$43 Million Boost: How NAIT’s New Centre Will Transform Skilled Trades Training

Alberta’s government is committing $43 million towards planning the Advanced Skills Centre (ASC) at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). This investment aims to train an additional 4,200 apprentices annually, addressing the province’s current shortage of skilled trades workers.

The new ASC will focus on providing cutting-edge apprenticeship and technology-based education in four key sectors: construction, transportation, manufacturing, and energy. This initiative is crucial as Alberta’s workforce faces a shortage that drives up costs for families and leaves numerous job vacancies unfilled.

Meeting the Demand for Skilled Workers

The ASC at NAIT is poised to become a global leader in skills and trades education. Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education, highlighted the centre’s role in fostering innovation and training apprentices in sectors vital to the economy, benefiting the Edmonton region and beyond.

The $43 million planning fund will lay the groundwork for construction starting in 2025. Once completed, the ASC will add 640,000 square feet of state-of-the-art learning space to NAIT’s main campus, facilitating the growth and evolution of programs to meet Alberta’s diverse and competitive industry needs.

Supporting Alberta’s Economic Growth

Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT’s president and CEO, emphasized the significance of this investment in modernizing and expanding the institute’s training capabilities. “This funding from Alberta’s government acknowledges the crucial role of skilled trades in the economy and NAIT’s role in delivering apprenticeship education essential for our province’s prosperity,” she stated.

Jason Idler, chief operating officer at PCL Construction, and Brendan Curley, vice-president at Inter Pipeline, also expressed their support. Idler noted that the new facility would ensure Alberta has the workforce needed to build future infrastructure, while Curley emphasized the importance of adaptable learning spaces that can pivot to meet dynamic labor market demands.

Addressing Outdated Facilities

NAIT’s current facilities, some over 60 years old, are no longer adequate for modern training needs. The new ASC will include flexible and adaptable learning spaces designed to expand with program growth and the introduction of new courses, ensuring that both students and faculty have access to the latest in learning and training environments.

NAIT annually enrolls between 30,000 to 40,000 students across its campuses. Over 30 percent of these students are enrolled in apprenticeship and skilled trades programs. This investment is set to significantly enhance NAIT’s capacity to produce highly skilled graduates ready to meet the demands of Alberta’s growing economy.

 

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