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NIC hopeful action plan will ease financial burden for students seeking career change

North Island College will have nine short-term courses available for career options in the fall following an investment from the province.

According to vice president of academic Tony Bellavia, the $480-million post-secondary action plan announced yesterday is very exciting news for the college. Under the initiative, students will be eligible for $3,500 grants starting in the fall, and the province estimates around 8,500 workers could be trained.

It also focuses on tech, construction and other applied skills, and Bellavia says there is strong interest in those sectors on Vancouver Island.

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“Starting in September or shortly after, we’ll have nine programs that were approved through this funding mechanism and approximately another 20 that will be ready in January,” said Bellavia.

“We’re hoping to attract hundreds of students through these short-term training opportunities.”

The fall programs will include topics like ecosystem assessments, marine training, craft brewing operations, field safety and marketing in the digital economy.

Bellavia says environmental stewardship and film industry courses will come in the new year, but demand tends to fluctuate from industry to industry.

“I’d say that we have some strong interest in many of them. Craft brewery operations has been a very successful program for us and the other one has been wildfire training,” said Bellavia.

Bellavia feels that this funding comes at a critical time when things can be tough financially for many residents on Vancouver Island and the province and hopes that it will help others consider a job they couldn’t afford the training for.

“We’re looking at programs that are within three months or 12 weeks. So, if someone has interest of becoming a craft brewer for example, within a short period of time they can get that training and then start an employment opportunity from there,” he said.

Course locations will be provided in the future on the North Island College website, however, Bellavia says they are planning to make them accessible in blended or digital formats.

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