A Saskatchewan school is aiming to fill the gap left by the coming wave of retiring construction leaders.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask Polytech) is launching the province’s first Bachelor of Construction Management degree program this September. The program will offer 24 seats at the school’s Regina and Saskatoon campuses, with graduates of the program trained for heavy industrial, commercial, engineering and construction work.
“The research we did indicated significant demand from industry. Site superintendents and similar positions are retiring at a significant rate,” said Sask Polytech dean of construction Paul Carter.
Students will be accepted into the program after completing a two-year Sask Polytech diploma or equivalent in architectural technologies, civil engineering technologies or engineering technology disciplines, and can complete the construction management program on a full or part time basis.
“We consulted with industry pretty extensively, and there’s a market for degrees for professionals who are technologists. It gives them the skills to elevate their career into positions where they previously may have been overlooked,” Carter said.
“Companies are looking for someone with a degree to fill those senior positions.”
Courses are designed as standalone units and will combine theoretical knowledge with technical training in scheduling, safety, contract law, estimating, cost control, tendering and project management, with an applied capstone project with industry support in the second year.
Tuition for the program is approximately $8,000, Carter said, adding in some cases companies are covering the cost to send their employees back to school for additional training.
“We also decided on a non-traditional time frame for classes outside of normal business hours. We want people to be able to keep their jobs while they go through the program,” he said.
Sask Polytech is seeking accreditation for the program from the Canadian Construction Association for Gold Seal, the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors and the American Council for Construction Education.
“With both U.S. and Canadian accreditation, you can work on international projects,” Carter said.
While the bachelor degree will be recognized across Canada, Sask Polytech’s mandate is to primarily serve industry within the province.
Saskatchewan joins Ontario’s George Brown and Algonquin colleges, Manitoba’s Red River College, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary for institutions offering a bachelor’s degree in construction management or building science.
While the program is now set at 24 seats, the school intends to grow to meet demand.
“We want to keep class sizes down for a more intimate learning experience, but we are looking to grow the program,” Carter said.
While the program is currently a mix of online courses and synchronous in-class learning in Regina and Saskatoon, he said the program will gradually move towards fully remote learning.
“Eventually, we want it to be fully online,” Carter said.
Sask Polytech serves 28,000 students in total, with campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.
More information on the construction management program is available here.