Assiniboine to deliver tuition-free, Heavy Duty Technician program

Photo: ACC Brandon

(ACC Release)

Assiniboine Community College is continuing its partnership with Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology and Indigenous Youth Development Canada to deliver a tuition-free Heavy Duty Technician program.

The second intake of the program will commence in December 2022 at the college’s North Hill campus in Brandon. The program prepares students for in-demand careers within a trade that employers report has a shortage of skilled workers.

“Students in the first cohort of this program were afforded the opportunity to enter a job market with excellent potential. We’re thrilled to be able to welcome even more learners to this program who, without this support from Algonquin College, otherwise may not have had this chance,” said Kevin Poirier, Assiniboine’s Dean of Trades.

Selection into the eight-month program will focus on engaging Indigenous youth 18 to 30 years of age, who are not in employment, education or training (NEET Youth). There is space for 15 students. Tuition, textbooks, personal protective equipment, supplies and tools are all covered at no cost to those enrolled in the program.

As part of the program, participants will complete hands-on, in-school training for 28 weeks plus a 280-hour paid work placement.

“The thing I enjoy the most is probably the hands-on experience—everything from learning the fundamentals of electrical components, learning how to wire up the lighting system, to tearing apart and rebuilding an engine. This program has given me the chance to improve my skillset. With that, along with the hands-on knowledge of our instructors, I feel confident to step forward on this career path,” said Josh Papesquash, a graduate of the first Heavy Duty Technician cohort, who completed his training in August.

Students who complete the program gain credit for their Level 1 common core apprenticeship accreditation, allowing them to branch out even further into Heavy Duty Equipment, Agricultural Equipment or Truck and Transport specializations.

“Costs for training to support entry into the job market are an ongoing barrier to employment,” said Assiniboine’s Director, Indigenous Education, Kris Desjarlais. “It’s welcome news when we’re able to offer opportunities where students don’t have to worry about funding and can enjoy a hands-on learning environment, free of this financial strain. With this, learners are free to focus on their training.”

“With the program being tuition free, it gives me the opportunity to focus on my classes without the troubles of looking for funding. It also gives me the drive to make sure I take advantage of such an amazing opportunity,” said Papequash.

Interested candidates must attend a free program information session as part of their admissions process into the program. Sessions are available on October 12, November 3 and November 10. For more program details and to register for an info session, visit