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REF NO.: 35

SUBJECT: Memorial University to be new site of Student Connections program
DATE: Sept. 28, 2005

Combining their skills in technology training, Industry Canada's Student Connections program and the Division of Lifelong Learning at Memorial University in St. John's have joined forces to introduce entrepreneurs to the power of the Internet and e-commerce.

For the past eight years, Student Connections was based at the Canada/Newfoundland and Labrador Business Service Centre, and operated as a satellite centre of Student Connections at Holland College in Charlottetown.

Student Connections now has its own administrative centre at Memorial’s Division of Lifelong Learning, which offers its own diploma program in information and communications technology, and provides training in various information technology services, including computer applications, operating systems and database management.

"The new Student Connections centre at Memorial University will provide a valuable enhanced resource for residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, particularly for small- and medium-sized business owners who wish to apply technology to improve the competitiveness of their businesses," said federal Industry Minister David L. Emerson.

Eddy Campbell, vice-president (academic) at Memorial, said that Student Connections' mandate is consistent with the mission of the province's only university to develop the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador by training tomorrow's business leaders.

"Our co-op programs connect our students with the community, particularly in the more remote parts of the province, and provide them with valuable hands-on business experience while helping small- and medium-sized business owners advance their own enterprises," he said.

"Those are exactly the goals and desired outcomes of Student Connections."

Through its new home at Memorial – the largest university east of Montreal - and with a team of about a dozen student business advisors, Student Connections will be able to expand its reach across Newfoundland and Labrador, said Doreen Whalen, director of the Division of Lifelong Learning.

"Ultimately, this changes the nature of Student Connections to expand the program beyond St. John's," she explained.

"Student Connections can work with small business owners in the rural areas of the province who need e-commerce training to help them expand into the global marketplace – and receive assistance in various ways, from building effective Web sites to getting advice on how to sell goods or services online."

Small- and medium-sized business owners will be able to enrol in workshops and receive an overview of the Internet and e-commerce.

"If they want to further their skills, they can contact us for one-on-one training," said Jill Hampton, Student Connections' co-ordinator in Newfoundland and Labrador.

She said the program will also build partnerships with business organizations and associations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador to promote the range of Student Connections' services available to their members.

Student Connections' new alliance with Memorial's Division of Lifelong Learning also enables more seniors to receive Internet and computer training.

Rather than sign up for IT university courses that could last a few semesters and cost several hundreds of dollars, mature students can attend a three-hour workshop at a fraction of the cost.

"Our partnership with Student Connections allows us to make courses more affordable, particularly for seniors, who tend to have limited resources," Ms. Whalen said.

An Industry Canada initiative, Student Connections is helping small and medium-sized businesses remain competitive by adopting online business practices. Student Connections provides small and medium-sized businesses with practical, customized e-business and Internet training. As part of the federal government’s Youth Employment Strategy, Student Connections hires technology-savvy post-secondary students to assist you in getting your business online. For more information contact the nearest Student Connections by calling toll free 1-888-807-7777or visit www.studentconnections.ca.

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