Éric Gingras

Like for all educational institutions, the college network is suffering from labour shortages. Attracting workers is all the more important because CEGEPs a significant portion of the most highly sought-after employees on the job market.

“We can’t ignore the importance of the college network for combating the personnel shortages because that is where future workers are trained in the areas where there is great demand,” says the President of the Fédération de l’enseignement collégial (FEC-CSQ), Youri Blanchet.

“We don’t want the college network to be overlooked in the conversation taking place about shortages,” adds the President of the CSQ, Éric Gingras, reminding the government that implementing its own action plans for student success and the mental health of youth cannot be achieved without sufficient personnel.

Resources to maintain the quality of services

In a CEGEP, when a person experiences a problematic situation, it is often with the help of a member of the teaching, support or professional personnel that they persevere and get their diploma. Thus, maintaining the quality of services offered in the institutions will help boost the college graduation rate, according to the President of the CSQ.

Youri Blanche

Youri Blanchet agrees. He thinks that “it takes more resources to foster student success. If there is a shortage of staff in the network, CEGEPs cannot adequately function or provide the services that the student community has a right to expect.”

The President of the FEC-CSQ explains that it is important to be able to rely on sufficient numbers of teachers, because many students will be impacted for a considerable time to come by the pandemic. “In many programs, the personnel’s workload must be reviewed to make classes conducive to success. That requires the hiring of new people.”

Offer competitive and attractive conditions

[caption id="attachment_6835" align="alignright" width="300"] Valérie Fontaine

To attract and retain personnel, “the first step to be taken is to improve working and salary conditions,” says the President of the Fédération du personnel de soutien de l’enseignement supérieur (FPSES-CSQ), Valérie Fontaine.

The federations of the college network are also demanding that the government swiftly tackle the problem by offering its workers attractive, competitive conditions.

“For CEGEP professionals, working conditions are not worthwhile when compared with what’s on offer with other employers. In our view, this partly explains the staff shortages in our settings. We are calling for commitments that will make it possible to change things so that we have the means to achieve our ambitions for college professional services,” states the President of the Fédération du personnel professionnel des collèges (FPPC-CSQ), Éric Cyr.

Promote a truly collaborative culture

Éric Cyr

Providing a more fulfilling work environment is another means of attracting and retaining personnel in CEGEPs, according to Valérie Fontaine. “People who hold jobs in the college network are those who contribute every day to the smooth operation of our institutions and to the success of students,” she emphasizes. In her opinion, we need to favour more participative management models, in which staff expertise and autonomy is recognized. The teaching, support and professional personnel must be consulted so that they can continue to contribute to the sound functioning of the institutions.

Éric Cyr asserts that the current management methods in the CEGEPs often do not offer much flexibility and have a rather negative impact on retaining personnel. “Our members want modern, competitive conditions. They want the value of their skills and their work to be recognized, but they also want to have greater professional autonomy so that they have the leeway they need to fulfill their mandate,” he says.

Photo : Éric_Cyr

BV : Éric Cyr

Crédit : Photo François Beauregard

As a new round of negotiations begins, the context is conducive to improving the college network, assert union leaders. They also want the next Minister of Higher Education* to be a person who is more committed, present and able to drive forward their issues during Cabinet meetings.

* At press time, the name of the new Minister of Higher Education had not been announced.