By LAUREN THOMSON Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on September 1, 2021.
Demetrios Nicolaides, minister of Advanced Education, visited Medicine Hat College on Tuesday to discuss the new Alberta 2030 plan.
“The purpose of our visit today is just to do some listening,” Nicolaides told members of local media. “We had a great session here with members of the board of directors of the college, other members of senior administration and members of the community from Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Association and students to get a better understanding of what government can be doing to help support economic growth and development in the region, because of course, talent and workforce development is such an important part of that.”
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the government of Alberta is creating new learning opportunities in the form of micro-credentials.
“One of the challenges has been, of course, as we’re trying to get our finances under control there’s been a recognition that the province of Alberta provides a higher level of funding to our post-secondary institutions than occurs in our other provinces, so we’ve been working closely with our post-secondary institutions to explore how that dynamic can be further improved,” Nicolaides said.
“Yesterday in Lethbridge I had the fortune of announcing $5.6 million in new funding to support the development of 56 new micro-credential programs, and the requirement for those programs is that there’s an industry partner as well, so all of these programs, the 19 institutions that are involved, have talked with industry and have mutually developed these programs.
“The vast majority of them will actually be available very soon this fall.”
Nicolaides says these new programs will help individuals to develop industry-needed skills, learn industry-relevant competencies and find success.
“I think we need to re-double all of our efforts as an entire province in facilitating growth and helping to get people back to work.”
Nicolaides says he believes the new programs align with objectives already established by MHC and that the micro-credentials will work well at the local college.
The minister also spoke to the absence of a mask mandate at post-secondary institutions across Alberta, saying he offers his support to institutions and respects their autonomy to make decisions that they want to keep their students and staff safe.
“I had the opportunity to speak with many of our post-secondary leaders and presidents from the U of A to Lethbridge College to right here at Medicine Hat College, and from what I’m understanding is, the vast majority of students and staff are rising to the challenge and getting their vaccines, which is incredible.
“Perhaps I can take the opportunity to encourage more students, faculty and staff to do so if they haven’t done so yet, to get their vaccines. They’re safe, they’re proven effective at reducing serious complications associated with COVID-19.”
A press release outlining the Alberta 2030 plan says “Albertans will be able to access programs beginning this fall, and are encouraged to reach out to their local post-secondary institution(s) for more information.”