Colleges in the northeast say students keen on landing jobs soon after they graduate may be fuelling increased enrolment.
Cambrian College's interim president, Sonia Del Missier, said enrolment was up seven per cent last fall and she is anticipating another increase this fall. She said students are choosing career-focused training, like the Power Engineering Technology program.
“I'm pretty sure we're the only college in Ontario to offer it,” she said.
Northern College's president Fred Gibbons said his small school had a 19 percent increase in enrolment.
The veterinary program and the emergency services program draws many of those students, he said.
“One of the things we've become very distinctive for as a college is serving aboriginal population, it's the fastest growing population in Canada,” he said.
“We are located on the doorstep of Mushkegowuk tribal council and the Wabun tribal council, so there is probably a total of 18 First Nation communities in and around our campuses.”
Gibbons said the college is also recruiting students from China and India.
College Boreal's president said offering a French education makes his school distinct.
Pierre Riopelle said the French-speaking population in southern Ontario is growing and there are no other French colleges there. Enrolment at Boreal's Toronto campus is up 20 per cent, mostly in the early childhood education program.
“[We’ve seen] an incredible increase in the amount of the number of students we have in that program, so that would account for a large part of the 20 per cent,” Riopelle said.
As for employment, Colleges Ontario reports more than 80 per cent of college graduates find jobs within six months.