NAIT’s Centre for Applied Technology (Backgrounder)
The Centre for Applied Technology (CAT) responds to Alberta’s demand for a skilled work force; and we are ready to proceed with construction (shovel ready). The capacity added by CAT will allow Alberta to meet current and emerging needs in areas critical to the future of the province – it is an investment in our future.
This investment in post-secondary education will play a pivotal role in addressing a growing skilled labour shortage in those areas most necessary for economic development and prosperity. NAIT cannot currently meet the demand for our programs – our applications for each position have risen sharply over the last 4 years from an average 2.3 to 3.5. The programs served by CAT are those of greatest importance to meet Alberta’s labour market needs. Students turned away from these programs are unlikely to be enrolled in similar programs – that is, in polytechnic-based education.
The primary purpose of CAT is to provide classroom space and labs to meet Alberta’s urgent needs in our four program areas. CAT is consistent with the aims of Campus Alberta including responding to demand and enhancing learner pathways, and provides the nature of space necessary to implement our new academic model – a model focused on flexible pathways, holistic student success, a variety of delivery models, and career laddering. CAT further provides the space necessary for NAIT to meet the important emerging demand for polytechnic education, including demand by the aboriginal and new immigrant communities.
Each year, without CAT, NAIT will become even less able to meet the growing demands and needs of industry and business in Edmonton and Northern Alberta. The capacity shortfall will directly hit our economic engine – in fact, it may already have. The Alberta government recognizes that there are four areas of current and future shortage, “most labour market shortages are forecasted for graduates from Trades and Technology (30.3%), Health Sciences (27.5%), Business (16.3%), and Physical, Natural, and Applied Sciences (14.9%).” These concerns are echoed by industry. The purpose for CAT is to allow NAIT to meet these critical needs.
CAT will provide new space for science and technology, health care, and business. It will allow us to increase our enrolment by 1,700 across these three areas. Our fourth program area, trades, will also benefit significantly as vacated space will become available for programs in high demand (e.g., allowing us to increase electrician and electrical technologies by about 35%).
The Alberta government further noted that these areas of greatest need are also the areas students want to study in, but are being turned away from: “Programs with the greatest student demand continue to be those with the highest labour market demand, namely those in health science and trades and technology program bands.” This is particularly pronounced at NAIT. We are turning away a very large number of students in the areas that are most critical to Alberta. Over the last four years our turn-away ratio (the ratio of applications to quota positions) has soared from 2.3 to 1 (2.3 applications for each quota position) to 3.5 to 1. This ratio is 6.68 to 1 for healthcare and 4.24 to 1 for science and technology. This represents significant unmet demand for specific programs of almost 3000 spaces – a number that is expected to grow.
Additional government statistics further support the need for additional space. NAIT is projected to have by far the greatest capacity deficit (the difference between projected enrolment and physical capacity) in the system – a deficit of 2,105 full time equivalent students by 2018-19 (we believe this figure to be significantly understated). That is, the difference between demand and capacity – already large at NAIT – will continue to grow (likely far beyond these projections). NAIT’s capacity issue is further exacerbated by the growing number of transfers from other post secondary institutions – particularly universities – for students seeking relevance and employment.
Finally, we have worked closely with the provincial government – we would like to acknowledge their support. An investment of $12 million by the Government of Alberta and NAIT has brought this project to shovel ready status.
Alberta needs CAT, and we are ready to proceed. Working together, we will meet Alberta’s needs for polytechnic education – education central to a prosperous economy and international competitiveness.
By the numbers
• CAT will have the capacity to accommodate approximately 5,000 students on a daily basis of which 1,700 will represent new enrolment growth.
• 76 classrooms, 27 simulation labs, and a 135 seat lecture theatre.
• 49,200 m² (530,000 square feet) five-story education building located on 106th Street.
• Total project cost: $240 million (2010 dollars)
• Reduction of deferred maintenance of $43 million
For more information please contact:
NAIT Media Relations
P 780.471.8450 C 780.916.8307 E firstname.lastname@example.org