FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 2, 2019
Langley Continuing Education Not Closing After All
The recent announcement that the Continuing Education Services in Langley, once a School District department and run privately for the last 25 years, might close as of July 1st, has had a last-minute turnaround. The program will continue to run this fall, as planned, and with some possible expansion, to boot.
The longstanding education centre has been purchased by a family-run Langley event management company owned by one of the program’s instructors, Barb Nelson. Along with her sister-in-law, tech and marketing manager Peggy Richardson, and cousin Alison Dennis, the three are working together on the project. Dennis has also been a long-term instructor for the program’s Supervisory Skills certificate.
It was announced last week that Jim Verkerk, the longtime owner of the Continuing Education enterprise, was ready to retire, and was going to close the business. But at the last minute, a deal has been arranged that will allow instructors to be able to continue teaching with the program, and for students to continue to attend job training and recreational classes starting this fall.
“We actually hope to preserve all of the existing programs and classes. Jim has done an incredible job running this business for so long, and we’re just lucky that he’s offering us his full support to continue to move forward,” says Nelson. “We don’t want to take anything away, and in fact, are discussing ways we can expand the business over the next couple of years.”
The program has supported 35 or more instructors and thousands of students, and it’s one of very few programs of this kind left in the lower mainland. Many of the local school districts and community programs have been forced to close their community learning operations due to budget cuts and high overhead. Verkerk managed to make the organization run with a staff of 3, instead of 10, and by carefully managing overhead and spending.
Nelson, Richardson and Dennis plan to emulate his example, and are already known for running a tight ship and making many things virtual. “One change that we plan to make, which Jim had already begun, is to transfer class registration to online,” says Richardson. “You will certainly still be able to register in person if you like, but we plan to meet demand by launching a convenient online registration system as quickly as possible. If you like, you’ll be able to browse for courses on your phone at 2 in the morning.”
The three talk about only one other major change, and that’s the location. Says Dennis, “The Township Hall location is beautiful, but the Township needs their space back. That was already in the works before we came into the picture. We’re looking for space that will house the existing computer lab, which is where we deliver our Microsoft Office certification program. That helps many students with job training and re-training, and it would be a huge loss to the community if it were to vanish.” They hope to have space arranged in the next 10 to 14 days.
The only other change they want to see? More classes! “I for one would like to take some fun and social cooking classes,” says Richardson. “I would love to see some music and increased programs for youth,” chimes in Nelson. “Definitely more health and fitness offerings could be fit in,” says Dennis.
Prospective instructors and students are invited to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas for classes and other offerings, and the website fvcontinuingeducation.ca will be revamped very shortly with registration open for all fall classes. Watch the Langley Advance Times for announcements, and course catalogues coming out soon!