As the world around us continues to evolve and reveal opportunity, Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP) welcomes post-secondary students from around the globe to join their learning community and develop the tools and mindset necessary for success. NWP’s exciting new polytechnic status unlocks an entrepreneurial post-secondary pathway that promotes quality in-depth study, applied learning opportunities and impactful connections.
Northwestern Polytechnic, formerly Grande Prairie Regional College, has two sprawling campuses in Grande Prairie and Fairview, two northern cities in the province of Alberta, Canada. Canada is celebrated for its multicultural society, inclusive values and its reputation as one of the safest countries in the world for students to enjoy a high quality of life while focusing on their studies. According to a recent study conducted by IDP Education, Canada is also the top destination of choice for international students, thanks in part to its reasonable cost of living and ample post-graduate work experience opportunities.
In 2022, there were over 2.2 million Indian students who went to study in Canada, making them the country’s largest cohort of international students.
Degrees of Success
“NWP understands the power of innovation and opportunism,” says NWP President and CEO Justin Kohlman. “Today’s global marketplace needs inspired, creative and opportunity focused individuals who aren’t afraid to follow their heart and intuition.”
To this end, NWP ensures consistent exposure of its graduates to industry excellence, innovative technology and uplifting leaders who support student to be difference-makers wherever they go. NWP presents its students with a wide variety of academic programs, ranging from certificates and diplomas to university transfers and full four-year degree programs, that can be pursued through the:
• School of Applied Science and Technology
• School of Business
• School of Health and Education
• School of Skilled Trades
Prospective students can now apply for the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Bachelor of Computing Science degrees – two in-demand offerings that enable learners to start and finish their degree without leaving Grande Prairie.
The BBA program is designed to prepare students for a career in business, focusing on entrepreneurial skills and priorities. The BBA explores the daily ethical, financial, and managerial issues that Canadian businesses and managers face. It also allows skilled tradespeople to apply trades qualifications toward a bachelor’s degree.
NWP’s Bachelor of Computing Science is breaking new ground in Alberta, as it is the province’s first four-year degree of this type. The Bachelor of Computing Science program provides a solid foundation of the technical, interpersonal, and hands-on skills needed to excel as a computing science professional. Students will have the opportunity to explore areas including mobile applications, computer games, networking and communications, big data, cloud computing, database development, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and computer graphics.
“This degree-granting achievement is just one way we are delivering enhanced academic offerings to meet student demand and industry needs,” said Dr. Vanessa Sheane, Vice-President Academic and Research. “We expect these new degrees will attract students from across the region, country and world who will be in high demand amongst employers.”
Careful Career Pathways
Health care is a highly fulfilling career, and the practitioners and professionals at every level make an undeniable contribution to the overall well-being of our communities. Health care is also the fastest growing industry here in Canada and beyond, making it a highly practical choice in terms of job prospects and future stability. Increased investment from all levels of government have expanded the educational opportunities available and, in some cases, fast tracked entry into the system.
At Northwestern Polytechnic, students can earn a:
Health Care Aide Certificate that allows graduates to provide basic health services and support with daily living activities for clients who have medical conditions or limitations. Health care aides work under the supervision of a regulated health professional, such as a nurse, in settings including home care, assisted living facilities, acute care hospitals and private agencies.
Practical Nurse Diploma, a two-year program that prepares students to be registered as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Practical Nurses perform nursing assessments, provide nursing care, and implement prescribed medical treatments, in areas including childcare, maternity nursing, community health, mental wellness, seniors care, and medicine.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) through the University of Alberta Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program. This program allows graduates to be licensed as a Registered Nurse. Students gain practical experiences in nursing laboratories, acute care, and community agencies in the region. All the courses for this program can be completed at Northwestern Polytechnic, plus one clinical placement outside of Grande Prairie.
Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) certificate – Currently under development and awaiting approval, this brand-new pathway is anticipated to begin accepting enrolments in 2024. The PCP program is underpinned by work-integrated-learning principles, and in addition to an ambulance placement, students will learn skills in the clinical environment over the course of the certificate.
