The Electrical Apprenticeship program will no longer be taking place at Prince Rupert’s Northwest Community College (NWCC) campus due to a steady decrease in enrollment over the past few years. All levels of the program, which includes apprenticeship levels one through four and foundation training, will now be taking place in Terrace in an attempt to keep the program available in Northwestern British Columbia.
“We will run the program from the Terrace campus for now and do not have plans to return it to the Prince Rupert campus. Our communities are the key to our success. We value and encourage collaboration and engagement. NWCC will continue to engage the Prince Rupert and area communities in educational planning to deliver programs that reflect the needs of students and the communities in the service area and well aligned with both the economic and job needs of our community,” wrote Dave O’Leary, who is NWCC’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement, in an email to the Prince Rupert Northern View.
Enrollment in the electrical program in Prince Rupert has dropped consistently over the past three years. In 2009 the average class size in all four levels of the program was about 13 students, by this year class sizes had fallen to just 6 students. When you consider that a standard Apprenticeship class size should be 16 students per level, there is undeniably a lot of improvement needed in terms of enrollment.
The move has worried many in the community, including Prince Rupert mayor Jack Mussallem, who stated his concerns over the loss of electrical program at the last city council meeting, held on Monday, July 30.
“I know that there is a demand for the [program] in Prince Rupert in particular with the expansion of the coal terminal, which is taking place now until the end of 2014, and the expansion of the first phase of the container port which will start in this September/October, and also the development of a railway, road and utility corridor on Ridley Island. All of this will involve people that are electricians and people that are looking for apprenticeships. I really think we should state our concerns loud and clear.”
Council decided to try to set up a meeting with representatives from NWCC to discuss the move.