Stories of Impact

Natural Resource Education for Indigenous Students

The University of Northern British Columbia is partnering with the BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) to provide 30 Indigenous students with natural resource skills training used in today’s industry projects throughout Northern B.C.

April 12, 2018
natural resource education
Deshanna Tsakoza (Prophet River First Nation) and Ashley Watson (Saulteau First Nations) both successfully completed the Environmental Monitoring program in 2017 via funding provided by the BC Oil and Gas Commission.

The University of Northern British Columbia is partnering with the BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) to provide 30 Indigenous students with natural resource skills training used in today’s industry projects throughout Northern B.C.

Students will have access to training in either Land Reclamation or Environmental Monitoring programs offered via the UNBC Continuing Studies department. These courses provide students with practical job skills for work in their communities and in natural resource management as a whole. Funding will cover tuition, accommodation and food costs during the program. Students will begin training as early as May.

The Commission has provided $125,000 in funding to the program and the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society has provided $25,000. These funds come from the Commission’s Indigenous Education Program, a pilot project launched in January. The purpose of the program is to provide training that can benefit both Indigenous students and their communities, and advance Indigenous inclusion in how resource projects are regulated and monitored. Additionally, the Commission is also supporting Indigenous students of UNBC’s Northern Transition Program (NTP) through the development of new bursaries. The program is a holistic and supportive program that helps students from rural and Indigenous communities prepare for, and successfully navigate, their transition to a university program.  The Commission’s NTP Bursary will financially support students in their first year in the program and their following year of studies at UNBC.

“We are excited to offer these opportunities in partnership with UNBC,” says the Commission’s Executive Director of Strategic Relations, Dean Zimmer. “It is important to support Indigenous education efforts in natural resource management to ensure a strong presence throughout the lifecycle of natural resource based projects, including oil and gas.”

“This partnership is a great example of how UNBC contributes to the education and career development of young students, and all learners, by working closely with organizations that are committed to the growth and sustainability of our Northern communities,” says UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks.

These programs all contribute to UNBC’s Northern Leadership Campaign, which has a target of raising $15 million for university-wide initiatives that strengthen research and teaching excellence, inspire next-generation leaders, and develop local solutions that have a global impact.

“Through the Northern Leadership Campaign, UNBC is enhancing the quality of academic programming we provide to Indigenous students, responding to critical skills shortages, and inspiring next generation leaders through innovative, supportive, and engaging experiential learning opportunities that have a lasting impact,” adds Dr. Weeks.

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