Student ‘blindsided’ by CNA cuts
Nikita Mugford feels government could have handled situation differently
Nikita Mugford was fully prepared to start her training as a construction/industrial electrician in the fall.
Her application had been accepted at College of the North Atlantic’s St. Anthony campus this past December and the Grade 12 student was given no reason whatsoever to think she wouldn’t be doing her course come September.
And it seemed like she wouldn’t have a problem lining up an apprenticeship immediately after completing the ninemonth program.
Her plans looked set in stone until the news came down from the provincial government last week that the construction/industrial electrician program in St. Anthony was one of seven CNA programs cut from the curriculum across the province.
“We were blindsided really,” says Mugford.
Now, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do.
Mugford had always wanted to stay home in Goose Cove, near St. Anthony, for her first year after high school. She says she’s not prepared to move away at this moment in time.
“It seemed permanent, it’s been here for years,” she says. “Why would I apply to go to Corner Brook if I want to stay home? There’s no need.”
Moreover, it’s too late to apply to Memorial University to start her post-secondary education there in September.
Biology courses that she may be interested in taking, given her strength in the subject in high school, are not available online.
And she knows other people are in more difficult situations given that they may have relied on this too but have the additional responsibilities of family.
“They can’t just up and go to Corner Brook,” she says. “Even if it’s a married couple with no kids, they can’t leave their spouse if their spouse has a job.”
Mugford believes the provincial government could have handled the situation differently to ensure her and others wouldn’t be left in these situations.
For one, Mugford suggests a deadline for enrolment should be set. According to her, as it strands presently, anybody can register right up until the start of the CNA semester. Therefore, many wait until the summer to sign up.
She wonders why the government would make a decision on this before everyone has had a chance to register. And she’s worried that people will be apprehensive to register next year, lest they enter the situation she’s in.
She believes this situation could have been avoided with a hard deadline being set. Mugford explains if there were a deadline, the government would have a definitive figure for the number of enrolments and would be able to make a decision based on this.
But, as it stands, she doesn’t believe they can know what the final number would be.
“How would they know if there’s low enrolment if it’s only May?” she asks.
Furthermore, Mugford feels if the government had known the courses were going to be cut, there should have been some indication for prospective students like her in order for them to have a back-up plan.
“If the government noticed this last year, they could have told us this year, ‘You can apply but there’s a great chance it’s going to be cut,’” she says.
Instead, she had no idea and was completely unprepared.
And, she says, if the province wants the St. Anthony campus to thrive, they should do something to see what people are interested in studying.
“The least the government could have done was to ask people, through a survey or something, what they wanted to see here if they want this campus to meet its full capabilities at all,” she said.
Ultimately, Mugford wants to see the government put in an effort to keep people in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. And she feels that’s not what is happening here, as young people like her are being encouraged to take their college courses in Corner Brook instead of St. Anthony with decisions to cut programs such as these.
She encourages people who intended on applying to do so anyway, to let the government know just how many people are interested in these programs.
Six people had already applied, halfway to the enrolment of 12 that was needed. She says she knows people who had talked about applying as well.
Meanwhile, she says it’s important for people like her to just stand up and speak her mind on these matters, when services are taken away in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We’re not given opportunities that we want and we don’t kick up enough for it,” Mugford says. “We just get stuff taken out of our hands and don’t say anything.
“You can’t just sit around.”
Grade 12 student Nikita Mugford’s application had been accepted to begin the Construction/Industrial Electrician course at College of the North Atlantic St. Anthony campus. Now that the course has been cut from the curriculum, her future is uncertain.