The 2010/05/03 at 14:19
The main mission of the Collège Mérici in Quebec consists in getting its students ready, either for further university studies if they intend to continue studies upon graduation, or for the job market if they decide to launch themselves directly into the working world. “To get there, one of our special features is to combine personal development with teaching and training,” explains Pierre L’Heureux, General Manager of Mérici. “The aim is to prepare the young people who come to study with us as far as possible professionally, but also in human terms. In this way, in the context of educational plans, the college seeks to incite a sense of commitment in students by teaching values of openness towards the world and enrichment for the community. A ‘global‘ approach that aims to leave nothing to chance.” Following through from this outlook, the establishment provides assistance for all types of procedures, notably administrative, while maintaining close links with companies and bodies likely to take in young recruits when they finish their studies.
Mérici has gone a long way since first opening its doors in the 1930s. At the outset, its goal was to welcome, in its new buildings at the historic heart of Quebec City, the girls section of the École Normale Laval. 80 years later, Mérici now has 130 teachers and a total of 200 on staff. “Organised like a veritable mini-campus with numerous activities including cultural and sporting ones, the college, now private, develops a strategy consisting of training students within the Quebec ‘system‘ but according to North American standards,” continues the General Manager. In terms of its post-baccalauréat training, Collège Mérici offers two types of programmes – 4 two-year pre-university programmes: arts and humanities, science and human sciences, and 5 three-year technical programmes: catering (culinary arts, tableware and hospitality, and managing an establishment), hotel and tourist accommodation management, tourism, specialised education and prosthesis-orthotics and foot orthotics. “Every year, we take in 1,200 students and out of these, 80% are enrolled in long programmes,” points out Jean Fleury, in charge of international recruitment. “The job placement rate of our college graduates speaks volumes: 96% for specialised education; 83% for orthotic techniques and orthopaedic; 84% for tourism techniques; 88% for hotel management techniques; 83% for restaurant management. Today, professions in the restaurant and hotel industries are extremely popular over here, namely due to strong demand from the Quebec tourist sector. The same success can be seen in orthopaedic-related careers which offer the advantage of studies held over three years. Another important point: all our training programmes are backed up by internships in companies or laboratories.”
Added to these are continuing education programmes aimed at all adults wishing to heighten their employability as well as employees wishing to improve their skills. The Quebec government’s scheme of student loans and grants applies to all these programmes. Unemployed persons have the option of obtaining support from Emploi-Québec. “It is necessary to meet the criteria of the programme for loans and grants, namely in terms of residency or permanent residency status,” insists Jean Fleury. “Quebec seeks to draw a large number of international students, mainly French ones, for whom Franco-Quebecois agreements allow tuition fees to be partially covered. These fees come to around 2,200 euros per year, as opposed to over 6,000 euros per year for other international students.”
Amongst the establishments main assets, one can cite its exceptional location at the heart of Quebec City, near the Plaines d’Abraham and Vieux-Québec, its reputation and the diversity of its programmes, as well as the recognised quality of its teaching, the student success rate and its openness towards the international sphere. As for the benefits of Quebec, these include a lower cost of living, a relatively weak unemployment rate, the fact that 95% of Quebecois are Francophones, as well as the fact that Quebec is largely open to the world in general and the United States in particular.