Mobile Classroom Takes Trades Training on the Road

Oct 19, 2015 5:00 PM ET

As a former student, Riley Gowan understands how valuable a mobile classroom can be, especially for those students who can’t get to the college for instruction. With the new Mobile Trades Training Facility, supported by donations from TransCanada and the B.C. government, the classroom can go to them.

“I think this is going to be a great tool, especially for students who have never worked in a shop before,” said Gowen, an instructor at NorthWest Community College (NWCC) in Terrace, B.C.

“A vehicle like this allows us to take education to where the people are living so they don’t have to interrupt their lives and come to school somewhere. We take the school to them,” said Ken Burt, president, NorthWest Community College. “Seventy-five percent of the adults who live in the communities in our catchment area don’t have driver’s licences, but now we can take education to them, which will help immensely,” said Burt.

The B.C. government committed $598,500 in provincial funding toward the cost of the mobile training unit and equipment. In addition, LNG Canada is contributing $200,000 and TransCanada is contributing $75,000 toward the unit, and the Industry Training Authority is providing support through project development.

“LNG projects are going to require thousands of skilled tradespeople during the course of construction,” said Rebecca McElhoes, manager, Community Relations. “And our investment in skills training and education, including our investment in this trailer, is allowing us to fulfill our responsibility in terms of making those opportunities available to rural and First Nations communities who might not otherwise have access to these training programs.”

“Government is delivering on its commitment to fund facilities and equipment for trades training, including this new mobile training unit for Northwest Community College,” said Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson. “B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint is preparing British Columbians for long-term, well-paying jobs that strengthen our families and communities.”

Bringing the classroom to the students

The new mobile classroom can train up to 100 students a year who are enrolled in trades programs to prepare for high-demand occupations needed in sectors such as liquefied natural gas, mining, construction and oil and gas. Occupations include welders, piping trades, carpenters and electricians.

More than 44 per cent of students at NWCC are Aboriginal. By fall 2015, the new mobile training unit will have the ability to travel to communities throughout northwestern B.C., which will help increase the participation rates of Aboriginal people in the skilled labour force.

“It makes good sense for us to support NWCC's efforts to offer trades training in rural and remote communities through this new mobile training facility,” said Tony Palmer, senior vice president of stakeholder relations at TransCanada. “Our proposed B.C. projects would require thousands of skilled workers for the construction phase, should they reach a final investment decision. Promoting the skilled trades and upgrading of transferable skills will support the ability for local community members across northern B.C. to take advantage of the employment opportunities in TransCanada’s proposed projects.”

TransCanada’s ongoing commitment to higher education and learning through the company’s Stakeholder Education and Training Strategy guides how we support education initiatives. Whether it’s providing students with scholarships or training skilled trades for the future, TransCanada’s commitment to higher education is unwavering.

Learn more about TransCanada’s commitment to building and maintaining vibrant communities in the society section of the CSR Report.