Province adds post-secondary seats to growing tech sector


On August 16, the Alberta government announced it is adding 406 new post-secondary tech program seats this September to keep pace with the diversifying economy. The additional technology seats have been added at colleges and universities because of investments outlined in the province’s Growth and Diversification Act.

Working with post-secondary institutions in Lethbridge, Calgary and  Edmonton, the province is helping more students access training opportunities that will lead to sound jobs in Alberta’s growing tech sector. Post-secondary enrolment has increased in tech-related fields 8.4 per cent with disciplines such as computer programming, computing science and software engineering seeing the largest increases – 30 per cent to 50 per cent over the past four years.

“Our government is making sure more students can train, grow and graduate with the expertise needed for good jobs in Alberta’s changing economy,” said Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education. “Investing in more seats will ensure our booming tech sector gets the support of more highly skilled Albertans, and will help our province continue to be an economic leader.”

The additional seats are part of the government’s five-year, $50-million investment in growing Alberta’s tech sector. They are being added to existing tech-related post-secondary programs that offer certificates, diploma or degrees and are one to two years in duration. By 2023, at least 3,000 new tech-related seats will be added to post-secondary institutions across the province. 

The University of Lethbridge will receive two Masters of Science, Computer Science seats, while Lethbridge College will increase the Computer Information Technology intake by 19 seats.

Post-secondary educational institutes in Calgary will benefits from a total of 216 seats. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) will add 98 seats to the Information Technology diploma program and the Object Oriented Software Development certificate will increase by 48 seats. Thirty Software Development intakes for Bow Valley College and an additional 40 Master of Engineering, Software seats for the University of Calgary.

Upon hearing the announcement, U of C’s Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president (academic) commented, “The University of Calgary is home to some very well-recognized technology programs, so it’s encouraging to see that the government is increasing its support in this area. We have the talented faculty and students needed to help diversify our economy, and with additional government funds we can continue to grow in technology areas.”

A boon of 169 seats will be added to three institutes in Edmonton, with the U of A increasing their Bachelor  of Science, Computing Science (After Degree) by 25 students. The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) will see an additional 124 seats with 24 in Computer Engineering Technology and 100 for Digital Media and Information Technology. Ten new seats in each of the Masters of Information Systems Assurance Management and Masters of Information Systems Security Management programs will round out the tech-related seats at Concordia University of Edmonton.

The recently established Talent Advisory Council on Technology (TACT) will work with the tech industry, students, labour and post-secondary institutions to advise government on the best training opportunities to prepare Albertans for a more diversified and tech-savvy economy.

“I think the tech sector is going to be growing rapidly over the next decade, so it’s nice to see increased support for post-secondary education in STEM fields,” said U of C PhD student Sepideh Afkami-Goli. “I’ve always been passionate about science and technology, and the new master of engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering is an exciting opportunity for grad students at the University of Calgary.”

The Growth and Diversification Act is part of the government’s commitment to create an economy built to last, and is an example of how the province is preparing Albertans for a more diversified  economic future. Also included in the Act are a number of tax credits to stimulate additional job creation in the tech sector.

– with files

Posted on:
Tuesday, August 28, 2018