Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

NAIT launches 3 new programs

A North American first, Baking expanded, and a focus on entrepreneurship

NAIT is set to expand its offerings with 3 new programs – including one that’s the first of its kind.

The 2-year foundation drill rig operator program, starting in January 2018, will be unique in North America. Also accepting their first intakes of students in the new year are the Baking diploma program and the Business Administration diploma specializing in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Here’s a look at the new additions.

Foundation drill rig operator

Foundation drill rigs are a key part of construction projects around the world. The NAIT program will be Western Canada’s only formal training and certification for the profession, says Kevin Sharp, past-president of the Western Canadian chapter of the Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors.

The association approached NAIT about starting the program, which will cover operations, safety, mechanics, blueprint reading and more through online instruction. Industry members helped build the content and even raised about $480,000 to create the program, which also includes 1,500 hours of on-the-job experience. Students must be employed in the field and have access to an industry mentor.

“Training is a big part of any industry,” says Sharp, who owns Northstar Sharp’s, a foundation drilling company based in Nisku. “It increases safety and understanding … You need a certificate and training work on a skid-steer [Bobcat], but not for a huge drill rig that costs $1.5 million.”

Safety in the industry is a personal matter for Sharp as well. His uncle was seriously injured in a drill rig accident. “I want to make sure I leave this industry better than I found it, and proper training is a big part of that,” he says.

nait baking diplomaBaking diploma

The current 1-year Baking certificate will become a 2-year diploma program starting in 2018. Students now in the certificate program will have the option of entering the second year in 2018 to get their diploma.

Demand from industry and from prospective students led to the expansion of the program, which will include new courses in confectionary, advanced frozen desserts, entrepreneurship and product innovation, and baking for alternative diets. This year, 250 students applied for 27 seats in the certificate program. The diploma program will graduate about 24 bakers each year.

“For students, it will mean a more well-rounded experience that goes beyond the skill required for the Baking certificate,” says program chair Alan Dumonceaux. “It’s a tremendous amount of work developing new curriculum, but we think we’ve put enough planning and thought into it that we’ll have a great diploma to offer students.”

Kevin Carthy, NAIT jr shaw school of business marketing alumEntrepreneurship and innovation

The Business Administration diploma will offer a specialization in entrepreneurship and innovation in the coming year. The new diploma includes courses in small business management, entrepreneurial practice and new venture creation.

According to statistics (720kb pdf) from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, small businesses resulting from entrepreneurship contributed, on average, 30% to each province’s GDP in 2014. In 2015, those businesses employed more than 70% of the total private workforce in Canada.

“This program will help develop the young entrepreneurs that Alberta needs,” says Gina Jackson, associate dean academic in the JR Shaw School of Business. “It will give students the skills that are critical to succeed in starting and developing a business.”



NAIT BRAND AMBASSADORS 2017