Red River College is pleased to see infrastructure and skills training identified as top priorities in the Federal Budget 2014.
“We welcome a collaborative approach with government, industry and community partners in expanding our ability to train Manitoba’s workforce,” said Stephanie Forsyth, President & CEO, Red River College. “This approach will ensure we meet the needs of education in the 21st century and prepare students for the demands of the modern workforce.”
With the creation of the Canada Apprentice Loan, additional funding by the federal government will reduce waiting lists for access to education and meet employer demands for skilled workers. This can help address youth unemployment at the same time.
The government’s pledge of $305 million over five years to extend and enhance broadband high-speed Internet access for rural and Northern communities is welcomed. This aligns with RRC’s strategic plan in ensuring access to education for all Manitobans. RRC is equipped to provide distance education via Internet training but we are hampered in rural areas, particularly in the north for Aboriginal students. Expanding broadband networks and making the Internet more available is a way to open the door to post-secondary education for many, while also providing another solution to the anticipated skills gap.
A continued investment in infrastructure is a welcome signal for RRC. We were able to take advantage of the Knowledge Infrastructure program funding when we rebuilt the old Union Bank Tower and transformed that heritage building into a state-of-the-art facility – complete with new student residences – for our culinary arts and hospitality programs.
We have other critical infrastructure needs. Most significant is our need for a new trades facility to meet the current and expanding demand for skilled trades workers. The provincial government has identified $60 million for a new space, but more than twice that amount is required.
Red River College has nine campuses and annual enrolments of more than 30,000 in full-and part-time degree, diploma and certificate programs. Through award-winning instruction and training on state-of-the-art equipment, we prepare our students to become leaders in their fields, while partnering with industry to conduct research and ensure curriculum remains up-to-date.
To read the full text of the Federal Budget 2014, visit www.budget.gc.ca.