First francophone Canadian educational institution to receive accreditation from ECO Canada
October 12, 2011 – The Cégep de Saint-Félicien is proud to announce that it has become the first francophone educational institution in the country to receive national recognition from the Canadian Environmental Accreditation Commission (CEAC) of the Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) Canada for its program inTechniques du milieu naturel (environmental and wildlife management).
Established in 2009, the CEAC is a standing committee of ECO Canada, an educator and industry committee representing key organizations in the environmental sector from across the country. ECO Canada is responsible for managing the national accreditation program, which aims to ensure that post-secondary environment programs across Canada offer a high level of vocational education. To become accredited, educational institutions must demonstrate the quality of their training programs to an evaluation committee composed of experts in the field. There are approximately 400 environmental training programs across Canada, 10 of which have been assessed and accredited to date.’ The Cégep de Saint-Félicien is the first francophone institution to be thus accredited.
Techniques du milieu naturel: a high quality program
Available exclusively at the Cégep de Saint-Félicien, the Techniques du milieu naturel (environmental and wildlife management) program was authorized by Québec’s Ministry of Education in 1986. The program allows students to develop skills in one of four specializations: forest resource development; wildlife management; interpretation and management of natural heritage sites; and environmental protection.
The curriculum focuses on the acquisition of professional attitudes, knowledge, skills and work habits. It promotes respect for the environment, a sense of responsibility towards natural areas, adherence to sustainable development principles, consideration of the needs and values of stakeholders in the environment, and the thoroughness and rigor needed to analyze environmental issues and problems.
The training takes place mostly in the natural environment, particularly at the college’s teaching forest. Activities within the framework of real work settings — including group and individual traineeships and work-study programs — are coordinated by the College and conducted in collaboration with community organizations.
“The result is that graduates from this program demonstrate a versatility combining solid knowledge with an integrated vision of sustainable development”, said Daniel Labrecque of Quebec’s environment ministry (Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs). Notably, the ministry currently employs of over 75 of the program’s graduates.
The Cégep de Saint-Félicien was awarded this recognition from ECO Canada due to the environmental relevance of the program, the teaching staff’s expertise in various disciplines, the applied research activities that are in line with regional industries, the quality of the facilities and equipment, and the broad range of available student services.
Interesting job opportunities for graduates
This accreditation from ECO Canada sends a clear signal to industry: “Graduates of the environment program at the Cégep de Saint-Félicien have the required knowledge and skills to meet the growing needs of the environmental sector”, said Rhea Castillo, coordinator of the accreditation program at ECO Canada.
The Canadian environmental sector offers a wide range of employment opportunities for graduates of the program. According to “Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment” a study conducted by ECO Canada in 2010, there are currently over 682,000 people working in the sector, and 318,000 Canadian firms and organizations employ at least one environmental professional. Over 100,000 posts are expected to be available during the next decade due to the anticipated massive retirement of many current environmental workers.
Recognized from North to South
ECO Canada accreditation is a major milestone recognizing the Cégep de Saint-Félicien as a leader in the field for its commitment to international-calibre environmental education. Since matriculating its first students, the program has earned an excellent reputation, attracting students from all across the province and even from abroad. Among the 181 students who have been enrolled in the program, there have been 23 international students from places as diverse as France, New Caledonia, Réunion Island, Guadeloupe and Martinique. The training model used in the Techniques du milieu naturel program has also inspired Mexico’s national technological university system, which called on the expertise of the Cégep de Saint-Félicien last spring to help develop a similar program in Mexico. College representatives are very optimistic that such collaboration abroad will provide exposure to help build the institution’s international reputation.
For the director of the college, this North-South recognition helps develop the training offered by the college and confirms the quality of its programs. “This accreditation from ECO Canada will certainly boost enrolment in the college’s environmental program. Potential students will be attracted to a program with an international reputation that meets the requirements of a national standard which is recognized and supported by the environmental industry”, said Louis Lefebvre, director of the Cégep de Saint-Félicien.
“By attracting more young people to this program, we’ll be able to provide companies access to a pool of qualified candidates in environmental management. This will help address the growing shortage of workers that has been reported in this sector”, he concluded.
Julie Gaudreault, Communications Advisor
Cégep de Saint-Félicien
418-679-5412 ext. 315 0 1
Contact ECO Canada
Jessica Reynen, Communications Coordinator