Enrolment on the rise at Sask. Polytechnic

Jason Kerr
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Saskatchewan Polytechnic Campuses across the province are seeing a significant increase in student enrolment, and that’s especially true at their Prince Albert campus.

Instructors from the school of nursing at Saskatchewan Polytechnic give some insight to students enrolled in psychiatric nursing at the school’s Prince Albert campus.  Enrolment in 2014-15 was up by more than 300 students in Prince Albert.

During the 2013-14 school year, 2,701 students were enrolled in Prince Albert.  That number jumped to 3,048 for the 2014-15 school year.

Nancy Dill, the Prince Albert campus’ dean of hospitality and tourism, and dean of human services and communication safety, said the school higher student numbers in the trades and apprenticeship programs are driving the increase.

“Certainly in the apprenticeship programming, we saw increases, and, in Prince Albert particularly, we saw increases in the electrician and the carpenter apprentice, and then we saw smaller increases in other offerings, and those are across the board.”

Programs like pre-employment carpentry, early childhood education, and various cooking programs are all seeing more students.  The campuses aboriginal student population has also increased by four per cent.

“I haven’t done the exact math, but on the Prince Albert campus, we might have about a third of Sask. Polytechnic’s aboriginal students,” Dill said.  “We certainly have a great percentage of our students, who are aboriginal, and we’re very proud of that.”

Dill said you never know what future trends will bring, but she’s expecting this one to continue.  Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s enrolment has traditionally increased as economic times get tougher, so there could be even more students on the way.

“I think it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in these next few years,” she said. “It is not unusual when there is a downturn in the economy to have more people coming to schools, more people looking to retrain, so I’m anticipating that we’re going to see these increases in enrolment for the next little while.”

Of course, an increased enrolment does come with a few challenges.  Dill said all Sask. Polytechnic campuses struggle to find enough space for all their programs and students, so a larger student body means everyone will have to get cozy.

“We find that at all our campuses that we are very tight for space.  We have to be incredibly creative in offering our programs so that we can use our space to the best of our abilities.”

In total, Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s student body has increased by seven per cent across the province this past year.  It’s also 17 per cent higher than is was five years ago.  Just like Prince Albert, other campuses are seeing a growth in their apprenticeship programs, which increased by four per cent to 5,967 students in 2014-15.

“We are proud our enrolment numbers continue to climb,” Saskatchewan Polytechnic president and CEO Larry Rosia said in a news release. “Sask. Polytech continues to provide the applied learning, applied research and skills training the province needs to grow.”

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Geographic location: Sask.

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