Students at SIAST Palliser campus have been preparing to head back to school. And though students are allowed to apply throughout the year, officials with the school expect to see a growth in attendance in their September audit.
The school experienced attendance growth by 6.1 per cent and dean of industrial training Dennis Johnson said, with a booming economy, he expects to see that movement continue.
“It’s a common trend that we’ve been growing,” said Johnson. “We have some programs like electrician that are incredibly popular and we’ve seen a lot of growth in apprenticeship training overall, especially the construction trades.”
Johnson said apprenticeship programs have seen the most dramatic increases in enrollment and that the direct link those programs offer to industry are what have pushed people away from universities and into technical schools.
“Everything we do at SIAST is connected to industry,” he said. “If you are successful in our program there is very good opportunity to immediately engage in the work force and make a reasonable living wage.”
The fact that SIAST is located in a province that is hungry for workers also adds to the allure of SIAST, said Johnson, and they are seeing an increase of students coming in from outside the country.
“We have a very broad range of programs, so the likelihood that something will appeal to them is (great). There is a large choice,” he said, adding: “When you’re taking a program and hoping to then work in Canada, taking a program where there is job opportunities would be a smart choice.”
But with the influx of technical school students in Moose Jaw comes the problem of finding a place for them to live. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) most recent report, Moose Jaw’s vacancy rate sits at 1.6 percent, one of the toughest rental markets in Saskatchewan. And even then, that doesn’t mean apartments available are affordable. SIAST Palliser campus student association president Emily Weekes said finding accommodations in Moose Jaw is one of the biggest challenges for her fellow students.
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.