Northlands College launches Capable North initiative

Valerie G. Barnes Connell/Northern Advocate. Representatives of the universities of Saskatchewan and Regina were on hand to meet with prospective students and community members concerning their relationship with Northlands College.

Northlands College hosted an Open House in all campuses March 30 to give the communities an opportunity to visit the facilities in the communities of  Buffalo Narrows, Creighton, the Town of La Ronge and Northern Village of Air Ronge.

On March 15, Northlands announced the launch of their new initiative, Capable North, which is designed to offer “critical space that brings together the people of northern Saskatchewan to explore new skills that develop themselves, their careers, and their businesses, agencies or organizations,” quoted from a Northlands College news release dated March 15, 2023.

Facilitators for the Capable North initiative will support northerners with “ongoing development, meeting learners, business and organizations where they are on their journey and supporting them in achieving their vision for the future.”

Capable North is designed to create “work-integrated learning opportunities, industry certifications, micro-credentials, general interest program and science, technology, engineering and math camps.

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan/Northern Advocate. Education students complete course requirements as they come close to the end of the school year. They include making ribbon skirts, research/studying and working with their large computer that can be used in a table-like manor or upright, depending on the need.

Courses will be held, either at local campuses, via distance or directly in the workplace, which is a reflection of “Northlands commitment to transformation by “meeting the needs of learners, communities and our region’s workforce and labour market,” quoted from the news release.

Virtual Reality (VR) was introduced to Northland College learners recently giving the “capacity a new way of learning.” It will be used in the Health Science 20 course giving students “the opportunity to take a deep dive into the human digestive system with a 360-degree video experience,” quoted from a Northlands College news release dated March 23, 2023.

“By utilizing this technology today, we completely immerse the learners in the human digestive system in what I would call a full-scale simulation,” the instructor, Sam Sanderson, is quoted as saying in the news release.

VR and the Metaverse is expected to enhance learning techniques and bridge the distances between communities in the north.

Metaverse is a vision “many in the computer industry believe is the next iteration of the internet, a single, shared, immersive, persistent, 3D virtual space where humans experience life in ways they could not in the physical world,” quoted from Wikipedia.

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan/Northern Advocate. Instructor Reid Dingwall organized his classroom for the Northlands College Open House to give prospective students an opportunity to get an understanding and feel for of the outdoor life program he teaches at the College.

According to the Northlands College news release, VR “provides opportunities for learners to explore subjects and locations that would otherwise be inaccessible, broadening their horizons and enhancing their understanding of the world around them.” 

Northlands College held an advisory council meting March 27 to “provide advice and make recommendations to support programing plans in university studies, and to develop long-term trust in the area of university for learners and the public,” Quoted from a March 28, 2023 Northlands College news release.

Questions around Programming in the areas of Trades and Technical, specifically plumbing and auto-technician  were also addressed during the meeting.

The objective of the meeting was to meet the needs of students, while “adhering to Northlands College’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Outcomes and will be used to updated 2023-24 university programming.

Changes include the addition of La Loche Mayor Georgina Jolibois to the Council.

The meeting was crucial in getting the council initiative off the ground and paving a way for a more engaged, community focused approach to the kind of programming Northlands College offers,” quoted from the news release.

In preparations for the creation and development of Northlands College’s five-year Strategic Planning Process, they  plan to begin a series of community engagement sessions at the Canoe Campus in La Ronge May 2 and 3, according to a Northlands College dated April 5, 2023.

“The College is committed to engaging with the community and ensuring that the strategic plan aligns with the needs of Northern Saskatchewan … we believe that this is a significant step forward in our ongoing commitment to the communities of the north, and we look forward to working together to achieve our goals, Karsten Henriksen, president and CEO of Northlands College, is quoted as saying in the news release.