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Education needs to be made available to those seeking knowledge and wanting to improve their lives – not just in terms of a variety of courses and programs, but also geographically to a wide range of people, wherever they may be. This improves individuals’ lives, but also society as a whole, because the talented people needed to grow businesses and the economy will always be learning and thriving, ready to take the next step. About a year ago, Ashton College took a great stride in that regard, opening Ashton College Abbotsford campus for students in the Fraser Valley and other regions.
In the past year, 12 programs and courses have been offered at the centrally-located campus, allowing hundreds of students to meet their dreams in the areas of bookkeeping, dental receptionist, sales and marketing, international business and much more. Combined with Ashton’s Vancouver campus and the online learning tools like LIVE Online, students of post-secondary colleges like Ashton have endless opportunities for fulfilling their visions of the future.
Now, celebrating its first anniversary, Ashton has become an important contributor to the community of Abbotsford. It’s a 7,000 square foot facility with a focus on programs in ultra-modern dentistry, healthcare and business. Every class is taught with the same student care and attention that has made Ashton an enviable post-secondary institution in Canada for many years.
Jane Chang, Vice President of Ashton College was part of the team that saw what the private sector was looking for in terms of trained and educated staff. The programs offered by the college run inline with the job market to ensure they are the right ones to help students graduate into fields looking for educated and skilled team members. Developing the Abbotsford campus was part of the vision to extend the school’s offerings to even more individuals.
“It all started from the programs,” Chang says of the beginnings of Ashton College. “We are always looking at programs that get you job ready. From middle management to even becoming an entrepreneur.”
Officially opened on April 26, 2017, business and government dignitaries were on hand to conduct the ribbon cutting of the new Abbotsford location. They knew inherently the importance of a post-secondary college of Ashton College’s calibre and supported its arrival in the community – a community with a high immigration population.
“People aren’t just coming here [to Canada] for the good weather,” Chang explains of immigrants in the country who are often students. “You want them to be successful. The more educated that they get, the better jobs that they get, the more they contribute to the system. They’re hardworking people. They can contribute. We want them to succeed.”
Much of that success for new immigrants or others looking to start a new career or enhance their education comes from exploring the job fields that are in demand in Canada. By building on skills and knowledge that already exist, these individuals are likely to succeed in the future.
“If they come to our college and take their program, they are going to get everything they need,” she says. “You take that component and your experience and then your portfolio becomes that much greater.”
Chang and the other Ashton College founders saw friends, family and their friends and family not having the kind of life experience in Canada they’d dreamed of because their education didn’t transfer here. They weren’t doing what they were trained to do and therefore, their life in Canada wasn’t as successful as it could be.
It isn’t only immigrants who experience this gap in lifestyle. There are also those who are born in Canada who are not yet living up to their dreams, but who are also not interested in enrolling in school for four years – or longer – to take a program. Ashton College, through both of its campuses and the online learning tool, helps students get into a fulfilling career faster and with the Abbotsford campus, it’s also often closer to home.
“Most of the time, most of the people who come to us sort of have an idea of what they want to do,” Chang says of the courses students choose. “Our student body doesn’t need the counselling. We help them with the ins and outs. Our instructors are professionals that are in the industry. They are able to relate to the students and their previous experience and are able to initiate them into the Canadian experience.”
Depending on the program a student choses, Ashton will ensure they get all the training and education needed in order to achieve accreditation or certification here in Canada to begin their career and start the life they’d dreamed of.
“We try to make sure you’re ready for that,” Chang notes of the registration bodies students will apply to after they graduate from their course or program.
Programs at the Abbotsford campus are conducted in a modern, bright facility with the most up-to-date technology available. This ensures graduates of a program are able to hit the ground running with today’s current tools when they enter the job market.
For example, students in the Dental Assistant Certificate program will work in-class on theory, in a lab-based environment and in a real-world practicum giving them the ability to grow comfortable with education, tools and techniques to move seamlessly into the job market. There is also an exam preparation component to this program in order to assist students in being successful when they take the National Dental Assisting Examination Board exams.
Community Support Worker Diploma students will also work both in-class and in an extensive field practicum. The six-week practicum allows students to experience community support worker positions in real-time to apply their skills and education and encounter possible job fit.
Also taught at the Abbotsford campus is the Immigration Consultant Diploma, which is offered in both online and in-class environments. Because many students work better in a peer-learning environment, Ashton chose to deliver this, one of their most popular programs, in as many ways possible to fulfill the needs of a greater number of students. Regardless of how the courses are taken, students will be prepared to write the ICCRC exam.
We’re proud of all that Ashton College Abbotsford has achieved in just one year. If you’d like a tour of the facility or want to know more about what is offered from the Abbotsford campus, let us know, we’d love to hear from you.