“That program will encourage students to pursue a trade pathway here”

By Sarah Seeley
Feb. 24, 2014

A federal plan to spend millions on an internship-funding program will help high school graduates, says Holland College’s program director.
Dave Beaton made the comment after federal finance minister Jim Flaherty announced Feb. 12 the federal government will spend about $40 million to fund 3,000 trades and engineering internships. The program will give high school graduates hands-on training in their field.
The internships will be an incentive for students to stay on the Island, Beaton said.
“That program will encourage students to pursue a trade pathway here.”
The influx of trade students could attract businesses to P.E.I., said Beaton.
“There’s lots of good resources, but if you don’t have a good work force, they won’t come.”
Holland College is one of the top community colleges in Atlantic Canada, said Beaton.
“I’m a huge believer in what Holland College does in hands-on programs. Our students stand above the rest.”
The college continues to build its scholarship and bursary funds outside the budget through alumni and business’ donations, he said.
“That [budget funding] will top off what funding is there.”
Nova Scotia Community College will also receive the internship funding. Human resource director Janet Byrne said the program will encourage students to pursue a college degree rather than go directly into the work force.
“I see more benefit for someone coming out of high school and doing two years of college.”
The internship funding will help more students acquire a range of skills, she said.
“I hope it allows people who want to upscale to be able to do that so they can be more employable and contribute to society as a whole.”
Details haven’t been released yet, so Byrne didn’t know what impact the program will have on NSCC.
“It’s too early to tell.”
Beaton said he will dissect the budget when the details become available, but he said the funding will benefit Holland College.
“Any time you’re providing employers with a skilled work force, it is only a good thing.”