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Okanagan College’s Penticton campus opens new spaces for Early Childhood Education students

A total of 24 new spaces open for the certificate program that starts in March
An Early Childcare Education student at the Penticton campus. (Okanagan College photo)

Okanagan College is opening new spaces in early childhood education to address the continued staffing challenges childcare daycare facilities face.

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) 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 ECE 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 10 years.

“This government is taking action on early childhood educator training. Our efforts are bearing fruit as enrolment has grown by 40 per cent,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.

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.

“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 of Okanagan College.

“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.”

Anyone interested in finding out more or applying to the program can visit the College’s website or contact 250-492-4305.