Students from the Yukon’s communities won’t have to travel to Whitehorse for trades training much longer. Yukon College is bringing the school to them.
The Education Department announced $1.8 million in funding for the college to buy a mobile trades education trailer that it hopes will be ready for September.
“It’s like a very grand RV,” said Yukon College president Karen Barnes. “It’s got pop-outs on the side and pop-outs on the end. By the time it’s all popped out it’s 1,000 square feet inside. It’s designed to be a self-contained lab where you can teach trades.”
The 16-metre trailer will be towed behind a tractor-trailer and will be custom-equipped with enough trades shop equipment to teach everything from welding to pipe fitting, electrical and millwrighting. That allows the college to tailor its programming to meet labour market demands in the mining and industry sectors, Barnes said.
“It can be used in any community that has road access, from Ross River to Faro to Haines Junction and any other rural community in the territory. We’re pretty excited about it,” said Education Minister Scott Kent.
Similar trailers have been used in northern Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta to bring trades training to rural communities. The trailer will be a self-contained mobile classroom, with its own power, heat and wireless Internet.
Barnes said she knows of one in particular that has been used by the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology for nearly 20 years, and has even ventured as far north as Yellowknife a number of times.
The Department of Education is footing most of the bill for the new trailer, with $1.1 million. The remaining money – $700,000 – is coming from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.