Innovation Centre worth federal support

March 19, 2018

Red River College’s new Innovation Centre. (Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

(Originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press on March 17, 2018)

By Paul Vogt

The new Innovation Centre that Red River College is building in Winnipeg’s Exchange District has been making headlines recently but for all the wrong reasons.

The Winnipeg Free Press has covered extensively the uncertainty this crucial project is facing due to unrealistic construction deadlines set by the federal government. Despite raising alarm bells with Ottawa in recent weeks and months, RRC is still waiting for a resolution.

This is unfortunate because the better story is what the new Centre will bring to our city and our province – what it will mean to the students it will serve; to the surrounding cluster of start-ups and leading edge industries in Innovation Alley; and to the unique, urban ‘gem’ the revitalized Exchange District is quickly becoming.

The $95 million, 100,000-square-foot Innovation Centre, announced last April, is merely Red River’s latest contribution to the ongoing revitalization of our historic Exchange District.

(Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

It started 15 years ago when RRC took a risk and opened its first building on Princess Street, bringing 2,000 students, faculty and staff downtown and creating a catalyst for the renaissance that has been taking place in this iconic neighborhood ever since.

That building, later named the Roblin Centre, set a high bar for RRC’s presence in the Exchange, preserving the architectural heritage that makes the area a unique and appealing destination while incorporating modern classrooms, labs and equipment. Behind the facades of the old mercantile shops, a state-of-the-art campus was built for students in computing, business, design and communications.

Five years ago we did it again, taking the old Union Bank Tower on Main Street – vacant and derelict for 17 years – and transforming it into a leading-edge culinary and hospitality training school with dining areas and a 90-bed student residence. Now known as the Paterson Global Institute, the school has helped spark an emergence of exciting new restaurants in the area, many involving RRC alumni.

(Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

Our new Innovation Centre will live up to the standards of its award-winning predecessors. It will be located on a site that includes an old market warehouse on Elgin Avenue. It is a century-old structure built to serve for another century. Our design will preserve this heritage building in its entirety, while incorporating a new structure that is modern, green and outfitted to meet the needs of 21st century education.


The very design of the new facility is central to the Innovation Centre story. It is also the story of Red River College and how we have always been about turning major challenges into new opportunities and historic pivot points.

Our mandate is to provide students with job-relevant skills; to produce graduates who can hit the ground running wherever they are hired. We are, in fact, a little obsessive on this point. We survey our students six months after they graduate and the results show that 94-96 per cent of our grads are employed in the fields they were trained for.

We also get high marks from employers, but are also constantly reminded that we cannot rest on our laurels, that RRC must keep changing in order to meet the needs of our students, employers and match the accelerated pace of today’s workplace.

Across all sectors of our economy, workplaces are undergoing rapid transformation, driven by the introduction of new technologies and process or product innovations. Employers are looking for technical skill sets that match their innovation strategies. They are also looking for a more general set of skills – the so-called “power skills” – that contribute to an employee’s resilience and adaptability. These include the abilities to problem-solve, work effectively within a team, communicate well and acquire new competencies as needed.

Our response to these emerging needs is college-wide, but the new Innovation Centre is where the changes will be most apparent. Modeled on a similar facility recently opened at Waterloo University, our Innovation Centre is designed to facilitate an approach known as collaborative- or problem-based education – where teams of students learn by working directly or “colliding” with local firms, social enterprises and entrepreneurs.

In one sense, we are just doubling down on the college’s existing strength, which is our close industry partnerships. The growth of Red River’s applied research program – to the point that we are now the top applied research college in Western Canada – has added a new dimension to our partnerships, supporting Manitoba companies and enterprises in product and process development.

At our Exchange District Campus we work closely with Innovation Alley (now North Forge) to provide entrepreneurs and start-ups with facilities and expert advice. The pay-off to the college, of course, has been to expose our students to leading-edge innovations and the real-world challenges of getting ideas off the ground. The Innovation Centre will feature this form of collaboration on a much grander scale.

