News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

October 10, 2014


New Partnerships Give Students a Foot in the Door for Good Jobs: Premier Selinger

THE PAS—Students in northern Manitoba will have expanded opportunities to train on state-of-the-art equipment with access to trades training while getting a head start on a good paying job in the trades following two new partnerships between the Kelsey School Division and University College of the North (UCN), and Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) and UCN, Premier Greg Selinger announced here today.

“Parents want their kids to get good jobs and put down roots here at home.  This partnership is opening more doors to training while students are still in high school,” said Premier Selinger.  “Tradespeople are in high demand in the province, and by giving our students access to UCN’s programs, we’re giving them the tools they need to get a head start.”

These partnerships will allow students in The Pas and OCN to take training at UCN and apply that back to a high school credit, the premier noted.

“The announcement today by Premier Selinger is a huge step in closing the gap between the need for trades training opportunities and the need for skilled tradespersons in the north.  UCN is pleased to be involved in opportunities for our youth to access trades training while enrolled in high school,” said Konrad Jonasson, president, UCN.

Students can now start enrolling in several programs including:

  • heavy duty mechanics,
  • power mechanics,
  • carpentry,
  • culinary arts,
  • early childhood education, and
  • health-care aide.

“We at Opaskwayak Cree Nation are working to solidify a partnership agreement with UCN that will benefit our students,” said Edwin Jebb, chair, Opaskwayak Educational Authority Inc., OCN.  “We must do what we can to ensure that programming is made available to them to succeed.  Such partnerships are essential for continued student learning and help provide for future employment opportunities in the trades.”

“We know that the trades and technology are an important part of the growth of our students, community and the north.  We are fortunate to have access to the many programs and state-of-the-art equipment at University College of the North,” said Doug Long, superintendent, Kelsey School Division.  “As we renew and expand our connections to University College of the North, our students will benefit with expanded programming opportunities that will lead to further opportunities after graduation.”

To help connect and engage those living in northern Manitoba, UCN has named Rob Penner as associate vice-president of career and workforce development.  Penner is the executive director of the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy, and brings with him extensive experience with industry, technical training and community relations.  He will help to work and identify the needs in the northern labour market and help more Manitobans get good jobs here in the trades, the premier said.

“Northern industry and northern employers are faced with current and future shortages of skilled tradespeople,” says Doug Lauvsted, executive director, Northern Manitoba Sector Council.  “This is a good example of one of many strategies we are employing to work with education and government to train and employ northern people for northern jobs.  We are very encouraged by this announcement and look forward to working with all parties.”

The premier noted this builds on increasing opportunities for young people to get good jobs here in Manitoba and will help the government reach its commitment of adding 75,000 workers to the labour force by 2020.   Other investments include:

  • a new, $30-million Skill Build Shops fund to build and expand trades and skills shops in high schools;
  • a new, $1-million career development fund to help students leave high school feeling confident with what they want to do next, whether it is through a university, college, work placement or
    on-the-job training and apprenticeship; and
  • a new, $1-million Skill Build Equipment fund to upgrade classrooms to an apprenticeship-accredited level and bring welding, electrical, carpentry and culinary arts equipment into schools.

 - 30 -