News and Events

Pre-trades program at MHC available at no cost to Aboriginals

August 1, 2014
Medicine Hat College (MHC) Continuing Studies is partnering with SAAMIS Aboriginal Employment and Training Association to deliver a twenty week pre-trades program starting October 6, 2014. The course is available to Aboriginal Peoples, including First Nations and Metis at no cost. To qualify individuals must be unemployed, underemployed or have their employment threatened.

The program, which is in its second year, provides an introduction to the various trades offered at the college including carpentry, electrical, pipefitting and welding. It is designed to give students hands-on experience in the labs and is available to individuals who have not yet received their GED. They learn a lot from this program beyond the trades, math and sciences or GED training.

"They’ve shown personal growth, gained confidence in their abilities and the soft skills and communication required to be successful in the workforce,” said Anita Neefs, executive director for SAAMIS Employment.

According to Cathy Crockford, manager of continuing studies at MHC, out of the eleven students who participated in the program last year, 100 percent were successful in completing their Apprenticeship Entrance Exam (categories 2-5) and all students increased their test scores on the TABES test of academic achievement- success that has resulted in it being offered again.

“We’ve been working with SAAMIS Employment for over five years and have offered a variety of courses including office administration, healthcare and now trades. There is a demand in these areas and this partnership has enabled us to help fill that need,” said Crockford.

The program comes at no cost to students thanks to funding from Community Futures Treaty Seven, Alberta Works and Rupertsland Institute Metis Centre of Excellence.

Neefs also mentioned that funding is available to aboriginal students who wish to attend any regular, certificate program.   Funding is also available to cover the last year of a diploma or the last year of a degree.

"Our goal is to assist the Aboriginal population in becoming more competitive in the labour market,” said Neefs. “We are increasing the supports offered to that demographic to ensure they are able to pursue the professional career of their choice."

For more information on the resources available through SAAMIS Employment, or to register for the pre-trades program, visit