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Northern Lights College featured in Vancouver Sun section by Mediaplanet

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Interview with Peter Nunoda, Vice-President Academic and Research, Northern Lights College

Question 1: How are educational institutions responding to the needs of the industries in the North?

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Northern Lights College has a very close working relationship with our industry partners in oil and gas, hydro and mining. This is reflected in our Trades and Apprenticeship Programs and Workforce Training particularly.

We have Centres of Excellence in Oil and Gas, Clean Energy Technology and Aircraft Maintenance Engineering that provide specialized training for these industries. In addition, we realize the demand for health and services is great in an expanding economy, so we provide programs in Practical Nursing, Health Care Assistant, Early Childhood Education and Social Work.

Question 2: What would you tell the young people of BC about the opportunities in the North?

Northeastern BC is the one region in the province where if someone wants to work they can find employment. The resource industries have a practically insatiable demand for workers and students are often recruited before graduation from high school. Having said this, the highest paid occupations are in skilled trades and vocational programs.
Northern Lights College provides an entire range of high school dual credit, pre-employment upgrading, short courses and full programs for students to become work ready and able to realize their full earning potential.

Question 3: What types of jobs are available – and how are schools adapting to prepare students for these jobs?

Through program advisory committees and the North East Regional Workforce Table, we have an inventory of the highest demand occupations. Many of these are in skilled trades like instrumentation, power engineering, millwright, heavy duty mechanic and welding that are directly related to the oil and gas production. There is also a high demand for operators and drivers both in petroleum and mining.
Obviously, with the expanding economy and some large development projects in hydro, mining and liquid natural gas projected over the next ten years, there will be increased demand for construction trades like carpentry, plumbing and electrical. NLC provides programs in all of these fields.