College of the Rockies expands Early Childhood Education program

College of the Rockies has plans to double the capacity of its Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, in order to provide child care centres in the Kootenays with qualified staff and help families access quality child care.

“Families deserve access to quality child care that they can afford, and making sure we have enough care providers is a key part in making that happen,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Early childhood education funding for programs, like the one at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, gives students the skills to succeed in a rewarding career.”

Through a $130,000 investment, the Province is helping College of the Rockies adding 30 new seats to its ECE program at its Cranbrook campus. Twenty of these students will complete a one-year certificate program, and 10 more students will continue for another year to complete their diploma.

“ECEs are the backbone of BC’s child care system. Their passion and dedication help families every day,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “The new ECEs graduating from these seats will have a key role to play, as we work to deliver affordable, accessible and quality child care under our Childcare BC plan.”

Based on the 2017 BC Labour Market Outlook, a total of 9,100 additional early childhood educators are projected to be required in BC by 2027. Training quality ECEs is key to ensuring that BC children have access to quality early childhood education programs in communities throughout BC.

“By investing in College of the Rockies’ early childhood education program, the Province is investing in the success of children in our region,” said David Walls, president, College of the Rockies. “This funding will allow us to better meet local demand for early childhood educators, ensuring those educators are qualified and able to provide the best possible start for our children.”

Budget 2018 announced a $1-billion investment to help lay the foundation for a universal child care system that will provide parents with access to affordable, quality child care, when and where they need it. This funding is part of the $7.4 million over three years, which the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training has committed toward funding an additional 620 early childhood educator graduates at public post-secondary institutions throughout BC.