Northern BC's three colleges, Northwest Community College, Northern Lights College, and the College of New Caledonia, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) this week to identify key areas of programming in which each institution will take the lead role for the north. "The Memorandum formalizes a working understanding between the three colleges that has been guiding our program development and delivery during the past three years," said Stephanie Forsyth, President of Northwest Community College. "The Memorandum was created to support the collaborative planning and coordination of educational programs and services to maximize support for the social and economic development of the north." The areas each institution has committed to take the lead on are as follows:
Northwest Community College: Exploration and mining industry; First Nations Education and Arts College of New Caledonia: Forestry and wood related; Health Sciences and related Technologies Northern Lights College: Onshore oil and gas industry; Aviation; Alternative Energy
"The labour market needs of the North are growing and changing. In order for colleges to support community and economic development it makes sense that we capitalize on our individual strengths and further develop some appropriate areas of specialization and excellence," said Jean Valgardson, President of Northern Lights College. Each lead institution will work to address the overall educational needs of a given sector in the north. Each will also communicate the status of its programming on a regular basis to the partners, allowing them to access its expertise if required. Lead institutions will also share best practices, research findings and, where appropriate, curricula with the other partners. "At CNC we believe that it is imperative our post-secondary education institutions work together effectively as a system, maximizing our resources and the opportunities we can provide for people in the communities we serve," said John Bowman, President of the College of New Caledonia. "This agreement is going to help us achieve those goals." The establishment of 'lead' program roles for the northern institutions is the first step in the development of a more integrated, and comprehensive educational strategy.