Lethbridge College showcases wind turbine program to prospective Indigenous students

Click to play video: 'Prospective students get inside look at Lethbridge College’s wind turbine program' Prospective students get inside look at Lethbridge College’s wind turbine program
WATCH ABOVE: Around 30 young people, most of whom were from the Piikani First Nation, spent Wednesday at Lethbridge College to explore one of its popular trades programs. Eloise Therien has more on the importance of targeting Indigenous recruits through a continuing partnership with industry. – Mar 16, 2022

Lethbridge College looked to blow away around 30 prospective students on Wednesday during an experiential learning day.

Most of those in attendance came from the Piikani First Nation to learn about the school’s wind turbine technician program and to tour the campus.

“They’re actually in the lab of the wind turbine technician area,” said Lowell Yellowhorn, the Indigenous services manager at Lethbridge College.

“They’re getting introduced to some of the working components of a wind turbine in the nacelle, (and a virtual reality) experience.”

Yellowhorn said the day was made possible through a continuing partnership with Enel Green Power. 

Read more: Southern Alberta witnessing ‘unprecedented’ surge in renewable energy projects

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VR helps prospective students dive into the world of wind turbine technicians. Courtesy: Lethbridge College

“Looking at the recruitment of a prospective student from the Piikani Nation, it’s important because Enel operates on the traditional territory of the Piikani people and the Blackfoot people.”

Otys Potts, a 2006 graduate of the wind turbine technician program, shared some of his experiences.

“I think that’s a huge advantage from them to be checking that stuff out, seeing if it’s for them or not,” Potts said.

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For Braxton Wells, a 17-year-old from Brocket, the thought of working on turbines is both exciting and nerve-wracking.

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“I’m kind of scared of heights, so that’s one thing — one of my fears I want to build up,” Wells said.

After thinking about his plans after high school for quite some time, he said he plans on applying for the one-year program.

He hopes the experience helps his peers consider their futures as well.

“On our reserve, there’s a lot of people that chose the wrong path and they’re going down the wrong path,” he said. “I kind of just want people my age to go enjoy life and do stuff with their life.”

According to the province, there are approximately 3,200 wind turbine technicians employed in Alberta.

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