A recent study, commissioned by Career Colleges Ontario and conducted by Environics Research Group, with nearly 6000 private career college (PCC) students in Ontario, found that more than half of the respondents had previous post-secondary education and employment experience. The students had chosen a program at an Ontario PCC for a better career or job, or to fast-track their path into the workforce.
This study is a first-of-its-kind among PCC students in Ontario and it showcases significantly different student demographics than found in community colleges.
It indicates that PCCs serve as an important bridge to the Ontario workforce and in particular for women, new immigrants and mature students who otherwise would not be able to achieve their working potential.
“This new report clearly shows us that women and newcomers in Ontario with previous post-secondary credentials are looking to private career colleges to find a better job or career,” said Sharon Maloney, CEO of Career Colleges Ontario. “This data reinforces and underlines the important role that private career colleges play in Ontario.”
The survey was conducted by the Environics Research Group in early 2017. The Highlights are:
PREVIOUS POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
• More than half of the students surveyed had previous post-secondary education.
· 56% of students born in Canada had previous post secondary education.
· 66% of PCC students who are first-generation immigrants have attended another post-secondary institution in another country.
• 52% of students surveyed selected a specific PCC program because they required education and training for a new and different career.
MATURE AND FEMALE STUDENTS
The survey indicated that PCC students tend to be significantly older than those who attend community college. And, there is a higher percentage of female students enrolled.
· 69% of Ontario PCC students are female, compared to 51% at community colleges.
· 57% of Ontario PCC students are over the age of 30, compared to 10% at community colleges.
· Only 26% of PCC students are under the age of 25, whereas 79% of community college students are aged 18 to 25 years. (This includes 40% who are aged 18-20).
· Only 9% of students transition directly to a PCC program from high school, compared to 33% at community colleges.
The survey also found that PCCs are popular with newcomers who are struggling to overcome foreign credential recognition issues. Among the PCC students surveyed:
· 52% identified as first-generation immigrants, compared to 13% who apply at community colleges.
· An additional 14% reported that their parents were born outside of Canada.
· Nearly four in 10 PCC students (38%) report that their first language is neither English nor French.
The survey also indicated that a strong majority of students who attend PCCs are pleased with the experience, with 72% indicating they are satisfied with the program they have chosen; only 2% expressed dissatisfaction.
OTHER NOTABLE FINDINGS:
· 41% have dependents, with 12% being single parents.
· 62% were employed prior to enrolling in a PCC program, with 65% of these students earning $30,000 or less.
· 26% reported that they were receiving some form of social or employment assistance, prior to enrolling at a PCC.
ABOUT THE CAREER COLLEGE SECTOR
The career college sector in Ontario, represented by Career Colleges Ontario, consists of approximately 43,000 students and 600 colleges. Annually, it produces more than 30,000 graduates at a minimal cost to taxpayers, because the sector receives no direct operating funds from the government.
ABOUT CAREER COLLEGES ONTARIO
Career Colleges Ontario (CCO) is a not-for-profit association that was established in 1973 to advocate on behalf of career colleges in the province of Ontario. The association’s purpose is to help governments, key decision makers and the public understand the critical role its members and their students play in supporting Ontario’s post-secondary education system and improving the province’s economic well-being. CCO’s members contribute to Ontario’s economy by providing highly qualified graduates in hundreds of essential, skilled fields such as Applied Arts, Business, Healthcare, Human Services, Information Technology, Services and Trades.