by Stacy Dunn
Collège de l’Île is PEI’s public French language community college, established in 2008 under an agreement with Société éducative de l’Î.-P.-É. and the Government of PEI. There are campuses in Wellington and in Charlottetown. College programs and language training are delivered as full-time or part-time studies in class, online, or with a tutor.
The following eight college-level programs are offered:
- Accounting Clerk
- Bilingual Administrative Assistant
- Early Childhood Assistant
- Early Childhood Educator
- Human Services
- Practical Nursing
- Resident Care Worker
- Youth Worker
Collège de l’Île also offers adult education for people looking to obtain their GED, or upgrade skills to be able to enroll in college. For individuals, entrepreneurs, and community organizations, it has customized training in computers, management skills, life coaching and more, to meet the person or group’s continual learning needs.
The college has an agreement with PEI’s French public school board, La Commission scolaire de langue française, which allows a Grade 12 student to take two courses at Collège de l’Île. These courses are credits toward a student’s high school diploma and their college diploma, if they choose to attend the college in the future.
For the 2020-2021 year, there were 40 students and 30 staff. Students come from PEI, across Canada, Latin America, and Africa. The staff is made up of administration and instructors. President Darlene Arsenault leads the team of directors, managers, and instructors. Human Resources Officer Manu Nicaise says the average age of staff is 45.
“Employment had been steady for years at the college, and now we are seeing a high demand for our programs, which means we are looking for more instructors,” he said. “Also, COVID-19 has shown that we need to adapt to be more effective and structured.”
The college puts out the call for instructors year-round. They work on a full-time, part-time, or contract basis. Manu says the highest need is for instructors and a Program Manager for its health programs, and these positions are difficult to fill.
“We would like to hire nurses because they have the specific competencies we require. These positions would be ideal for nurses who are at the point of their career where they would like to teach or want to work Monday to Friday with evenings and weekends off.”
The need for contract workers
Contract workers are needed at the times the college is busy. “A full-time instructor may need extra help to teach the students, or there is a subject in demand that the college has to contract an expert if we do not have them on staff already.”
Manu says contract staff sometimes work part-time or full-time in another job. “We have to make sure their schedule fits with ours, and we talk with them way ahead of the course start to see that we are on the same page.”
Benefits and education/training
Collège de l’Île offers a cost-shared RRSP and health benefits plan.
Manu says instructors are required to have certification in education, and administration staff need post-secondary education. “However, if an administrative worker needs extra credentials in the department they work in, we can offer them a training course.
“There is opportunity for advancement for staff who show drive, the right attitude, and high competency. A part-time position can lead to a full-time position.”
Jobs are advertised on their website and PEI’s French newspaper La Voix Acadienne. They also use WorkPEI, Career Beacon, and Indeed, as well as social media and word-of-mouth to announce job opportunities.
“Within the Francophone community, word-of-mouth is very popular to get the word out that jobs are available,” Manu says. “It’s easy for me as an HR Officer to call someone who was referred by someone I know.
“The job description will list what skills are mandatory and what are assets. The college looks for applicants whose resumés match the assets and mandatory skills the job requires, and calls applicants who look like a good match for interviews,” he says. “If you show passion for the job in your cover letter and interview, you will stand out.”
The college’s selection committee convenes to continue the hiring process. The interview may include the supervisor and director of the program that is looking for an instructor, or senior management of a department looking for administrative staff.
A small college community
“It’s like a small family, and you have a close relationship with everybody,” Manu says. “It’s nice because I don’t feel disconnected from my co-workers or the President. We all talk on the same level when we are brainstorming. There’s freedom to be who we are and to be creative and innovative in our ideas.”