Red Deer College selected as finalist

  • Feb. 12, 2014 6:12 p.m.

Red Deer College has been selected as a finalist for the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction in the Aboriginal Relations – Best Practice category. RDC was nominated for its collaborative approach to offer programming options for Aboriginal youth and to increase opportunity and access to education for Aboriginal learners.

In 2012 and 2013, RDC partnered with Sunchild First Nation to offer apprenticeship programming to high school and adult members.

“There is a growing need for skilled trades throughout the region, so it’s critical that we create opportunities to increase access to relevant training to meet industry need,” says Joel Ward, president and CEO of RDC. “Our partnership with Sunchild First Nation was an innovative way to help Aboriginal learners explore career possibilities.”

The program was delivered at the Sunchild First Nation School and taught students skills in both welding and carpentry. The training also included hands-on learning on campus at RDC so the students could explore further trades education, learn about other RDC programs and experience college life first hand.

Due to the success of the Sunchild project, RDC has explored trades training opportunities with other First Nations, including Ermineskin Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe and O’Chiese First Nation.

“We are committed to helping Aboriginal students transition smoothly into post-secondary studies,” says Shelley Ralston, chair of RDC’s Board of Governors. “We will continue to find unique ways to deliver training that equips aboriginal students for the workforce and helps learners overcome barriers.”

RDC has worked with other First nations groups such as the Metis Nation of Alberta, O’Chiese First Nation and the Montana First Nation to prepare individuals to enter apprenticeship, upgrading math, science and reading skills to challenge Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training entrance exam.

Each year select companies from across Alberta are chosen as finalists in the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction. The College is the only post-secondary institution in the province nominated for an Alberta Business Award this year. As a result of the nomination, RDC will also be considered for the Premier’s Award of Distinction.

The awards will be announced at a gala dinner on Feb. 28 at the Radisson Hotel Edmonton South. For more information, please go to the Alberta Business Awards of Distinction web site at

– Fawcett