While serving the needs of Alberta, NAIT is globally competitive and recognized.
The Government of Alberta and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce forecast a shortage of workers over the next seven to nine years. A significant component of these shortages is within the programs that NAIT trains students.
To meet this promise, NAIT needs to grow strategically, provide lifelong pathways, ensure there is an understanding of, and support for, polytechnic education in Alberta and we must do so in a financially sustainable manner.
As NAIT’s research chair in peatland restoration, Dr. Bin Xu’s passion is his day job. His research, conducted at the NAIT Boreal Research Institute in Peace River continues to protect and restore northern ecosystems. It’s one of many industry- focused solutions that contribute to a sustainable future for Alberta and the rest of Canada.More on Dr. Bin Xu
NAIT uses feedback from industry and labour market data to determine the volume of graduates, skills and training needed today and into the future. The largest expansions in NAIT programs will be in the areas of greatest demand in Alberta.
Over the last 10 years, NAIT’s student volume has grown by almost 35 per cent, mirroring the population growth of Alberta. Both NAIT and Alberta continue to ride an economic wave unrivalled in North America. It could properly be described as two waves – one of energy resource development and one of accelerating technological development. A third wave is also coming – one of demographic change. Alberta, similar to many western jurisdictions, has an aging population. However, unlike most of those jurisdictions, Alberta’s population continues to grow, with people arriving from other countries and Canadian provinces.
As a result of this economic and population growth, the Government of Alberta forecasts an unmet demand of over 96,000 new workers by 2023. The shortages are forecast to be greatest in the program areas taught by NAIT.
We are well-positioned at the crest of all three of these waves – the demand for our programs is at a historic high, the full-time employment rate of our graduates exceeds 92 per cent, our staff are talented and dedicated and our programs and people are fueling the province’s prosperity. Further, there is a far greater understanding of the opportunities offered through polytechnic education. Yet we know we have the opportunity to contribute much more.
Over the next decade and beyond, NAIT will grow strategically to meet the province’s needs.
Growth in the number of students including apprentices
Graduate satisfaction with improved employment opportunities
Align programs to the changing labour market needs of Alberta.
Optimize NAIT’s physical, technological and human resource capacity to accommodate growth.
Ensure business processes are nimble and responsive.
To meet the emerging needs of the province for polytechnic education, people must be able to access our education.
NAIT has been a leader in supporting learner pathways, including the introduction of the Trades to Degrees program. This program recognizes trades professionals and provides them the opportunity to progress from a trades credential to the third year of a degree program. This is just one example of how NAIT is enabling access into the institution for interested learners. We are also creating seamless transitions from high school, developing mobility agreements with other post-secondary institutions, providing flexible arrangements for learners employed in the workforce, and offering training that many professionals need to maintain their accreditation.
Pathways into NAIT, within NAIT and beyond NAIT are necessary to ensure we produce graduates with the right skills in the right number at the right time for our province. NAIT believes education should never have an end-point and a person should be able to upgrade their skills without having to start their education over again.
Dr. Sara Ghotbi is a physician and clinical researcher who characterizes herself as a forever learner.
After searching the internet and comparing curricula, she chose NAIT’s Project Management Program for its comprehensive courses, competitive pricing and convenient part- time weekend classes. The skills Sara acquired are transferable to any project or industry and have improved all aspects of the projects that she manages. She has been able to apply these same skills successfully in her position as a policy analyst in health care.
Growth in non-credit student enrolment
Growth in the number of graduates and apprenticeship completers
Enhance barrier-free learner pathways into NAIT, within NAIT and beyond NAIT in support of lifelong education.
There is a long-standing North American perception of a post-secondary hierarchy. Polytechnics and their hands-on learning environment become a second choice to university education for some students.
It is time to embrace a parity of esteem across all forms of post-secondary education. NAIT education is second to none. Higher learning needs to focus on aligning interests and aptitudes to the most appropriate learning environment. This can only happen through knowledge of the value of all forms of post-secondary education and greater understanding of the unique role that polytechnics play.
Polytechnic education and applied research are not universally well understood. Too often, learners come to NAIT after enrolling in other learning environments. The average entering age of a NAIT student is 24 years, and over 50 per cent have prior post-secondary experience. When polling NAIT students, the number one reason they come to the institution is for a career. It takes too long – at great costs to students, to industry and government – for students to enrol in an institution that aligns with their interests and aptitudes. We expect students, parents and governments will increasingly understand the nature of this education and make informed decisions to ensure Alberta achieves its full potential.
There is incredible pride in being a part of the NAIT family. A student’s introduction to NAIT is the beginning of a life-long relationship. The institution offers learning opportunities throughout all aspects of one’s life, creates alumni opportunities and makes the campus a welcome space for current and past students to return. Our relationship with students does not end when they graduate; they are forever members of NAIT’s large and growing alumni family.
The NAITitForward campaign provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to direct charitable dollars to NAIT. By 2021, we aim to increase the participation rate to 25% and generate $87,000 in gross revenue towards Essential: the NAIT campaign.
Growth in volume of donations from alumni
Percentage of NAIT graduates that would recommend NAIT to others
Total amount of student scholarship and bursary funds available
Build knowledge and understanding of polytechnics and the value proposition of applied, hands-on, technology-based education, applied research and innovation.
Embrace alumni as ambassadors, forever learners and givers within the NAIT family.
NAIT’s vision can only be achieved if the institution remains financially strong through the efficient and effective use of all resources.
Governments at all levels around the world have increasing financial pressures with finite resources and competing priorities. All public sector organizations will be challenged to do more with less. Many post-secondary institutions across Canada have seen reductions in government funding, a trend that could continue into the future. This will require greater scrutiny of expenditures and an increased focus on the value for dollars spent.
NAIT is well-positioned to plan long-term and adapt to these new fiscal realities. A balanced approach to financial planning has always been and will continue to be fundamental to the institution’s operations, focusing on both fiscal prudence and revenue generation.
NAIT’s Financial Sustainability Task Force is looking at opportunities for greater efficiencies and increased revenue.
One exciting action NAIT has underway is the development and implementation of financial performance measures that will support enrolment growth and optimal space utilization.
Net revenue from continuing education and contract training
Develop and implement short- and long-term financial strategies.