Canadian colleges join forces to better prepare students for cannabis industry

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Call it a study group, five Canadian colleges strong.

The Canadian post-secondary institutions are teaming up to provide new training and education opportunities for students, including related to cannabis. “Cannabis is a rapidly growing industry,” said Marian Gayed, vice president of business development at NorQuest College in Edmonton.

The study group will be made up of Ontario’s Niagara and Durham colleges, B.C.’s Okanagan College, Alberta’s NorQuest College and New Brunswick’s College Communautaire.

“Creating this consortium is a great example of how post-secondary institutions from across Canada can join forces and leverage coordinated efforts to solve problems and drive education and innovation in the economy,” Gayed said.

The consortium plans to pool knowledge and resources on what is a vast subject matter to better serve its students and the industry.

“Cannabis training is so multi-faceted,” said Dennis Silvestrone, director of continuing studies and corporate training for Okanagan College. “Collaborating with other post-secondary institutions and bodies that are developing training, conducting research or otherwise have depth of knowledge in this area is only going to help us deliver programs that are beneficial for students and for the industry,” Silvestrone noted.

Okanagan dipped its toe into cannabis in 2017, offering its first course on the plant at its business school. The popularity of the course helped convince the school to expand the offerings.

“We’ve seen a lot of interest across the board, from the cultivation side of things to courses on implications of cannabis and the workplace, around facility practices and business fundamentals,” Silvestrone said. “We’re encouraged by the breadth of interest so far, which helps us continue to refine and build out our program array.”

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