By Taylor ParsonsThe number of community college applicants are at an all time high, and many of those applying are already equipped with a university degree, according to a new study this week.
The report revealed Ontario colleges are seeing a 40 percent increase in applications from university graduates within the last five years.
Linda Franklin, CEO of Colleges Ontario which oversees all community colleges, said post-grad students return to post secondary courses to refine the skills they learned in university.
“There is a growing movement for people to get a general education and then to start to think about ‘What specific skills do I need to get a good job?’ and I think that’s bringing a lot of focus to college,” she said to RADIO HUMBER.
Franklin said students flock to industries where there is a great deal of job potential.
“College students are always very focused on where the job market is going,” she said. “For years when the I.T. sector wasn’t hiring, we did not find people going into those programs. When the I.T. sector picked up again, enrolments pick up.”
After graduating from the visual arts program at York University in 2009 Amy Stubbs, 26, came to Humber in 2012 for the post-grad journalism program.
“I found that after four years of university I walked out the door with a piece of paper but not much help getting a job,” said Stubbs. “I find that college gives you a much more hands on approach and learning actual skills for the workforce. It prepares you, and gives you that much needed hand for getting a career.”
Mary Takacs, program coordinator for the Research Analyst Post-Graduate Program at Humber, said the job market is a big factor in the new study.
“The number one reason is they want to get work and they’re finding their undergraduate degree isn’t actually getting them where they need to be in their careers – it’s as simple as that,” Takacs said.
Franklin notes this isn’t the first time there has been a dramatic increase in college enrolment.
“Traditionally, every time there’s a downturn in the economy that is serious, we see enrolment numbers go up in colleges,” Franklin said. “I think when people are having a tough time and struggling to find good jobs, they come to college in larger numbers.”
Even after certain job markets improve, the number of college applications remain steady.
“When recessions pass, we find the increase in college numbers tends to hold,” Franklin said. “The other interesting fact is that once people experience college, and start to talk to their friends, and start to see some success in the job market, it drives more enrolment.”
According to Franklin, the most popular jobs right now are in business, practical nursing, electrical engineering, technician work, culinary and social work.