B.C. colleges collaborate to improve access to applied business technology programs

North Island College enters into memorandum of understanding with three other institutions

Students from across B.C. will be able to study online to gain the applied business skills to work as office professionals, thanks to a new agreement between four B.C. colleges.

The memorandum of understanding between North Island College, the College of New Caledonia, Okanagan College and Selkirk College will see the institutions co-ordinate delivery and improve access to online programs designed to support students entering office assistant, administrative assistant, computing accounting assistant, legal administrative assistant and medical office assistant programs.

“Every institution in this agreement offers consistently high quality learning experience for students, and I’m very proud that we have been able to work together to offer accessible, online, career programs for students wherever they live,” said Diane Naugler, NIC’s dean of business and applied studies, who was instrumental in the development of the partnership.

Under the terms of the agreement, students will be able to move more easily between institutions to complete their credential. Each college agrees to smooth the application process for students, by co-ordinating course schedules and availability, waiving some fees when taking classes at more than one institution. Students also get access to all the services each teaching institution offers.

“Over the past 50-plus years, B.C.’s colleges have focused on providing access for students of this province,” notes Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. “This agreement is another example of how we can – and do – continue to work together for that purpose.”

The programs offer skills for students interested in starting a wide range of office administration careers, in less than a year. Online classes provide students with the opportunity to keep working and meet their family and other commitments while they prepare for a new career.

“Because the courses were online, I could work full-time while studying,” said Jessica Macy, an office assistant student working toward her computing accounting assistant certification in Port Hardy. “I am almost graduated and have no student debt, which feels great.”

WorkBC rates administrative related jobs openings as high demand occupations in B.C., with more than 47,100 job openings for administrative officers and assistants, accounting technicians and bookkeepers and legal administrative assistants expected by 2027.

Registration for the programs starts this spring; interested students should talk to an advisor at their college of choice, to meet the admission requirements and deadlines.

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