RRC to expand ACCESS program, closing admissions for a year

Cassidy Rempel, CONTRIBUTOR

Mitchell Beaulieu, Business Administration student, works on a class project on March 17, 2017. THE PROJECTOR/ Cassidy Rempel

Red River College is not accepting applicants into its ACCESS programs for the upcoming school year (2018-2019) because it is expanding the programs.

The college’s current ACCESS (Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society) program offers admission to four different courses (nursing, aircraft maintenance and manufacturing, business administration and civil engineering technology) for low-income residents of Manitoba who have not had the opportunity for post-secondary education. This could be because of social, economic or cultural factors. ACCESS gives students a one-year diploma in one of the offered programs.

ACCESS’ expansion in the coming years will give students more programs to apply to.

Satinder Singh, 18, a first year Business Administration student who is not enrolled in ACCESS, said he would not wait an extra year to get into the program.

Singh was born in India and raised in Italy. He moved to Canada with his parents when he was 10. Singh said he’s still learning new English words every day.

Singh said he didn’t know about the ACCESS program when he applied for college. He said if he had known about ACCESS and been accepted into the program, he might have had an easier time understanding some terms.

“I have to learn Indian to make my parents happy, and I have to learn English because I live in Canada,” said Singh.

Mitchell Beaulieu, 21, a first year business administration student who is also not enrolled in ACCESS said he wanted to come to RRC because of the small class sizes and hands-on learning.

“The instructors actually care how you do,” said Beaulieu. However, like Singh, he said he would not have been willing to wait a year for the ACCESS program to be available.

Catherine Baxter, chair for the nursing department, said there was an opportunity for the college to modernize ACCESS programs by helping students overcome obstacles.

While the one-year delay in accepting new students to ACCESS programs may prevent some applications, the college is hoping the change will have a positive outcome. Baxter said the college wants to help ACCESS students get a college education and meet industry needs.

Baxter said that staff, faculty, and the community will have consultations to decide what expansion process will have the greatest benefit for the students.