NAIT launches Next in Trades event, becomes official apprenticeship sponsor

Published on March 02, 2023

NAIT is launching two new initiatives to help make skilled trades training and education more accessible for those experiencing barriers to trades careers.

Next in Trades

Next in Trades, a program funded by the Government of Alberta’s Alberta at Work initiative, will introduce people aged 16 and up from all backgrounds and abilities to the skilled trades in two events designed for Indigenous peoples, newcomers, refugees and Black, racialized and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

Each one-day event will include panel discussions, speakers and hands-on workshops exploring 15 different trades in an inclusive and supportive environment. Participants will be able to engage with NAIT staff, alumni and industry members to gain valuable insights into what a career in the skilled trades offers. Participants will also learn more about the pathways into a trades career, including apprenticeship sponsorship and training, and diploma and certificate programs.

The first Next in Trades event takes place on Saturday, March 18, and the second on Saturday, March 25, both on NAIT’s Main Campus.

Next in Trades Quick Facts

  • The workshops span 15 skilled trades and will be led by current NAIT School of Skilled Trades instructors.
  • Both events have capacity for 100 participants.
  • Next in Trades is funded by the Government of Alberta and is being offered at no cost to participants.
  • Participants can register online at

Apprenticeship sponsor

NAIT has also been approved as an apprenticeship sponsor organization, which means the polytechnic can work directly with students to help navigate the first year of their apprenticeship. NAIT is the first post-secondary institution in the province to be given the designation.

An apprenticeship sponsor is an organization that commits to supporting an apprentice’s education program by providing administrative support needed for their progression through the Alberta apprenticeship system. Traditionally, post-secondary institutions were only able to provide the training and education required of a journeyperson. Before enrolling, students needed to find their own sponsor, generally from industry, which limited those who were unemployed.

By becoming an official apprenticeship sponsor, NAIT will be able to provide students with

  • guidance on selecting a trade
  • advice on how to best progress through their entire apprenticeship journey
  • assistance with administrative processes required by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, including monitoring and tracking in-class hours
  • resources for apprentices looking for employment should they enter the apprenticeship pathway unemployed

Sponsorship is another way the polytechnic is committed to creating various education pathways to reduce barriers to trades careers and is available to apprentices for no cost.


“NAIT is making skilled trades more accessible, opening well-paying careers to more people. Through these excellent initiatives, prospective students from diverse backgrounds will have the opportunity to experience skilled trades from NAIT experts before enrolling. This will ultimately lead to a more diverse and stronger workforce.” - Laura Jo Gunter, NAIT President & CEO

“NAIT is proud to play a role in reducing barriers to skilled trades education and careers. A career in the skilled trades can provide financial security and independence, benefits and the opportunity to work in many important industries. The future of skilled trades includes a diverse and inclusive workplace and one that provides equal opportunities for all people. - Matt Lindberg, dean of NAIT’s School of Skilled Trades

“Diversifying our workforce is an important part of diversifying our economy. Alberta is encouraging people who may not have traditionally looked for a career in the skilled trades to consider the incredible advantages. With so many opportunities for personal fulfilment and well paying jobs, Alberta’s skilled trades are a great career choice regardless of your background.” - Kaycee Madu, Minister of Skilled Trades and Professions

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 more than 38,000 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 applied 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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