Northern Opportunities Expands To Provide Youth In Northeast BC With A Pathway To Post-Secondary Trades Training

Northeast BC Community Learning Council

2012- Northern Opportunities is an innovative northeastern BC partnership of the Fort Nelson, Peace River North, and Peace River South school districts, Northern Lights College, First Nations, industry with a common goal: to provide young people with a seamless learning pathway from secondary school to post secondary training leading to career success. Programs combine high school, college studies and work-based training enabling you to simultaneously earn your high school diploma and advanced credit in post secondary and/or industry certification.

All signs point to a bright and prosperous future for communities in northeast British Columbia. One of the key drivers of that prosperity will be the development and retention of young people to meet the needs of the region's dynamic, diversified and rapidly growing economy. The Northern Opportunities Program that has been developed by the Northeast BC Learning Council has a mission to build a strong and vibrant northeast workforce: born here, raised here, trained here, stays here!

Under this project, a new infusion of funding has allowed the Northeast BC Community Learning Council to expands its services to provide additional opportunities to students, employers, and industry. Northern Development's financial contribution to the Northeast BC Learning Council in 2006 supported program development of trades related courses, which has since expanded into several non-trades related subject areas.

This innovative program is providing the northeast with an essential supply of skilled workers and adding to the economic stability of the region.

Visit the Northern Opportunities website to watch a series of videos and testimonials from high school participants in northeast British Columbia.

This project is part of a multi-year program expansion that was supported through an additional investment by Northern Development:

"Students are now being provided with opportunities to begin university transfer courses while still in high school. These students will graduate from high school with a full, first year credit and university level skills, a great advantage when they head off to university"

Dr. Heather Harper, Instructor, Northern Lights College

"Since 2004, eight homes have been constructed by students on lots donated by the city of Fort St. John. These homes have all been sold and are occupied by local residents. Twenty-one of my former students are currently working in the community in construction jobs, eleven Residential Construction Program students have completed their level two before graduating from high school, and five students now have their Red Seal Certification."

Richard Koop, Instructor, Residential Construction Program, Northern Opportunities Program

Positive Economic Impacts in Fort St. John

This program, developed and led by the Northeast BC Community Learning Council, has produced excellent results in northeastern BC since inception in 2002. Northern Opportunities provides benefits to people in communities throughout Northeast BC . In Dawson Creek, for example, the impact of the program has been remarkable. In 2006 alone, this project helped to create seventeen new full-time positions in various trades such as welding, cooking, carpentry, and others.

First Nations communities are also benefiting from the funding infusion as, in 2006, eleven First Nations students were participating in apprenticeships. The Northeast BC Community Learning Council is continuing to provide the communities of the Northeast with locally developed, skilled tradespeople - this innovative program continues to be instrumental in providing northeast BC youth with a pathway to career success, and local employers with a steady supply of home grown talent.

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