In another sense, this is about the changing face of education. The Innovation Centre won’t have many traditional classrooms, where rows of seats are aligned to face “the sage on stage.” The rooms are designed for collaboration, with open space to mingle, wall-to-wall whiteboards, and connected alcoves where industry partners can set up shop and become part of the learning process.

(Rendering by Diamond Schmitt Architects)

The Centre will bring an additional 1,200 students to the Exchange District. It will allow us to accommodate rising demand for our existing programs in computing, business and communications.  We will also be bringing our language training programs to the Exchange and adding new programs in Indigenous entrepreneurship and social enterprise. Most importantly, we will be breaking down boundaries between our program areas, offering RRC students the opportunity to acquire different combinations of skills, with an emphasis on problem-solving and innovation.

This model of education is taking root across Canada and North America. If Red River College loses this opportunity, we run the risk of falling behind other jurisdictions when it comes to modernizing and innovating our college system. We need the federal government to honor its promises to Manitoba and ensure our students and employers have the same competitive advantage as others across the country.



RRC Partnership Creates Access to Opportunity for Newcomers in Thompson

March 8, 2018

English language training for newcomers in Thompson is now possible through a partnership with Red River College’s (RRC) Language Training Centre and University College of the North (UCN).

“We’ve welcomed about 200 people to Thompson in the last year, and many of the newcomers have valuable skills to offer – the only barrier keeping them from the kind of job they’re qualified for is language,” says David Williamson, Acting Dean of Access at UCN. “Partnering with Red River College means we are giving our newcomers access to knowledge and resources that will help them confidently integrate into our community.”
As of today there have been 65 applications to the Language Training Centre in Thompson, with 48 students already beginning their training.

“What this partnership allows us to do is provide the students with the language and communication skills they need in order to achieve their professional and educational goals,” said Anna Janik- Kelly, Program Manager for Thompson and Arborg at the Language Training Centre. “We want to help them become thriving members of the Northern community, who can use their skills and experience to enrich and strengthen the workforce and help fill some of the labor market gaps.”

The program is an expansion of the Language Training Centre in Winnipeg, which sees approximately 1,000 students per year improving their English to enroll in a program at the College, gain employment, or to become more independent in everyday life. The Centre also offers English for Specific Purposes programs, which focus on learning English in a way that will further training opportunities, or employment in a specific job market. Over the past year the Centre has expanded to Arborg, Steinbach, Selkirk and Thompson – areas which were identified as having the most need for a language training program.

“In the past two months since the program has begun we’ve felt a new burst of life on campus,” said Williamson. “We’re hoping to spread the word about what the Language Training Centre can provide, and welcome more newcomers to improve their skills.”

Through the partnership in Thompson, UCN is providing space for the classes, space for an administrative assistant, storage, laptops and access to printing and photocopying – all of which are essential to helping the program run smoothly.

Classes administered by the Language Training Centre are five-months in length, though students can continue taking a class if they feel they need additional training.  The programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Red River College recognized as national leader for diversity in the workplace

March 2, 2018
Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning awarded Best Diversity Employer award in 2018

Winnipeg, MB – Today, Red River College (RRC) is proud to be recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the fourth year in a row. RRC joins 70 other organizations across the country highlighted as employers that stand out through their efforts to create diverse and inclusive workplace.

“We often spend the majority of our waking hours at our places of work, that’s why creating an environment that is open, welcoming, and safe for all our staff and students is a priority for the College,” said Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer. “Equity and inclusion are embedded in our practices and demonstrated throughout the College – it’s part of the fabric that makes up our College community. We’re honoured to be recognized with this distinction once again.”

There are a number of programs and initiatives that encourage diversity and inclusivity that the College was recognized for this year, including RRC’s Indigenous workshop series’ developed and delivered  by the College’s Elders in Residence; LGBTT* initiative; Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative; Girls Exploring Trades and Technology (GETT) Camp Program; and a workforce audit to determine representation of designated group members in the RRC workforce.

New and noteworthy achievements this year include the addition of Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy to the College’s leadership team. This new role is responsible for leading and developing RRC’s Indigenous strategic framework that will guide the College to a bold, inclusive new future, creating new pathways to support Indigenous achievement and student success.

