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'It took us by surprise': SAIT to shut down broadcast engineer program

Last Updated Mar 5, 2020 at 12:10 pm MST

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - Heritage Hall stands tall on the SAIT campus in Calgary. (PHOTO: Chelsey Harms, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It is the only program of its kind in the country and soon it will no longer be available.

Students currently in the Broadcast Systems Technology program at SAIT will finish their studies but the school said it will not offer it to new students.

President of the Western Association of Broadcast Engineers, Clint Hollinger said the cut will have a wide-ranging impact on the industry.

“In Canada, there’s over 1,700 radio and TV stations that all need broadcast engineers to support their services. It’s going to create a huge gap for us in trained, skilled technicians and engineers to be able to fill that gap.”

Hollinger said he was disappointed there was very little conversation with industry leaders saying the news took them by surprise.

SAIT said it made the decision because of a lack of enrolment for the program.

Hollinger believes non-specialized engineers will now have to be trained by the industry meaning more time and cost for companies.

“That just pushes the onus on the industry to find individuals and train them from scratch essentially.”

Last week, SAIT announced it was eliminating over 200 positions as a result of provincial funding cuts.

RELATEDOver 200 jobs to be lost at SAIT

Similar job losses are also taking place at NAIT in Edmonton.

Hollinger said others need to know about how vital this career is and how big of a loss it will be.

“We’re going to rally together as an organization and let everybody be aware of what’s happening so that they can contact SAIT and let them know just how much interest and how much this organization is needed across the country.”