Northwest Community College (NWCC) unveiled a new mobile training unit today that will help students in northwestern communities develop skills for in-demand trades jobs, thanks in part to funding from B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson announced $598,500 in provincial funding today toward the cost of the mobile training unit and equipment. In addition, LNG Canada is contributing $200,000 and TransCanada is contributing $75,000 toward the unit, and the Industry Training Authority (ITA) is providing support through project development.
“Government is delivering on its commitment to fund facilities and equipment for trades training, including this new mobile training unit for Northwest Community College,” said Wilkinson. “B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is preparing British Columbians for long-term, well-paying jobs that strengthen our families and communities.”
The new mobile classroom can train up to 100 students a year who are enrolled in trades programs to prepare for high-demand occupations needed in sectors such as liquefied natural gas, mining, construction and oil and gas. Occupations include welders, piping trades, carpenters and electricians.
“This funding is an investment in the future of NWCC students and the people of the northwest,” said NWCC president Ken Burt. “This mobile training unit will bring educational opportunities and help improve student access to trades training in our remote communities.”
More than 44% of students at NWCC are Aboriginal. By fall 2015, the new mobile training unit will have the ability to travel to communities throughout northwestern B.C., which will help increase the participation rates of Aboriginal people in the skilled labour force.
“The emerging LNG industry represents a tremendous, long-term economic opportunity for northwestern B.C. communities, and this training unit is an investment in the success of our future workforce,” said Susannah Pierce, director of external affairs for LNG Canada. “We are proud to work alongside the B.C. government, NWCC, TransCanada and ITA to build on the future of the economy.”
There are now three mobile training units and two Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) simulator mobile training units in operation in British Columbia: NWCC has the new mobile training unit and both HEO training units, while Thompson Rivers University and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology each have a mobile training unit.
“It makes good sense for us to support NWCC's efforts to offer trades training in rural and remote communities through this new mobile training facility,” said Tony Palmer, senior vice president of stakeholder relations at TransCanada. “Our proposed B.C. projects would require thousands of skilled workers for the construction phase, should they reach a final investment decision. Promoting the skilled trades and upgrading of transferable skills will support the ability for local community members across Northern B.C. to take advantage of the employment opportunities in TransCanada’s proposed projects.”
Funding for the mobile training unit supports the work of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint introduced in April 2014. Blueprint aligns funding and programs to target in-demand occupations.
“ITA is proud to support this initiative as it is a shift towards a demand-driven trades training system,” said ITA CEO Gary Herman. “The mobile training unit will bring the classroom to rural and remote communities around the province and provide students with the same high-quality training and education that they would receive on campus.”
Stacey McGaghey Jones
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Advanced Education