The College created a new online Gender & Sexual Diversity Awareness Course – the first of its kind in Canada – which provides 24/7 access to awareness building courses and training to all staff and students.

RRC also completed an Inclusive Campus Climate Review that gave members of the College community a voice in shaping and developing an inclusive and supportive workplace for everyone at RRC.

As the College continues to make improvements in the area of diversity and inclusivity, a new Inclusion Coordinator position has been created. This new position will be responsible for leading the College’s ongoing commitment to inclusion with a focus on Indigenous recruitment and retention strategies, while also coordinating RRC’s ongoing work coordinating the College’s Accessibility initiative that will enable RRC to continue to be an open, safe, and supportive environment.

“We continue to see expansions across the College with the opening of new campuses, and rapid growth and enrolment in program areas like our School of International Education,” said Gudmundson. “We must look ahead for more effective ways to integrate, expand, and enhance Diversity and Intercultural services across the College and support more staff and students than ever before.”

To read more about Red River College’s 2018 Best Diversity Employer award click here.

Red River College’s ongoing research on early child development receives National Award

January 18, 2018

RRC’s Science of Early Child Development is now used in more than 43 countries worldwide

For immediate release: January 18, 2018

What began as a research project at Red River College to bridge the gap between current research in child development and to create educational tools  and resources to support frontline workers, has now received a national award from the Canadian Association of Research Administrators (CARA) recognizing the global impact it has had around the world.

“This award is particularly exciting as our primary goal in developing the Science of Early Child Development (SECD) is to make the rapidly expanding science engaging and accessible to those who make a real difference in children’s lives,” said Jan Sanderson, research chair, School of Health Sciences and Community Services. “Our team has had the opportunity to work with many amazing committed partners around the world who are now using SECD to develop the next generation of champions for young children.”

As part of their work, researchers at Red River College were able to point to significant and emerging scientific evidence that spoke to the benefits of creating experiences that would support brain development in children starting in prenatal and carrying-on into the first years of a child’s life.

Prior to the work undertaken at Red River College, this emerging knowledge was not being widely disseminated to caregivers and frontline workers, especially in remote and low-income regions around the world.

It’s this evidence and lack of resources which was the driving force behind SECD and today, that global impact resulting from the project earned the inaugural Public Engagement and Advocacy Award from CARA an award that recognizes an individual, institution, team or project that established and maintained public engagement with research though an innovative approach.

CARA selected the SECD project for the award because of its tailor-made approach to addressing critical issues around early childhood development.

“The Public Engagement and Advocacy Award is new this year and we are thrilled to be recognizing the SECD project at Red River College,” said CARA President Deborah Zornes.

This initial SECD resource became a core “living text book” in multiple educational programs in Canada and led to the creation of an online SECD course that is widely accessible.

Since then the program has evolved into an international knowledge mobilization initiative, making current research engaging and accessible. In 2010 the team partnered with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) to modify and contextualize the resource and course for low- and middle-income countries. Since then the AKDN has trained over 70 practitioners in SECD internationally, who in turn serve as tutors and instructors in their communities.

To date the resources are in use in over 43 countries with portions translated into Arabic, Bangla, Kiswahili, Mandarin, Portuguese, Tajik, and Russian.

Current projects involve partnering with the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre and the Martin Family Initiative to support projects in First Nations communities in Canada. The research team is also developing online workshops to support a new national home-visiting program in Brazil.

Students to Reach Newly-Designed Heights at Red River College

January 16, 2018

Red River College students interested in the technical aspects of building design will soon bring their ideas to life through a new program.

Beginning in the 2018/19 academic year the College will be offering the renewed Architectural Technology diploma program, designed to prepare students for success in careers related to the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction.

Many of the skills students will acquire through these programs are in high demand in sectors across the province.  According to recent surveys, 98 per cent of Red River College graduates choose to stay and work in Manitoba, a trend that helps meet the needs of our province’s economy.

“As industry evolves in Manitoba, it’s important that Red River College continue to redesign, and create new programs that not only anticipate the changes that are emerging in industry, but create programming that allows our students adapt to the change as they enter into a meaningful and rewarding career,” said Paul Vogt, president & CEO, Red River College.

