COURTENAY, B.C. – The provincial government has announced funding to expand the Early Childhood Education program at North Island College.

A $220,000 investment is being made over the next three years to deliver a new part-time early childhood care and education certificate.

24 seats will be made available for the new course. It will offer access to certificate completion for people working as assistants in the field, without affecting the needs of where they are employed.

“More early childhood education training spaces at North Island College will open the doors to a rewarding career for more students,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, in a provincial release.

“Families deserve access to quality child care that they can afford, and making sure ensuring we have enough care providers is a key part in making that happen.”

According to a 2017 study, British Columbia will need 9100 additional early childhood educators by 2027.

“Most of a child’s brain development happens in the first six years of life, and that’s why it’s so important to give children access to quality learning experiences,” said Katrina Chen, B.C.’s Minister of State for Child Care.

John Bowman, NIC’s president, said this is great news for the college.

“With the expansion of the early childhood care and education certificate at North Island College, NIC is able to create a ripple effect of opportunity in our community, from students to families and through to the young children who get quality care.”

The new program will start up in January 2019, and run on evenings and weekends.

Photo caption: The province is providing funding to create 24 spaces in a new early childhood education program at North Island College. Photo courtesy NIC.