Government, industry and partner funding initiatives for NAIT programs

Quality of polytechnic education recognized with new sources of support

Whether for novel programs, innovative applied research programs or support for students seeking relevant,  hands-on education, NAIT continues to attract new funding from partners that include government, industry members and donors.

Here's a roundup of the some of our biggest announcements. Check back often! We add to the list as news emerges.

New support for women-identifying individuals in construction, energy and manufacturing

photo of young woman in blue safety vest and harness on a scaffold

Women Leading and Building Canada’s Future is a multi-year project aimed at supporting women-identifying students as they pursue apprenticeship training in one of the 21 construction, energy and manufacturing red seal trades NAIT offers. The red seal is recognized across Canada and internationally.

Funded in part by a $2.6-million investment from the Government of Canada’s Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy under the Women in the Skilled Trades Initiative, the program will provide financial support to offset education and living costs, host networking events and conferences for students, provide (in partnership with Women Building Futures) workplace equity, diversity and inclusion training for employers, and more.

Applications for financial academic support are now open and will remain open year-round.

Learn more about how to apply for support

New bursaries for students considering trades and technology education

man using drill on a work site

April 2024 – Forecasts from Canadian Apprenticeship Forum indicate the need for an additional 60,000 apprentices country-wide by 2025. To help, Anthem Properties is committing $500,000 over 10 years to support trades and construction bursaries at NAIT, with an aim to attract youth and those looking to upskill to pursue an apprenticeship or diploma.

“These students will play a critical role in the development and sustainability of our society in the future,” says Dylan Hunchak, vice president of land development at Anthem. “We hope that this investment provides hope to individuals who believe a formal education is out of reach.”

Valued at $1,250 and $2,500, the bursaries are available to students and apprentices who demonstrate financial need and satisfactory academic achievement, and are enrolled in one of the 18 supported trades and construction-related technology programs at NAIT.

Anthem’s investment answers a call from industry to support the BILD Alberta Scholarships for Construction Careers – learn more

NAIT Writing Centre pilot project expands

two students work at a table in the library at the northern alberta institute of technology

March 2024 – The Writing Centre began as a pilot project at the NAIT Library in January 2024 as a safe, inclusive and cooperative resource for students needing advice and support for writing projects.

Now the project is set to expand. The Embark Student Foundation Major Grant Program, administered by Embark, a company that specializes in post-secondary education saving and planning, has awarded $250,000 over five years to NAIT.

The funding will increase the centre's hours, provide opportunities for other students (in addition to a dedicated staff) to be peer tutors and, most importantly, ensure the long-term continuity and development of the centre, and stability for the students who use it.

"This grant is absolutely central to the success of the Writing Centre, and we are thrilled to have been awarded these funds," says Belinda Wang, Writing Centre co-ordinator.

Listen to Belinda Wang's March 13 interview on CBC's Radio Active

Provincial funding fuels planning for Advanced Skills Centre, NAIT’s largest-ever project

woman wearing safety glasses and hard hat

February 2024 – Planning for NAIT’s Advanced Skills Centre will soon be underway thanks to an investment of $43 million from the Government of Alberta, announced as part of the province’s 2024 budget.

The Advanced Skills Centre – a state-of-the-art trades and technology learning space – will complement NAIT’s Main Campus and expand the polytechnic’s capacity to deliver trades and technology programming in alignment with the emerging needs of Alberta’s economy.

"NAIT is set to modernize and expand our training capabilities."

“On behalf of NAIT, I want to thank the Government of Alberta and Minister Sawhney for Budget 2024’s investment of $43 million towards the NAIT Advanced Skills Centre,” says Laura Jo Gunter, president  and CEO.

“This funding acknowledges the crucial role of skilled trades in the economy and NAIT’s role in delivering apprenticeship education that is essential for Alberta’s prosperity. In collaboration with industry and the community, NAIT is set to modernize and expand our training capabilities."

Another boost for boreal research

Dr. Jean-Marie Sobze, Applied Research Chair in Plant and Seed Technologies and manager of the Boreal Forest Plant and Seed Technology Access Centre holds up a plant in a greenhouse

Jan 2024 – Through its Research Capacity Program, the Government of Alberta has matched an investment of $696,404 from Canada Foundation for Innovation’s College Fund for NAIT’s Centre for Boreal Research, located in Peace River. Combined with contributions from the polytechnic and industry partners, the total grant exceeds $1.7 million.

Dr. Jean-Marie Sobze, Applied Research Chair in Plant and Seed Technologies and manager of the Boreal Forest Plant and Seed Technology Access Centre, noted that the funding will allow for expansion of the facility to better serve Indigenous communities, industry partners and the environment in northern Alberta.

In particular, it will support research that will lead to greater employment in the region, help develop strategies and practices for tackling climate change, and build capacity of local Indigenous communities to benefit economically from land and environmental management. It will also provide unique educational opportunities for NAIT students from various programs.

