PORT HAWKESBURY: A contribution from the federal government has helped give students at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) Nautical Institute the opportunity to train on new, realistic simulation equipment.
On November 14, Cape Breton–Canso MP and Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, Rodger Cuzner visited the NSCC Strait Area Campus to announce a contribution of $849,170 from the Government of Canada. Cuzner made the announcement on behalf of Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains. The funding comes through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA)’s Innovative Community Fund, and supports recent upgrades to marine training facilities.
“We have to give our students, locally and provincially, the opportunity to train on the most current equipment,” said Cuzner.
“When you make those investments in the best equipment and you give them to the great qualified staff that is here at the Nova Scotia Community College, then I think the learning opportunity is totally enriched.”
The contribution has helped NSCC to purchase new software that simulates ice conditions and Arctic navigation in order to facilitate work with industry in the Northwest Passage. The school has also acquired a new marine voltage simulator. In addition, the funding has helped support updates to existing equipment to create better training opportunities for students.
“The institute’s navigation simulator is a critical piece of equipment needed to train some of the region’s most sought after marine navigation students,” said Cuzner.
“Through this investment, it has upgraded from an analog system to a digital one to maintain national and international standards.”
NSCC president, Don Bureaux said the upgrades will help prepare local students to be competitive in the marine industry.
“We are very proud that our graduates enter the workforce job ready, that they have the skills required to make a difference the day they begin their new careers. In order to do that, we need to be able to have the most up to date equipment and that’s what today is all about,” said Bureaux.
The NSCC Strait Area Campus boasts the oldest marine training institution in Canada. Bureaux is hopeful that the improved learning opportunities from the updated simulators will further strengthen the school’s reputation in the industry, attracting new students to the school and the community.
“The world is quite a competitive environment right now for training, so when we have the ability to promote and advertise that our equipment is at the leading edge, it allows us to position this institution as a key contributor to training worldwide,” said Bureaux. “We’ll work with our international partners to provide that message so that we’ll be guaranteed a continuous flow of students for years to come.”
Also on hand for the announcement were Tom Gunn, NSCC Strait Area Campus Principal, Captain Vivek Saxena, Academic Chair for NSCC’s Nautical Institute, and Stephen Kelly of Kongsberg Digital Simulation Ltd., who worked with NSCC on the project. Following the announcement, Captain Saxena led staff, students, and visitors on a tour of the upgraded facilities.