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Oil and Gas Centre of Excellence opens

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The $12-million Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre, which will include the Oil and Gas Centre of Excellence, is the result of successful private-public partnerships, corporate and personal donations and local support. It will prepare students to enter the oil and gas industry and support the growth of B.C.’s economy.

“The Centre of Excellence will ensure we have the people in place to power the sector’s ongoing success,” said Neufeld. “Oil and gas is B.C.’s fastest growing industry, and providing top quality training will help us deliver on the BC Energy Plan goal to become one of the most competitive jurisdictions in North America.”

To create the Oil and Gas Centre of Excellence/Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre, the provincial government provided $6 million of the $12 million in funding, with private industry and donors providing the remaining $6 million.

“The Oil and Gas Centre of Excellence/Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre will develop important training and employment opportunities for one of B.C.’s key industries,” said Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell. “The new facility will provide regional education opportunities that not only fit the local economy, but benefit the whole province.”

The Centre of Excellence complements other trades programs at Northern Lights College. As the hub training facility for northeast B.C., the centre will support the college’s other campuses at Atlin, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Dease Lake, Fort Nelson, Hudson’s Hope and Tumbler Ridge.

“The Oil and Gas Centre of Excellence/Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre will create 180 new full-time student spaces right in the heart of B.C.’s oil patch,” said Northern Lights College Board Chair Kate O’Neil. “Because of the centre, Northern Lights College – with its educational partners and Aboriginal human resource agencies – will be able to provide oil and gas education directly relevant to employment and the economy.”

Northern B.C.’s Aboriginal community was a key participant in establishing the centre. The First Nations and Métis Nation B.C. play an integral part in supporting the oil and gas industry and promoting training opportunities in the region.

“Northern Lights College is an innovative educational leader,” said NLC president Jean Valgardson. “The cooperation, collaboration and input of industry have created a training program we fully expect to deliver outstanding student results.”