Gateway Gazette

Innovative Apprenticeship Program Ready to Launch

The Alberta government and Keyano College are moving forward with a pilot project to accelerate apprenticeship training in Fort McMurray.

Minister Schmidt tries his hand at welding at Keyano College in Fort McMurray after announcing the Apprentice Plumbing Program

To help support the reconstruction of homes and businesses lost in the Wood Buffalo wildfire, in December the province announced $1 million to support a temporary training program for second-year plumbing apprentices. Students can begin registering May 17 to start studies in September.

“With the Wood Buffalo rebuild expected to span multiple construction seasons, our hope is aspiring tradespeople will take advantage of this program. Our government promised to stand with and support the people of Wood Buffalo throughout their recovery and this program is one way we’re supporting the rebuild, plus getting people back into the area and into jobs.”

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

The normal timeframe for training is eight weeks of full-time classroom and hands-on instruction. This pilot project allows students to do the classroom component online, at their own pace and schedule, and the hands-on training in a mobile lab so they can spend less time away from the jobsite.

Apprentices who enroll for the September intake will start hands-on training in November and be working by the end of the year. A January session may be added depending on demand.

“In light of the rebuild that is taking place, this is a great opportunity for Fort McMurray residents to gear up their construction skills. We are pleased to be partnering with the government on these projects and look forward to helping students learn a valuable trade.”

Tracy Edwards, president and CEO of Keyano College

In addition to the new plumbing program, Keyano College offers other programs, such as electrical, welding, carpentry and heavy equipment technician, that are assisting local residents get the education they need to help their community rebuild.

Quick facts

  • Interested apprentices are encouraged to contact the Apprenticeship and Industry Training office in Fort McMurray at 1-800-248-4823.
  • The program is a partnership between the Government of Alberta, Keyano College, Northern Lakes College, SAIT and Grande Prairie Regional College.
  • Keyano College is providing staff and on-site infrastructure, Northern Lakes College is supplying a mobile training unit, while SAIT and Grande Prairie Regional College are delivering online learning resources and instructional expertise.
  • The mobile unit is located on Keyano College’s Suncor Energy Industrial Campus and will be outfitted with equipment later this spring.
  • The self-contained mobile training unit can expand to provide up to 1,500 square feet of teaching space and as many as 10 teaching stations for hands-on instruction.
  • Participants in the program will have access to more than 20 local plumbing employers to complete the required on-the-job training to progress in their apprenticeship.

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