Skip to main content

No one trains plumbers like NLC

On , In College News

DAWSON CREEK – Two levels of training, and two areas of expertise in which to train – four opportunities in one program at Northern Lights College.

The program is the 20-week Plumbing Foundation (Enhanced) program offered at NLC’s Dawson Creek Campus. Students complete Levels 1 and 2 Plumber Apprenticeship technical training, and start towards a career as a Plumber and a Gasfitter.

And in British Columbia, this unique opportunity is only available at NLC.

“At most schools, Foundation Plumbing, Plumbing 1 and Plumbing 2 are all separate programs. In the NLC Foundation program, students receive Level 1 technical training and Level 2 technical training in plumbing,” said instructor Tim Roberts, a Red Seal-certified Plumber with 30 years of industry experience. “We are the only college in the province that does that. Everywhere else, Plumbing students only get Level 1 with their Foundation/ Level 1 training. The Industry Training Authority has allowed only NLC to offer a combined Foundation, Level 1 and Level 2, due to our northern location.”



Another advantage to the NLC Foundation program is the chance for students to complete a four-week practicum with a local employer.

“For most of our Foundation students, they do a month-long practicum which I believe really helps prepare students for what they will experience when they go to work. There is a high employment rate for people who come out of the Foundation program,” said Roberts.

Benjamin Reinelt, a student in the Foundation program, chose NLC precisely because of the program’s comprehensiveness.

“I looked around the pipe trades and I was interested in plumbing because I could get both plumbing and gas fitting tickets with this particular program. Unlike other institutions where the foundational level is a year, at NLC it is only five months, plus you get a practicum. Also, at NLC you can get two levels instead of just one with the college’s “enhanced” program. I thought that coming here just made more sense than anywhere else in the country,” said Reinelt.

The Foundation program is broken up into the 14-week Level 1 program, and a six-week Level 2 program. Students who complete both levels receive credit for 375 work-based hours toward completion of their Plumbing Apprenticeship. Foundation graduates are able to complete all four levels of Apprenticeship at NLC, including preparing to write their Red Seal certification exam.

Foundation students learn how to install and repair water and waste disposal systems and plumbing fixtures; lay out sanitary drainage, venting, and storm drainage systems; interpret the plumbing code; and piping-related mathematics, communications, and sciences. The program also allows for specialization in installing process pipe and tubing, natural and liquefied gas, plumbing, heating and instrumentation and fire sprinkler and standpipe systems.

According to Service Canada, the number of plumbers in the profession in Canada will increase significantly as the construction industry continues to grow over the next few years.

Timothy Crottey has a Communications degree. It was this positive future in the plumbing and gasfitting industry that led him to enrol in the program when he was looking for a career change.

“I wanted a new career that was transferable anywhere in the world. I was looking at plumbing, and at many of the technical colleges in B.C. and Alberta there were waiting lists to get into the program,” Crottey said. “My mother-in-law found an ad for Plumbing at NLC. I contacted the college, found out that there was no waitlist to get into the program and I thought why not make the move and do it?”

Joshua Joyce enrolled in the Foundation program because he knows that the demand for skilled plumbers is growing.

“Trained plumbers are always in demand. Every home and building relies on a plumber to pipe fresh water in – and pipe wastewater out. This is a good career for a hardworking person who likes to solve problems,” said Joyce. “I chose NLC’s Plumber program because there is a lot to it in a relatively short period of time. You are not just becoming one thing; rather, you are becoming a ticketed plumber and also a gasfitter. It is a multi-talented trade.”

The next intake of the Plumber Foundation (Enhanced) program starts in September, with seats currently available. For more information or to start the admissions process, go to, contact Campus Services at any NLC campus, call toll free at 1-866-463-6652, or contact Admissions Officer Megan Reitsma at