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Premier Announces New Skills Training Equipment at Northern Lights

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“We want British Columbians to be first in line for the jobs that are opening up in the North in oil and gas, mining, forestry, construction and other sectors,” said Premier Clark. “Working together with industry under our Skills and Training Plan, we’re investing in our northern post-secondary institutions to make sure they have the modern equipment and facilities they need to prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The funding is part of $17 million announced in September for public post-secondary institutions around the province to upgrade skills training equipment, a key component in the BC Skills and Training Plan.

Equipment purchases and replacements at each institution are based upon a review and analysis of existing inventory, current and future program and industry requirements, and current government priorities to provide skills training that is aligned to the needs of the economy in each region.

“Under the BC Jobs Plan we’re taking action to provide education and training opportunities that are aligned with the needs of our economy, building industry and employment in British Columbia,” said Pat Pimm, MLA for Peace River North. “This investment along with the contributions of private industry partners will ensure learners are training on the same calibre of equipment their employers will be asking them to work on after they graduate.”

“The funding we’re announcing today is putting new equipment in our local campuses giving our students access to the latest technology,” said Blair Lekstrom, MLA for Peace River South. “This new equipment ensures students get the best technical training at our institutions, part of a broader Skills and Training Plan that’s focused on steps we can take to effectively meet the growing demand for skilled workers.”

Institutions will also pursue partnerships with local industries and other stakeholders to purchase or donate equipment, ensuring students continue to train on the latest equipment being used in the workplace.

The type of equipment slated for new purchase or replacement at Northern Lights College unless otherwise donated from industry partners includes hydraulic shears and a metal brake machine for welding students, a planer and a shaper for the carpentry program, a crawler dozer for future heavy duty mechanics and a vertical mill for the millwright program.

“This represents a critically important investment in B.C.’s industry training system,” said Kevin Evans, CEO of the Industry Training Authority. “Ensuring our apprentices are training on leading-edge equipment is essential to producing a workforce with the leading-edge skills required to take advantage of the economic opportunities before us.”

Northern Lights College will lead oil and gas training in British Columbia under the Skills and Training Plan as the headquarters of the BC Centre of Training Excellence in Oil and Gas.

“By investing in our capacity to provide equipment for training purposes that is both up to date and relevant to a broad spectrum of industries in our region, we are taking a critical step towards ensuring that NorthernB.C., and by extension the whole province, continues to move forward,” said Laurie Rancourt, president and CEO of Northern Lights College. “NLC is also proud to be given this opportunity to build on and expand our work with industry, community and government partners through the B.C. Centre of Training Excellence in Oil and Gas.”

“Today’s focus on the Centre of Training Excellence in Oil and Gas at the Fort St. John NLC campus, underscores NLC’s trades training strength and its effective partnerships with the energy sector that will attract and develop the labour workforce required for tomorrow’s growth in BC’s oil & gas sector,” said Jeff Beale, chair of the Northeast Regional Workforce Table Task Force, and Aboriginal relations advisor, Canadian Division, Encana Corporation. “The regional basis of leading-edge training in partnership with industry will also have positive spin-off effects beyond the oil and gas sector into most other resource sector workforce needs, and for community and regional economic development.”

Quick Facts:
•         In August 2012, the B.C. government announced $3.7 million in capital funding to upgrade and modernize facilities at Northern Lights College.
•         Northern Lights College received more than $900,000 in one-time funding announced in April 2012  to offer training in the region. The college expects to create seats in a variety of trades-related programs such as power engineering, mining fundamentals and oil and gas training over the coming year.