Holland College offering online certification for some trades programs

Holland College is starting a new project aimed at helping students stay on the job while completing their programs. Students enrolled in the welding or machinist programs will have the opportunity to work and finish their required testing online.

College hopes to increase apprenticeship completion rates

Holland College President Sandy MacDonald says he hopes an option to complete programs online will boost apprenticeship completion rates. (Submitted by Holland College)

Holland College is starting a new project aimed at allowing students to stay on the job while completing their programs.

Students enrolled in the welding or machinist programs will have the opportunity to work and finish their required testing online.

Holland College President Sandy MacDonald said online certification could help to boost apprenticeship completion rates. 

"This is aimed at apprenticeships, the whole apprenticeship business," he said. "We feel we can improve our apprenticeship completion rates if we do it online."

Concerns raised by employers

In their current form, trades programs at the college require students to leave their apprenticeships for up to eight weeks to complete certification in the classroom.

The change comes as a result of concerns raised by employers and students. MacDonald wants to make sure employers are not left without workers. He adds online certification is a much easier way for students to access positive outcomes.

"We are being a little more accessible and flexible and we think that is going to help industry and help us get more trained tradespeople out into industry quicker."

The online component will allow students to complete their certification remotely while staying on the job. 

The college is in the initial stages of this particular project, so only two courses can be completed online.

Last week, in Summerside P.E.I. MacDonald showed a presentation that indicated more programs will be offered, he said.

"We will be doing this in other programs as well, for example most of our building trades will probably be taking a similar approach once we see how this works, and iron out the kinks with this."

Other schools offer similar programs, MacDonald said.

"There are many of these trades and technology programs that are completely online in some of the schools in Ontario, for example."

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With files from Angela Walker