While trades programs are seeing a major decline in enrolment in Newfoundland and Labrador colleges, Algonquin might be facing a similar problem — but for a different reason.
Dean of trades Christopher Janzen, does not feel the college is facing a problem as severe as the career colleges in both Newfoundland and Labrador. However, he does say that the programs’ enrolments at Algonquin are on a slight decline.
Janzen explains that when talking about trades programming, there are really two different types: the traditional advanced diploma programs and apprenticeship training.
Those two types of programs are what represent the total enrolment in trades.
According to James Loder, the director of admissions for Academy Canada, in an article from CBC, the trades programs are down around 25 to 30 per cent in terms of the number of people they’ve been accepting in Newfoundland.
Loder continued saying that over the last 12 months they’ve reduced the number of students being accepted into the trades programs, just to adjust to the labour market.
The changing economy has affected the enrolment at Academy Canada’s three campuses.
Janzen says that while the enrolment decline in Newfoundland and Labrador is due to the economy, Algonquin’s drop is because of another issue.
“The programs we’re seeing at Algonquin are on a somewhat of a decline,” said Janzen. “But that is mimicking the demographic change.”
According to Janzen, the demographic change is described as the end of the echo of the baby boom. The number of the traditional-aged direct entry level college students are declining because Canadians aren’t having as many children as they did back in the ’60s.
“Those trades programs rely heavily on those direct entry students,” Janzen explained. “If there’s fewer of them, we start to see a decline in enrolment.”
The majority of students that enter into the trades programs come straight out of high school and that population is declining because there are fewer students.
“It’s certainly not a huge decline,” said Janzen. “But it is something we would prefer not to be happening.”
However, while some of the trades programs are on a decline, there are some programs that are exceeding the enrolment expectations of Janzen and the chairs.
Programs including automotive, construction and the apprenticeship model are currently heading up. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for Janzen to worry about the future.
“I am concerned,” said Janzen. “But it’s not because the trades programs are less popular, it’s not because there is not a need, it’s simply because there are few students available to bring into these programs.”