“Staying ahead of the curve and engaging with industry ensures that we can be agile in program development and continue to provide relevant training that ensures the success of our students and the many industries that we support.”

This new program replaces the current Building Design Technology program and was developed following extensive consultation of representatives from a wide range of industry employers and participants. A new curriculum was produced to address the current and future needs the architecture, engineering, and construction industries.

“The new Architectural Technology program will more closely align with the current needs of the AEC industry, providing graduates with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to join the workforce in a contributing role, while continuing in the life-long learning experience inherent to our world,” said Stephane Chappellaz, certified architectural technologist at Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd. and chair of the program’s partner advisory council.

The program is a comprehensive, two year, direct entry program consisting of four 16-week semesters and a four month co-operative session between year one and year two. The co-operative will help to provide students with practical experience related to their chosen career. Graduates of this program will be job-ready through the hands-on learning delivered by highly skilled, industry-based faculty.

Rapid advances in building and construction technology have increased the need for industry professionals prepared to meet the demands of a dynamic industry. Students will experience a wide-ranging curriculum of courses that emphasize the learning and practical application of current design and construction techniques, architectural working drawings, building codes, construction specifications, contract administration, Building Information Modelling (BIM), and the mastery of modern technology used in industry.

“As the industry evolves, it’s great to see Red River College being responsive to that evolution by working with industry professionals to address the current needs of the architectural, engineering, and construction industries. Having this insight ensures that the new program caters to the many different aspects of the field students could move into, preparing graduates for the challenges they will face in their future career,” said Leighton Klassen, project manager at Colliers Project Leaders.

Registration for the Architectural Technology diploma program will be available February 1, 2018 at





Chekkit out: Red River College Entrepreneur-in-Residence connects businesses with customers through Wifi offers

January 9, 2018

For immediate release: January 9. 2018

Would a text message from a local coffee shop you visited offering a free coffee get you back in the door? With some help from RRC students from the College’s ACE Project Space in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, a new Winnipeg-based service believes the answer is yes.

Chekkit Wifi Marketing and Analytics (Chekkit) is the brain-child of Daniel Fayle, Myles Hiebert, Lee Klimpke, and Emily Franz-Lien and aims to help businesses build loyalty programs through a simple Wi-Fi login page and text messages.

Fayle, Hiebert, Klimpke, & Franz-Lien are currently housed in Red River College’s ACE Project Space as Entrepreneurs in Residence, where they have been working with Business Information Technology students to develop their product.

“The knowledge and resources available at ACE and in the Exchange District is immense. When we started, we had nothing and through ACE we have office space, networking opportunities, a boardroom to host meetings and demonstrations and a lot of support,” Fayle said. “The students we worked with were a big asset and we’re grateful to have been able to provide them with an opportunity to share their skills.”

Chekkit’s aim is to create the best first experience and to help create repeat customers for businesses who offer free Wi-Fi to their customers.

“In creating this product our question was, if someone walks in the door, how do you get them back in? Most people, their eyes are on their phones, and they’re going to log in to Wi-Fi,” said Fayle. “When they log in or when they leave, they can opt-in to receive great deals from the business they visited and brand they love, so the business can send them an offer that will make them want to come back.”

Hiebert adds that most business today look at Wi-Fi as something they just have to offer, without thinking about how they can leverage it to increase the value to the customer, and ultimately to use as a marketing tool and a revenue generator.
“Business owners have overlooked the inherent value of Wi-Fi networks, and the marketing potential here,” he said.

An advantage to the ACE Project Space is that it allows students to fulfill their learning outcomes while interning and gaining practical experiences with the Entrepreneurs-in-Resident and Kamaljeet Singh Dhaliwal and Victoria Reyes worked with Chekkit to help them develop and refine their service.

“The four-month term went really quick and I think that’s a result of good teamwork,” Dhaliwal said. “Daniel and Myles had a lot of ideas and worked with two developers (Emily Franz-Lien & Lee Klimpke) to bring them to life. My main role was to configure a router to support the service and Vicky worked on creating a login page. I also had the opportunity to practice finding bugs in the website and fixing them.”

