Prairie Post (East Edition)

Minister visits Medicine Hat College to discuss micro-credential­s

- By Lauren Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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.”

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