Nearly a year since being initiated, the Coastal Pathways Partnership welcomed its newest industry partner.
Pacific Northwest LNG announced it will be contributing $75,000 toward the trades training initiative last week, joining School District 52 (SD52), Ridley Terminals Inc. (RTI) and Northwest Community College (NWCC) in the partnership.
“This innovative collaboration between industry and educators will enhance training opportunities for local residents for the expanding of employment opportunities for them,” Derek Baker, Pacific Northwest LNG community relations advisor, said.
“It is important for Pacific Northwest LNG to ensure that Port Edward and Prince Rupert see significant and tangible benefits as a result of our project. At the end of the day, the biggest contribution we could make to these communities is through job creation and skills training.”
The Coastal Pathways Partnership was created to address the need for highly-skilled trades people qualified to work in various sectors, with an increase in recourse-based activity taking place in the region.
“We welcome this new, important collaborator to the Coastal Pathways Partnership. Together, we will build on the great initiatives the partnership is currently bringing to our Northwest communities and strengthen our ability to deliver quality education and training into the future,” Denise Henning, NWCC president and CEO, said.
The partnership is offering two programs, the Millwright Foundations Program now offered at Charles Hays Secondary School and the Industrial Electrical Foundations Program which will begin at Prince Rupert Middle School in February, 2013.
Mike William Armstrong, who travelled to Prince Rupert from Langley to be part of the millwright program, said the partnership has changed his life.
“Being able to get an opportunity from these great people in Prince Rupert … has been absolutely awesome. It has dramatically changed my way of life,” he said.
Prince Rupert high school student Jesse Schaeffer, who is taking the millwright program through Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industrial Training (ACE IT), said he was excited when the opportunity to get the training popped up.
“As soon as the school offered this course, I had my papers in because it was something new and different,” he said, adding it intrigued him because of the need Prince Rupert will see soon.
Armstrong said having college and high school students in the program has brought a good variety, and allowed students to help each other out.
“For somebody like myself it’s been 14 years since I’ve been in high school, so remembering some of the trigonometry or geometry [is difficult]. Having someone like Jesse in the program to kind of guide me through those aspects has been awesome,” he said.
Schaeffer said he’s enjoyed the hands-on aspects of the course, which Pacific Northwest LNG’s contribution and RTI’s $150,000 commitment, has enabled students to experience through purchasing equipment for training.
The partnership also sees NWCC providing industry-certified instructors, Industry Training Authority approved programs and registration and administrative support. SD52 is in control of tools and equipment, recruiting students and providing ACE IT classes.
Additionally, Baker said Pacific Northwest LNG will take an active role in the partnership, committing to offer apprenticeships if the project proceeds construction.
“These companies coming in and contributing to this program speaks volumes,” Armstrong said.