College rolls swelling

Students are clamouring to get into Red Deer College this fall. First year student applications are up 22 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Students are clamouring to get into Red Deer College this fall.

First year student applications are up 22 per cent compared to the same time last year.

“I’ve never seen this size of an increase before. I think it’s reflective of the economic change,” said Jim Madder, vice president academic at Red Deer College.

“I think people are choosing Red Deer College as a viable place to invest in themselves for either new jobs or more stable jobs or move themselves up on the job ladder.”

The college gets about 3,600 full-time equivalent students. The jump in applications may lead to 10 per cent more students, or 360, by the time classes start in September, Madder said on Monday.

“I think we’ll end up with a lot more than that because a good number of students in adult upgrade programs are part-time.”

And registration has already jumped up by about six per cent, he said.

Programs attracting the most applications are career and academic preparation, also know as adult upgrading, and open studies for people who want to go to university but haven’t determined a major. Bachelor of Science in nursing is already full with a waiting list.

Increased applications are coming in for Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Arts, unit clerk, social work, pharmacy technician, practical nurse, music, and health care aide, and college’s new programs computer information systems and network systems technology.

Interest is continuing in trades that provide steady employment, like automotive service technician and carpentry, compared to welding, steamfitter or pipefitter trades.

Madder said given that the rate of graduates from high school is flat or slightly down in Central Alberta, most applicants are already in the workforce.

Getting or maintaining high paying jobs right out of high school is more difficult now and the number of applicants jumped in July so people may have been doing some serious thinking this summer about their future. They are looking for a stable career and want to invest in themselves, Madder said.

“A lot of people I know are still working pretty hard but maybe they’re not in the job they really want to have.”

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