Important to engage students early

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A year ago, the Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus (NSCC) reached out to the communities we serve for their input and guidance as we charted a course forward.

These community consultations, along with the voices of our students and employees, formed the foundation of NSCC's newest strategic plan.

Recently, I invited interested community partners back to the campus to take a look at the plan that we built together. We also discussed a number of exciting initiatives, including the Irving Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence at NSCC, IBM's new Global Delivery Centre and the growing international interest in Nova Scotia's offshore oil and oceans technology expertise and what this all means for the college and our province.

NSCC's strategic plan reflects the vital role the college plays in ensuring our province is equipped with a skilled and available workforce to meet the needs of these and other opportunities to come. Now, more than ever, we must support the students who will help shape the success of these projects and so much more.

In my last column, I spoke about the College's School of Access, a division of our learning that provides an on-ramp for people to enter advanced skills programs that lead to meaningful careers. An important part of the work we do, and a focus for us going forward, is helping students find the programs that are right for them. Programs that match their interests and abilities and which lead to careers they will find rewarding. Informed choices increase a student's likelihood of academic and career success.

By engaging students early and providing them opportunity to apply their skills, they will get more out of their programs and ultimately be better prepared for the real world. By enhancing our relationships with employers and industry, we will be able to ensure our programs continue to develop the workforce that matches the needs of Nova Scotia's economy.

These goals require the college to provide an exceptional learning experience - one that can only be achieved by continuing to strive for operational excellence in the design and delivery of our programs and services.

As I shared during my recent conversation with community members, NSCC's strategic plan is really an on-going dialogue; a rolling-plan rather than a fixed course. It will be revisited year-over-year to assess our progress and explore any new, emerging opportunities. This approach gives us greater capacity to adapt and respond to the needs of industry in Nova Scotia and, in doing so, continue to grow our economy and help enhance the quality of life here, at home.

If you like, you can find our strategic plan by visiting nscc.ca and looking under the Events & News and then Publications & Information sections.

Thank you for all of your support in 2012 and thanks to the Truro Daily News for this opportunity. I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

TAGLINE: Kevin Quinlan is the principal of the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro campus. His column appears monthly in the Truro Daily News.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College, Irving Shipbuilding Centre, IBM Global Delivery Centre School of Access Truro Daily News Events News

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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