Red Deer College brings skills training to Montana First Nation through virtual-reality welding program

Red Deer College

Red Deer College was excited to host a partnership event today, celebrating the launch of the innovative Virtual Reality and Co-operative Trades – The Next Generation program.

The program, which is possible thanks to a partnership between RDC, Montana First Nation and Worley Parsons Cord, offers Aboriginal learners the opportunity to develop the practical skills, knowledge and experience needed for rewarding welding careers. It is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training program

“I am proud that our government has invested in this innovative project, making it possible for Indigenous apprentices to become journeypersons. High quality apprenticeship training programs help support a skilled, mobile and certified trades workforce. By helping Canadians succeed in the labour market, our government is helping to strengthen and grow the middle class and those working hard to join it,” said the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

“This innovative new program from our federal colleagues parallels some of the initiatives our government has put forward in the past few months under Future Ready,” said Mr. Bruce Hinkley, MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose. “It is also especially pleasing to see opportunities created, and access expanded for Indigenous Albertans to embark on rewarding careers and help with our province’s economic recovery.”

The Virtual Reality and Co-operative Trades – The Next Generation program is separated into two cohort groups of learners with a capacity for 25 students per group, and the first cohort began their training in October 2016. “This program really is innovative in so many ways, as it’s being offered in a unique, flexible format that allows the students to start training in their home communities,” explained Joel Ward, RDC President & CEO. “The programming infuses cultural teachings and learnings from the students’ elders with technical and hands-on training, offered through virtual reality welding simulators.”

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