NorQuest College has been reducing barriers to access to education by creating and developing innovating programming that is free of cost to students who need it the most. Funding for these programs is supported by a variety of government grants that include the development of new curriculum and the piloting of new materials.
Examples of projects related to supporting employment and training newcomers include:
Improving Workplace Readiness :
Essential Skills Embedded in the National LINC Program project (LINCWorks), which is currently funded by ESDC – integrates Essential Skills (ES), entry-level certifications, and facilitated work placements into language training classes in urban and rural settings. There is a specific focus on ensuring suitability and alignment with the LINC program. This program is ongoing, but results from data collected so far indicate significant achievements. Based the most recent data, the majority of program participants indicate that this program has improved their essential skills.
The Career Moves program :
The Career Moves program is a project funded by the Future Skills Centre. This program offers professional development training, free of cost to participants. Participants can complete the program in under a year (from a few months to a year) on their own schedule/at their own pace, with numerous options for career pathways and a case management approach for support. This program is designed to support learners at their own pace and can be taken from anywhere at any time to accommodate learners with different circumstances.
This program is divided up into three phases – Professional Exploration, Professional Development, and Professional Reflection – and includes activities such as one-to-one coaching, comprehensive personal assessments, seminars, and tuition credits. It includes Work-Integrated Learning, an action plan, mentoring, and an online peer support and resource/information sharing portal to help participants’ make informed decisions about their future career goals.
The Supply Chain Preparation and Training for Newcomers projects :
The Supply Chain Preparation and Training for Newcomers project is currently underway and is funded by Alberta Labour. This program provides newcomers with language training as well as training in the supply chain field. Students who successfully complete the in-classroom portion of the program are placed in a facilitated work placement and receive a diploma from Supply Chain Canada and advanced credits if they choose to pursue the supply management training professional designation.
Indigenous student access :
The college has also undertaken significant work to increase access to indigenous students. The office of Indigenous Affairs has supported greater access to grants to Indigenous learners and have eliminated the application fee. We are also working on this with a data scientist who is looking at Indigenous course completion data to better understand predictive indicators of success so that we can develop targeted distinctions-based supports for Indigenous learners that act/serve as protective factors to course completion overall.