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BC Hydro investing $1-Million to support trades training in northern B.C.

Fifty per cent of funding dedicated to Aboriginal students

DAWSON CREEK – Students and residents in northern British Columbia will benefit from $1-million in funding by BC Hydro to support trades and skills training at Northern Lights College.

BC Hydro is providing the funding to the Northern Lights College Foundation over a five-year period to support the development of skilled workers in the north, targeting those students who may not otherwise have access to post-secondary education.

The Northern Lights College Foundation will use the $1-million in funding to provide student bursaries, focusing on recruitment and retention of students. Fifty per cent of the funding for bursaries will be dedicated to Aboriginal students. Applications will start being accepted in early 2013, with bursaries being awarded for the fall 2013 school year.

Developing skilled trades workers in northern B.C. is important for local industry, BC Hydro’s current facilities in the Peace region, and its proposed Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), which would require an estimated 7,000 person-years of construction-related employment, if approved.

BC Hydro and Northern Lights College are working collaboratively to identify the skills and trades that would benefit most from the bursary funding.


Northern Lights College

The funding provided by BC Hydro to the Northern Lights College Foundation will be used for bursaries targeting the following programs:

  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering
  • Automotive Service Technician Apprenticeship and Foundation
  • Carpentry Apprenticeship/Residential Construction Foundation
  • Commercial Transport Technician Apprenticeship
  • Cook Training
  • Electrician Apprenticeship and Foundation • Heavy Duty Equipment Technician Apprenticeship
  • Heavy Duty/Commercial Transport Technician Foundation 
  • Industrial Instrumentation Mechanic Apprenticeship and Foundation
  • Millwright Apprenticeship and Foundation 
  • Plumber Apprenticeship and Foundation
  • Practical Nursing Diploma
  • Welding Apprenticeship/Levels A, B, C

Northern Lights College (NLC) is B.C.’s Energy College™, serving northern British Columbia in an area covering more than 324,000 square kilometres. Its mission is to provide the educational means for the continued growth and prosperity of its students, and communities and businesses across northern British Columbia. The College is a centre of excellence in training for Clean Energy Technology, Oil and Gas, and Aerospace. NLC opened in 1975, and has campus locations in Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, and Tumbler Ridge, along with access centres in Atlin, Dease Lake and Hudson’s Hope.

NLC is a member of British Columbia Colleges (BC Colleges), a provincial group comprised of 11 colleges from throughout the Province of British Columbia. BC Colleges has a unique regional advantage and a long history of collaboration with industry, employers, communities and policy makers.


Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas

“Our Jobs Plan is focussed on creating family-supporting jobs across the province, and skills training is a key element. Today’s funding announcement will help increase the number of skilled workers, and open up more job opportunities for people living in the region.”

Laurie Rancourt, President and CEO, Northern Lights College

“For anyone looking to enrol in a college program, the related costs are always a significant consideration. At Northern Lights College, we know this funding from BC Hydro will help make post-secondary education and training a viable alternative for more students in northern B.C. On behalf of NLC and the NLC Foundation, I would like to thank BC Hydro for this investment in NLC students, who will play an important role in helping meet the increasing demand for skilled workers in the north.”

Blair Lekstrom, MLA, Peace River South

“Everyone benefits from a skilled workforce, and this funding to Northern Lights College Foundation is going to help families and communities in northern B.C. It will also help BC Hydro recruit skilled employees from the north for its current and future projects in the region.”

Susan Yurkovich, Executive Vice-President, Site C Clean Energy Project, BC Hydro

“We have a major presence in the Peace region, and we understand the need for a skilled workforce. Our funding is intended to increase participation in trades training, which benefits students, industry, and local and Aboriginal communities.”

Pat Pimm, MLA, Peace River North

“We know there are going to be a lot of jobs to fill in the coming years, and these are just the type of initiatives we need. Funding to support those students who might not otherwise have access to post-secondary education is just another example of how BC Hydro is supporting local communities.”

BC Hydro

Fifty years ago, British Columbians turned to BC Hydro to build the clean electricity system they count on to power B.C.'s economy, create jobs in every region, and keep the lights on. Now, BC Hydro is building again for the next 50 years. B.C. continues to grow and so has the need for more electricity. That’s why BC Hydro is building and renewing electricity infrastructure, and encouraging conservation to meet today’s needs and those of future generations.

Media Contacts:
Craig Fitzsimmons
BC Hydro

Brad Lyon
Northern Lights College

Sandra Steilo
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas