News Release Article from  Western Economic Diversification Canada

Archived - Harper Government Supports Skills Development and Training in Northern Alberta

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March 5, 2015 – Devon, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

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Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced an investment of $1,565,000 for the Northern Lights School Division No. 69 (NLSD) to enhance its Trades Exposure Program.

Federal funding, through the Western Diversification Program (WDP), will go towards the purchase of specialized equipment, building renovations and upgrades, as well as site preparations that will enable NLSD to develop the only service rig training centre in Alberta. This investment will provide high school students, many of whom are Aboriginal, with training, skills development, and a greater awareness of opportunities available in the skilled trades.

This project is also receiving support from Ensign Energy Services Inc., the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), the Government of Alberta, and NLSD.

Quick Facts

  • NLSD is a not-for-profit institution that consists of nearly 30 schools across northeastern Alberta.
  • The service rig training centre will be the first of its kind in Alberta and will feature a new online simulator that provides rural and remotely located students with access to learning.
  • Approximately 30 per cent of NLSD’s student population is Aboriginal, and over the next three years 1,350 high school students from nine Aboriginal communities will have the opportunity to access trades training through Trades Exposure Program.


"Our Government is committed to creating opportunities for all students, including those in remote areas, to access training in skilled trades. By investing in specialized equipment that enhances skilled labour training, we are ensuring students acquire the experience necessary to secure quality jobs."

- The Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

"The Government of Alberta is committed to providing our youth with every opportunity to succeed in Alberta's dynamic job market and to gain valuable hands-on learning. Through the Provincial Dual Credit Strategy, we're proud to partner with schools, communities, post-secondary institutions, and industry to offer a wide range of exciting and rewarding learning opportunities for students."

- The Honourable Gordon Dirks, Minister of Education, Government of Alberta

"The service rig training centre will allow us to expand our Trades Exposure Program, which gives our students the opportunity to earn high school credits while earning the certifications and work experience they need to pursue a career in the trades after graduation. This program helps meet the needs of our students, who have requested more hands-on learning opportunities in the trades, and the labour needs of our region."

- Arlene Hrynyk, Board Chair, Northern Lights School Division No. 69

"Ensign Well Servicing has been operating in the Northern Lights School District for the past 35 years and has developed a strong connection to the community in that time. We strive to provide a safe work environment in which people are able to build a successful career in the energy industry while remaining in, and contributing to, their local community. With the donation of this service rig, Ensign hopes to provide young people in the area with hands-on experience in order to strengthen both their interest in our operations and their knowledge of the career opportunities that exist within it. We look forward to continuing our partnership with this community and would like to thank everyone involved with making the Northern Lights School District program a success."

- William (Bill) Kidd, General Manager, Ensign Energy Services Inc.

"CAODC is pleased to partner with NLSD to train and develop students for a future career on the rigs. It takes a unique skill set to manage and maintain service rig equipment. This program will provide the manpower necessary to strengthen the industry and the local and national economy for years to come."

- Mark A. Scholz, President, Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors

Additional Links


Emily Goucher
Office of the Minister
Western Economic Diversification
Telephone: 613-954-8097

Nicole Garner
Communications Officer
Northern Lights School Division No. 69
Telephone: 780-826-3145 ext. 199
Cell: 780-207-7646

William (Bill) Kidd
General Manager
Ensign Energy Services Inc.
Telephone: 403-809-7794

Mark A. Scholz
Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors
Telephone: 403-264-4311 ext. 113

WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-877-303-3388
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