TIMMINS, ON: Northern College supports measures focused on education and training proposed in the 2014 federal budget, released yesterday. These measures will, when implemented, assist prospective students in overcoming barriers keeping them from a college education.
One proposal that will be benefit Northern College students seeks to expand the Canada Student Loans Program to apprentices registered in a Red Seal trade. Most apprenticeships include an eight to ten-week in-class training component each year. During this time, apprentices receive no income. The new loan system will allow apprentices to borrow up to $4,000 per in-class training period, interest free.
“The expansion of the Canada Student Loans Program to apprentices in Red Seal trades will greatly expand access to much sought-after apprenticeship training,” said Fred Gibbons, President of Northern College. “Currently, many apprentices rely on employment insurance during their classroom training in order to pay the bills and provide for their families. The expanded loans program has the potential to ease a number of apprentices’ financial worries, and make it easier for those in our community to pursue an apprenticeship.”
The federal budget also outlines the government’s proposed Canada Job Grant, which can provide up to $15,000 per trainee to Canadian employers training workers for new or better jobs. The grant can be applied to workplace training, as well as to training from eligible third-party trainers, including Ontario’s colleges.
Northern College’s Apprenticeship, Community and Corporate Training (ACCT) division has experience delivering job-specific training in-line with demand from local employers. Through the Canada Job Grant, ACCT could further collaborate with local employers to provide high-skills training in the region.
“Overall, the 2014 federal budget recognizes that Canada’s colleges provide the high-skill, career-specific training sought by industry, and that colleges support community and economic development,” said Gibbons. “The proposed measures in this budget will assist Northern College in reaching many of our goals, especially our goal of increasing access to the quality post-secondary and apprenticeship training we provide. The measures will also help us tighten our partnerships with local industry. “
Increased demand for the career-specific training offered at Northern College was reflected in enrolment numbers released by the college in January of this year. Enrolment in first-year, full-time programs grew 19.6 per cent over the same time last year. Over the same period, college enrolment grew by 5 per cent province-wide, reaching its highest level ever.
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