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Trades & Resource Technology

Hands-on, Flexible and Supported Learning.

Northern Lakes College is the premier educational provider of Trades and Resource Technology training in the north. Students learn from experienced trades people, who have worked in the field and can train real-life scenarios. Northern Lakes College offers a trades training annex for students taking an apprenticeship program. We also offer flexible learning options for technology programs, enabling students the ability to learning anytime, from anywhere there is an internet connection. Trades and Resource Technology at Northern Lakes College has been the fastest growing program over the past five years and is predicted to continue to grow as the oilfield rebounds.

Find out where and when the training you need is being delivered. Check out the Northern Lakes College Trades Training Schedule by clicking the button to the right.

General Apprenticeship Information

Eligible students are determined by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT). See Trade Secrets Alberta for more details. You must meet the entrance requirements for:

  • your specific trade,
  • be indentured by an employer,
  • be eligible to attend the training sessions

Apprentices are generally already working in the field while at the same time enrolled into a post-secondary education program. They receive on-the-job training from a certified journeyman or qualified individual (approximately 80% of time spent) and technical training at an approved technical training institution (approximately 20% of time spent). An apprenticeship can be anywhere from one year up to four years depending on the trade you have chosen. 

Throughout your learning time and in order to advance your skillset, apprentices are required to successfully complete:

  • The technical training period,
  • The industry examination(s),
  • Successfully complete the hours and months of on-the-job training (Each apprenticeship program has its own requirements)

Why take Pre-Employment?


In today’s economy, training is critical. For high school students, Dual Credit programming includes trades offerings, which are also called “Pre-Employment”. They are called this because they offer the theory portion of trades training in advance of obtaining the hands on experience with an employer. In the trades, a candidate is normally employed (a.k.a. apprenticed) in advance of attending training. Pre-employment trades offered at NLC include Carpentry, Welding, Electrician, Heavy Equipment Technician, Mobile Crane, and Industrial Mechanic.

Each program is 12 weeks long and covers the entire First Period theory of that trade. In essence, high school students complete the first year of theory required for a trade, without leaving home and without incurring the costs associated with post-secondary training!

Dual Credit Pre-Employment offerings are available close to home, in High Level, High Prairie,
Peace River, Slave Lake, Grande Prairie, and Wabasca.

Pre-Employment Benefits


Student Benefits
•Complete your first year theory of a trade without leaving home
• Get an advantage when competing for entry-level employment
• Learn to sell your skills to potential employers
• Gain practical experience in the shop
• Receive first year AIT* technical training
• Build a trades resume
• Establish a network within a trade and community

*Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) is the provincial regulatory body for trades

Parent Benefits
• Save on First Period trades tuition, as your child’s fees are either fully or partially covered by most participating school divisions
• Increase your child’s employability opportunities

Employer Benefits
When you a hire a Pre-Employment graduate, you:
• Get a skilled, work-ready employee, with current knowledge
• Decrease your training expenses, as you don’t incur the costs associated with having an
employee away for the First Period theory
• Have the option to hire as a general labourer or a first year apprentice, depending on the
needs of your shop

Community Benefits
• Build capacity in your community
• Enhanced quality of life
• Enhanced employment opportunities
• Ensure availability of skilled trades in your community
• Keep youth in the community

Flexible Delivery Methods

NLC Anytime, Anywhere- Courses where you do not have scheduled classes, where you log into a program (Moodle) at any time and do your work. 
NLC LIVE Online- Courses where you have scheduled classes online, where you log into a program (Blackboard Collaborate) with your instructor and peers on the same day, at the same time.
Face-to-face- Courses where the instructor and the students are interacting at the same time, at the same physical location.
Blended- Courses where you have a combination of face to face and online (NLC Anytime, Anywhere and/or NLC LIVE Online). 

Alumni Story: From Student to Department Head

Chris Montgomery-Hewett

The Chair of Trades and Resource Technology at Northern Lakes College was once a student in a program she manages today. In 2006, Chris Montgomery-Hewett enrolled in the welder apprenticeship program. In 2019, she became the head of the department. This is the story of how she got from “a” to “z”.

Chris grew up near Wapella, Saskatchewan. She credits growing up on a cattle farm for developing her inclination for understanding how machines work. Her mechanical inclination led her to work with heavy equipment and, ultimately, to finding her passion in the welding trade.

Read full story