North Island College welding student Darren Smith shows Comox Valley MLA Don McRae the new metal shear the college bought with some of their recent $187

NIC gets trades equipment upgrade

Better equipment locally allows students to train close to home: Minister

North Island College (NIC) has unveiled $187,000 worth of new equipment which it says will help them prepare trades students for their future careers.

The announcement on Tuesday afternoon at NIC’s Campbell River campus was the part of a $561,000 funding investment by the provincial government for trades equipment at that facility, Camosun College in Victoria and Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.

“I haven’t taken a trades class since about 1984, and I got a C- on my wood shop bookcase – although my mom still has it in a place of honour,” jokes Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, addressing a group of students Tuesday. “So I look forward to getting bills from you in the future as you go into the private sector, because I break things but I don’t fix them myself.”

McRae says it is important to fund training initiatives in regions like Campbell River so that students can study where they want to live – or where they grew up and would like to continue living – instead of relocating to get their education.

“This a beautiful place to live, and going to school can be expensive, so if we can train people close to home for jobs that hopefully can be close to home, it gives you opportunities to stay in your communities, raise families, and have a great quality of life.”

Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s dean of trades and technical programs, says this funding is the result of the school constantly identifying priorities in their capital equipment needs and pitching them to the government.

“The government identifies a budget allocation and they have us present a proposal about what our priorities are when it comes to capital equipment considerations,” O’Connell says. “It’s a bit of a negotiation, and we’re needing to justify why replacement or why new product, and it absolutely has to align with curricular considerations. There are no frivolous purchases.”

The majority of the these pitches to the government involve requesting the replacement of equipment that has simply worn out through regular use, O’Connell says.

“That’s common for most post-secondary institutions, because, as you can probably imagine, if you have two cohorts or four cohorts per year of 16 students, that equipment does wear and tear quite quickly, so we do have our priority allocation being replacement,” O’Connell says. “But then there are also new, leading-edge technologies we are able to pursue.”

One example of that is the new metal shear unveiled Tuesday in the welding shop.

The new computerized shear cuts metal up to a half inch thick in sheets up to 10 feet long.

Other equipment purchased with the new funding included drill presses and a new sub arc welding system.

Newer models of truck – like the 2008 and 2009 Freightliner refrigeration trucks also purchased with the most recent funding – have different transmissions and fuel systems, according to director of trades and technical programs Chris Udy, so it’s important to get the students working on those systems before they get out into the workforce.

“We went through a period of time when we didn’t have the most modern support training aids for the students,” Udy says, “so the investment the government has made over the last three or four years has been quite substantial for our institution.”

Welding student Darren Smith agrees.

“It means when I get out of the course and go into the industry, I can work on what the industry is using rather than trying to teach myself new concepts,” Smith says.

The old metal shear the school just replaced, for example, “cut the metal fine, but it’s definitely not what the industry is using anymore. I did work experience at a welding shop in Courtenay, and they just got new equipment like what we’re using now, and if I hadn’t been using this one, I would have gone in there, looked at it all starstruck and have had to ask for help instead of just going in, punching in some numbers and going away,” Smith says.

“It’ll be super helpful for getting a job.”

Just Posted

Grassroots Kind Hearts guest list: Cassandra Little

Grassroots Kind Hearts is a society lead by Krisandra Rufus. They serve… Continue reading

Community members recognized at official opening of North Island Hospital Campbell River Campus

The community gathered yesterday to celebrate the region-wide effort that went in… Continue reading

Campbell River man guilty of unlawful confinement awaits sentencing

Richard Lawrence Love, who has pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful… Continue reading

City raising user fees, will attempt to address downtown flooding

Residential users will see increases averaging 4.2 per cent over the next five years

New mural the latest in Campbell River’s ongoing beautification

Mayor hopes public will suggest ideas for many more future projects

Run, hide, fight — surviving an active shooter situation

A former Kelowna cop teaches how to survive an active shooter situation

Trudeau mania, Scheer enthusiasm in B.C. this week

Prime minister, Conservative leader drop in on Surrey. White Rock

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness to kick off season

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

B.C. church defaced with disturbing anti-Christian graffiti

Staff at Crossroads United Church reported the vandalism to police late last week

PayPal ordered to disclose business accounts to Canada Revenue Agency

Online payments company has 45 days to hand over information identifying its account holders

Federal government to boost treatment options for opioid drug users: minister

More than 2,800 people died last year as a result of the overdose crisis

Ambulance design changes urged after B.C. man falls out, dies

A coroner’s jury makes recommendations after hearing about death of Ebony Aaron Wood

Drunk driver ticketed after wrong-way rollover

Nanaimo man crashes on Inland Island Highway near Qualicum Beach

MLAs unanimous on B.C. wildfire recovery

Finance committee calls for rapid salvage, reforestation

Most Read