Atlantic Canada is experiencing rapid technological change which requires new skills, new abilities and new approaches to workplace innovation and inclusion. Traditional jobs are disappearing, new industries are being created and business models are being fundamentally changed. This ‘Age of Disruption’ is triggering a global reshaping of economies which demand new ways of thinking and doing business as employers increasingly seek flexible, adaptable, and collaborative employees.
Our goal is to transform the public college education and training system in Atlantic Canada in keeping with the dramatic changes occurring in our economy, population and labour force. In order for colleges in the Atlantic Region to actualize our vision to mobilize for change, we recognize the need to embrace a partnership-based approach to diversifying the region’s workforce through creative and responsive recruitment and pedagogical practices. We will also prioritize life-long skill development coupled with the integration of cutting-edge technologies into program design and delivery.
Atlantic Colleges have also engaged external expertise through a collaboration with Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA) to assist in articulating a vision for the future and the steps needed to achieve our collective goals. Ultimately, this work will result in a College Transformation Roadmap which will guide colleges towards our desired future state and will support local employers whose future is dependent on a high quality, diverse and productive workforce.
ACA proposes to develop and deploy seven pilot projects customized to address specific labour shortages and skills gaps in priority sectors in Atlantic Canada over a 24-month period. These pilots will test, evaluate and generate potential solutions to optimize and transform the college system, to facilitate collaboration and engagement across the region and to remove systemic barriers to accessing post-secondary.
The initiatives will also build institutional capacity and hone regional expertise by piloting high-impact innovations such as micro-credentials, prior learning and assessment, work-integrated learning, cutting-edge technology, continuous intake, industry engagement, and other leading practices while strengthening collective competence of the system to support students from equity-seeking communities.
Further, an ACA Innovation Centre will be established to help coordinate and connect the pilot projects to maximize regional learning and growth. Additional information about each pilot and the centre can be found, below.
This is a regional undertaking, involving the four Atlantic Provinces, and engaging a broad range of external partners and collaborators in the overall initiative and the proposed pilot projects. These partners and collaborators include employers, as well as organizations with a specific focus on those serving equity-seeking communities. The seven colleges that constitute the membership of ACA include:
- Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick
- Collège de l’île, Prince Edward Island
- College of the North Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Holland College, Prince Edward Island
- New Brunswick Community College
- Nova Scotia Community College
- Universite Sainte-Anne, Nova Scotia
All Colleges are working together on the institutional transformation mandate established by the College Presidents and led by ACA. The initiatives being proposed will be carried out in both official languages, as three of the ACA member institutions operate in French and four in English. The range in size, location, primary language, expertise and skills will help to maximize the applicability and transferability of the key learnings from this project to colleges across the country.