The 2010/05/03 at 14:13
The Collège d’Enseignement Général et Professionnel (CEGEP, literally “General and Professional Teaching College”) at La Pocatière, a small town 150 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, is a public educational establishment overseen by the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sport. Offering post-secondary pre-university programmes, it delivers college degrees (DECs) that open access to either university (in the case of its pre-university programmes) or the employment market (in the case of its technical programmes). More specifically, the CEGEP de La Pocatière offers 12 study programmes including 8 technical programmes (Animal Health, Stage Management and Techniques, Techniques in Specialised Education, Bio-Ecological Techniques, Nursing, Technology in Physics, Accounting and Management, IT) and 4 pre-university programmes (Natural Sciences, Human Sciences, Arts and Humanities (theatre), Fine Arts). Courses are run by some 130 instructors.
Every year, the establishment takes in 2,000 students, half of these in its initial education programmes. The latter are young adults who begin their college studies at age eighteen; around 60% of them come from towns other than Quebec City, or even overseas (currently 50 students), notably in the context of fixed agreements such as the Entente France-Québec. The CEGEP de La Pocatière also holds international exchange agreements with institutes and universities (for example with the French universities Paul-Sabatier in Toulouse and Jean-Monnet in Saint-Étienne), and partnerships with two schools in Morocco – one in Tetouan for an international trade programme, and another in Agadir, for a nursing programme.
Other advantages offered by the CEGEP de La Pocatière: a job placement rate for students coming to 90% in the year following graduation, and special attention placed on housing. “We have 400 residency spots for our 1,000 students,” rejoices Claude Harvey, General Manager of the establishment. “And we provide them personalised supervision, whether they be in initial or continuing education programmes. This is what sets us apart from the CEGEPs in large Canadian cities.” In terms of continuing education, the CEGEP de La Pocatière focuses on proximity with the business world. “We offer basic training programmes – office skills, accounting, etc. – , in order to allow adults to change job direction,” says Claude Harvey.
“We regularly join forces with large firms to train their staff or new recruits, in human resources, change management or technical content. And we can even create training programmes depending on the needs of a given organisation, in very diverse domains. For example, we are setting up a programme in Equestrian Circus Techniques for a commune in Quebec; we have recently launched a programme in Computer-Assisted Building Design to meet the needs of construction companies; and we have put in place the first laser welding training programme for a firm in the region.” In all, the CEGEP de La Pocatière welcomes over 1,000 continuing education students every year. These courses are held at La Pocatière, but also the College Study Centre in Montmagny, or else in companies. Programmes vary in length, from one week to one and a half years, and can be full-time or part-time. Not to mention the online training programmes which have been increasingly on the rise in recent years due to their flexibility. On top of this, the CEGEP de La Pocatière has opened a personalised improvement centre.
As further proof of the establishment’s proximity with the world of business, 3 applied research centres are attached to the CEGEP. Firstly, Biopterre, a name in the organic product domain; next, a centre for optical research; and finally, a centre for technologies in physics. Some 50 engineers work here, primarily on the hi-tech industrial procedures of laser welding and medical robotics – notably the design of “intelligent computerised hospital beds”. “What makes out research unique is that it is directly fed back into business, and thus into the economy,” declares the General Manager. “A few companies have even been born through our research in physics technologies, notably in the transport sector (laser welding, IT systems…). And some of our research has been adopted by Bombadier (aircraft manufacturer, editorial note).”