Haider Al-Saidi, chair, Accounting and Computer Education, RRC, said he’s excited to see more projects like this coming out of the collaborative space.

“We’ve had 20 projects from entrepreneurs and businesses developed in the space this year,” he said. “It’s very exciting and I’m proud to be able to support people like Daniel and Myles from Chekkit, who have a great idea and just need a boost of support to get it off the ground. It’s an incredible experience for our students to be a part of something and to help a business solve a problem or issue that’s been holding them back.”

Chekkit currently has more than 30 clients in Winnipeg and have seen more than 15,000 unique logins. The next steps are to grow Chekkit into a nationally-used service before expanding into the international market.

For more information visit and follow @Wpgrewards on Instagram to find what rewards Chekkit is currently helping Winnipeg businesses offer their customers.


Positive Initiatives Propel RRC into Top Employer List for 8th Straight Year

November 29, 2017

WINNIPEG, November 29, 2017 – Does going to work make you happy? Three initiatives at Red River College (RRC) focused on staff positivity have helped the College land on Manitoba’s Top Employer list for the 8th year in a row.

Those initiatives include the wellness initiative known as Healthy Minds, Healthy College, a peer-to-peer recognition program, and a day-long professional development event called RED Forum.

“These are the kinds of programs that can engage staff, help them interact with each other and dedicate time to growing themselves. It’s important for us to provide these types of resources on top of things like a solid health benefits plan, pension, and vacation to ensure staff are motivated and feel proud to work at the College,” said Lindsay Allen, Acting Director, Human Resource Services, RRC. “These initiatives are positive incentives for self-improvement and peer recognition.”

Over the past year, major investments in the wellness and mental health of RRC employees have resulted in the creation of a new, full-time Mental Health Coordinator position, Breanna Sawatzky, who is responsible for the College-wide Healthy Minds Healthy College Initiative. The purpose of this new position is to ensure that RRC is a mentally healthy place to work and learn.

Healthy Minds Healthy College achievements over the past year include a #SICKNOTWEAK talk by TSN and Bell Let’s Talk Day speaker Michael Landsberg, who raised awareness and sparked real conversation about mental health with staff; the College-wide adoption of a new mental health training program from the Mental Health Commission of Canada, called The Working Mind; the second annual Get Movin’ Challenge in February that saw more than 320 employees take on a month-long challenge to achieve a minimum of 7,000 steps per day; and RRC’s first annual THRIVE Mental Health Awareness Week in October that delivered 23 events to staff across all campuses.

“Our employees – and students – are thrilled to see all this happening – the education, activities and conversation. They know help is available, and the conversation creates a greater feeling or normalcy,” said Laureen Janzen, Manager of Counselling & Accessibility Services at RRC. “We’re hoping to send the message that RRC is a place where everyone is encouraged to take care of themselves and each other – mentally and physically.”

This past year the College also launched Cheers for Peers – built on two years of research and consultation with over 150 employees. The result is a simple recognition experience between two employees using a handwritten card. The program was developed by a 24-member Staff Awards and Recognition Committee and is administered by a group of more than 16 Cheers Champions. Since launching, more than 1,600 cards have been written.

RED Forum is a new, full-day professional development event for all 2,600 full- and part-time RRC employees from all nine campuses. Focusing on Relationships, Education and Direction, the inaugural RED Forum was launched in May 2016. Sessions were delivered by employees and external facilitators on a broad range of professional development topics. The day is also an opportunity for staff who may only know each other by email to connect and get to know each other face-to-face.

For more information please visit:

Red River College Launches New Indigenous Language Programs

November 27, 2017

First of a kind language and culture courses part of RRC’s enhanced strategy to advance Indigenous achievement

For immediate release: November 27, 2017

Winnipeg, MB – Red River College is opening registration for two new Anishinaabemowin language and culture courses, created to help support the growth of Indigenous language revitalization in Manitoba’s schools and advance reconciliation efforts in the province.

The unique language and culture courses are part of a series of new initiatives that RRC will be undertaking in order to advance Indigenous achievement and support student success – one of the College’s key strategic priorities.

