OC increases access to early childhood education in the South Okanagan
Okanagan College (OC) is opening new spaces for people interested in working in early childhood education, as childcare facilities across the region and British Columbia continue to face staffing challenges. The Early Childhood Education Certificate program starts at OC’s Penticton campus in mid-March and runs through May 2024.
The intake will have space for 24 students, adding to the more than 145 Early Childhood Education students studying at Okanagan College in Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton this year.
According to the province’s Labour Market Outlook, released last week, it is projected there will be over 12,400 job openings in B.C. for early childhood educators and assistants over the next ten years.
“Families in the Interior depend on childcare being available and that is why we are working with Okanagan College to continue to open doors for students to pursue early childhood education,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “This government is taking action on early childhood educator training. Our efforts are bearing fruit as enrolment has grown by 40 percent across British Columbia. Thanks to this program, more students will be able to study for and soon step into a career in this in-demand field that many British Columbians rely on.”
Okanagan College’s Early Childhood Education Certificate program prepares students to work with young children in a variety of early learning and care environments. Students acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to work with children, families and the community in planning enriched programs in daycares and preschools that focus upon healthy development throughout the early years.
“With a constant need for early childhood educators across the region, Okanagan College is offering a program that is flexible and allows students opportunities to learn and gain valuable workplace experience,” said Dr. Neil Fassina, president, Okanagan College. “We encourage and support students to take the first step to enrol in this program at our Penticton campus, and from there they will gain high-quality training that prepares them to join the local workforce quickly and job-ready.”
The Certificate has been designed to help give students a fast-track to working in childcare. It runs from March 13, 2023, to May 3, 2024 (3 terms), with a break over the summer months that allows students to tap into seasonal work opportunities. The intake was made possible by one-time funding from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.
“Early Childhood Educators are at the heart of childcare. Funding additional ECE spaces at Okanagan College will ensure more educators are available to provide quality care and learning opportunities to kids and families in the region. The future for these students is bright, with bursaries available to help with the costs of their studies and wage enhancements and professional development opportunities to support their careers,” said Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care. “It’s great to see Okanagan College making more spaces available for ECE education, which will better support families and employers in the South Okanagan region.”
Successful completion of this three-semester program satisfies the ECE Registry training requirements for a Certificate to Practice as an Early Childhood Educator (Basic). More information about Becoming an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) in British Columbia is available from the Government of British Columbia.
Anyone interested in finding out more or applying to the program can visit the College’s website: www.okanagan.bc.ca/early-childhood-education-certificate or contact 250-492-4305 or 1-866-510-8899 for more information.
Tags: Health and Social Development, Early Childhood Education, Penticton
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