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College sets sights on new five-year plan

John King
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 07/05) - Aurora College is developing a new five-year corporate plan to educate students for jobs in the North.

"We want to maximize employment for Northerners," said Maurice Evans, president of Aurora College.

In the plan for 2000-2005, the college marked training Northerners for jobs in the energy and mining sectors, said Evans, while instituting a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science in nursing.

A survey conducted in October and November will give some direction to college officials developing the new plan, said Tim Gauthier, public and corporate affairs manager for the college.

"We handed out surveys in 20 communities throughout the NWT," said Gauthier.

"Industry is always evolving and because of this the college conducts a grass roots needs assessment every five years," Gauthier said.

The survey's aim is to determine how the college can improve partnerships, campus locations, and whether college programs represent aboriginal/Northern culture.

The survey also asked respondents what new opportunities are emerging in the North, and what additional types of training would be needed to meet the demands of an expanding, industry-based economy.

During their tour of the Territories, college officials talked with aboriginal and industry leaders and the general public, and consulted with territorial government ministries.

The objective is to gain insight in how best to prepare students for the ever- changing job market of the North.

"We can't offer everything to everybody," said Joanne McNeal, director of the Yellowknife campus of Aurora College. "We don't have a large enough population base. This is just the reality," McNeal says.

McNeal would like to see a new campus in Yellowknife.

"We are at max capacity and really have no room for new programs," she said.

The first corporate plan was adopted when the college formed in 1995, and developed a mandate to help the Northwest Territories emerge as a political entity within Canada.

With surveys now collected, officials are reviewing and analyzing the data before settling in to build a vision for students.

The finished road-map will be ready in early 2006.