Elected officials, partners and friends of Conestoga gathered with members of the college community on Friday, October 28 to celebrate the official opening of the Conestoga-Milton IELTS Centre. The Centre, which has been in operation since late 2021, is Conestoga’s first step towards the establishment of a local campus with a comprehensive range of programming and services to meet the workforce and community needs of the region.
Elected officials, partners and friends of Conestoga gathered with members of the college community on October 28 to celebrate the official opening of the Conestoga-Milton IELTS Centre.
“This is an important first step, with much more to come,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We intend to be a dominant force here in Milton and contribute to economic and social development of this dynamic and growing community.”
In 2021, Premier Doug Ford announced that the provincial government will support the expansion of post-secondary education and long-term care for Milton through the establishment of Conestoga and Wilfrid Laurier University campuses as well as a new Schlegel Villages long-term care home in the Milton Education Village.
Tibbits indicated that the college will continue to take steps towards serving the needs of the local community as the new campus is being developed. The IELTS Centre also serves as a site for dual-credit programming for local high school students and soon hopes to offer additional programming to support English language training and other community needs. More local education and training opportunities will be delivered at a new campus expected to open in January 2024.
“Conestoga does a tremendous job training and retraining individuals in every single field out there,” said the Honourable Parm Gill, MPP for Milton and Minister of Red Tape Reduction. “We rely on colleges like Conestoga to help us address labour shortages and fill our workforce needs in areas such as skilled trades, PSWs, nurses, etc.”
“Milton is growing really quickly, and we need to make sure there are places for people to learn and work here,” said Milton MP Adam van Koeverden. “Our federal and provincial governments couldn’t achieve our goals without partners like Conestoga.”
In his remarks, recently re-elected Mayor Gord Krantz thanked Conestoga for having faith in the community and the potential that it offers.
“It’s always been part of my dream to have a college or a university in Milton,” Krantz said. “A prosperous community is a really well-educated community.”
To round out the program, guests heard from two users of the new Conestoga-Milton IELTS Centre.
Chetan Kwatra is among the 87% of clients who have completed IELTS testing at the Milton site to support his immigration to Canada. “I personally had a great experience here,” Kwatra said. “I was fortunate to participate in this class and I found it really helpful as I prepared to take my test as a stepping stone to achieve my dream of residing in Canada.”
Delina Zembiret, a Grade 12 student at E.C. Drury School for the Deaf, recently completed a dual credit course in photography delivered at the Conestoga site. “It provided a lot of learning opportunities,” said Zembiret of the course, which provides students with both a high school and a college credit. “When I graduate now, I am going to become a photography student.”
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a world-recognized assessment of English language proficiency for those who wish to study, work or immigrate in an English-speaking environment. Conestoga established Canada’s first official IELTS Testing Centre 25 years ago and now delivers tests at 17 centres across the country. Pre-pandemic, the college delivered more than 20,000 tests each year.
IELTS Conestoga was recently recognized with three awards at an International Test Centre Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand, earning Best Audit in the Americas, Excellence in Volume Growth for paper-based IELTS in the Americas, and the global IELTS Inspiration Award.
For more information, visit www.ieltscanada.ca