Before they’re even done high school, some local students will have eight standard industry tickets under their belt. All three area school districts have teamed up with Grande Prairie Regional College and NuVista Energy to create a new dual credit program.

The opportunity will be available to two groups of grade 12 students. NuVista is subsidizing the cost with a $25,000 donation, and Production Superintendent Vern Crone says they hope it will motivate more youth to finish their schooling.

“Let’s face it, the conventional path of high school is not for everyone. Some kids are going to enter the workforce; they are going to go in to the trades, so let’s help them.”

While getting earning high school credits, the grads will complete the requirements for Confined Spaces Awareness/Rescue, Detection & Control of Flammable Substances (ENFORM), Fall Protection, Ground Disturbance Supervisor, H2S Alive (ENFORM), TDG, WHIMIS and CSTS. They will also get First Aid training.

The program costs $1,110 per student, and the school districts will be responsible for the tuition cost of $483. The students are responsible for the rest for equipment and material fees, but with NuVista’s donation, the price goes down to $227 for all eight tickets.

Some students have already gone through the program, and the goal is to have 47 done by the end of the school year. Roughly 90 per cent of NuVista’s operations are in the Grande Prairie area, and Crone says the company hopes to see more local students join the local workforce.

“They’re garnering skills that will allow them to be employed in their home community; that’s so important. Grande Prairie kids can go to school, garner the training they need, get to work in Grande Prairie, stay close to their family; that’s the perfect scenario for almost any family.”

NuVista has previously sponsored a robotics program, SMART boards, and team jerseys for Penson School in Grovedale.