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NAIT launching new project management degree program

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The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) plans to roll out a new bachelor degree in early 2015 designed to train the next generation of construction and project managers.

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) plans to roll out a new bachelor degree in early 2015 designed to train the next generation of construction and project managers.

The four-year program is unique in Alberta.

Faisal Arain, associate dean of NAIT’s School of Sustainable Building and Environmental Management, said the program was developed in response to industry need for trained professionals in the construction industry and global trends.

He said the construction management industry approached NAIT asking it to develop a program with specific competencies.

“They gave us a wish list and we converted that into program outcomes,” Arain said.

The curriculum will cover topics like scheduling, estimating, safety, contract law, cost control, tendering and project management.

Arain said roughly 19,000 employees in the project and construction management industry are expected to leave the workforce in the coming years, making the development of the course timely.

“That makes us essential for the industry here,” Arain said.

The degree is a two-plus-two model meaning that after completion of construction engineering technology two-year diploma, students can take the additional two years and 69 credits to obtain the construction management degree.

Accreditation is somewhat of a challenge.

The field of construction management does not have a unified accrediting body or association in Canada.

Instead, the school will seek accreditation from the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) based in the United States.

The program is also under review by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyor (CIQS).

In addition, NAIT will seek accreditation for the program from two other related bodies, PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs and the Canadian Construction Association (CCA).

The Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center (PMI-GAC) is the only specialized international accrediting body that inspects the quality of project management degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The program could be a boon to the CCA.

Earlier this month, its members expressed frustration with the construction and project management industry, namely its lack of a governing association or a set of industry standards.

Members noted this has resulted in a broad spectrum of quality, some being excellent and others performing poorly.

by Russell Hixson

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