Delivering education through collaboration
April 25, 2019
By Aquaculture Staff
Excel Career College (Excel) entered the aquaculture market as an HR disrupter. It wasn’t uncommon a decade ago for aquaculture employers to hire unskilled labourers then do the skills development training and industry certifications in-house.
Employers across British Columbia were seeing the writing on the wall that this method was far too risky and cost prohibitive, particularly with the skills and labour shortage being predicted.
Through a great deal of industry consultation, Excel launched its Aquaculture Technician Diploma Program with tremendous placement success. One employer hiring an Excel graduate saved the company roughly $5,000 in training and certifications. Industry leaders continued to provide input through a Program Advisory Council as well as direct involvement in the classroom and practicum placements.
The aquaculture labour market continued to struggle as the growth in the industry was putting tighter constraints on the recruiting process. Excel, in partnership with the BC Salmon Farmer’s Association, was able to secure a Labour Market Sector Solution contract that funded the training and placement of 60 technicians across Vancouver Island.
Collaboration with industry and community brings a number of benefits. In another project-based training contract, Excel partnered with a First Nations community and a leading aquaculture company to train members of the indigenous community and prepare them for employment opportunities with the company. The project was fully funded and customized to the needs of the community and the employer. Excel Career College was also able to bring its RAS Technician program, fully funded, to a RAS operation customized to their needs.
Over the past 10 years, Excel has trained over 250 technicians who work in all regions and disciplines in the vibrant province of BC. Excel’s capability to deliver customized, industry-relevant training in any location has made a significant contribution to managing the growing skills and labour shortage in BC’s aquaculture industry and the entire labour market.
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