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fanshawe college

Hub Staff

On Monday, May 13 in Port Elgin, Saugeen Shores Council welcomed Heather MacKenzie-Card, Academic Services Consultant from Fanshawe College, who delivered a presentation on bringing a post secondary program to Saugeen Shores. Card noted that 5,137 students had attended Fanshawe College sites in the Huron Bruce region in the past three years with the region seeing 118 graduates in 2018. These numbers, she said, demonstrated a demand for post secondary education within our local communities.

Card acknowledged that not everyone has the ability to leave their community to pursue secondary education and a local program would offer this underrepresented demographic access to something they otherwise would not be able to attain.

In her experience, Card has often heard feedback from graduates who stated, “If I wasn’t able to do this program locally, I never would have been able to get to where I am now.”

In 2015, the community of Clinton, Ontario introduced their first part-time Fanshawe College program and has today flourished into seven full-time programs. Card denoted this success to creating programs that fit the needs of the community. She also recognized the importance of synchronizing with the local labour market.

As an initial program to Saugeen Shores, Fanshawe College has suggested the Business Entrepreneurial Management Program (BEM) as there is a need for business skills for both the self-employed and employees.

“Because I’ve heard,” said Card “that Saugeen Shores is the fastest growing community in Bruce County.”

The BEM program offers first year business courses that are transferable to other colleges if students want to further specialize. On behalf of the college, Card proposed a plan to utilize the Fire Hall for a classroom beginning this September, as an in-kind partnership with fees waived for the first year of operation. The program would use a live-stream in conjunction with the Goderich site and potentially have a teacher in both locations to alternate the live classroom.

Overall Council's response was very positive with Deputy Mayor Don Matheson speaking of the students in his Grade 11 Entrepreneurship course. “Business is an area that they want to get into but it’s hard for them to go away for so offering something here that they’ll be able to ladder into the other colleges at a later point and have an entry program is a fantastic opportunity," he said.

Councillor Dave Myette agreed. “It is about time we have a campus location where people can go to school post secondary, right here in Saugeen Shores," he said.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau shared his recent meetings with the Ontario Tech University and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. “There seems to be a growing amount of interest from post secondary educators to be present here because there’s a lot to do here and a lot of opportunity.”

Charbonneau was very supportive of the request from the Fanshawe College and said he looks forward to the recommendation to come from the staff.