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Skills training in the oil and gas sectors gets boost

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VICTORIA – As B.C. prepares for thousands of jobs in the oil and gas sector the B.C. government is providing Northern Lights College (NLC) with $200,000 as it gears up to provide British Columbians the training they need to get a good paycheque in their back pocket.

“What we’re seeing at Northern Lights College is a great example of creativity and flexibility in our public post-secondary system,” said Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education. “Our government has asked post-secondary institutions to make sure they are providing the training British Columbians need and NLC’s Centre of Training Excellence is doing just that.”

Over the next seven years, in liquefied natural gas alone, there will be more than 60,000 jobs at peak construction. Another 21,000 jobs will be directly involved in the building of LNG export facilities and associated pipelines expected to occur in 2016-2017. And 41,900 jobs will be created in the industries that supply goods and services during the construction phase at its peak plus over 75,000 jobs once the LNG projects are fully operational.

The Ministry of Advanced Education is providing $125,000 to support Northern Lights as it moves forward with its Centre of Training Excellence in Oil and Gas. The idea behind the centre, which is based at the Jim Kassen Industry Training Centre at the Fort St. John Campus, is to coordinate oil and gas training at post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.

“A skilled labour force is the foundation of our Jobs Plan and the focus of our ministry’s mandate to train the right people for the right jobs,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond. “These investments will help ensure that more British Columbian’s have the skills they need to take advantage of the growing number of opportunities in B.C.’s oil and gas sectors.”

And the B.C. government, via the BC Natural Gas Workforce Strategy Committee, has just provided $75,000 to Northern Lights and its centre of excellence to develop a new entry-level program for those who want to work in the natural gas industry. The program should be ready in July and will be made available for delivery by all public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.

“We are very grateful for this funding which comes at a critical time and will be instrumental to the ongoing work of the Centre of Training Excellence in Oil & Gas,” said Laurie Rancourt, president and CEO of Northern Lights College. “As outlined in the NE Regional Skills Training Plan and BC Natural Gas Workforce Strategy and Action Plan, addressing the significant training needs of the Oil and Gas industry will require intense collaboration and a multi-stakeholder approach. Through the Centre of Excellence, NLC is proud to provide the leadership that will help ensure a coordinated and timely approach as we work with our education, industry and community partners on program development and delivery.”

As part of B.C.’s Skills and Training Plan, government is using sector-based centres of training excellence to increase the number of partnerships between industry and post-secondary institutions to help prepare British Columbians for the jobs that will be in demand.

In November 2012, the Province announced the establishment of two BC Centres of Training Excellence: one in oil and gas headquartered at NLC, and one in mining at Northwest Community College in Terrace.

Each college serves as a regionally-based hub of a network of post-secondary institutions building on existing activities, expertise and industry connections to better coordinate training opportunities and curriculum development, and to further leverage industry partnerships. Examples include coordinated training and equipment plans, shared curriculum development and updating, and shared outreach and promotion activity.