Building Dreams: Northeast BC High School Students Get a Head Start in Career Pursuits

Enbridge bursary provides financial support to complete dual credit programs
Mar 26, 2024 12:40 PM ET

Like all students, Michael Templeton and Taggart Bougerolle are excited to head home to Chetwynd for their spring break. But these Grade 12 students are especially pumped as they’ll return from Dawson Creek proudly knowing they’ve built a house!

Yes, Templeton and Bougerolle helped construct a house as part of their carpentry program at Northern Lights College.

“It’s pretty awesome—I’ve learned how to build a house from foundation to roof. Honestly, that was a game changer because I really enjoyed the course I’m doing,” says Templeton.

“I’ve been doing carpentry stuff all my life—building cabinets, building doors. It’s something I’m good at. To expand upon my skills was a great opportunity,” adds Bougerolle.

The two high school students are in their final months of their Enhanced Carpentry Foundation program, where they’ll get carpentry credits for an apprenticeship certification. That’s happening a month before they even graduate from high school in June.

Templeton and Bougerolle’s carpentry program is part of the dual credit programs, which offer Grade 11 and 12 students a chance to take post-secondary courses while still in high school. The students can enroll in trades courses or other post-secondary courses of their choosing to kick-start their chosen career early.

That’s because School Districts (SD) in the Peace River South (SD 59), Peace River North (SD 60) and Fort Nelson (SD 81), Chalo First Nation School, Northern Lights College, and industry partners formed a partnership called Northern Opportunities—providing young adults with a smooth progression from secondary to post-secondary training.

The tuition fees for the dual credit programs are covered by the students’ schools. However, other expenses such as living costs and school supplies needed in the programs must be shouldered by the students and their families.

“Quite often, students have to leave their communities to access training, and leaving their home is already tough. So, the scholarship helps to cover their financial worries in terms of transportation costs, residence fees, and the purchase of necessary tools and materials for their courses,” says Brian Campbell, SD 60 Principal.

To help alleviate financial barriers, Enbridge has supported Northern Opportunities through a scholarship, providing students with financial support to help them complete their dual credit programs. For almost 20 years now, Enbridge has allotted about $40,000 every year to the Northern Opportunities Enbridge Bursary.

Students enrolled in the dual credit program must apply for the scholarship by March 15 for spring intake. The application form is available through a high school’s dual credit coordinator. In addition to the application form, the applicant must submit a short essay, a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, a copy of the latest transcript, proof of admission to Northern Opportunities program, and a budget to support their training.

“Enbridge has always believed in investing in our communities, especially the youth who will continue the work we do,” says Dean Freeman, Enbridge’s Director of Field Operations for Westcoast Energy, an Enbridge subsidiary that operates BC’s major natural gas transmission system.

“I encourage those in high school to consider this program and submit their application. If you need more time, there’s another chance to apply for the fall program with a deadline on October 15. This gives you a chance to really consider your options and seize the chance to invest in your future as well.”

Last school year, more than 49 students in northern BC were awarded the Enbridge bursary, which included Templeton and Bougerolle.

“It is a big investment coming into dual credit programs. So, I definitely suggest looking into scholarships like the Enbridge bursary,” says Bougeralle.

“A lot of our parents never had this opportunity when they were in high school. Fortunately for us, we have the chance to get ahead in life and start work early practising our craft,” adds Bougerolle.