, but absolutely. We are recruiters. So we’re here to represent our programs, and we definitely see every year we have individuals that apply for some of our specialized programs from the north,” says Lauderbach.

Georgian College also has a connection to northwestern Ontario.

An agreement with Lakehead University and its Orillia campus allows for degree and diploma programs to be offered in electrical engineering, environmental sciences, applied life sciences and computer studies program.

Colleges from southern Ontario are also represented in the tour.

Fanshaw’s Luke Garnham says it creates added exposure for colleges that may not be on a student’s radar.

“I think it’s a great resource for students to just know that they have those options to come out here and build that presence,” says Garnham.

With the demand for workers at an all-time high, colleges receiving a lot of interest from high school students and others looking for a career change.

A lot of push by the province has been on the skilled trades.

Recruiters say it is generating questions from students about programs that lead to immediate work after graduation.

“I get a lot of questions about nursing. That’s probably one of the bigger ones. A lot of skilled trades I’m hearing about now, which is exciting to hear too, because there are so many jobs there, and it was kind of a neglected area for a little while,” says Garnham.

“We always get lots of inquiries about skilled trades” says Lauderbach.”

Students are also asking about the Ontario Learn and Stay grant, which offers financial help with the provision they work in northern Ontario for a period of time after graduating.

“There are also a lot of other great opportunities like other scholarship opportunities in southern Ontario. Students are looking for those opportunities because when they kind of look at it, school can be a burden when it comes to sort of that financial need aspect and not everyone wants to go through OSAP knowing that they may have some debt coming out of post-secondary,” says McRea.

The college tour will visit 35 schools and speak with thousands of students by the time the tour wraps up in early November.