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North Island College secures $802,000 in funding for short-term programs

The programs will be free of cost to students
Regenerative farming is just one of the NIC programs to benefit from the funding. (Photo submitted by Mike Chouinard)

In a news release on Jan. 8, North Island College (NIC), announced NIC and partner organizations secured $802,000 in funding from the Community Workforce Response Grant, through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement. The funding will go towards matching potential employers with skilled workers through new short-term training programs and meeting community market needs.

“First of all, we identify the need in the community,” said Bob Haugen, NIC director of continuing education and contract training. “The community has input into what the training is.”

The short-term programs, covered by the funding, are free for students and they will get lots of hands-on experience according to Haugen.

The funding will cover an industrial sewing program in Campbell River, applicable to the automotive and marine industries. According to the release, 12 students enrolled in the NIC industrial sewing course have found work or opened their own businesses.

READ MORE: Craft brewing and packaging program at North Island College helps fill industry

“The partnerships between learning institutes and community businesses are extremely under-rated and under-utilized. By allowing community partners to provide learning opportunities to people who may not have the financial ability to attend a post-secondary education facility, it opens the doors to those working lesser-paying jobs with limited growth potential,” said Rob MacNeill, a community business operator who taught the course. “Good workers who may not be able to afford a trade skill or who thought the trade in question was not for them until they were exposed to it, can now flourish under this type of program.”

In Port Alberni, meat processing, construction and heavy equipment training will benefit. So will others.

“The City of Port Alberni has partnered with North Island College on several Community Workforce programs, and we look forward to continuing this partnership in the future,” said Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions.

As for the Comox Valley, a program with LUSH Valley Food Action Society and the North Vancouver Island Chefs Association will continue to provide 180 hours of training to students in the area through a Food Prep and Mobile Kitchen Training Program.

“This program has taught students to utilize the abundance of locally grown produce to create a delicious variety of meals, menus, and value-added products. The group catered and cooked at a number of functions, including a volunteer appreciation event where a special menu was designed and service executed out of the food truck. With their freshly honed skills, these students are now prepared to work in restaurants, food trucks, catering businesses or other forms of food service,” says Maurita Prato, LUSH Valley executive director.

Additionally, NIC programs in regenerative farming, wildfire training and marine essentials will benefit.

“North Island College and its community partners demonstrate remarkable collaboration addressing local workforce needs,” said Selina Robinson, minister of post-secondary education and future skills. “Through innovative short-term programs, they connect potential employees with employers, equipping people with essential skills needed in the North Island region. Aligned with our StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan, NIC’s forward-thinking approach shows the power of local collaboration and commitment to skills training.”

About the Author: Brendan Jure

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