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Construction Starts on New Trades Centre in Dawson Creek

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Northern Lights College marked an important milestone today with the official ground breaking of a new $33-million trades training facility at its Dawson Creek campus.

The trades training facility is supported by the Government of Canada through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which will enhance and modernize facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.

The new $33-million training centre will replace the Second World War-era structure currently in use by trades students and instructors. Trades programs at the Dawson Creek campus are spread out in a number of separate buildings and sites, with programs in buildings not originally designed for trades training.

“This is an important project for Northern Lights College and for all of Northern British Columbia. The new trades training space will build on the college’s strong reputation for excellence and innovation in the energy field. It will reflect today’s industry standards and provide improved space for learning, which will mean continued success for the college’s students. Investments under the Strategic Investment Fund will create conditions that are conducive to innovation and long-term growth, which will keep the Canadian economy globally competitive.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

The Government of Canada is contributing $14.57 million and the Province of British Columbia is providing $15.06 million toward the $33-million cost of the project. Northern Lights College and private partners will contribute an additional $3.39 million.

The project will see a new 3,995 square-metre facility and the demolition of 4,000 square metres of existing facilities.
The construction contract was awarded to Ledcor Group.

The ground-breaking event was also an occasion to recognize the donors who will help make up the difference in the cost of the new trades building. Private partners include Canbriam Energy Inc., Encana Services Company, Shell Canada, Black Swan Energy, Continental Pipeline and TransCanada Pipeline.

The new trades centre is expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2018. The project will generate approximately 133 direct and 102 indirect jobs during development.

Nearly one million jobs openings are expected throughout the province by 2025, due to retirements and economic development, and nearly eight out of 10 of those openings will require post-secondary education and / or skilled trades training.


Mike Bernier, MLA for Peace River South, on behalf of Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Minister of
Advanced Education

“The start of construction is an exciting milestone. The new building will meet campus, student,
business and community needs. Once complete, students will have the opportunity to obtain
the necessary skills and training for a career in the trades in a new learning facility.”

Bryn Kulmatycki, President and CEO, Northern Lights College
“I would like to acknowledge the funding from the federal and provincial government, as well
as the incredible support from the community and business partners. Our intention is to
develop a new trades centre that is responsive to the needs of students, employers and
industry here in the Peace region. Northern Lights College will continue to build on its
reputation and train skilled workers who can continue to drive B.C.’s resource economy.”

Gary Herman, CEO, Industry Training Authority
“As the skilled trades landscape evolves over time, innovation is top-of-mind in the way that we
attract and train apprentices. The construction of a state-of-the-art trades training facility in
Dawson Creek is a step in the right direction to help our province stay ahead of the curve,
encourage trades program completion and ensure we have workers in line for the job
opportunities coming our way.”

Quick Facts:

  • The new trades training centre will be designed for sustainability (LEED Gold), adhere to the Wood First Act and promote the Wood First Initiative. The design will also incorporate business, regional, community and First Nation needs.
  • It is expected that 17,900 job openings will be available in north-eastern B.C. over the 10 years to 2025, the majority of them in the Peace region. Of the 17,900 anticipated job openings, 2,500 are in the resource sector.
  • The targeted, short-term investments under the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund will promote economic activity across Canada and help Canada’s colleges and universities develop highly skilled workers, act as engines of discovery, and collaborate on innovations that help Canadian companies compete and grow internationally.
  • The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund supports the Government of Canada’s climate change objectives by encouraging sustainable and green infrastructure projects.
  • Funding for the new trades training facility at the Dawson Creek campus builds on investments already made by the Province of B.C. in Northern Lights College as part of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
  • Provincial investments at Northern Lights College over the past two years include $799,100 for 198 additional critical trades seats and nearly $1.4 million for industry-standard trades training equipment.
  • Investment in the new trades training facility at the Dawson Creek Campus is part of the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint commitment to invest $185 million in trades training facilities and equipment in the province.

Learn More:

Canada’s Innovation Agenda:

Innovation Agenda backgrounder:

Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund:

Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund backgrounder:

B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint:

Follow Minister Navdeep Bains on Twitter: @MinisterISED

Follow BC Jobs Plan: Twitter: @BCJobsPlan