Classroom Upgrades and the Steamfitter-Pipefitter Program Returns to Portage
October 4, 2023

The Minister of Advanced Education visited the Portage College Lac La Biche campus to announce budget 2023 investments in post-secondary. 

Government of Alberta News Release Oct 2, 2023:

With seven campuses offering 30 certificate and diploma programs throughout northeastern Alberta, Portage College is an integral part of the region’s economy and sense of community.

To ensure students can access the skills and training they need to build successful careers while learning in a comfortable, safe and modern environment, Alberta’s government is investing $900,000 to modernize classrooms and improve students’ learning experiences.

“Investing in local communities encourages students to stay close to home to develop the skills, knowledge and competencies they need for the most in-demand jobs. It also benefits the local economy, as students graduate and use their talents to continue building strong and prosperous communities.”

- Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education

Steamfitter-pipefitter is one of the fastest growing apprenticeship programs in northeastern Alberta. To help address this demand, Alberta’s government is reinstating the steamfitter-pipefitter program at Portage College for the 2024-25 academic year.

This four-year program will host 32 apprentices per year who will go on to rewarding careers in energy and construction.

“Together, we will meet the demand for much-needed paramedics and trades professionals in our region. Modernizing our classrooms will help ensure our students have an excellent learning experience at Portage College. We’re thankful to the Government of Alberta, Minister Sawhney and Advanced Education for their support.”

- Nancy Broadbent, president and CEO, Portage College

Quick facts

  • Budget 2023 investments at Portage College:
    • $875,000 to create 96 seats in the paramedicine program
    • $319,846 to support apprenticeship programs
    • $0.9 million to modernize classrooms and improve students’ learning experiences
  • Total: $2.1 million
  • Budget 2023 investments in northeast Alberta (Athabasca University, Keyano College, Northern Lakes College and Portage College):
    • Targeted enrolment expansion ­– $3.1 million to create 669 seats in high-demand programs
    • Apprenticeship funding – $2.1 million to support seats for apprentices
    • Additional project-specific capital maintenance and renewal funding – $9.7 million to update campus facilities and improve the overall student experience
  • Total: $14,968,759

Minister of Advanced Education visits Portage College
Minister of Advanced Education meets with Portage College members of the Board of Governors, administration, and students in the wanîskah cultural space at the Lac La Biche campus. 

Media Inquiries:

Government of Alberta

Melissa Crane
Press Secretary, Advanced Education

Portage College

Corporate Communications Department
780-623-6671 or email

We acknowledge that Portage College’s service region is on the traditional lands of First Nation Peoples, the owners of Treaty 6, 8 and 10, which are also homelands to the Métis people. We honour the history and culture of all people who first lived and gathered in these lands.
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