Skip to main content

Power Engineering to be offered at NLC’s Fort Nelson Campus

On , In College News

FORT NELSON – Residents of northeastern British Columbia will be the major beneficiaries of a training partnership between Northeast Aboriginal Skills Employment Project (NEASEP), Encana Corporation, Spectra Energy and Northern Lights College (NLC).

Residents of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality will have a priority opportunity to complete training in NLC’s Power Engineering and Gas Processing program at the College’s Fort Nelson Campus.

The program is slated to start in February 2011, with a mandatory upgrading component for all students. The upgrading will focus on completing the Basic Mathematics and Physical Science Workbook for Power Engineering, and will be completed prior to the start of the regular Power Engineering program.

The regular 10-month Power Engineering and Gas Processing program is slated to start in June 2011. Nine months of the program will be offered in Fort Nelson. Students will also be required to complete one month of training at the Fort St. John Campus, plus practicum time at local Spectra Energy and Encana facilities.

Graduates will receive training in 4th Class Power Engineering, 160 hours of firing time on the NLC boiler, and all four levels of Gas Process Operations. Students will qualify for the BC Safety Authority Provincial Examinations by successfully completing Parts A and B of the 4th Class Power Engineering program.

Funding for the program is being done on a 50:50 share basis between the Government of Canada (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada), and industry partners Encana and Spectra Energy. Funding partners have also invested through in-kind contributions towards the total program cost of approximately $600,000.

NEASEP bridges the skills gap between local Aboriginal peoples and large-scale industrial sectors – including oil and gas, forestry, mining and trades – by providing essential skills training, education, Apprenticeship opportunities, retention and employment support to participants. The project is co-funded by the Government of Canada, and is supported by the North East Native Advancing Society (NENAS), BC Métis Association, and other industry partners active in the northeast.

The Fort Nelson program is striving for an applicant rate of about 75 per cent Aboriginal peoples.

“We are excited about partnering on this project. Training will be provided for Aboriginal peoples to build upon their skills so that they can compete for higher-paying job opportunities in northeastern British Columbia. This will bring added value and sustainability to families and communities,” said Audrey Sam of NEASEP.

Graduates of the program in Fort Nelson will have the opportunity to find work in the expanding field of natural gas exploration in the Fort Nelson area. Additionally, both Spectra Energy and Encana are committed to employing successful Aboriginal peoples graduates in the Fort Nelson region and beyond.

“Encana is extremely pleased to partner with NEASEP, NLC and Spectra to bring this high-skills training opportunity to Fort Nelson,” said Jeff Beale, Aboriginal Relations Advisor with Encana. “We believe this will help local Aboriginal peoples in acquiring highly skilled, high paying occupations closer to home communities in a sustainable and growing natural gas resource play. Power engineering occupations are integral to the success of companies like ours, and we’re striving for increased Aboriginal peoples and local contributions.”

“This program builds on Spectra Energy’s long-standing relationship with Northern Lights College and our 40-plus year history in Fort Nelson,” said Steve Henderson, Manager, Community and Aboriginal Relations for Spectra Energy Transmission West. “We’ve been proud to contribute to the success of the program in Fort St John and have provided practicum experiences at our facilities for students to complete their 4th class Power Engineering certification. We look forward to replicating the success of the program in Fort Nelson and helping to train tomorrow’s workforce.”

For NLC, offering Power Engineering and Gas Processing in Fort Nelson is the second major programming partnership that has occurred in the past couple of years. In 2009, NLC partnered with the Horn River Basin Shale Gas Producers Group to train 16 Fort Nelson-area residents as oil and gas field operators.

“Following in the footsteps of the successful Oil and Gas Field Operator program, we are very excited to partner again with industry and NEASEP to bring the Power Engineering program to Fort Nelson,” said Jeff Lekstrom, NLC’s Dean of Trades, Apprenticeship and Technology. “We believe that, with the oil and gas activity in the Fort Nelson area, graduates of this program will be in a good position to contribute to local industry and the community.”

NLC, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary as a college, will continue to offer the regular September intake for the Power Engineering and Gas Processing program at its Fort St. John Campus.

Public information sessions providing more details on the program will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 5 from 5-7 and 7-9 pm at the Fort Nelson Campus.

For information on the Power Engineering and Gas Processing program in Fort Nelson, contact the Fort Nelson Campus, 250-774-2741 or toll free 1-866-463-6652.