In 2022-23, the Nursing Education and Health Studies department moved into the new NWP healthcare education wing at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital (GPRH). This state-of-the-art facility includes classroom space, nursing laboratory space, high fidelity simulation space, and open student study space.
Power of Partnerships
By continually exploring new opportunities for industry collaboration and partnership, NWP stays ahead of workforce needs, accelerates innovation and provides cutting-edge and career-
focused learning experiences for their students.
Today, partnerships with industry are at the heart of everything NWP does. Industry partnerships with global corporations like Caterpillar Inc. and Finning Canada give NWP graduates highly sought-after skills and a head start into careers maintaining some of the largest machinery on earth. They are proud to host the only authorized Harley-Davidson® Training Centre in Canada, and have graduated dozens of technicians who keep the sound of these iconic machines rumbling along highways across the globe.
Real World Impact
Northwestern Polytechnic is a renowned applied research hub for Alberta and beyond. With staff and student researchers active in a range of specialty areas, they have the expertise to support community initiatives and address industry problems in the areas of:
Advanced Microbiology and Genetics Laboratory
The institution’s flagship research facility and home of the National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) includes an advanced microbiology and genetics laboratory with the tools and resources to support research and diagnostics for a variety of industries across the agriculture and forestry sector. These include animal nutrition and forage quality, crop and animal residues, pest entomology, and bioremediation.
Energy and Environment
NWP’s clean technology innovation laboratory aims to develop clean power options in collaboration with industry partners, with a special focus on northern and remote worksite application. The laboratory is equipped with a 500W EFOY-Pro® methanol fuel cell and full photovoltaic generation array.
Northern Agriculture Innovation
In-house researchers specializing in pollinator health, smart agriculture, animal science, forage, agri-business and other areas collaborate with producers and other academic institutions, contributing to an accessible, province-wide network of ag expertise.
Health and Community Enhancement
NWP’s researchers work with non-profit and community-based organizations to find solutions to complex social innovation problems. The newly established Evaskevich Centre for Health Research and Innovation facilitates a range of northern health research initiatives that are connected to the community and responsive to regional needs.
From clinical teaching spaces and classrooms in the brand-new state-of-the-art hospital, to industry collocated trades labs equipped with the latest technology, NWP students benefit from hands-on learning opportunities. This in-depth and practical technology-based skills training provides a clear advantage when the time comes to secure employment.
Beyond the Classroom
Alberta has some of the most diverse natural landscapes in all of Canada, from the Rocky Mountains and rolling grasslands to arid Badlands and endless stretches of boreal forest. Attending NWP means experiencing the beauty of four unique seasons and all the potential outdoor activities and outings that each brings with it.
NWP presents a range of social, cultural, wellness and athletic opportunities. The Sport and Fitness department is committed to providing essential programs, education and services for all, while also nurturing and mentoring up-and-coming athletes as they grow and excel. A valid student ID allows free access to the Fitness Centre and Gymnasium, as well as entrance to all the college-level athletic games and tournaments.
The student residences available on both the Grande Prairie and Fairview campuses offer a variety of accommodations to suit student needs, including dormitory, apartment, townhouse or family living quarters. The moderate size of Grande Prairie (67,669 residents in 2022) makes it an easy to get around in, with or without transportation, while still offering all the amenities and services to support a high quality of life. The cost of living is more reasonable than in larger Canadian centres, and tuition for NWP is substantially lower than at the University of Alberta in Edmonton or the University of Calgary.
Many international students at NWP have commented on the welcoming and helpful nature of both Grande Prairie residents and the local student body. Having lots of fellow international students at the institution also goes a long way to feeling understood and supported.
Making the Right Choice
Choosing the study abroad is a big decision that isn’t without risk. At NWP, they reward risk taking and see it as an essential element of innovation, opportunity and defining one’s edge. “The ‘edge’ is a place reserved for those with confidence, where ideas become solutions, and the future distinguishes itself from the past,” says Dr. Vanessa Sheane, NWP Vice President Academic and Research. “We want everyone to find the right fit for a lifetime of opportunity.” NWP might just be the right fit for you. Check them out online at nwpolytech.ca.