'I only see us growing'
Student enrolment remains strong at the two Cape Breton campuses of the Nova Scotia Community College.
At the Marconi campus in Sydney, which is the second-largest NSCC campus, enrolment as of Sept. 30 was 1,078, down slightly from 1,118 in fall 2018. At the Strait area campus in Port Hawkesbury, the fall enrolment was 623, up a bit from 605 a year earlier.
Overall, NSCC’s enrolment in diploma, advanced diploma and certificate programs stood at 10,843, up from 10,720.
Fred Tilley, principal at the Marconi campus, said he considers student numbers at his campus to have held steady, noting that it offers many two-year programs that only have intakes of students every second year.
“We’re looking at that as stable enrolment, for sure,” he said.
Tilley said programs are seeing good interest from students across, the board noting that the NSCC’s five academic schools — access, business, health and human services, IT and creative industries, and trades and technology — are all represented in its offerings.
“Of course, there are some programs that are very high in demand, like practical nursing and some of your trades programs like carpentry and electrical, and those programs have significant wait lists,” he said.
There are also more than 200 students at the campus taking academic upgrading.
Tilley noted that provincially, the college exceeded its projections.
Next fall, Marconi will roll out a new two-year program, music arts, which will be run out of a satellite location at the Convent, currently under redevelopment by New Dawn.
“Like anything else new, you definitely want to build a case for it, work with industry and work with different sector groups,” Tilley said. “We really felt that there was a need for some new programming here in Cape Breton around the creative industries.”
There is also a planned move of the campus to downtown Sydney, which Tilley said will open up new opportunities for new and expanded programming.
“I only see us growing as we move towards the new build,” he said.
Over the course of the full 2019-20 academic year, NSCC estimated it will welcome about 20,000 students province-wide through its full offerings, including apprenticeship, continuing education, continuous intake and customized training.
In a news release, NSCC noted it conducts followup surveys with graduates each year. Results indicate that 88 per cent are employed, most in their field of study, with 92 per cent of those employed living and working in Nova Scotia.
Offers of admission for fall 2020 will begin in early November. Applicants are encouraged to apply early.
NSCC will host open houses on Oct. 17 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. where prospective students can visit campuses, speak with faculty, staff and students.