Floyd Bertrand may be the new Campus Administrator for Northern Lights College Fort Nelson campus, but there was a time when he was in the shoes of NLC students who are returning to school after a long absence.
Floyd was born and raised in Fort Liard, NWT and is a member of the Acho Dene Koe First Nation. When he was young, the only school in his community only went to Grade 10, so the usual practise was for kids to leave their home to finish Grade 11 and 12. In Floyd’s case, he would have to go to Fort Simpson—more than four hours away—to finish high school.
“I was uncomfortable with the idea of going, so I just didn’t,” he says. Instead, Floyd did what many young people do in similar situations: he went to work.
He worked with wildlife officers for several years, then it was suggested that he go back to school if he wanted to continue in that industry. He enrolled at Aurora College in Fort Smith to take their Natural Resources Technology program.
However, since it’s a very technical program, Floyd was told he should do upgrading first. He’d been out of school for too long.
“I know what it’s like, so I can relate to potential students,” he said. Many NLC students face the same issue.
After receiving his diploma, he worked as a forest manager, a renewable resource officer, and a compliance and enforcement officer for the NWT government. His work gave him the opportunity to travel all over the Territories and plenty of experience in management over the last 24 years.
Floyd, his wife, and two of his four children recently relocated to Fort Nelson. He feels strong ties here, especially since Fort Liard is only about two and a half hours away. He says it was often a day trip for his family while he was growing up.
He is grateful to be in Fort Nelson, particularly because he wanted his two sons who still live at home to have the chance to live in a larger community with more opportunities for employment, education, or recreation.
He’s watched Fort Nelson go through plenty of ups and downs over the years, looks forward to being part of the “ups” in the future. He also highly prioritizes building relationships within the community and local First Nations.
Floyd started in his new position with NLC on Feb. 10.