Government supports more opportunities for post-secondary education

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau learned about the testing process at Niagara College’s Teaching Winery Saturday from Winery and Viticulture Technician program graduate Di Yao and student Kalem Magny. Behind the Prime Minister is the college’s head winemaker Gavin Robertson.

During a tour of NIagara College’s Teaching Winery Saturday August 26/2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is providing help for more Canadians to pursue a post-secondary education which can help to provide them with the skills needed to succeed in the workforce.

The Prime Minister was touring the Niagara College Teaching Winery, a very unique learning environment that is quickly gaining international recognition, at the college’s Glendale Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“After touring these facilities, I am really envious of you,” Prime Minister Trudeau said to Niagara College President Dan Patterson while they were in the vineyard. “Who wouldn’t want their daily commute to include a vineyard like this?”

He spoke highly of the diversity of programming available in Canada’s post-secondary institutions as well as the fact that they have adapted to today’s economy.

“As a teacher and Prime Minister, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in school,” he said. “I’ve had the chance to visit many institutions across the country and I am always impressed by colleges and universities innovative spirit.”

“Students today have many more diplomas and degrees and certificates to choose from then when we were students,” the Prime Minister said. “Our post-secondary institutions were able to adapt to the realities of the new economy and adjust their curriculums to meet the demands of a world that is rapidly changing.”

He talked about how currently many Canadians aren’t allowed the luxury of a quality post-secondary education in today’s economy.

“Not everyone has the opportunity to get the training they want in the field they love,” the Prime Minister said. “Our government needs to change that.”

“Across the country we’re making smart targeted investments in skills training so that more Canadians can attend institutions like Niagara College and acquire the skills they need to succeed,” he said.

“We heard from students who had to choose between getting an education and making rent,” he said. “We also heard from parents who feared they didn’t have the right skills to get a good middle class job in the new economy.”

He announced some of the steps the federal government are undertaking to help people to be able to pursue a post-secondary education to learn skills that will lead to better jobs.

“We are making easier for folks already in the workforce to access student grants and loans so they can continue to provide for their families while upgrading their skills,” he said.

“For those who are of work, we made changes to the employment insurance program,” he said. “Now parents can go back to school without fear of losing the EI benefits they need to put food on the table.”

“We know that by investing in skills and training we’re investing in Canadians and in their potential,” Prime Minister Trudeau said. “We are helping students, parent and even grandparents find and retain good, well-paying jobs in the field of their liking. Jobs that will put more money in their pockets so they can save, invest and grow the economy.”

Niagara College President Dan Patterson was absolutely thrilled that the Prime Minister came to visit.

“I think increasingly, the brand Niagara College, is being known across the country for its programs and services,” Patterson said. “This unique Canadian Food and Wine Institute is quickly gathering a name for itself, we’ve had Minister Duncan and Minister Bain here before, I think the word is getting out.”

“I think the Prime Minister looked at a number of options for this trip to Niagara, Niagara College kind of rose very quickly to the top of that list because the college speaks to young people, it speaks to how the next generation of people find jobs, and we have what we refer to as special innovative learning enterprises where students get a total immersive experience.”

“He really wanted to see how we related to the wine sector,” he said. ”And he wanted to see how we were able to set up Canada’s first teaching winery.”

“It lead to some great discussions between the Prime Minister and Gavin, our head winemaker, a college graduate,” he said. “The Prime Minister was very well educated in the subject.”

“He was delighted to see our vineyards and to meet our two students who are just extraordinarily accomplished.”

“I think the Prime Minister and many people today are looking at post-secondary education, they’re wanting to probe and want to find out about the value of work integrated learning,” he said. “The ability to combine theory and practice, the digital learner of today embraces that style of education.”

“That’s why colleges are becoming the destination of choice for many students and parents who feel this education will lead to employment opportunities,” he said.

Patterson went on to say that the visit was also a great opportunity to talk about the wine sector in Niagara, how the resiliency of the sector and across Canada “through research, a highly skilled work force and through determination have built a very strong, robust industry that is creating jobs and that education is so prominent in that equation. ”

“That’s one of the reasons he came here, he wanted to see it, he wanted to endorse it, the power of the industry/education partnership,” Patterson said.

One of the things that Patterson was able to address with the Prime Minister is the fact that the college can readily adapt to the changing needs of industry.

“One of the things I stressed with the Prime Minister is our nimbleness,” Patterson said. “We have a term that is starting to become normal around the college, we are a ‘pre-emptive’ college. We are pre-emptive in anticipating the labour markets not just of today, but, of tomorrow.”

“We have seen how manufacturing has changed in Welland, now, today, we are seeing some opportunities in advanced manufacturing so we are gearing our programs to support that.”

“I mentioned to the Prime Minister how we had Minister Bain at the campus a few months ago and he saw how we are linking with General Electric and create jobs,” he said. “It’s that ability to adapt and change to the circumstances.”

“I was so glad the Prime Minister mentioned in his comments to the press how important a role the colleges play in meeting the economic needs of the country,” he said.

The announcement by the Prime Minister Saturday morning means that Niagara College will be more financially accessible for students.

“On the area of student loans and grants, having federal and provincial cooperation makes school more affordable,” Patterson said.

“So, we have this opportunity of ensuring that people who decided not to go to college due to costs think again about the opportunities that are now open to them,” he said.

From Niagara College the Prime Minister went to Hamilton to visit McMaster University, then he attended the Niagara Peach Festival in Winona then attended Tamilfest in Scarborough.



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