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Mayor, Aurora College president tour Alberta college

Cody Punter
Northern News Services
Published Friday, February 7, 2014

Mayor Mark Heyck and Coun. Cory Vanthuyne joined Education Minister Jack Lafferty and Industry, Tourism & Investment Minister David Ramsay on a tour of a polytechnic school in Edmonton last week.

NNSL photo/graphic

During a recent visit to Edmonton, Mayor Mark Heyck was joined by various Northern dignataries for a tour of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. - photo courtesy of Cory Vanthuyne

The trip was an opportunity for the politicians to explore potential partnerships between the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Northern post-secondary institutions.

"It was a rather large eye-opening experience," said Vanthuyne. "We saw some spectacular stuff with regards to machinists,

robotics, lasers and things of that nature. There's just some really incredible stuff that's being worked on at that level with students these days."

The institute has direct ties to big industry and is one of the largest schools of its kind in Canada.

Vanthuyne said the ability of the school to cater to the needs of large industrial companies is the type of thing the North should be investigating.

"We know that's what we need here. That's the same industry that is talking to them there - mining, oil and gas, and big orders of government that are doing big infrastructure projects - that need these kind of skill sets," said Vanthuyne.

"If there's a way in which we can start to provide more options with regards to us providing post-secondary education here, then it's worth having a look to see if it's a possibility."

Jane Arychuck, president of Aurora College for the NWT, was also in Edmonton for the tour.

She emphasized the possibility of a partnership between Aurora College and NAIT, were still a long ways off.

Vanthuyne added representatives from the NAIT made it very clear that they were not willing to invest in infrastructure in the North because they are currently investing so much in their own campus.

The city councillor said he hopes to meet with Arychuck and the two ministers in the next few weeks to talk about the tour.

"We'll get a time and get together and talk about what opportunities we might able to expand upon," he said.

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