Icy conditions and a freak blizzard were not enough to keep prospective students from SAIT Polytechnic’s biannual open house event Feb. 1-2.
Mo Keshavjee, who has chaired SAIT’s open house committee for the last two years, said that this year was another great success for the event.
“This years’ (attendance) is phenomenal,” said Keshavjee in an interview on the final day of the open house.
“SAIT is really becoming the school of choice for a lot of people.”
According to SAIT academic vice-president Dr. Gordon Nixon, more than 1,750 applications for academic programs were submitted at the open house, compared to about 1,100 at the same event last year.
More than 30 school buses of students visited the campus on Friday, Feb. 1, Nixon said in an email message to SAIT instructors and staff.
Keshavjee said that the open house event gives prospective students the chance to see the difference between SAIT and other post-secondary institutions.
“We don’t just train them to have a job, we train them to have a career,” he said.
explained that the event was about more than just selling the programs, but selling what he calls the “SAIT experience.”
Keshavjee highlighted the new “Try a Skill” feature, where students were able to experience first-hand work a specific trade.
“They can weld something, they can build something with sheet metal, or they can do something in construction or carpentry,” he said.
And they get to take away what they’ve built.”
The event had many booths that offered high-tech simulations of real working environments, from a virtual welding and automotive painting systems, to blood-pressure and injections workshops.
“And this is just a small taste of what we can offer,” he said.
Another selling point that Keshavjee noted was the lack of application fees that many colleges levee at such events.
“(Prospective students) come in and sign up, and since it’s a free application –there’s usually a $50 fee- we can really help them find the right program for them.”
One such person is Nikkolas Pfaff, who was at the event because he has worked in construction for many years, but is now considering getting his carpentry ticket.
Pfaff was one of many who braved the frigid weather to attend the open house which was held in the Stan Grad Atrium on campus.
“It wasn’t this bad out this morning,” said Pfaff, as he pointed to the snowstorm outside. Nonetheless, he said that he was glad he came.
“This is probably the most productive thing I could be doing right now.”
The open house was the second of SAIT’s biannual open house events. The first was held in October.