Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Would be heavy duty mechanics will have to look elsewhere for training

Northwest Community College has suspended a program that offered up local training for those interested in the trade of heavy duty mechanic.

NWCC suspended the Heavy Duty Mechanics program, offered at the Terrace campus for this fall term, partly due to low demand, a situation that in part is a result of the aging equipment that the college has been using in delivering the program to Northwest students.

With the growing need for skilled tradespeople to feed the increased opportunities of the region, shutting down the program might at first glimpse seem counter productive to the re-branding of sorts of the college as a trades and training centre.

The college recently moved the electrical program from Prince Rupert, centralizing it with the other trades at the Terrace campus, part of what appears to be a larger plan to make Terrace the centre for trades training in the region.

The college recently began making the case for funding for a new trades facility for the Terrace campus, seeking support from municipal councils across the Northwest.

However, with the current situation that has resulted in a suspended program, the case for the estimated 45 million dollar facility may be a little easier to make for the college. Exhibit A, if you will, as they seek out funding and direction from the Provincial government as to the function of community colleges and the training they are to deliver across the province.

The visual however of the college moving away from a high profile trade, which will divert local students further away for education is one of a short term image problem for local education.

The most likely beneficiary from NWCC's situation at the moment is perhaps Prince George's College of New Caledonia, which may become the default destination for local post high school students interested in the trades.

Considering how much credit the provincial government is taking from the growing opportunities in the Northwest these days, it may be time for the government to make sure that the educational infrastructure for the region is in place and fully funded.

Terrace Standard-- College suspends mechanics program

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