By BARRY WRIGHT
The increase in the number of students at Lambton College has outstripped the provincial average by a ratio of nearly three-to-one.
College president Dr. Tony Hanlon told LambtonShield.com on Tuesday that enrolment is up 17 per cent to 3,058 full-time students.
The provincial average is just under six per cent.
“We are a bit ahead of curve,” said an understating Hanlon, who cited an expanded number of college programs as well as partnerships with universities and an increase in unemployment as reasons for the large jump.
Hanlon said the total does not include about 600 apprentices and 300 high school students who are taking courses at the college as well as the 248 international students (nearly six times higher than those in the rest of Ontario).
“These (international students) are coming from a variety of countries,” said Hanlon, adding that most are from Southeast Asia, Caribbean countries and India.
“We’ve been recruiting in India for a couple of years now and we are beginning to see the benefits.”
The next region from which to target students is South America, said Hanlon.
Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, the advocacy group for the province’s 24 colleges of applied arts and technology, said students are gravitating toward schools like Lambton College for one obvious reason: jobs.
“Students continue to recognize the tremendous value of the career-oriented education and training provided at Ontario’s public colleges,” said Franklin. “Business and industry are demanding innovative, technically skilled workers and colleges are listening. So students know they will be graduating to good jobs.”
While provincially. 93 per cent of employers said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the Ontario college graduates they had hired in the past six months, Hanlon said Lambton’s satisfaction rating is “slightly higher” than that.
He said the college is currently at capacity and for that reason he continues to press senior levels of government for funding to build a new health sciences facility, including visiting Queen’s Park recently, “just to let them know we are still here.”