Enrolment ‘healthy’ at Alberni campus

Things are looking up for North Island College’s Port Alberni Campus, says NIC president John Bowman.

Things are looking up for North Island College’s Port Alberni Campus, says NIC president John Bowman.

Bowman visited Port Alberni for the institution’s orientation day in September.

“There was a real buzz, a positive feeling at the campus,” Bowman said.

That warm, fuzzy feeling extended to the end of the month, when enrolment figures were released.

“Things are looking very healthy. Most of the programs are up a bit,” he said.

As of the end of September North Island College had 304 students registered to attend classes compared to 320 last year.

“We see strong enrolment in English, Math and Science numbers are up,” Bowman said. Humanities, social science and health programs are all full. Practical nursing, health care assistant, early childhood care and education and human services all have 20 students enrolled in their respective programs—no change from last year.

“The demand definitely exceeds supply for nursing programs,” Bowman said.

The trades programs “are close to full,” such as the joinery and cabinet making, welding and automotive technician programs.

One area suffering from a lack of students was the professional cook program. The college was able to freeze the program and redirect the money to a kitchen attendant program, and will start an electrical foundation program in February.

“We expect to see strong interest in that,” Bowman said.

The employment transition construction labour program has been “extremely popular,” he said. “That program has been fully enrolled and we’ve had a wait list for it.”

A dozen secondary students are enrolled in the dual credit and Ace-It programs, strengthening NIC’s relationship with Alberni District Secondary School. Six different programs are offered under the accelerated credit enrollment in industry training.

Bowman predicts interest in trades training will increase in the next year. Trades students account for 55 of 304 individuals. There are 80 enrolled in health and human services programs and 117 in university studies.

“There’s lots of room for growth,” he said, adding he would like to see continued course diversification.

The one area the college saw decline in enrollment this year was in adult basic education—something Bowman attributes to the provincial government’s policy change on tuition for that program.