First-ever NII Explore Energy Sector Co-op launches at UBC Local 2222

With jobs in Canada’s clean energy sector predicted to grow nearly four times faster than the national average over the next decade, creative ideas to engage and train future workforces are key.

To help answer this call locally, NII Explore has combined forces with Bluewater District School Board and 28 different energy industry partners.

The result? The first-ever Energy Sector Co-op in the region.

Traditional co-ops often focus on a placement of one student at one employer over the course of the program. Thanks to these employers graciously volunteering their time and expertise, over the next four months, the inaugural class of 26 students from Kincardine District Senior School’s Energy Specialist High Skills Major program will get a chance to experience the breadth of jobs in the energy industry.

This means hands-on training in skills such as construction, project management, welding, emergency management, robotics, computer science, scaffolding, and much more. 

“This program is designed to introduce students to jobs and skills they may not have known existed—allowing them to take part in the cutting-edge science and engineering happening right here in Bruce and Grey counties,” said Director of NII Explore, Phillip Craig. “With so many incredible job opportunities right in their own backyard, we are hoping students find a career they can really latch onto.”

“I’m thrilled to see the Energy Sector Co-op program launch,” said Ryan Plante, Local Union Coordinator, UBC Local 2222. “This initiative, hosted at our Kincardine facility, provides invaluable hands-on experience for students, and cultivates a skilled workforce primed for the evolving needs of our local energy industry. By opening doors to countless career paths, this program is a testament to the collaborative spirit of our community and the bright future it promises for our youth. We are honoured and excited to be a part of it.”

“We are beyond excited to offer this fantastic career pathway opportunity to our first group of students enrolled in the new Energy Specialist High Skills Major program recently added at Kincardine District Senior School,” said Keith Lefebvre, Superintendent of Education for Bluewater District School Board. “Many thanks to our partners at NII Explore, UBC Local 2222, and all the local employers whose generous commitment to this initiative will pave the way for a broad range of rewarding jobs and careers for our students in the energy and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.”

“We recognize the support of UBC Local 2222 for hosting us at their facility in Kincardine, and to all the companies giving their time and expertise to students over the course of this co-op program,” said Stellina Williams, Vice President, Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII).

She added: “And as always, thank you to NII’s Founding Members for their dedication to science and technology education in our region: AtkinsRéalis, Bruce Power, BWXT Canada, Cameco, E.S. Fox, Kinectrics, and the Town of Saugeen Shores.”

Follow these students’ journeys in the Energy Co-op highlight posts on Instagram @NIIExplore.

About NII Explore:  NII Explore is a not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to delivering enhanced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) opportunities for school-aged children to learn, experiment, discover and create. NII Explore gives students living in the rural region of Bruce, Grey and Huron counties and local Indigenous communities access to the skills, knowledge and technologies required to live and work in a rapidly changing world.