Four BC colleges improve access to applied business technology programs

Andrew Hay, vice-president education at Okanagan College, Neil Coburn, vice president education for Selkirk College, Lisa Domae, executive vice president and COO, North Island College and Henry Reiser, president of the College of New Caledonia signed an agreement to coordinate delivery of applied business technology programs this week.

Students from across BC will be able to study online to gain the applied business skills to work as office professionals, thanks to a new agreement between four BC colleges.

The memorandum of understanding between North Island College, the College of New Caledonia, Okanagan College and Selkirk College will see the institutions co-ordinate delivery and improve access to online programs designed to support students entering office assistant, administrative assistant, computing accounting assistant, legal administrative assistant and medical office assistant programs.

“Every institution in this agreement offers consistently high quality learning experience for students, and I’m very proud that we have been able to work together to offer accessible, online, career programs for students wherever they live,” said Diane Naugler, NIC’s dean of business and applied studies, who was instrumental in the development of the partnership.

Under the terms of the agreement, students will be able to move more easily between institutions to complete their credential. Each college agrees to smooth the application process for students, by co-ordinating course schedules and availability, waiving some fees when students take classes at more than one institution and more. Students also get access to all the services each teaching institution offers.

"Over the past 50-plus years, BC's colleges have focused on providing access for students of this province," notes Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton. "This agreement is another example of how we can - and do - continue to work together for that purpose."

The programs offer skills for students interested in starting a wide range of office administration careers, in less than a year. Online classes provide students with the opportunity to keep working and meet their family and other commitments while they prepare for a new career.

“Because the courses were online, I could work full time while studying,” said Jessica Macy, an Office Assistant student working toward her Computing Accounting Assistant certification in Port Hardy. “I am almost graduated and have no student debt which feels great.”

WorkBC rates administrative related jobs openings as high demand occupations in BC, with more than 47,100 job openings for administrative officers and assistants, accounting technicians and bookkeepers and legal administrative assistants expected by 2027.

Registration for the programs starts this spring; interested students should talk to an advisor at their college of choice, to meet the admission requirements and deadlines.

Additional Quotes

"It's vital that colleges work together when delivering these types of programs that are consistently in demand. Building off each other's strengths and capacities to deliver accessible programs to learners creates more opportunities than would be possible if we worked independently.”

Neil Coburn, Vice President of Education at Selkirk College

“Collaboration is a driving force behind the success of both students and colleges in BC. This MOU recognizes the dedication of CNC, North Island College, Okanagan College and Selkirk College to offer the highest quality programming for students who may not have otherwise been able to access our face-to-face programs.”

– Henry Reiser, President of the College of New Caledonia

“This agreement is an example of how colleges can work together to provide access, opportunity and employable skills for students across BC. I’m very pleased to see it come together under Diane Naugler’s leadership.”

– Lisa Domae, Executive Vice President, Academic & COO, North Island College

 Media Contacts

North Island College
Christiana Wiens, Media Liaison
O. 250-334-5280 | M. 250-218-4097

College of New Caledonia
Alyson Gourley,
Executive Director, Communications

Selkirk College
Maggie Keczan, Marketing & Communications Manager

Okanagan College
Allan Coyle
Director, Public Affairs

More on This Story

Find out how the online programs prepared one student to open her own business, while raising her young child.

Read more about NIC's Applied Business Technology Programs.

Read more about this story in the Comox Valley Record.

Read the memorandum of understanding between College of New Caledonia, North Island College, Okanagan College and Selkirk College regarding Multi-institution and Delivery in Applied Business Technology courses.