In an effort to meet the need for trades people in the province of Alberta, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton has launched one of the first pathways in North America to allow certified tradespeople the opportunity to move directly from a trades certificate to the third year of a degree program.
The pioneering Trades to Degrees pathway is a response to workforce demand for tradespeople with managerial, leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
“Trades to Degrees will be transformative,” said Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT president and CEO. “By providing a direct pathway from trades certification to a degree, we’re acknowledging the work experience and post-secondary education that led to certification. The pathway recognizes the value of what has been achieved by the tradesperson. This is part of NAIT’s promise to Alberta to meet the current and emerging needs for relevant and responsive polytechnic education in our province.”
Trades to Degrees was introduced in the 2012 fall semester through NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business, with an inaugural cohort of 22 students comprised mostly of NAIT instructors, who are helping to shape and define the pathway.
Under Trades to Degrees, certified tradespeople can be admitted directly into the third year of the Bachelor of Business Administration program. The pathway will be expanded to other degree programs offered at NAIT.
“This is huge step forward for Alberta’s students,” said Premier Alison Redford. “They can enter the trades confidently, knowing that they have the best of both worlds — great jobs and opportunities for further post-secondary education. NAIT is opening these doors by helping people in the trades use their skills and experience to step into positions as managers and leaders in our economy.”
As one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, this initiative demonstrates NAIT’s commitment to strengthening the trades system and producing a highly-skilled workforce for Alberta and Canada. Every year, more than 12,000 trades apprentices attend NAIT. Ultimately, this new pathway will provide highly-skilled tradespersons with the knowledge and ability to expand their careers, and will help to re-shape Alberta’s trades system.
This initiative aligns perfectly with NAIT’s long-term vision - NAIT 2021 - and the province’s goal of providing Albertans with opportunities for lifelong education.
“We are implementing a New Academic Model that will allow NAIT to meet the needs of learners, the economy and society,” said Dr. Paula Burns, NAIT provost and vice-president academic. “The Trades to Degrees pathway is an excellent example of how NAIT is providing increased access through flexiblepathways and experiences leading to holistic student success.”