This post was co-authored with our partners at Career Colleges Ontario.
Regulated career colleges across the country have a track record of success in producing quality graduates that go on to enter the workforce at extremely high rates. In an era of economic recovery, this is very welcome news and is greeted with enthusiasm by thousands of new learners enrolling in programs every day. With a government branch dedicated specifically to assuring the quality of each program offered by each institution, and third-party subject matter experts reviewing their content, it is no surprise that career colleges are a top choice of vocational training providers among lifelong learners. Here’s why our member institutions are trusted by so many students in pursuit of success in the job market:
- Teaching Excellence.
Teaching Excellence is one of the many reasons regulated Career Colleges attract so many students across Canada. Instructors employed by Career Colleges must have a specified amount of work experience in their field of instruction, paving the way for each student to learn from qualified & experienced individuals in their field of interest.
- Program Quality.
Our history and outcomes demonstrate a track record of high-quality program delivery. Each program delivered at a regulated career college is reviewed by third-party subject matter experts and subject to government approval before it is taught. This tried and trusted process ensures our graduates have the skills they need to hit the ground running upon entering the workforce.
When applicable, our colleges also have their programs accredited by third parties, adding another layer of quality assurance and workforce relevance to their training delivery. Some of our members’ programs have been accredited by the Law Society of Ontario and the Canadian Dental Association, among others.
- Our colleges are innovative.
Technology has revolutionized various aspects of our lives, and education is no exception. Our colleges are embracing digital tools and online platforms to enhance learning experiences. E-learning platforms, virtual classrooms, and collaborative online tools are breaking down geographical barriers, enabling students to access courses from anywhere. Moreover, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality are being integrated into curricula, providing immersive and interactive learning experiences that were previously unimaginable.
For example, NACC and CCO Member IBT College was given the Minister’s Award of Excellence for their exceptional efforts to create solutions to the healthcare worker shortages during the pandemic using innovative AR and VR technology-based training.
- Our colleges are results-driven and focused on lifelong learner success.
The results speak for themselves: According to the most recently released KPIs, our graduates get employed at a rate of 81.2% and their employers’ satisfaction rate sits at 91.8%. The concept of education as a one-time event is rapidly evolving. Lifelong learning is synonymous with Canada’s regulated career colleges and lifelong learning is essential as individuals seek to adapt to evolving industries and job market requirements. Our institutions are not only focused on quality program delivery – they ensure that graduates are job-ready and support them on their journey to workforce entry.
- Our institutions are supportive.
We recognize that success is built both inside and outside of the classroom. This is why, unanimously as a sector, regulated career colleges in Ontario have come together to instate a formal Standards of Practice that echoes their commitment to placing their students’ learning experience above all else.
- Our colleges are integral to Canada’s entire post secondary education system.
Our sector understands that we have a unique role to play in Canada’s education landscape, and we often partner with public colleges and universities, employers, and other organizations to deliver quality training and services to learners, empowering them to get into the workforce faster.
Take Ontario’s Public College-Private Partnerships for example, which allow publicly-funded colleges to lessen their reliance on taxpayer dollars through innovative partnerships with regulated, private colleges for the delivery of vocational programs. Our sector has proven to be strong partners with public institutions, helping to enhance the province’s reputation as a prime destination for postsecondary education.
For example, in June 2023, the first cohort of the Algonquin College/CDI College International Business Management program crossed the graduation stage and embarked on their new careers. This partnership allowed these students to study in their local communities, while enjoying the combined benefits of quality instruction and student support services from both institutions.
- Regulated Career Colleges are agile.
Our colleges understand that Canada’s workforce needs are always changing, and so we rapidly build and adapt quality programs to fill economic demands as they happen, all while training students for meaningful careers.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our sector mobilized to quickly and efficiently train thousands of Personal Support Workers to support our province’s healthcare system. This effort required massive adjustments within colleges to accommodate online delivery of theory and safe hands-on instruction of practical skills. Graduates bravely stepped up to help care for Ontarians during the pandemic in home care settings, long-term care homes, and hospitals.
Post-pandemic, employers are looking for people to fill transportation, logistics, cybersecurity, hospitality, and early childcare educator roles, and our colleges are again heeding this call to train the workforce that Canada needs.
- Regulated Career Colleges are accessible and inclusive.
The learners who study at regulated career colleges are diverse, in terms of demographics, socioeconomic status, and life circumstances. Because of this fact, regulated career colleges understand the need to be to flexible and inclusive in their approaches to training. That might mean delivering programs in a part-time or hybrid format, or offering continuous intake, allowing students to begin their studies at the right time for them. This availability of learning empowers students who have demands outside of their education to still be successful in their training.
This flexibility is critically important, as we know 57% of regulated career college students in Ontario are over the age of 31, and 50% have children. These characteristics suggest potential barriers to postsecondary training (such as jobs and childcare needs).
Regulated career colleges are also accessible because they are located in communities across the province. Whereas public colleges are usually found in big cities, regulated career colleges are located in communities of all sizes across Canada. This means students can stay close to home, keep their support systems, and even maintain their jobs while they study. Attending a college near their home may also improve access for students because of the reduced cost associated with living at home.