Nicole Etzel is grateful for the programs and skills training that are available through her Yukon College community campus. Born and raised in Ross River, 26-year-old Etzel has taken the Heritage and Culture Essential Skills program and the Heavy Equipment Technician (HET) Pre-apprenticeship program at the Dene Cho Kê’endį campus located in the community school.
The College’s Mobile Trades Training Trailer was based in Ross River to deliver the HET program, which provides students with safety certifications and transferable skills to continue onto level two apprentice training or find entry-level employment maintaining heavy equipment in the mining, highways, or construction industries.
“I prefer training in my home community. If the courses were not available locally I would not be able to take them. Finding accommodation in Whitehorse can be a challenge and I already have a home in Ross River,” said Etzel.
Elected as a councillor for the Ross River Dena Council (RRDC) in 2015, Etzel is currently focused on serving her community, but has plans to explore carpentry and business programs in the future.
“The Ross River campus staff are very supportive and help a lot of people in our community. Many go there for upgrading or to obtain their GED. The staff also put together unique programs that benefit the community, like a recent housing renovation program in partnership with the RRDC, industry and Yukon government that trained people in various trades,” said Etzel.