NAIT receives funding to develop 360-degree training to help First Nations communities reclaim boreal forest

Published on April 07, 2021

Thanks to a $771,638 investment from Future Skills Centre – a pan-Canadian initiative dedicated to helping Canadians gain the skills they need to thrive in a changing labour market – NAIT is spearheading a project aimed at delivering technology-based, experiential reforestation and reclamation training to Aboriginal youth and adults. 

NAIT will use 360-degree imaging technology to develop an immersive training program so remote and First Nations and Métis communities and enterprises have access to local talent for reclaiming former industrial sites and disturbed land in the boreal forests of northern Alberta and BC. 

Images of the reforestation and reclamation process will be captured using a six-lens, 360-degree camera. The images will be “stitched together”, allowing learners to scroll or pan through the environment and interact with various learning tools within the virtual space, whether they are in a classroom or in a remote setting. 

The project, which involves experts from across NAIT including the Centre for Boreal Research and Centre for Innovative Media, will support northern, rural and Aboriginal communities in Alberta by providing relevant training that can be delivered locally, which NAIT’s experts say is a significant barrier for many of these communities.  

Program content is being developed in consultation with First Nations and Métis partners and will be beta-tested with two pilot courses during spring and summer 2022. 

The reforestation and reclamation pilot is just the beginning for 360-degree immersive training at NAIT. The same grant funding will also allow the polytechnic to create a toolkit that can be adapted by instructors from any program area to develop 360-degree immersive training. 

 NAIT’s project is one of 64 funded by the Future Skills Centre




“The funding from Future Skills Canada will allow NAIT to put the time and effort into developing a high-quality, valuable training program for our First Nations and Métis partners and learners. Furthermore, it will enable us to expand this technology through the development of the toolkit, helping us to remove barriers to learning spanning many industries.” - Olle Lagerquist, associate vice-president, NAIT’s Industry Solutions 


“This project is an innovative and radical approach to training and filling future skills gaps in the forestry sector that also offers culturally appropriate learning experiences to support northern and Indigenous communities. This is just one of the exciting shock-proofing projects that FSC is investing in to build a future playbook for shared prosperity, and help Canadian workers and businesses seize opportunities in our future economy.” - Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre 

About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With over 34,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads help fuel the economic engine of the province. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping businesses and communities become more competitive through industry-driven research and corporate training. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, industry partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

Media inquiries

Nicole Graham
NAIT Media Relations
C 780.916.8307 E

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