“As a College, we are taking the lead to provide more opportunities for educators to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous language and identity, and help continue to strengthen partnerships with Indigenous learners in our community,” said Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.

These new courses are the first of their kind to be offered by RRC and are being delivered by the School of Indigenous Education and Continuing Education. As a key signatory to the Manitoba Indigenous Education Blueprint, RRC responded to a need identified by the community to fill a gap in providing opportunities for educators in the province to learn to speak, read, and write in Manitoba’s traditional Anishinaabemowin languages. Bridging this divide will help continue to support and enhance Indigenous academic success.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called for action to protect the right to Indigenous languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses,” Chartrand said. “As a learning institution, it is critical for Red River College to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, perspective and content to create innovative and relevant programming in order to achieve this.”

The curriculum for the courses was developed through a working group with RRC, Seven Oaks, Winnipeg and Louis Riel School Divisions and Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre. The priority was to ensure the College could create new courses that would provide students with a deeper knowledge and understanding of Indigenous culture and language history.

“Language and culture is such an integral part of our identity and sense of self, so as a post-secondary institution it’s important to support and create more learning opportunities for Indigenous learners in our province and across the country,” Chartrand added.

“These courses will help fill an important gap that’s missing in our classrooms currently, and create more resources for students to take these skills and drive change in our communities beyond the traditional school setting.”

The courses are being delivered by merging two different styles of teaching with the goal to preserve these languages for generations to come. They will build a bridge between Western style teaching through a modern classroom setting and delivery style, while maintaining the authenticity and integrity of these traditional languages and oral teaching styles.

The Introduction to Anishinaabemowin Language and Culture will begin in February 2018 and Level Two course will be offered in the spring. Both will be offered on a part-time basis to K-12 educators in the province, or anyone who may be interested in learning more. The introductory course is geared to non- or semi-fluent speakers, and a more advanced Level Two course for intermediate and fluent level of Anishinaabemowin speakers.

Registration for the Introduction to Anishinaabemowin Language and Culture 1 and Anishinaabemowin Language and Culture 2 courses opens TODAY, Monday November 27, 2017 and is open to all educators or anyone who is interested in learning more.

Full course descriptions and registration information is available here:

RRC Nursing Students Celebrate Big Win at International Skills Competition

November 20, 2017

First time competitors return home as Top International Student Team

Winnipeg, November 20, 2017 – A pair of Red River College (RRC) Nursing students have returned home with some new hardware and a greater sense of pride in their work. Elyse Griffith (2nd year) and Rachel Rubin (3rd year) took first place amongst international student competitors, earning a Silver medal overall, in the 7th annual International Nursing Competition held in Shanghai, China.

“Being able to participate in this competition was an incredible experience, and I know I will be a better nurse for having participated,” said Rubin. “I was proud of how we represented RRC on an international level and showed what our students are capable of. It was a great opportunity to learn more about nursing in other countries and see the strengths of the participating students from all around the world.”

This was RRC’s first time sending a team to the competition, which is hosted by the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences (SUMHS) in cooperation with the Shanghai Nursing Education Group. To earn the Silver medal, Griffith and Rubin faced off against 15 student teams from around the world in their abilities to assess and react in a simulated medical situation.

The students were judged on their ability to properly assess a medical situation, the level of care and their response to their patients’ needs, how they moved and positioned their patient, their ability to perform various medical procedures, and if they were able to – in the course of administering care – teach their patient or a patient’s family member something new.

Training and preparing was rigorous and leading up to the competition, the pair met weekly with their instructors, Myrna Davis RN BN MEd and Sandy Alguire RN MN, and Chris Hofer, a second-year Nursing student selected as the team’s alternate, to train for the possible scenarios. Each week Davis and Alguire put the team through two possible scenarios, ensuring they would feel comfortable and knowledgeable in the competition.

“I was filled with a sense of pride observing the students during in the competition. They were composed, competent, and caring. The positive outcome validates the quality of our nursing program at RRC,” said Davis. “Our time in Shanghai allowed us to interact with and learn about many different cultures to improve our own cultural competence that we can share in the classroom.”

