Adult Education Centre’s instructor

Local college preparing students to meet future market needs

College of New Caledonia has made its trades programs a priority in Burns Lake.

The College of New Caledonia’s Lakes District campus in Burns Lake has made their trades programs a priority to reflect the needs of the community.

Michelle Culberson, programs coordinator at Lakes District campus, recognizes the importance of training skilled trades people in the area.

“With the increasing demand for skilled trades people, we work hard to bring trades programs to the community that reflect the needs of our collective communities and industry,” she said.

The College of New Caledonia (CNC) has worked alongside the Aboriginal Steering Committee, the Community Advisory Committee and local industry to determine which programs are relevant to today’s economy, industry and community. These organizations have identified several trades programs as “high demand,” making recommendations to the college on how to meet these market needs and at the same time keep an eye on future trends.

“Our campus is offering trades reported to be in high demand through the next 10 plus years,” said Culberson. “Our goal is to train students not only for a better education today but also for a better future for the collective communities and families.”

Current offerings for the 2014-15 academic year include the Industrial Mechanic/Machinist Foundation-Level, Heavy Equipment Operator and Level 2 Carpentry Apprentice. This academic year has also had a new addition: the Pipe Trade Foundation-Level program. This new program allows students to experiment with four different trades before deciding upon which apprenticeship to pursue. The four trades include steamfitter/pipefitter, sprinkler installer, plumber and gasfitter. Culberson said this program provides students with time and opportunity to make “the best choice for their future.”

The Lakes District campus also makes sure students have access to quality education by offering state-of-the-art equipment. Students enrolled in trades programs have access to 12 heavy haul truck and front end loader simulators, as well as 10 excavator and harvester processor simulators.

“Focusing on trades is more than just a reflection of this community, it is a reflection of our province,” said Culberson. “As the skilled trades work force is aging, we are seeing more and more available positions and fewer trained folks available to fill those positions.”

The college also tries to accommodate the needs of the community by making sure that any groups of individuals are heard.

“If we have a group that is looking for training in a specific area, even if it is something we have never offered, we endeavour to make it happen, fast,” said Culberson.

The Lakes District campus has served the community since 1976, covering a region of approximately 20,000 sq. km. and a population of over 8000 people.

“CNC’s Lakes District campus believes in the future of our community,” she said. “From our family programs and daycare to our trades training and university transfer courses, CNC Lakes strives to provide meaningful, relevant education and training. We are thankful for the continued support of our many programs .”