It’s back to school time for area post-secondary institutions, and for Carlton Trail College, it’s a special return marking its 50th year of operation. The College delivers programs at many locations throughout the area including its campuses and offices in Wynyard, Watrous, and the Four Winds Learning Centre in Punnichy.  

Since the inception of regional colleges, Carlton Trail College has been a centre of responsive and flexible training for industries and businesses, as well as an anchor of community interest learning. The courses and certifications have shifted with need and demand over the years, but the two mainstays have been growth and response to the needs of its communities and region.  

“We partner with businesses, industries and Indigenous communities to put on programming that they’re interested in running,” says President and CEO of Carlton Trail College Amy Yeager. “So, it could be a first aid program with one of the industries in the area. It also could be running a continuing care aid course for Indigenous communities.” 

The skills training areas are often gateways to the trades where students can on-board the skills in plumbing, electrical, and industrial mechanics among many others. Another avenue is Adult Basic Education where learners can complete grades 10 and 12 programs and an essential skills program that prepares participants for the workplace, including in the burgeoning mining industry. For those in need of training in English as a Second or Subsequent Language, the College has specialized and certified instructors to support those needs.  

There’s also the wide array of community interested classes that range variously from cooking to photography or computers and software. If there’s a need for training in an area and a supported interest in a program, the College has been immediately responsive to those needs.  

“We can adapt as we need, so if an industry is looking for welders or electricians, we can actually get them prepared to head into the workplace. We also have partnerships with business in places like LeRoy and Drake, so if you need it, we can put it on for you.” 

Since the establishment of the Regional Colleges Act in 1973, Carlton Trail College has evolved through the community college and regional college designations. With great pride in their history and a clear view of what’s ahead the board, staff and students will celebrate their 50 years in style. 

“We’ve been remembering the past by sharing facts, photos and newspaper clippings on our social media channels,” Yeager says. “It’s getting people up to speed on what we’ve done in our communities over the last 50 years. And of course, we’re celebrating our present through the barbecues we held in August throughout the region. We’ll be having another large event on December 7 in conjunction with our scholarship initiatives.” 

The College has also embarked on a legacy project in celebration of its five decades that encapsulates what Carlton Trail College means to the community, its learners and its staff, Yeager explains. The project involves commissioning works from a pair of well-known local artists. 

“One of those local artists is Murray Cook who will be doing a metal art project for us, and the other artist is Kayla Hanson, who will be doing some painting for us.” 

Cook is a well-known Humboldt welder and metal worker who created the stunning sculpture that resides in the Healing Garden adjacent to the Humboldt Hospital. Hanson is a Moose Jaw based artist, author, and proprietor of 32 Flavours. 

Other anniversary initiatives include a survey sent out to the community about what Carlton Trail College means, along with the Legacy Leaves where event participants can leave messages about the College’s impact. That messaging will be shared with the artists to help steer their creations.  

With a solid history to build on and a new crop of students to join in the celebration, Carlton Trail College is geared up for a year of learning and growth that reflects its past and lights up its future.  

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