New Minister Had February Trip Cancelled Due to Bad Weather
Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson had the opportunity to tour Selkirk College’s Castlegar Campus on May 8 and discuss the future of post-secondary in the West Kootenay-Boundary.
Formerly the Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Wilkinson was appointed to his new cabinet post by Premier Christy Clark in December, 2014. Settling into his new portfolio, Wilkinson has been touring the 25 post-secondary institutions across the province over the last few months.
While on his tour of the Selkirk College Castlegar Campus, Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson had an opportunity to chat with students in the Pharmacy Technician Program. Wilkinson was in Castlegar as part of a province-wide tour of British Columbia’s 25 post-secondary institutions.
“Selkirk College is in a great spot and it offers some very focused programs that are in very high demand,” Wilkinson said during his Friday afternoon visit. “We’ve just come out of a Nursing Program classroom which is operating at full capacity and that’s a great example of how Selkirk is performing very well.”
While at the Castlegar Campus, Wilkinson had the opportunity to meet Selkirk College senior administration and members of the Board of Governors. He toured classrooms and met with students in the Pharmacy Technician Program that were involved in an afternoon lab.
“It’s very important for the minister to visit the regional institutions like Selkirk College to talk with our students, with faculty, staff, administrators, and board members to experience up close some of our successes and challenges,” said Selkirk College President Angus Graeme. “I really appreciated Minister Wilkinson's interest in Selkirk. He had done his background research and asked very thoughtful and relevant questions during the tour. I think he left with a much deeper appreciation for what Selkirk College is doing for students, our region, and the province.”
Wilkinson Provided Details of Funding Challenges
Wilkinson sat down with Graeme, Board of Governors Chair Bruce Morrison and Vice Chair Sharel Wallace who let the new minister know about the work being done to implement the Selkirk College Strategic Plan, efforts to increase enrolment, some of the innovative programs for students and community, the alignment with provincial workforce development goals, and the need for the renewal of facilities and infrastructure.
Joining the tour of the Selkirk College Castlegar Campus on Friday were (L-R) Gary Leier (Selkirk College Vice President of College Services/CFO), Kevin Brewster (Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Financial & Management Services for the Ministry of Advanced Education), Sharel Wallace (Vice Chair of the Selkirk College Board of Governors), Bruce Morrison (Chair of the Selkirk College Board of Governors), Andrew Wilkinson (Minister of Advanced Education), Angus Graeme (Selkirk College President), Cathy Mercer (Selkirk College Director of Student Services & Enrolment Services/Registrar) and Neil Coburn (Selkirk College VIce President of Education & Students).
“We had a good discussion about our funding challenges,” said Graeme. “The college has done extensive work to operate efficiently and balance budgets while strengthening our programs and services to students.”
Responsible for more than 430,000 post-secondary students across the province, Wilkinson said it’s important to continually look at ways to ensure that the education being delivered in British Columbia is relevant to today’s needs.
“Post-secondary education is turning from something that people do right after high school to something people do repeatedly through life,” Wilkinson said. “So we have to make sure that the programs and facilities are agile enough to take in people in their late-20s, their late-30s and people who are re-training so they can get to the skill and ability levels they need to prosper and succeed.”