Selkirk College: Councillor pushes for expanded curriculum in Trail

The battle continues to expand the curriculum offered at Selkirk College Trail campus.

Although there will be one new program added to the Trail campus of Selkirk College, the battle continues to expand the curriculum offered in the Silver City.

Trail city councillor Robert Cacchioni’s met with the upper brass at the Castlegar-based college recently, asking for some balance between the programs offered at the college’s three main cities: Trail, Nelson and Castlegar.

He wanted to see a larger presence from Selkirk College in Trail, rather than the basic and adult education services, distance (online) learning, and skills upgrading courses that they offered.

In all, the city attracts 390 full-time-equivalent (FTE) students to its campus, while the rest of the college network supports over 11,100 learners, and nearly 1,600 FTE students.

“I would like to see more programs so that when new programs come on line that they are centred out of here and not always Nelson and Castlegar,” Cacchioni said.

Trail did manage to acquire a new administrative skills program this fall—a “one off” program the college received one-time funding for, said Selkirk College communications director Barry Auliffe.

The program is not part of the ongoing funding for offering diplomas or degrees—and there is no commitment to return the program to Trail next year—but is a specific training opportunity.

Auliffe dismissed the notion of any other programs being uprooted from other college campuses to flesh out the roster in Trail.

“Our current footprint works for us, and given the financial position we are in, to move a program from one city to another would mean developing a new facility,” he said.

“There would have to be an absolutely compelling reason for it. The financial situation precludes that kind of thing. It is not that easy to up and move a program, or to add to the existing facility.”

Cacchioni also wanted to see a partnership between Selkirk and Teck develop in regards to trades training. Auliffe confirmed there was an ongoing effort with the college’s industrial partners, with Teck Trail Operations being one of them.

Selkirk has an area of the college that looks for development opportunities, he noted, to create business opportunities and more jobs in Trail. As well, the college is always looking for the business opportunity to create programs that could be offered in Trail.

“That kind of thing is ongoing,” Auliffe said.

For five years the issue of a lab and X-ray technician combined course for the Trail campus has been on the table with the province. It would be an ongoing program that would graduate technicians with full training and certification in both areas.

“In the rural areas it would be more economical to have a combined designation,” Auliffe said.

But that would mean nearly $2 million in renovations on the campus to accommodate the program—a sum the province has balked at since it was first proposed.

The administrative skills program includes 24 weeks of training, concluding in a 60-hour practicum. Applicants receive training in office proficiency, interpersonal communications, creation of business communications/documents and office computer programs.

Students will also receive training in WHMIS and OFA level 1 first aid. Graduates from the program can continue training and apply for an Applied Business program.