On the verge of closing the Langley continuing education program, Jim Verkerk announced it will carry on. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

On the verge of closing the Langley continuing education program, Jim Verkerk announced it will carry on. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Reprieve for Langley continuing education program

Last-minute deal will allow night school to carry on

A last-minute agreement has saved the Langley continuing education program run by Jim Verkerk.

After a failed attempt at negotiating a deal with one of the instructors to continue operating, Verkerk announced he was retiring and the program would be shutting down at the end of June.

But a deal with three current instructors will see the program keep going, and possibly even expanded.

“I’m very, very pleased,” Verkerk declared.

“I will be giving them every bit of assistance and support I can.”

Continuing education will be operated 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.

Dennis has also been a long-term instructor for the program’s Supervisory Skills certificate.

Nelson and her partners want to preserve all of the existing programs and classes.

“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,” Nelson told Langley Advance Times.

Their first task will be finding a new location for the program’s computer lab at the Township civic facility, space the municipality wants back.

“The Township Hall location is beautiful, but the Township needs their space back,” Dennis said.

She feels it would be “a huge loss to the community” if the existing computer lab, which delivers a Microsoft Office certification program, had to shut down.

“That helps many students with job training and re-training.”

They hope to find a new home in two weeks.

READ MORE: Langley continuing education on the brink, again

Over the years, the partners estimate the program has supporter “35 or more instructors and thousands of students.”

They also plan to move class registration online, Richardson advised.

“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.”

More classes on new topics are another goal.

“I, for one, would like to take some fun and social cooking classes,” Richardson observed.

“I would love to see some music and increased programs for youth,” Nelson added.

“Definitely more health and fitness offerings could be fit in,” Dennis noted.

It is not the first time the program has nearly gone under.

In 1997, when the school district cut funding, Verkerk won permission to run it privately.

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Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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Peggy Richardson (L) and Barb Nelson (R) are taking on the challenge of operating the Langley continuing education courses, along with Alison Dennis (not pictured). Photo contributed

Peggy Richardson (L) and Barb Nelson (R) are taking on the challenge of operating the Langley continuing education courses, along with Alison Dennis (not pictured). Photo contributed

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