Red River College has announced plans to redevelop and expand its ACCESS programs in order to better meet the needs of its Indigenous and other students, by providing them with an opportunity to enrol in a wider range of offerings.
At present, ACCESS students are restricted to four program areas: Nursing, Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing, Business Administration, and Civil Engineering Technology.
“It’s time for us to modernize how ACCESS programs are delivered at RRC to better meet student, community and industry needs,” says Christine Watson, Vice-President Academic at RRC. “Ultimately one of our main goals is to remove some of the existing program restrictions and provide Indigenous, immigrant and other students facing barriers to education with more training options and new and improved pathways to meaningful careers.”
The ACCESS expansion plan is the result of an internal review and extensive consultations. In order to accommodate the redesign, there will be no intake of students to ACCESS programs for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. This will allow existing ACCESS students to complete their current programs, while a new model is designed for the 2018-2019 academic year.
As part of the process, RRC will work with community and industry partners to ensure the redevelopment is also responsive to their needs.
“ACCESS programs are very important to our students and we want to ensure [they] are accessible, agile and responsive to students who may not have had the opportunity to access post-secondary education due to a variety of factors,” says Watson.
“We know students, given these new opportunities, will contribute great things to their communities and Manitoba’s labour market.”
Advancing Indigenous achievement is one of the College’s Strategic Plan priorities, as well as a key goal of its Academic Division, which is committed to enhancing “the environment supporting Indigenous student success.”
As one of nine post-secondary signatories to the Manitoba Indigenous Education Blueprint (following the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada), the College recognizes it has an important, proactive role to play in supporting reconciliation efforts in the province.