New support for mentorship of NAIT student entrepreneurs

nait student at the mawji centre for new venture and entrepreneurship writing on a white board and smiling

December 2023 – Recently announced funding from Prairies Economic Development Canada will enhance mentorship activities for NAIT students participating in the Entrepreneurship Blue Book Program presented by Toronto Dominion Bank.  

The program gives students the opportunity to move a business from ideation to launch in a single academic year. It is delivered through NAIT's Mawji Centre for New Venture and Student Entrepreneurship and available to all students enrolled in at least one course at NAIT or one of the polytechnic's post-secondary partners.

The $308,026 grant will support the ongoing development, facilitation and mentorship aspects of the program by allowing the institution to bring on a full-time lead entrepreneurship consultant through to the 2025-26 academic year.

Learn more about NAIT's Entrepreneurship Blue Book Program

5G comes to NAIT – to the benefit of industry

nait staff set up a portable 5G network at the spruce grove campus

October 2023 – NAIT is now a testing ground for 5G-enabled technologies and training centre for those who work in the sector. Thanks to a partnership with Rogers Communications and funding of $3.8 million from the governments of Alberta and Canada, two 5G networks are being made available: one at the Productivity and Innovation Centre and another produced by a portable unit that can be set up anywhere.

5G is a new standard in celullar networks, providing higher speeds, greater capacity and lower latency, supporting everything from more devices per square kilometre to surgery performed remotely. Both NAIT networks will allow companies to validate 5G applications and technologies before bringing them to market. The polytechnic also offers self-paced courses on 5G principles and applications.

"By working with our partners on this advanced communication platform, we’re helping them prepare for the next generation of industry,” says Ryan Leskiw, director of business development with NAIT Applied Research.

New funding for additional apprenticeship seats

prospective apprenticeship student using a level

September 2023 – Thanks to a $4.9-million investment from the Government of Alberta, NAIT's is set to add more than 500 apprenticeship seats across

As a result, the polytechnic will educate 9,500 apprentices in the 2023/24 academic year.

This funding is in addition to the $15 million over three years announced by the provincial government earlier this year, which added more than 1,000 additional apprenticeship spaces across Alberta's post-secondary sector.

"This ensures the availability of seats in high-demand apprenticeship programs across critical sectors such as construction, manufacturing and transportation,” says Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT president and CEO.

Raising awareness of clean fuels

instructor points at something in a lab for students

July 2023 – In September 2023, NAIT will launch a clean fuels online awareness and education program for academic, industry and government stakeholders. A series of webinars, which will also be available to the public, will examine variables that affect the carbon intensity of fuels, greenhouse gas calculations and clean fuel case studies. An online training module will follow in winter 2024. 

The education and awareness program builds upon previous work by NAIT circular economy and clean technologies applied researchers, and is supported by a $300,000 grant from Natural Resources Canada.

Boosting partnerships and technology to preserve boreal ecosystems

jean-marie sobze, researcher at NAIT's Boreal Research Institute, tending some plants

May 2023 – NAIT’s Centre for Boreal Research has received $696,404 from Canada Foundation for Innovation’s College Fund for equipment and infrastructure. Enhancements will help the centre better support northern Alberta companies and their partners, including First Nations communities, to develop and implement effective and cost-efficient reclamation strategies to reach climate change goals and maintain the boreal ecosystem. 

Specifically, the federal investment will bolster the centre’s research in plant and seed technologies, reforestation, and peatland and wetland restoration, as well as expand space for experiment preparation and capacity to deliver technical training.

NAIT to help reduce plastic waste in Alberta's beekeeping industry

beekeeper holding foundation with bees flying around

April 2023 – The Agriculture Funding Consortium has committed $182,793 to a NAIT Applied Research project that aims to see less plastic discarded during honey production. Commercial beehives contain plastic sheets known as foundation, upon which bees build comb. Currently, those are hard to recycle, leading to waste.

Over the next two years, researchers at the ploytechnic will work with the Alberta Beekeepers Commission to develop a prototype for more easily recyclable foundation, keeping plastic in the circular economy longer (that is, in use and out of landfills) in a province that produces more honey than any other region in Canada.

Homebuilder Jay Westman leads initiative to boost support for trades education

October 2022 – Homebuilder Jay Westman believes the current affordable housing shortage can be addressed by boosting the number of apprentices. That’s where his campaign to raise $15 million to support trades education at NAIT and SAIT comes in. Here’s a look at the impact that funding will have on students and Alberta.

NAIT set to help newcomers put skills to work in building trades careers

October 2022 – Newcomers to Canada often arrive with skills that can make significant contributions to building local economies. Often, those skills must first be validated. Supported by $1.5-million over three years from the Government of Alberta, NAIT's Accelerated Trade Entry program aims to help bridge the gap.

Provincial funding supports three new micro-credential programs at NAIT

September 2022 – NAIT’s micro-credentials programming has received a boost thanks to $650,000 over two years from the Government of Alberta announced to develop new micro-credential programs at NAIT to help learners upskill and reskill in three program areas: construction leadership and supervision, intellectual property and point-of-care ultrasound.

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