Monday, March 13, 2017

Nicola Valley Institute considers Northern expansion

The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology is already a post secondary option that is already quite familiar for many students form the Northwest and if a far reaching plan from the Merritt based institute comes to fruition, accessing their educational options may mean a campus much closer to the Northwest.

The Institute which continues to grow in popularity from would be students, offers a range of industrial related courses. Featuring a primary focus for students from First Nations communities, NVIT courses are delivered both at its Merritt Campus and one in Vancouver and through travelling programs that criss cross Northern British Columbia through they year.

Such has been the warm reception to their courses in communities across BC, that Nicola Valley is now considering expansion, giving some thought to setting up a campus location somewhere in Northern British Columbia.

The message from Ken Tourand the President/CEO of Nicola Valley provides a good introduction to the focus of the institution and the service it is providing for First Nations students in particular across the province.

"There are many things that make NVIT one of the most unique post-secondary institutions in the country. Whether it is the NVIT Elders' Council, our Aboriginal mandate, the large percentage of Aboriginal students, the highly qualified faculty, or our extremely helpful support staff, NVIT offers learners a post-secondary experience that will provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen education or career path."

Mr. Tourand expand on those themes from the Welcome page to NVIT website

You can find out much more about what NVIT is offering here.

Last week, MyBulkleyLakesNow offered up the first notes on the prospect of an expanded presence in Northern BC, though any serious discussion on adding a third campus for the educational institution will have to wait until after the provincial election in May.

According to NVIT, they already have agreements to work with over 35 First Nations communities providing training in a number of areas related to industrial growth in British Columbia.

Mr. Tourand noted for the Smithers news service that the key to any expansion prospects will be the need for community support in whatever location they may look to locate in.

And that perhaps might offer up an opportunity for Prince Rupert to partner up with local First Nations to put together a proposal to have NVIT explore the North Coast, should the time come for their push into the North.

Having an institution like NVIT locate in the Prince Rupert area would offer up a chance to diversify the local economy and have in place more training opportunities for the range of industrial projects that have been proposed for the region.

As well, with the population demographics offered by the North Coast, it would seem to make a good fit for the focus on education that Nicola Valley is seeking to fill in the province and expand the opportunities for all students on the North Coast.

Having a second educational option for the North Coast might also help send a message to the Terrace based NWCC, that the need for expanded programs at our end of Highway 16 is still a concern for both the City, Regional District as well as for First Nations governments across the area.

So far this year, NWCC has been putting much of its attention towards the main campus in Terrace, making news recently with a number of items related to expansion plans for that location.

It's a focus that for now seems to be leaving the satellite communities such as Smithers and Prince Rupert on the sidelines when it comes to major announcements on post secondary plans from the institution.

Northwest Community college has expansion plans and maybe a name change on the horizon for the region

There does seem to be a window of opportunity available to bring a focus to education for the region, not to mention add some infrastructure to the economy and put in place another layer for community development.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to have the city direct the Economic Development office make contact with Nicola Valley and offer up a tour of the city, showcasing what we might have to offer and how locating here would benefit both the North Coast and the institution as well.

More items related to post-secondary education in the Northwest can be found here.


  1. Something is becoming bothersome..There is all this focus on establishing courses and training programs for aboriginal students. Have we forgotten that there are students of other nationalities and backgrounds here in Prince Rupert, many of whom also need or want some form of higher education. Do they not deserve equal access to higher academic or industrial training?

  2. I'm not sure that bothersome is the proper approach to look at here, I myself don't have a problem with a focus on improving on First Nation education options and opportunities, I believe that such efforts will be beneficial to both the area First Nation communities and the larger region as well.

    I do however agree with your key point that all that are seeking higher academic or industrial training should have that opportunity. It sounds like a good topic to introduce should one of the candidates in the upcoming BC election come knocking on the door!