A variety of trades programs are available at each of NIC’s campuses. Photo supplied.

A trades career opens a world of opportunities

Almost 300 students will launch their trades and technical training at NIC this fall, opening doors to diverse careers, applied learning opportunities and lifestyle choices.

The students will enter one of 20 trades, technical and apprenticeship programs, developed in partnership with NIC, local employers and the provincial government. The aim is to ensure local students qualify for their choice of 123,000 job openings predicted by the 2025 Labour Market Outlook for B.C.’s trades and transportation sector in the next 10 years.

“Trades professionals are vital to local and global economies,” says Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s Dean of Trades and Technical Programs. “There are so many opportunities for skilled students globally and right here on Vancouver Island.”

“Once students have identified their areas of passion, the opportunities are endless.”

In the past year, NIC has worked with the Island North Film Commission to develop a pilot TV and Film Crew Training program at its Port Alberni and Campbell River campuses, as well as the aquaculture industry to develop a new hands-on Aquaculture diploma in Campbell River, the hub of B.C.’s aquaculture industry.

The college also recently instituted work placements at the beginning of many trades programs to introduce students to employers earlier on in their educational careers. NIC also worked with the provincial government to reduce waitlists for Electrical Apprenticeship students.

The result is a rich mix of more than 20 locally relevant trades and apprenticeship programs at campuses in the Comox Valley, Campbell River and Port Alberni that flex and grow to meet local demand.

One high-flying example is NIC’s Aircraft Structures Technician program.

“Of our eight graduates last June, six found employment and the other two are pursuing engineering degrees,” said David Nilson, NIC’s Aircraft Structures instructor.

At Campbell River’s Sealand Aviation NIC Aircraft Structures graduates make up 70 per cent of the employees.

“I have been incredibly satisfied with the quality and motivation of NIC’s Aircraft Structures students,” said company president Bill Alder.

Stewart Walker graduated from Aircraft Structures in June and starts his Engineering Foundations certificate at NIC this fall. The applied design and structural skills in the program will provide highly sought after practical skills to his upcoming engineering degree.

Classmate Emanuele Sipione, now working as an apprentice for KF Aerospace in Kelowna, says exploring the right trade for your lifestyle can require patience but “if you are good with your hands, and have a good head on your shoulders, you’ll be successful.”

Briana Hayes, for example, worked in advertising in Toronto for over a decade and wanted a change. She headed west to study welding at NIC. These days, she is exploring Vancouver Island by canoe with her dog by her side and working as a welder at Immediate Weld Service in Black Creek.

NIC trades programs start throughout the year, with many foundation-level programs starting this September. Registration for fall programs is available until Sept. 14. For more information, or to apply, email questions@nic.bc.ca, drop by any campus or call 1-800-715-0914. To see a full spectrum of trades programs at NIC, visit www.nic.bc.ca/trades.