An official opening was held Oct. 13 for the Marine Training Centre, the first facility of its kind in the NWT.
That’s even though the centre offered its first class in May of this year.
At the official opening, Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod said the centre is an important part of the Northern Marine Training Program under the federal government’s Ocean Protection Plan.
McLeod noted the program provided the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium with $12.6 million to offer marine training to Northern communities, including expanding programming at its Iqaluit campus and opening the satellite training facility in Hay River.
“The demand for labour in the marine sector has been increasing,” he said. “Our workforce should be well-trained and it should reflect the diversity of the Canadian population.”
McLeod said one of the goals of such training is to get more women and Indigenous people into the marine sector workforce.
Wally Schumann, the GNWT’s minister of Infrastructure and minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, said the official opening marked an important milestone for marine operations in the North.
Schumann said a partnership between the GNWT, the federal government and the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium established the Marine Training Centre, which will support the growth of the NWT’s marine and fishing sector and increase local marine emergency response capabilities.
The consortium began offering classes at the centre in May, he noted. “A total of 38 students have received training to date and more classes are being offered this fall.”
The centre has been established in the old headquarters of the defunct Northern Transportation Company Ltd. (NTCL). The GNWT bought the assets of NTCL in December of 2016, including the old headquarters building.
Elizabeth Cayen, executive director of the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium, explained the organization’s philosophy is built on providing training in the North for Northerners.
“They shouldn’t have to go to the south to do all that,” she said. “So do it here. It’s closer to home, closer to where job opportunities are for you.”
Cayen said the training will be for everything marine – tugs, barges, tankers, research vessels and fish-processing plants.
She noted that, while the first class at the Marine Training Centre was in the spring, a bridge watch class is currently underway.