Education is an investment. Beyond a student’s time, hard work and motivation, it takes support and funding to succeed. We understand that when opportunities for education are available and accessible, communities grow stronger for the long-term.
In the early project planning stages of Coastal GasLink, we heard this feedback echoed throughout our many interactions with northern B.C.’s local and Indigenous communities. That’s why we have been investing in skills development and long-term education programs since 2014 as part of our commitment to building a skilled legacy.
Our local and Indigenous-first approach to hiring for Coastal GasLink made it a natural choice to work with the Northern Lights College (NLC) Foundation to contribute to trades-focused bursaries through the TC Energy Pathway to Pipeline Readiness program. Over the years, we’ve invested in regional partnerships with existing skills training and education organizations to provide funding for program development, equipment purchases, classroom seats for participants, and targeted bursaries for initiatives.
In the last eight months alone, the NLC Foundation has provided 21 bursaries totalling $16,500 through the Pathway to Pipeline Readiness program. Of this total, five Indigenous bursaries were provided totalling $3,750, and 17 non-Indigenous bursaries were provided totalling $12,750.
“Your bursary program has been actively keeping students in school while pursuing their trades education,” explains NLC executive director Kim McPhedran. “There are times that students come to us at a time when they are considering dropping out because they don’t have the finances to continue. They have to choose between very short-term paying their bills, and long-term success and prosperity from gaining an education. These bursaries can get them through that difficult time so they can finish their program and get out into the workforce.”
What exactly do these opportunities look like? Students pursuing skills advancement in carpentry, welding, electrical, millwright, plumbing, professional cooking and heavy mechanical trades have all benefitted from funding supplied by NLC and the Pathway to Pipeline Readiness Program.
“Another great outcome and advantage to bursaries is that it helps to level the playing field for students who have great potential and work ethic, but due to circumstances often beyond their control, they face additional challenges and may not have the same opportunities as students without financial need,” says McPhedran. “Having a bursary gives them a hand-up to the same opportunities as their peers who aren’t facing financial need.”
The Pathway to Pipeline Readiness Program in northern B.C. is focused on helping to build a skilled workforce and aims to grow workers’ transferable skills. Since 2014, we have sponsored nearly 1,000+ classroom seats, scholarships and bursaries for B.C. students, preparing them for projects like Coastal GasLink and other jobs well into the future.
Are you looking to take the next step toward a career in the skilled trades? Applications for remaining funding are still available to incoming students. Please find more information and apply here.