The College of the Rockies showcased their skilled trades program to a delegation from Tanzania who are in Cranbrook — and Canada — to bolster their own initiatives at a post-secondary institution back in Africa.
The group, from the Mwanza Regional Vocational Training & Service Centre, located in Mwanza, Tanzania, toured COTR and Mount Baker Secondary School facilities and programs before heading down to Victoria to do the same with Camosun College.
“The whole purpose of the visit was for the Tanzanian group to learn about some things that they could possibly take back to their institution,” said Michael Hay, International Project Officer with COTR, “and also really hit home the idea of partnerships and relationship building is something that is key to everything.
“Without having those partnerships built, these programs aren’t really possible and they won’t come to fruition, especially in a Tanzanian context where government funding is very limited.”
The delegation — Mrs. Hildegardis Bitegera, Mr. John Kengese, Mr. Charles Mpambwe and Mr. Edwin Temu — were toured through Mount Baker on Thursday by Hay and Brian Conrad, the Regional Transitions Coordinator.
The tour included stops in the woodworking, metalworking, drafting, automotive and electronics shops of the high school, so the delegation could see the equipment and watch the students in action.
“This particular visit to Cranbrook and Victoria is all about institutional capacity-building,” said Hay. “So that’s a particular phrase I’ve been using to organize the entire week.”
In addition to touring Mount Baker Secondary School, the Tanzanian delegation participated in workshops led by COTR staff on career guidance counselling and the logistics of providing short courses.
Short courses, or contract courses, are a big income-generator for MRVTSC and COTR staff at the Continuing Education department provided information on cost-analysis and budgeting.
The Student Services department also met with the delegation to talk about career guidance counselling, resume-writing and interviewing techniques.
During the high school tour, led by Paul Duczek, a shop instructor, and Conrad, the delegation learned about programs such as GEMS — Girls Exploring Manual Skills — where girls can try skilled trades in an all-female environment and Project Heavy Duty, a a partnership program between government, schools and industry to expose students to safety and heavy duty equipment.
“In addition institutional capacity-building, it’s really about best practices — picking and choosing those things that we do here in Canada and take back to Mwanza and hope to implement,” Hay said.
The partnership project with MRVTSC is funded by the federal government through Global Affairs Canada and administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada.