NAIT launches Trades to Degrees initiative to meet Alberta’s needs
NAIT has launched one of the first pathways in North America to allow certified tradespeople the opportunity to move directly from a trades certificate to the third year of a degree program. The pioneering Trades to Degrees pathway is a response to workforce demand for tradespeople with managerial, leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
“Trades to Degrees will be transformative,” said Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT president and CEO. “By providing a direct pathway from trades certification to a degree, we’re acknowledging the work experience and post-secondary education that led to certification. The pathway recognizes the value of what has been achieved by the tradesperson. This is part of NAIT’s promise to Alberta to meet the current and emerging needs for relevant and responsive polytechnic education in our province.”
Trades to Degrees was introduced in the 2012 fall semester through NAIT’s JR Shaw School of Business, with an inaugural cohort of 22 students comprised mostly of NAIT instructors, who are helping to shape and define the pathway.
Under Trades to Degrees, certified tradespeople can be admitted directly into the third year of the Bachelor of Business Administration program. The pathway will be expanded to other degree programs offered at NAIT.
“This is huge step forward for Alberta’s students,” said Premier Alison Redford. “They can enter the trades confidently, knowing that they have the best of both worlds — great jobs and opportunities for further post-secondary education. NAIT is opening these doors by helping people in the trades use their skills and experience to step into positions as managers and leaders in our economy.”
As one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, this initiative demonstrates NAIT’s commitment to strengthening the trades system and producing a highly-skilled workforce for Alberta and Canada. Every year, more than 12,000 trades apprentices attend NAIT. Ultimately, this new pathway will provide highly-skilled tradespersons with the knowledge and ability to expand their careers, and will help to re-shape Alberta’s trades system.
This initiative aligns perfectly with NAIT’s long-term vision - NAIT 2021 - and the province’s goal of providing Albertans with opportunities for lifelong education.
“We are implementing a New Academic Model that will allow NAIT to meet the needs of learners, the economy and society,” said Dr. Paula Burns, NAIT provost and vice-president academic. “The Trades to Degrees pathway is an excellent example of how NAIT is providing increased access through flexible pathways and experiences leading to holistic student success.”
NAIT is one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, with almost 80,000 registrations worldwide in key areas including science, technology and the environment, business, health and trades. Known for real-world education and student success, NAIT also engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. NAIT enrolled its first students - 29 communication electrician apprentices - in 1962 and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.
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What is Trades to Degrees?
Trades to Degrees is a pioneering pathway designed to admit journeymen directly into the third year of NAIT’s Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program.
When was the pathway launched?
The first class of the Trades to Degrees pathway is underway with 22 students who began the BBA on Sept. 8, 2012. The inaugural cohort is purposely comprised mostly of NAIT instructors, who will help shape and define the pathway. NAIT will learn from the learners. New applications will be accepted for the fall of 2013.
Why did NAIT launch Trades to Degrees?
The initiative responds to a labour market demand for tradespeople who have completed a degree in a related field and will allow Alberta to attract more of the best and brightest into the trades. The pathway is among the first in North America that allows certified tradespeople to move directly from a trades certificate to the third year of a degree program.
Who is eligible for Trades to Degrees?
The primary criterion is trades certification. To ensure that an individual has the strongest opportunity for success, he or she will undergo a selection interview. Entry requirements will be established for each degree program. For example, entry into the Bachelor of Business Administration program requires an average of 65 per cent in the following high school courses with no mark below 55 per cent:
- English 30-1 or English 30-2 or equivalent
- Grade 12 Math (Pure or Applied) or equivalent
- Three additional 30-level courses.
What degrees are included in the pathway?
NAIT offers degree programs in business (BBA) and in technology (BTech), and is developing a degree program in construction management. Currently, the BBA degree is included in the Trades to Degrees pathway. In time, qualified tradespeople will also be able to enroll in the third year of the BTech and construction management degree programs.
How does the trades and apprentice system work?
Skilled trades training is a partnership between the Government of Alberta, industry and post-secondary institutions. At the heart of Alberta’s skilled trades system is the apprenticeship model. Hands-on applied learning occurs on the jobsite under the supervision of a journeyperson. The educational component is provided by post-secondary institutions. Trades education is similar in nature and level to other post-secondary education, however, individuals with trades certification have previously had few pathways to baccalaureate level education. Those who sought to further their education received little academic credit for the education and experience they had attained.