Griffith and Rubin agreed with Davis the best part of the competition was meeting other students and being able to share and learn knowledge.

“I appreciated getting to see nursing around the world,” said Griffith. “Canada and RRC are progressive and modern in their approach to nursing, but other countries do have different ways of doing things and there are tips and tricks we can apply to our practice.”

Participating in international competitions like this helps the College to continue building relationships and partnerships with other institutions from across the world. Students and instructors are given the opportunity to share knowledge and bring home new information and systems, allowing RRC to remain a leader in industry training.

The Nursing program at Red River College is a 32-month degree program including a senior practicum of 450 hours. The program is offered at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus, Portage la Prairie Campus and Winkler Campus. According to the latest RRC graduate report, 92 per cent of RRC Nursing grads are employed in their field.

RRC delivers tools to help build Indigenous communities

November 9, 2017

Unique community-based training underway in Lake Manitoba First Nation and Sagkeeng First Nation

For immediate release: November 9, 2017

Winnipeg, MB – Red River College has launched two programs designed to take education outside of the traditional college setting and into smaller, more remote Manitoba communities in order to help Indigenous learners gain the tools they need to enter careers in carpentry, plumbing and the trades.

One of the programs – the first of its kind to be delivered by RRC at Lake Manitoba First Nation – involves 15 students completing level one carpentry apprenticeship training right in their home community, while helping renovate local infrastructure as part of their training. The other program at Sagkeeng First Nation is Intro to Trades and Pre-Employment Plumbing, which is being delivered through RRC’s mobile training labs (MTLs).

“These community-based training programs are an important example of how Red River College is helping create more pathways to post-secondary education for Indigenous learners in Manitoba. This is one of our key priorities,” said Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy.

“Classes like the one in Lake Manitoba First Nation provides learning opportunities to students who might not be able to access education otherwise. It allows students to remain in their homes and stay connected to family and other support systems, while receiving vital training and doing hands-on work in their community and the surrounding areas.”

The Lake Manitoba First Nation training is a 12-week program delivered in partnership with Apprenticeship Manitoba combining theory, safety training and practical learning. It is being delivered in a classroom within the community’s middle school industrial arts and shops area. Many tools and supplies are being provided by the College, and the students are being taught by an RRC instructor and journeyman carpenter.

“I have always enjoyed working with my hands, so it’s been great to learn a trade that’s in demand everywhere and be able to complete this training right here at home,” said 23-year old Kevin Choken, one of the students who was born and raised in Lake Manitoba First Nation, where he lives with his wife and children.

“It’s encouraging to gain experience using our training and problem solving skills to find solutions for these projects. Carpentry is something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, so I hope to continue my education and training in the future, and contribute to the renovations and development of my community.”

Lake Manitoba First Nation has been a key partner in the project and hired the students to work on renovation projects and complete apprenticeship training hours within the community. Over the last few months, students have been accumulating practical experience hours conducting interior renovations, replacing windows and doors, and repairing roofs.

The program focuses on the study of material sciences and training on the use of hand and power tools and stationary machinery. The 15 students – including two young women – have been learning skills such as how to layout buildings using a builder’s level, and mixing and pouring cement for slab work, walls and floors.

Once training is complete, students will have their level one carpentry certificate, which allows them to apply for carpentry work or pursue more training in the future.

RRC’s mobile training labs (MTLs) hit the highway every academic year to support the delivery of quality trades training and classroom-based training to rural and northern Manitoba communities. The portability of the training labs allows RRC to deliver nationally-recognized trades training such as automotive, carpentry, electrical, machining, pipe fitting, plumbing, welding and industrial mechanics, based on the training needs of the specific community.

Each year the College uses the MTLs to support the community-based delivery of two five-month Introduction to Trades programs for rural and Indigenous learners. The program at Sagkeeng First Nation was completed in September, and the Pre-Employment Plumbing Program – which wraps up in spring 2018 – will be followed by Intro to Trades programs in Selkirk in January 2018, and Steinbach and Winkler over the 2018/19 academic year.

More information about Red River College’s Mobile Training Labs is available here.