Northern Lights School Division held its grand opening for the Trades Exposure Centre today.
The four million dollar facility in Bonnyville features a service rig on a safe well, classroom space and a scaffolding shop. Additional space has been set aside to offer more programs in the future.
The facility will train high school students throughout the division in the trades with hands on courses. A curriculum for the Scaffolding program is being developed and is expected to be ready for the fall of this year. The centre will also be used for apprenticeship training through a partnership with Tribal Chiefs Employment and Training Services Association, North East Alberta Apprenticeship Initiative and Trade Winds to Success Training Services.
The Trades Exposure Centre was first conceived of in 2013 after NLSD received a $120,000 Provincial Dual Credit Strategy grant in 2013 from the Dual Credit Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is comprised of members representing Secondary Education, Advanced Education and Business & Industry. After consulting with students, parents and industry, NLSD created its Trades Exposure Program, which it piloted at Bonnyville Centralized High School starting in 2013. In 2015, NLSD received support from Western Economic Diversification Canada and numerous industry partners, including Ensign Energy Services which committed to donating a service rig to the project, to further enhance the Trades Exposure Program and build a facility that could provide hands-on trades training opportunities to students in Northern Lights and throughout Alberta. WD funding of over $1.5 million enabled NLSD to develop a 4th Class Power Engineering program at BCHS in partnership with Lakeland College, a service rig training course, and the Trades Exposure Centre.