NIC launches Aboriginal College Pathway in Port Alberni

Luke George welcomes First Nations students to NIC’s Port Alberni campus this fall as NIC launches its Aboriginal College Pathway. Created in consultation with the West Coast Regional Advisory Committee, the pilot project supports Aboriginal students as they transition to college and prepare for career success.

Aboriginal students will have a new supportive start to their education this fall, thanks to an NIC pilot project that prepares students for post-secondary success.

The Aboriginal College Pathway combines skills development, upgrading and Nuu-chah-nulth language courses with individualized support to help students transition to college and be successful in university transfer and career programs.

NIC developed the pathway in consultation with the West Coast Regional Aboriginal Advisory Committee, which guides the college in delivering culturally appropriate programs and services to Aboriginal students and communities on Vancouver Island’s West Coast.

“We have a lot of students who have never left their community and making the move to college can be a scary thing,” said committee member Rebecca Atleo. “We want to provide support to help them make the transition to college and be successful.”

The pathway is tuition free. It includes First Nations Student Skills (FNS-060), new Nuu-chah-nulth language courses (NCN-096/097) and English and math upgrading courses at individualized levels. Topics include goal setting, time management, personal growth and development, stress management and study skills, with an emphasis on developing group and individual support systems.

“The support system is key for student success,” said Atleo. “Not just knowing that NIC staff members are available, but also building a network among the students themselves, so they have someone to call if they need support or help. Knowing that support system is available makes a big difference.”

Many of the courses meet entry requirements for business, health, trades, university transfer programs and more. Students should talk to an Aboriginal educational advisor to develop a plan that works for them. 

“Interested students can contact NIC and we’ll help them through the admissions and assessment process to make sure they’re in the right courses for their level,” said Kelly Shopland, NIC’s director of Aboriginal Education. “We want to support them through the entire process.”

For more information, contact Luke George, NIC Aboriginal educational advisor, at 250-724-8746 or

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