The Polytechnic Advantage

The Polytechnic Advantage: a high-quality, job-focused education

Formula for success: a three-pronged approach to creating jobs and supporting industry

  1. Strength in academic offerings
  2. Strength in industry connections
  3. Strength in applied research

Polytechnics Canada members develop the highly skilled qualified people essential to the Canadian economy by:

  • providing career-focused and community-responsive education developed in partnership with employers (87% of all graduates were employed within nine months of graduating);
  • committing to a wide range of credentials, including bachelor degrees, diplomas, apprenticeships, certificates, post-graduate offerings, continuing education and corporate training, spanning many fields from engineering, ICT and the skilled trades; to business administration and hospitality; and the health sciences and community services;
  • combining theoretical and applied learning, relevant work experience for students and the opportunity for them to participate in applied research and commercialization projects; and
  • offering pathways that allow students to build on their credentials, recognizing previous learning.

All Polytechnics Canada members offer a broad range of educational experiences, including four-year bachelor degrees. Curricula are industry responsive and include relevant experiential components. To ensure rigorous academic quality, the provincial ministries of education determine which institutions are allowed to offer bachelor and applied degrees.

As well, Polytechnics Canada members offer two- and three-year diplomas, apprenticeship training and specialized corporate training. Other programs include joint bachelor degrees with universities, post-graduate certificates, continuing education and online as well as distance education. Post graduate certificates are designed for students who have completed a prior post-secondary credential. They help students to hone their skills in a particular area - adding specialization and complimentary skill skets that meet market demands.

Student Focus

Research undertaken by Polytechnics Canada members is primarily motivated by how it can help students. We believe that applied research provides students with practical learning opportunities and produces outcomes that further employment opportunities as well as contribute to economic growth.
For students, the benefits of choosing a polytechnic are:

  • Small class sizes and more one-on-one instruction time;
  • Development of critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as hands-on training in the newest technologies;
  • Curriculum guided by and developed with industry;
  • Close links to industry through co-op terms and work placements;
  • 87% job-placement rate after graduation;
  • Laddering and bridging programs for credentials from certificates through degrees; and
  • Opportunities to participate in hands-on research.

Meeting Canada’s Changing Skill Requirements

Canada’s economy is undergoing dramatic changes. The new economy emerging from the global recession presents new challenges that demand new solutions. To maintain their leading edge, Polytechnics Canada members embrace applied research as a key learning method. To ensure curriculum is up to date and meets industry needs, we rely on program advisory committees composed of employers, practitioners and recent graduates. The committees advise on new programs, the effectiveness of existing programs and their relevance to the community. In the end, we produce work-ready graduates for smart jobs.

Furthermore, Polytechnics Canada in 2010 established a National Strategy Group comprised of industry partners who have benefited directly from working with our members’ research and training expertise. We rely on them for ongoing advice, particularly in our efforts to promote the value of a polytechnics education.
Each year, Polytechnics Canada members graduate thousands (in 2015-2016, the figure was 77,400) of highly qualified skilled people needed to manufacture new products, deliver new services and enhance operating processes. To help accomplish these objectives, our members recruit faculty from industry who understand the need to innovate and commercialize in order to succeed. The end result: our students get quality jobs and the Canadian economy benefits from our applied research efforts.