After Spring Break, the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly will resume on the 11th of March 2008, primarily for purposes of announcing the Provincial budget. Many other important legislative agenda items will be tabled during this session as Premier Graham and our Government begin "Transformational Change." Many people have asked me "what do you guys mean by transformational change?" Sure, some are sarcastic. Others are inquisitive and some just don't really follow politics and only ask what I mean when they are listening in on a conversation that is usually taking place with either the sarcastic or inquisitive. Now don't get me wrong, I am not hanging out at the bar preaching the notion of transformational change or hosting a house party and giving the Self Sufficiency pitch, but I am excited about some of the huge mountains that Premier Graham is ready to begin pushing.
Take for example the ever- so controversial, Post-Secondary Education Report. Our Government indicated the status quo was unacceptable and promised to change parts of an archaic system. Of such changes is the inability to transfer credits from Community Colleges to Universities. I could never understand, other than pure elitism, why Universities did not accept certain credits when students wish to transfer campuses. If you are an Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and wish to become a Registered Nurse (RN) should you be expected to forgo your basic academic qualifications and start over? This isn't to say that all Nurses are the same. I understand the levels of expertise and professionalism, but if your introductory courses are essentially taught the same shouldn't they be honoured in that manner by either institution? I know of other examples and I am sure others do as well. I hope people understand my point here. However, beyond this point many other issues need to be resolved in our Post Secondary Education System and will once our Government determines the best time to bring forward positive changes to that system.
Ideally, students that attend either institution choose their career paths and find a good paying job in our Province. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Our Government has focused alot on trades both during the 2006 election campaign and since taking office. This is important for many people and to provincial economy if New Brunswick wishes to create an energy hub in Saint John. With the LNG terminal nearing its grand opening and the favourable conditions of a second nuclear reactor at Point Lepreau it can be done, but what about manpower? So this is what ticks me bit! I have people contacting me everyday seeking employment opportunities are University educated. Generally, they hold a Bachelor of Arts; Business; some marketing or human resource specialty and they can't find work in New Brunswick. Other people call or email my office seeking assistance to come back home with the same academic credentials. Can I help? Sometimes. Is it easy? Heck no! But, if these individuals were schooled in a trade it would be almost automatic finding work here. At present time, the residential and commercial construction trade is booming! Just look at the Northside of Fredericton and other places such as Dieppe. And with a Government focused on enhancing the specialized trade industry it's almost a no brainer that plenty of work is on the horizon.
You know years ago, parents would turn their noses up to the concept of their son or daughter becoming a plumber, electrician or carpenter. They wanted their child(ren) to become "well educated" by obtaining a university degree and getting a good job. Sure, some were able to do this while others are working but earning far less than the skilled tradesperson.
In my opinion, this concept of thinking and approach to informing students there is dignity in learning a trade is just one of many issues that require transformational change.