HEATHER BOA Bullet News CLINTON – Fanshawe College will offer three one-year certificate programs designed for mature students starting this September, in a new partnership with the Regional Equine and Agricultural Centre of Huron announced this morning.
The Personal Support Worker, Computerized Office Essentials, Food Services Worker full-time programs will be in addition to continuing education courses and workshops offered by the community college at the Clinton facility.
“The more we can offer young people here, the more we can meet the needs of people here as well as employers, the more people will stay and live and work in this community,” said Tom Pickard, who is manager of workforce development and continuing education at Fanshawe College. He made the announcement to federal, provincial and municipal politicians, as well business community representatives and educators this morning.
Jeff Marshall, who is the executive director odREACH Huron, said the partnership helps the $7-million facility move “one giant step closer” to reaching its goal of becoming a hub for education. As well, it is good news for the facility and for the community, where young people often leave to get an education and then stay away to pursue a career.
“Today’s announcement offers hope to communities in Huron, Bruce, Perth and Grey. By providing post-secondary opportunities for our young people and experienced workers who want to be retrained, we have a greater chance of keeping them in our communities,” he said.
Jim Ginn, who is the mayor of Central Huron, said the announcement “can’t be described as anything but a good news story, probably a great news story.”
The announcement is welcome news in a community that has been rocked by the closure of Bluewater Youth Centre and the uncertain future of Clinton Raceway.
“It’s very gratifying as a member of council to see some results from the hard work and the vision that we had embarked on a few years ago,” Ginn said.
In its first year, organizers hope to attract a total 45 students to the programs, which will be taught by part-time local instructors and co-ordinated by a team of two administrative staff: Rob Peat, who has been seconded from the Avon Maitland District School Board, where he works with students who want to enter apprenticeship programs or pursue technological skills; and Christina Hoggart, a long-time college employee who was most recently program assistant for the School-College-Work Initiative program, designed for at-risk secondary school students who earn credits at the college and apply them to their high school diplomas.
The college will work with the community to find student housing, if necessary.
Pickard said the programs could not have been offered locally without a partnership such as the one established with REACH Huron, which has four classrooms and a multi-media lab with 16 workstations and smartboard technology.
Fanshawe expanded into the region about five years ago, offering part-time and full-time programs.
“Over that period, we have seen our programming and our enrolments grow. It’s been modest but it has been consistent,” Pickard said.
“We’ll do our best to provide the kinds of courses and programs that the people and the employers of Central Huron want and need,” he said.
Fanshawe’s work at REACH Huron is expected to serve Clinton, Goderich, Exeter, Stratford and beyond.
This past year, REACH Huron was used by about 40 secondary school students and nearly 20 University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus students. It is home to educational programming and offers equine shows, after school programs, children’s camps and events, educational workshops, culinary classes and facilities rentals.