Polytechnic Potential

New Talent and Programming are changing the post-secondary landscape in the North


Built on a foundation of opportunity, Northwestern Polytechnic’s evolution is ongoing. Formally Grande Prairie Regional College, NWP has a fresh look, revamped approach and clear goal to become the most entrepreneurial polytechnic in Canada.


“This past year has been pivotal for our institution and learning community,” said Dr. Vanessa Sheane, Provost and Vice President Academic. “It is definitely an exciting time with more opportunities than ever before to connect students with rewarding careers.”


NWP is focused on enhancing experiential learning and applied-research opportunities while growing programming that appeals to all types of learners.


“Students aren’t just a number with us. The instructors get to know them, the academic services staff are always there for them, and the learning environment is structured to develop and refine the skills that will provide an edge,” said Dr. Sheane.

Dr. Vanessa Sheane
Dr. Vanessa Sheane

With four distinctive schools catering to a variety of interests, Alberta’s newest polytechnic is determined to spark and empower success.


School of Applied Science and Technology 



Possibly the biggest news of the summer emerged from this School, thanks to the addition of a new Bachelor of Computing Science degree. Dean of Applied Science and Technology, Dr. Brian Redmond and his team are currently preparing to accept applications starting October 1, 2022.


“We are all looking forward to welcoming the first cohort of students in the Fall of 2023,” said Dr. Sheane. “With the help of our academic partners, NWP has consistently offered several university transfer programs, but this marks another important academic milestone in northwest Alberta. The highly sought-after four-year degree will equip students for careers in complex, connected and rapidly changing tech environments.”


Along with Animal Health Technology training in Fairview, this School offers a Visual Arts and Design diploma and other qualifications for detail-oriented problem-solvers.


Earlier this year, NWP also announced the return of its Bachelor of Engineering university transfer program. Prospective engineers can get a handle on their studies with the comforts of home and then join the University of Alberta to complete their degrees.


School of Business

NWP recognizes that with the right skills and attitude, anyone can be an entrepreneur. The School of Business, led by Dr. Carly McLeod, is the perfect place to build confidence and accelerate success with diplomas, certificates and collaborative degree pathways. It is also home to vital industry training, micro-credentials and personal enrichment opportunities delivered through the Continuing Education department.



“Our School of Business is definitely one to watch,” said Dr. Sheane. “We are steadily adding to our portfolio and tailoring programming to meet identified needs.”


This commitment was demonstrated recently with the addition of NWP’s first ever micro-credential program. The Early Learning and Child Care micro-credential was developed in collaboration with Horse Lake First Nation. This partnership resulted in 20 students from across the Western Cree Tribal Council completing a short-term, flexible learning program geared at enhancing care in early years settings.


School of Health and Education

A destination for difference makers, it is fitting that the School of Health and Education will welcome a new Dean, Dr. Harrison Applin, in August. Dr. Applin holds a PhD in Nursing and has accumulated decades of experience at various Alberta post-secondary institutions and healthcare organizations.


As part of his role, Dr. Applin will help launch the recently announced Health Care Aide (HCA) program, which will be offered in Fairview starting January 2023. This new eight-month qualification builds on the success of the HCA certificate and the two-year Practical Nurse diploma introduced at the Grande Prairie campus during the 2021-22 academic year.


Earlier this spring, the institution also announced added enrolment capacity for the collaborative Bachelor of Nursing degree. NWP can now support 120 new nursing students each year.


“We are so excited to add impactful programming that benefits students and our surrounding communities,” said Dr. Sheane. “In addition to providing local residents with career pathways, timely programs will attract talent from other areas. These things are integral to boosting capacity within the region.”



School of Skilled Trades

A buzzing staple of the Fairview campus with several hands-on offerings in Grande Prairie, the School of Skilled Trades celebrated the return of a familiar face in late July. Ms. Caitlin


Hartigan is taking on the role of Dean after serving as the Dean of Trades at Keyano College and before that, the Director of Continuing Education for Grande Prairie Regional College.

“NWP understands the importance of lasting connections,” said Dr. Sheane. “One of the advantages of our skilled trades programs is that people get a chance to explore whether something is truly the right fit. We are always looking for ways to leverage opportunities with our industry partners so we can provide shared value.”


The School of Skilled Trades delivers innovative industry-training initiatives like the Think Big Heavy Equipment Technician program in collaboration with Caterpillar Inc. and Finning Canada. NWP offers more than a dozen apprenticeships and is also the only site in Canada where students can enroll in the Harley-Davidson™ Technician program.


For anyone thinking of registering with NWP, or even those currently enrolled, Dr. Sheane encourages you to stop by or call.


“We’re happy to go through any and all options. If you’ve already chosen us, fantastic! We urge everyone to make the most of their experience here,” said Dr. Sheane. “If you are looking for inspiration, hoping to upskill, or wanting a career change, we can accommodate you and make the process easier.”


Visit nwpolytech.ca to learn more.




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