Portage College has expanded its trades options for students in northeast Alberta with the addition of three programs. The Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry program, Pre-Employment Heavy Equipment Technician program, and – in partnership with Medicine Hat College – Apprenticeship Steamfitter/Pipefitter program all begin in 2023.
Recently, the Government of Alberta (GOA) announced an investment of $15 million over three years as part of their Alberta at Work initiative. Out of those dollars, $421,000 will go towards Portage College for expanding opportunities including a partnership with Medicine Hat College to offer Steamfitter/Pipefitter.
The agreement between the two Alberta colleges is based on a mutual desire to provide trades-related training in rural Alberta and increase collaboration between community colleges. The two colleges will jointly offer Steamfitter/Pipefitter Apprenticeship training in the Portage College service region.
“We believe in the importance of a career in the trades and by partnering with Portage College for the Steamfitter/Pipefitter program, we can provide training to students who may not have had the chance otherwise,” says Chad Flinn, Dean of trades & technology at Medicine Hat College. “We look forward to jointly offering a more flexible approach to trades education and increasing opportunity for students within Alberta.”
The funding will be used to offer all four periods of the Steamfitter/Pipefitter program through a hybrid model. The pilot delivery model is to have online lectures delivered from Medicine Hat College instructors and in-person labs in each of the respective communities.
The funding would cover Medicine Hat College instructors’ travel expenses, lab materials and supplies, as well as administrative support. Medicine Hat College has the capacity to provide instructional support for the high demand in the Portage region.
“With Portage’s resources on campus and the high learner and labour market demand in our region, this expansion grant would support both the Portage 2025 and Alberta 2030 vision to equip Albertans with the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to attain a career in the Steam and Pipefitter industry,” said Don Moore, Portage College’s Dean of trades.
In addition to the partnership with Medicine Hat College, Portage recently resurrected the carpentry lab to offer Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry to fill the need for trained carpenters in northeast Alberta.
Moore says the pathway for Portage learners in the Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry program is unique.
“Our College focuses on bringing confidence and skills to those who are willing and able to work. We start them off with academic upgrading to develop and refresh both academic and employment skills, then our recognized carpentry trades training, and concluding with a practicum. Students receive support in finding job placements which may be used for apprenticeship hours,” he said. “The goal is to get them jobs and government support is important.”
Contact for Portage College Admissions:
Contact for Medicine Hat College Admissions:
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Jaime Davies, Corporate Communications Manager
780-623-5581 or email
Medicine Hat College
Jessica Anderson, Communications Specialist